Within the wide world of Magic: the Gathering, it’s no secret that there are a lot of combo decks. Considering they make each card, many of these decks will be specifically intended by Wizards of the Coast. Others, however, appear to be happy accidents, with old cards being given an unexpected new lease on life. Tibalt’s Trickery is one such example of this. Once an unassuming Kaldheim rare, this card would eventually be utilized to cheat out devastating threats. This MTG combo became so powerful that Tibalt’s Trickery was ultimately banned in Modern, Historic, and Pioneer! Typically, this is the standard life cycle for MTG’s unexpected and devastating combo decks that appear from time to time. First, MTG players concoct the unusual brew, then the deck proves its worth, then it takes over the meta, and lastly, it’s banned. A new broken deck, however, is breaking this norm.
Sacrifice to Success
Currently, on MTG Arena, numerous sacrifice cards are completely broken following the release of Shadows over Innistrad Remastered. As we covered recently, this newly remastered set features the unassuming card Gutter Grime. This slime-creating card may not seem like much, however, according to MTG Design Manager Ian Adams, the card was incredibly difficult to program. Within a recent Q&A, Adams stated, “the fact that the tokens refer back to the specific instance of Gutter Grime that created them is very unique and wasn’t supported by the rules engine.” Since Adams was talking about this problem card, players understandably presumed any problems with it had been fixed during development. This presumption, however, was wrong.
After Shadows over Innistrad Remastered launched, MTG Arena players quickly noticed that several cards had become bugged. This was first noticed by players using Citizen’s Crowbar. Rather than working as intended, Citizen’s Crowbar’s sacrifice effect has seemingly been turned up to 11 as it was now sacrificing its owner’s entire board without warning. Paired with a card such as Mayhem Devil, MTG players could facilitate a surprisingly deadly bugged combo. Since this combo would require a decent amount of setup, however, it was hardly going to break all of MTG.
Thankfully, after numerous players highlighted the bug on social media, Wizards of the Coast took notice. Informing players of this, Wizards staff member u/WotC_BenFinkel stated on Reddit that “Citizen’s Crowbar is currently bugged, yes. We’ll have a fix out as soon as we can.” Given Wizards were working on a patch for this bug, many players weren’t worried about this unusual interaction. Unfortunately, however, the antics of Citizen’s Crowbar would only be the tip of the iceberg, as things were going to get a whole lot worse.
From Bug to Worse
Shortly after players realized there was a bug to exploit, nefarious players concocted some seriously devious decks. Utilizing cards such as Ninja’s Kunai and Blazing Torch, MTG players were able to create devastating combos. In case you’re unfamiliar with these cards, their sacrifice abilities are typically nothing to write home about. Dealing three or two damage respectively upon sacrificing the Equipment, usually, these cards are rather weak pieces of removal. Thanks to the new bug going around, however, these cards have become some of the strongest on MTG Arena.
Similarly to Citizen’s Crowbar, when sacrificing each of these cards, your entire board is wiped clean. Regardless of whether it’s a creature, land, or anything else under the sun, all permanents will be sacrificed. In the case of Ninja’s Kunai and Blazing Torch, each sacrificed card will allow you to deal its usual damage. Subsequently, should you have built enough of a board, these cards can easily kill on turn three, even in Standard. As you can imagine, considering the current pace of Standard, this is quite a big problem. Sadly, it was one that players were keen to exploit in events and on the competitive ladder.
Thankfully, after a short while, Wizards announced on Twitter they wouldn’t be letting players get away with flagrant bug abuse. Rather than removing any of the problematic cars to stop further abuse, however, Wizards instead only issued a stern warning.
“We’re aware of a bug affecting Ninja’s Kunai and Blazing Torch. We will be releasing a fix soon. Any players exploiting the bug to boost rank or win events will face temporary suspension and the loss of any rank-based qualifications.”MTG Arena Twitter Account
Following this warning, Wizards of the Coast went on to state that the current Explorer Metagame Challenge was being postponed. Pushed back until April 8th-10th, MTG Arena players will be able to resume their progress as if nothing ever happened.
At the time of writing, Wizards of the Coast has not yet announced when this problematic bug will be fixed. Considering the Explorer Metagame Challenge has been pushed back to April 8th, we can presume the bug will at least be fixed by then. Since that date is still over two weeks away, however, we certainly hope a fix is implemented sooner. As, since the problem cards have not been disabled yet, players are still free to ruin games. Granted, should they do so, they’re at risk of being suspended.
Thankfully, alongside taking action against the bug abusers, Wizards of the Coast is also providing reparations to affected players. To receive those reparations and reimbursement, players can reach out to customer support. According to early accounts, Wizards is being remarkably generous with what they’re giving back. Reddit user u/Kill-Vearn, for instance, reports they were given “10,000 Gold for the recent challenges you’ve experienced.” Subsequently, if you’ve been on the receiving end of this bug yourself, it’s a good idea to reach out. You can do so here.