Cardpecker
1, Apr, 23

MTG Arena Pretends To Damage Cards as April Fool's Prank

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Article at a Glance

Introduction

Wizards of the Coast have a long history of wacky and weird MTG April Fool’s day pranks. In 2022, they stuck googly eyes on all of Arena’s avatars. In 2020 they announced a special April Fool’s Secret Lair Drop containing meme cards like Storm Crow and Mudhole. This year, the game’s makers have decided to play another trick on players by pretending to damage their digital cards. As well as this, anyone playing MTG Arena today will be transported from the MTG Multiverse into a 1990s classroom.

Damaged Cards

Most MTG Arena players, alongside most people who play the tabletop game, put their cards in sleeves. Players who don’t have received a joking reminder from Wizards of the Coast about the importance of keeping their cards protected. Any cards not in sleeves that players use today on MTG Arena will acquire a battered treatment as though they are getting worn down from use. The Arena shuffler may not be rigged, but it should be more gentle, as today it seems to be scuffing up players’ digital decks.

A Desk Full of Call-backs

Pretending to damage cards isn’t the only prank Wizards of the Coast have up their sleeves today.

Players logging into MTG Arena will note that games also now loads as though they are booting up an old VHS tape, complete with a PLAY icon and lines of static thrumming across the top and bottom of the screen.

Once the loading is done, players are likely to notice that all of their games today, rather than taking place in the hellish depths of New Phyrexia or on the glistening streets of New Capenna, are instead occurring in what looks like a classroom from the 1990s.

The player is sat at a desk that is covered in tons of little easter eggs and shout-outs to Magic’s lore. Magic’s most famous time mage seems to have carved “Teferi Wuz Here” into the desk, a nod to his past as a Disruptive Student. The desk is covered in doodles of lotuses, an iconic MTG symbol, and a nod to the infamous Black Lotus. The card Goblin Balloon Brigade also seems to have put together a fiery mono-red mixed tape.

The desk is also covered in little MTG-themed treats and drinks. There is a Lightning Bolt energy drink, alongside some little Mox fruit snacks, and a packet of crunchySol Ring onion rings. Perhaps getting grubby hands from eating all of this food, especially the greasy pizza in the top left corner of the screen, is part of how the player’s cards got so damaged.

The dice on the left side of the player’s desk seem to indicate that they are a fan of Dungeons and Dragons, another popular Wizards of the Coast property. Reading the results on these dice from top to bottom reveals the number “1993”, the year that Magic: the Gathering was first released.

These are just some of the secrets tucked away on this desk, there’s so much detail packed in here that any player searching long enough is bound to find something new. From the little doodled love heart dedicated to the Draconic tyrant Nicol Bolas to the drawing of a Brushwagg rolling into action, there’s plenty to see here.

Community Reaction

MTG players seem to be hugely enthusiastic about all of this, and this year’s April Fool’s day prank has definitely gotten a warm reception.

In a thread discussing the prank on Reddit, the user Naeii writes: “Please god I hope they keep the board they added, its easily the best in the game”.

Contrary to what might be expected, given how wary people are about their physical cards getting damaged, MTG Arena players also seem hugely fond of the worn appearance of their cards.

NiL8_MiLo writes: “Nice meme but can we actually get these as card backs? I’d love to use those.”

Vantharion offered some suggestions to improve the illusion: “The best detail would be if they had randomly different wear & tear.

Like if some had a white fold line.

Mechanically the backing has no significance and isn’t even maintained as the card moves zones, but oh man the tilt factor.”

Conclusion

This year, Wizards of the Coast have continued their long-standing tradition of April fool’s pranks and gotten a glowing response. We may see the damaged card back return in the future, due to the communities fondness for it, though it’s impossible to say at this stage.

Wizards of the Coast aren’t the only MTG pranksters around today, as Scryfall have swapped the Magic cards on their main page out for Yu-Gi-Oh cards.

Players have been enjoying all of the April Fool’s tomfoolery on the part of Wizards of the Coast, and other members of the MTG Community.

Read more: Awesome Fan Made Format turns MTG into a Racing Game

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