So, the folks over at Wizards have made some interesting announcements about the future of Magic: The Gathering.
I’ve long been a Magic addict. It started back when I was in high school, and I’ve never found a hobby that fits my interests quite so well as magic. There’s the element of discovery and excitement that comes from opening a randomized pack to see what you find, there’s the element of being a collector, which allows you to try to get all of the various pieces just like you might in stamp collecting or coin collecting. But, in the end, the cards are also combinable and usable into a game format that allows for competition and contest.
It’s a great diversion, and every time I dwindle away from Magic, I find myself coming back. So, I watch with great interest changes like the ones announced Monday. I don’t know how many of you out there play the game; I suspect not a large segment of the population of my readers does so. However, I have the website, and it’s primarily an outlet for me to share my thoughts and ideas on various topics. I’ve often believed that part of the fun of a blog like this is the ability that the author has to ‘humanize’ himself or herself for the readers.
This is something I’m interested in. It’s part of who I am. If it doesn’t interest you, that’s perfectly all right.
As for the changes, there are three main ones I see. First off, they are shrinking the number of cards published each year. To this I say: Bravo! It’s daunting to try to keep up on Magic these days, and I have found myself needing to pick one set out of a given three or four to focus on. This will affect everyone from the casual players up to the pros, and for the better in all cases, I think.
My biggest complaint with Magic remains the problem that I think rares are just a little too rare. I would like to see fewer of them per set in comparison to the commons and uncommons. My ideal situation would be to get one rare for every five or six commons, which would let a collector like me be able to buy larger piles of cards without getting so many throw-away commons. I don’t think this is ever going to change though.
They also changed preconstructed packs into being more ‘intro to the game’ packs, which I think is another excellent change. Precons have always been my least favorite magic products; targeting them at the newer players more is a great idea, as they’re the ones who need to get them. As a friend pointed out, however, it’s kind of sneaky to be selling illegal decks in this format, however. (These packs won’t come with sixty cards, the minimum deck size for most formats.) This is a small complaint, however. I like what they’ve done with the product.
That leads us to the last, and most interesting, of the changes. Mythic rares. I’m torn about this change. On one hand, the collector in me thinks “Way cool! An extra level of rarity.” The other half of me says “Wait, now it’s going to be even MORE hard to collect a full set!”
Both sides war. I think the biggest problem I see with the Mythic rares is having them replace the regular rare in a pack. I see lots of problems with this. If the mythic rare isn’t a good one, then you will feel depressed at having pulled it, and it could—I think—do some bad things to the game. In addition, I’d hate to see regular rares just turn into junk like a lot of the commons are. (People opening packs, then tossing the whole thing because there’s no Mythic in it.)
I’m cautiously optimistic, but I think that Wizards made a slight error in the way they’re packaging these. The mythic rare, in my opinion, should replace one of the commons in the same way that a foil card does. That way, when you open one, you ALWAYS feel like you’ve gotten something special. A bonus, so to speak. It’s all about psychology. I still find the Time Spiral Block my favorite of recent years for the simple reason that it was possible to pull an extra rare in a pack. That increased the perceived value of the game to me, and it made me buy more packs.
Mythic rares could do the same thing. In fact, we’re now ‘losing’ a common card in every pack. (They’re sticking in a land card now, which bugs me, even though I know it doesn’t really matter much.) The perceived value on a booster pack just went down. If they decided to replace that LAND with a mythic rare in some of the packs, I’ll bet a lot of the complaints about this new rarity would vanish.
Just a thought.