Initially used to playtest Magic: the Gathering before release, Limited Draft is perhaps the oldest MTG format in existence. Providing the go-to way to experience a new set, Limited has persisted in MTG for 30 years now. Throughout that time, Limited formats have undergone a number of changes and evolutions, however, the core product has always remained.
Alongside being steeped in history, Limited events are also an incredibly popular way to play MTG. As a result of this, the Limited environment is often first and foremost in developers’ minds when creating a set. Still allowing room for Commander-focused all-stars and constructed bombs, this approach has worked for literal decades.
Despite all this successful history, recently, it seems some MTG players are tired of Limited formats. So much so, in fact, that following initial spoilers for Commander Masters, some players want Wizards to remove this beloved format altogether!
Commander Not So Masters
In case you missed the recent Weekly MTG, yesterday, Wizards officially debuted Commander Masters. Kicking off the set’s spoiler season with some awesome, gorgeous, and spicy reprints, MTG players already have a lot to be excited about. After all, who wouldn’t want to crack a pack and find a $70 Jewled Lotus inside?!
Unfortunately, while there have been plenty of expensive cards spoiled already, not every Commander Masters card is tremendously expensive. Omnath, Locus of Mana for instance, is hardly the most expensive or popular MTG card in Commander. Costing around $7, Omnath, Locus of Mana is admittedly far from a complete flop, however, it’s nothing compared to a $120 Capture of Jingzhou.
Alongside mythic Commander Masters cards already being a mixed bunch, the set also contains plenty of less-than-stellar additions. Just look at Yargle, Glutton of Urborg for an example of that. Available for as little as $0.03, this beloved Legendary is fun, but hardly a needed reprint.
On the surface, this may seem to make Yargle a rather useless inclusion in Commander Masters. After all, surely the whole point of this set is to reprint beloved Commander cards which are prohibitively expensive… Right? Unfortunately for value-hungry MTG players, that assessment is only half correct.
“The two big things you have to do in a Masters product is pick reprints that players want and make for a fun Limited environment.”Mark Rosewater
As you can see above, when speaking in a recent article about the set’s design philosophy, MTG’s Lead Designer revealed Commander Masters isn’t all about reprints. Instead, somewhat unsurprisingly, the set was also built around Limited. In fact, in order to make the Limited environment as interesting as possible, Wizards is shaking up the format’s rules. In theory, this should make the set thoroughly enjoyable for all manner of MTG players.
Down With Draft, Up With Reprints
Considering Limited Draft events have been around and enjoyed by MTG players for literal decades, this focus may seem like a very good thing. After all, despite some recent wonky balancing, Draft is a typically much-loved way to play the game. It’s also nothing out of the ordinary for Masters sets to be built around this format, so it should be business as usual. Technically, this is all true, however, for Commander Masters, it seems some MTG players have had enough.
After reading Mark Rosewater’s recent article, u/therealmh90 took to Reddit to critique the supposed need for Limited. Asserting that “Masters sets are the best example of the one time you really don’t have to make for a fun limited environment,” therealmh90 went on to propose the removal of Draft Boosters from MTG altogether! While this may seem like an utterly wild proposal, it’s not entirely ridiculous. After all, “The sole focus [of Masters sets] should be on needed reprints and bringing prices down.”
Following this dramatic statement, numerous other MTG players furthered therealmh90’s suggestion. Players such as u/AskDoctorBear, for instance, claimed Wizards was using “Limited as a scapegoat for their own unwillingness to cram more reprint equity into a premium set.” Similarly, u/RealityPalace alleged Wizards tightly controls the reprint equity, only including enough valuable cards to make a set sell.
Judging by these claims, it seems that, for Masters products, Draft really does need to go, as it gets in the way of reprints. Unfortunately, however, this may just cause other problems. If a set was chockablock with $50+ reprints, Wizards could charge out of the nose for it. In fact, they’re already doing this for Commander Masters. Thanks to this, as u/Imnimo points out, it may be rather hard to enjoy the supposedly enjoyable Limited environment.
Business as Usual
Unfortunately for the disgruntled MTG players wanting more of a focus on reprints, it’s highly likely that Limited isn’t going anywhere in Masters sets. Admittedly, Wizards of the Coast hasn’t made a statement confirming this, but it would be foolish to discount Limited’s popularity. Regardless of whether a product is a Premier or Masters set, Limited sells Boosters and Boxes in droves. There’s a reason why Wizards has been focusing on Limited for decades, after all.
Ultimately, while disgruntled suggestions like this may come from a place of love, it’s important to remember that MTG has an absolutely massive audience. Even discounting the purely casual players who don’t know what a Planeswalker is, not every MTG fan is actively on Reddit. As a result, posts like these can often turn into an echo chamber, where one idea is promoted to the top. In reality, there are undoubtedly countless MTG players who deeply enjoy Limited events and don’t want them to go anywhere.
Luckily for these more casual players, there’s no indication Wizards will be eradicating Limited to focus on reprints. That being said, however, Limited as we know it may be about to go through some changes. Following a recent complaint about the somewhat confusing identity of Draft Boosters in MTG, on Blogatog, Mark Rosewater revealed “It’s an issue we’re working on.”
From this statement, it seems it might not be long before Magic undergoes some rebranding to hopefully mitigate confusion surrounding the myriad MTG boosters available. That’s one possibility, at least. Ultimately, we won’t know what Wizards has up their sleeves until more information is revealed. Subsequently, for now, we’ll just have to sit tight and wait patiently.