Throughout recent years, MTG players have had an awful lot to complain about. From overpowered cards to the Pinkertons debacle, it feels like a month rarely goes by when something doesn’t go awry. Despite this variety, however, one complaint has dominated the past few years more than all others: MTG sets are being released too quickly.
Thanks to an ever-increasing calendar of products, MTG players now see a major release every single month. In theory, this isn’t too much of a problem, however, MTG sets aren’t just dropped out of the blue. Instead, there are teases, First Looks, Debuts, and spoilers for players to enjoy and wrap their heads around. Even after a set releases the are plenty of events and details worth going over!
As a result of all this, MTG players are fed with a constant drip feed of information that needs digesting. Thankfully, we’re here to help with that, but it’s still nevertheless a lot. So much so, that many players have long been asking Wizards of the Coast to slow down and fix things. Mercifully, Wizards has been listening and trying to help where they can, however, the fixes that have been implemented haven’t exactly been perfect.
Suspect Spoiler Seasons
Unfortunately, when responding to this longstanding complaint, Wizards hasn’t changed their tune. No matter who gets asked, the response is always the same, MTG won’t be slowing down any time soon. Ultimately, even if players may not like it, Wizards is making money hand over fist thanks to the myriad products.
Thankfully, while the chockablock release calendar may not be getting any lighter, Wizards has been trying to help. Turning what levers they can do, WotC has been trying to make MTG steadily more digestible to fans. One of the main ways they’ve been achieving this is through tweaking the spoiler season formula.
Typically, for a premier MTG set, the spoiler season lasts last for around one week. Providing a steady drip feed of content, this timeframe should allow MTG players to digest the majority of new cards. For better or worse, however, players don’t always need to scrutinize every single card that gets spoiled.
In reprint-focused Masters sets, such as Commander Masters, there’s very little new information for players to digest. Rather than needing to access a card’s competitive and combo potential, the art and financial incentives are the only relevant details. This can often make a week-long spoiler season a bit needlessly long.
Luckily for MTG players, Wizards of the Coast is well aware of this. Changing up the formula for Dominaria Remastered, Wizards recently experimented with an expedited spoiler season for this reprint-focused MTG set. Unsurprisingly, the move to a two-day spoiler season was a rather controversial decision, however, Wizards hasn’t stopped there.
Eight months later, Wizards changed things up again for Commander Masters. This time creating a four-day spoiler season, Wizards has continued to test the waters to see what works. Unfortunately, however, opinions are once again mixed.
Fixing the Unfixable
Following on from the end of Commander Masters’ main set spoiler season, many MTG players are already looking back. For some players, this is to properly assess and digest all the spoilers to see if they’re worth the $400 asking price. Other players, however, such as Tumblr user Reprintearthcraft are more concerned about the pace of the spoiler season.
Reaching out to MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, Reprintearthcraft had a familiar question and complaint to raise. Lamenting how the latest MTG spoiler season has been “painfully slow,” Reprintearthcraft asked, “that spoilers for reprint sets like Commander Masters not be dragged out as long? […] Can we get full reprint spoilers faster in the future?”
As evidenced by the recent four-day spoiler season, Wizards of the Coast is undoubtedly aware of this problem. That being said, however, in responding to this question, Rosewater didn’t provide a concrete answer about future plans. Instead, Mark Rosewater simply turned the question back around on the Blogatog community to gather more information.
“How Do Others Feel?”
While Rosewater’s latest return question didn’t field a huge number of responses, there was nevertheless a strong trend. Or rather…. There wasn’t, as the variety of responses ranged surprisingly evenly between too fast, too slow, and just right.
“Full reprint set? Reasonable length – 3 days. Ideal length? One day.”Cascadejack
As you can see above, for some Tumblr users, such as Cascadejack, the ideal length of a reprint set’s spoiler season is just one day. Similarly, other users such as Clevibert stated Wizards should “Rip if band-aid, don’t pull it off.” Through this tidal wave of spoilers, MTG players could quickly analyze all they need to know, however, that’s not a perfect solution.
“I can barely keep up with spoilers as is with the breakneck pace of releases. Full 2 week slower spoilers please.”Ceta-maelstrom
While some players preferred speed there is merit to slowing spoilers down. After all, having 200+ cards spoiled in just a few days is an awful lot to keep up with. So much so, in fact, that even social media can struggle at times. Thanks to the pace of spoilers, only so many of them get time in the spotlight, leading to a lot of missed information. This was especially prevalent with Dominara Remastered, which felt like it had no staying power.
“This preview season has been perfectly fine. Four days for the main set, then the next week for commander decks. If it helps, think of it as two concurrent preview seasons; the commander deck preview season hasn’t even begun yet.”Mrmoustachemm
Last but not least, there were also players who were quite happy with the four-day spoiler season. Getting through reprints rather quickly, while also giving new cards more time, Commander Masters may have hit the nail on the head. Since there are still complaints, however, it’s hard to say that it’s all perfect.
But Wait, There’s More
Ultimately, Wizards appears to be stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to spoiler seasons. Regardless of whether a spoiler season is fast or slow, problems and complaints always emerge. If a spoiler season is too fast, MTG players may miss key cards and hype for the set may falter. Alternatively, a slow spoiler season can be problematically boring, as awesome cards aren’t spoiled often enough.
Thankfully, however, it’s not all doom and gloom, as Wizards of the Coast can continue to experiment and innovate. Hopefully, through this process, future sets will have the spoiler seasons that they deserve while not interfering with other sets. In fact, it’s possible that Commander Masters may even have even found the solution to this problem!
Similarly to many past premier sets, Commander Masters is also getting its own dedicated Commander release. Comprised of four preconstructed Commander decks, these products each contain ten brand-new MTG cards. As a result of this, each of the preconstructed decks is being spoiled on its own day.
Hopefully, these deck previews should offer a more concise spoiler season for players. In theory, this could be the perfect solution to the spoiler season problem. After all, with an entire deck being debuted each day, players will always know what they’re in for. Subsequently, there should theoretically be less premature disappointment and confusion.
While segmenting main set spoilers in this way could help to mitigate confusion, ultimately, it too isn’t a perfect solution. That being said, however, it’s nevertheless another avenue for experimentation that Wizards can explore. Through this, hopefully, Wizards could, hopefully, find a true solution to the spoiler season problem!