For better or worse, Wizards of the Coast releases a whole lot of Magic: The Gathering products each and every year. The product calendar for 2024, for instance, is already looking chockablock with sets and the year hasn’t even begun yet. Throw in a few extra surprises, and MTG players can expect to see around one major release per month if not more!
On the surface, this might not seem like a bad thing, far from it, in fact. After all, the more MTG cards that are being created, the more Magic there is to enjoy! While this is technically true, unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Between First Looks, Debut Streams, and spoiler seasons, it feels like players no longer have any time to just sit down and actually enjoy playing MTG.
Fantastic First Look Frustrates Fans
Unfortunately, the plight of endless spoiler seasons in MTG is far from a new one. Ever since Wizards of the Coast picked up the pace, increasing release frequency, players have been sharing their concerns. This issue reached its boiling point in 2022 thanks to an influx of new products and a dreaded double release.
While production issues may have forced the Warhammer 40,000 decks and Unfinity to release at the same time, the broader problem was clear. Too many sets were being released and players weren’t being given enough time between them. Thankfully, in promising statements, it seemed Wizards was doing what they could to fix this frustrating issue.
Shortening the length of several spoiler seasons, Wizards attempted to make MTG more digestible for fans new and old. While this did work to an extent, a recent First Look presentation has reignited the past concerns. Appearing practically out of the blue yesterday, the upcoming Fallout Commander decks look absolutely amazing, but they’re here too soon.
Last Friday, on the 13th of October, Wizards officially launched the Doctor Who Commander decks. Having been hyped for months, featuring incredible cards and oodles of flavor, many players understandably couldn’t wait to play these decks. Already, however, they’re being dropped out of the limelight thanks to Fallout stealing the show.
Disappointingly, MTG players couldn’t even go one week without getting barraged by spoilers. Technically, this isn’t the end of the world since the Doctor Who decks are still enjoyable and playable. As Reddit user u/NutDraw attests, however, it’s nonetheless frustrating, especially thanks to delivery times exacerbating the problem.
“The Dr. Who decks people in my playgroup pre-ordered arrived today. Couldn’t even hold the last cards they spoiled before they started hitting us again.”NutDraw
Just the Tip of the Iceberg
Looking across social media, there is no shortage of MTG players who are frustrated about this earlier-than-expected First Look. Sure, it may look amazing and similarly oozing with flavor like the Doctor Who decks, but it’s quite simply too soon. Unfortunately, this is only the start of the problem, as The Lost Caverns of Ixalan is right around the corner.
Next week, on the 24th of October, MTG players have The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Debut Stream to look forward to. Unleashing another barrage of spoilers, the Doctor Who decks will be pushed even further out of the spotlight. The same is true of the new Fallout cards, which players have barely had time to appreciate.
As if this tempo wasn’t quick enough already, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan content actually kicks off today. Later today, Wizards will be doing a “complete story drop” for the set. For better or worse, this means MTG players will have an awful lot of new content to digest.
Hopefully, this massive content drop will go down well, and be an improvement over the usual week-long story release. Whether or not that is the case, however, remains to be seen, as the story hasn’t dropped just yet. If it does go well, this new content strategy could help make spoiler season that much more digestible for MTG players.
Ultimately, while Ixalan is the latest upcoming spoiler barrage threat, it’s not the only problem on the horizon. In February, Fallout will cause a ruckus once again as its spoiler season starts on February 20th, perhaps even earlier. Even if this is a short spoiler season, this is nonetheless very soon close to the launch of Murders at Karlov Manor…
Wizards Is Trying to Help
While it is evident that the MTG release calendar does have its problems, Wizards is trying to solve the issues. The above change to the story release schedule is just one example of that. Sure, it may not be a monumental change in the grand scheme of things, but every little bit helps.
At the end of the day, this is simply the world that we’re living in now. First Look presentations might come at unusual times, however, that’s just down to business. Whether you like it or not, stores need these unusually early presentations to gauge interest and correctly order stock.
While harmless on their own, the First Look presentations have been tainted by the density of the MTG release calendar. Now, these interesting presentations clearly overlap with other sets, causing practically unavoidable frustration. Technically, this could be mitigated by releasing fewer products, however, Wizards is a business.
Even with profit being king and dictating the cadence of releases, there is another solution; treat MTG as the buffet it’s meant to be. As touted time and time again by MTG’s designers, not every product is for every player anymore. By picking and choosing what you enjoy and follow, the release calendar suddenly seems a lot less overwhelming.
Unfortunately, while some MTG players have been happy to adjust to this mindset, it’s not a perfect solution. Fanatical and avid players, for instance, are still left struggling to keep up with everything. Alongside this, since MTG is such an interconnected game that cares about news cards, it’s hard to ignore any release if you want to stay relevant. Still, at least Wizards is trying to help, which is nice at least.