Magic Spellslingers Key Art
7, Mar, 24

Magic Spellslingers Shut Down by Wizards After 18 Months

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Did you know Magic: The Gathering had its own dedicated mobile game? Existing alongside MTG Arena as its own game, Magic Spellslingers was rather unique. Looking more like Hearthstone than MTG, this game was another attempt to broaden MTG’s horizons. Sadly, after 18 months, that attempt has proven unsuccessful.

Last night, Wizards of the Coast announced that Magic Spellslingers would be shutting down. This news was announced in-game and via Steam in a post titled “Thank You for Playing!” Here, Wizards explained that Magic Spellslingers would be officially dead on June 4th, 2024 when the servers are shut off. Before this, all in-game purchases have been turned off as of yesterday.

Understandably, the Spellslingers Team, and the game’s players, are surely sad about this news. While it was a bit weird, Magic Spellslingers did something genuinely different and the game definitely had its moments. Ultimately, you have to wonder what led to this game’s demise.

Seriously Lackluster Support

While Magic Spelllingers is hardly new, there’s a very real chance this is the first time you’re hearing about it. This, ultimately, is the crux of the issue that has plagued Spellslingers since its launch; Wizards seemingly didn’t care. While Spellslingers may have had a lot of potential, the game was forgotten about from the moment it launched.

Despite releasing on August 10th, Wizards didn’t acknowledge the game on Magic’s official website until two days later. When they did, MTG players were just treated to a boilerplate announcement that hardly talked up the game’s features. While Spellslingers may have been targeting a different audience, it seemed foolish not to tap into a massive and devoted audience.

Beyond the initial lack of an announcement, Wizards of the Coast went on to completely ignore the game’s existence. Throughout the game’s lifespan, there was never another post about Spellslingers on Magic’s main website. Worryingly, this wasn’t the only place that the game was being ignored.

When launching, the Magic Spellslingers YouTube channel was populated by 11 videos for the game. Sure, there might all have been the railer in different languages, but clearly, an effort was being made. Sadly, any potential from this multilingual launch wasn’t realized, as, once again, there wasn’t another video about Spellslingers.

Ultimately, the most obvious flaw surrounding Magic Spellslingers is the complete lack of marketing that essentially erased it from existence. If you didn’t know what to search for, finding out about this game was a surprisingly difficult feat. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that Spellslingers has never been popular, especially on Steam.

Gone Too Soon, and Not for the First Time

Magic Legends Key Art

While Wizards of the Coast seemingly didn’t care, Magic Spellslingers wasn’t totally abandoned after launch. Throughout its lifespan, the game received 24 patches that introduced new Spellslingers, cards, and features. Even if these updates weren’t as major as a new 300-card MTG set, they nonetheless kept the game feeling fresh and exciting.

Looking at the Spellslingers subreddit, the game was far from hated. In fact, most players talk up the game as having enjoyable gameplay, arguably being even better than Hearthstone. Unlike Magic: Legends, this makes the death of Magic Spellslingers that much more disappointing.

Initially launched in March of 2021, Magic: Legends took MTG in a completely different direction, turning it into an ARPG. Turning classic spells into abilities used by the Planeswalkers, this game had a lot of intriguing potential on the surface. Once people actually started to play the game, however, Magic: Legends was quickly ridiculed and hated en mass.

As much as the idea might have been interesting, the execution of Magic: Legends left much to be desired. Thanks to this lackluster gameplay, player counts dwindled, and support for the game dried up. After only seven months, Magic: Legends would be canceled, with its servers being shut down and console versions scrapped.

Given this past precedent, it seems that Wizards of the Coast hasn’t learned their lesson. Rather than supporting their games through thick and thin, it appears that when the going gets tough, Wizards gets going. Sadly, it seems that unless a new MTG game is a true smash-hit success, it’ll be destined for the same fate.

It’s All Over Now

Farewell
Farewell | Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty

As worrying as the past precedent is, it seems unlikely we’ll be getting a repeat any time soon. Sadly, this isn’t because Wizards is turning their act around, but rather because everything is being canceled. Back in January of 2023, it was reported that Wizards had canceled “at least five video game projects.”

While not all of these projects were MTG-related, it’s nonetheless incredibly disappointing that these games will never see the light of day. Annoyingly, we don’t even know what was killed off. For better or worse, we’ll never know if we almost got a new version of 1997’s Magic: The Gathering Shandalar.

Technically, if we are to be hopeful, there’s a chance that Baldur’s Gate 3 has changed Wizards’ mind once again. Since this game was such a whirlwind success, there’s a non-zero chance that video game projects could have been restarted. Sadly, while we’re hopeful for this possibility, it’s admittedly entirely speculative.

A Parting Gift

MTG Arena Gems

While Magic Spellslingers is now staring down death’s door, it is going out with a bang. To celebrate the game’s short existence, Wizards is giving anyone who played Spellslingers a gift on MTG Arena. With 1500 Gems up for grabs, this is quite a generous gift, since these usually cost around $10!

To claim the free gems, all you have to do is link your Spellslingers and Wizards account and log into MTG Arena. Before you think about being sneaky and starting to play Spellslingers now, sadly that won’t work. When announcing the parting gift, Wizards states “This gift is only available to players who first played Magic Spellslingers before March 6, 2024.”

Ultimately, while the parting gift is nice, it’s still a shame that Magic Spellslingers is going away. At the end of the day, the game was genuinely fun, and with more support, it could have been great. Sadly, now that the game is being killed off, that potential will never be realized. 

Read More: Wizards of the Coast Implies Major Upcoming MTG Bans

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