Koth, Fire of Resistance | Phyrexia: All Will Be One
6, Feb, 23

New MTG Foils Are Almost Unplayable

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Under the guiding hand of Hasbro, Wizards of the Coast has been pushing MTG to new levels of collectability in recent years. Drawing the ire of Magic’s original creator, these controversial changes certainly aren’t to every player’s tastes. Despite this criticism, many MTG players have been delighted by the foils and promotions within Magic. Oil Slick Raised Foil cards, for instance, are incredibly prized and astonishingly valuable, making the Bundle: Compleat Edition exceptionally sought-after. Similarly, the new Step-and-Compleat foiling technique has enraptured many players with its shimmering stylings. Unfortunately, however, this new foiling technique may be more trouble than it’s worth, thanks to problematic printing issues.

Frustratingly Fancy Foils 

Step-and-Compleat Foils
u/ZekeD

Similarly to the Galaxy Foils from Unfinity, the Step-and-Comlpeat foiling technique for Phyrexia: All Will Be One adorns cards with a shimmering array of foil patches. Playing into the Phyrexian focus of the set, these foil spots are in the shape of the Phyrexian mana symbol. While this somewhat gaudy foiling technique isn’t to everyone’s tastes, some players are going absolutely mad for it. Subsequently, Step-and-Compleat foils are many of the most expensive cards in Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Following MTG players actually getting their hands on these cards, however, it appears this latest foiling technique is hardly perfect. 

Highlighted by Reddit user u/ZekeD over the weekend, it appears that Step-and-Compleat foils are almost unplayable. This is thanks to the new foils being noticeably different from non-foil MTG cards when viewed from the side. Thankfully, this issue can easily be solved by the common practice of sleeving your MTG cards. Considering how valuable many Step-and-Compleat foils are, this is definitely something you’ll want to do in order to protect them. Nevertheless, since sleeves aren’t required within Magic’s rules, malicious MTG players can use this printing quirk to gain an advantage. 

Technically, while sleeves aren’t required at any rules enforcement level, trying to play these cards at a Pro Tour might not be the best idea. After all, it’s stated within the Magic’s judging rules that “players are responsible for ensuring that their cards and/or card sleeves are not marked during the tournament.” Subsequently, trying to use these notably different Step-and-Compleat foils may well have you disqualified unless you bring suitable replacements. While this is a frustrating issue for foil fans, unfortunately, it is nothing new. Secret Liar foils, for instance, have also caused plenty of trouble in the past thanks to their penchant for pringling.

Pestilent Printing Problems 

Koth, Fire of Resistance Foils
u/KommunistKirov

As bad as u/ZekeD’s notably different Step-and-Compleat foils are, unfortunately, this printing issue is not an isolated problem. Commenting on the post, for instance, u/mrfoxman highlights how even non-foil MTG cards are not immune from this issue. “All my pre-release kit cards have a different color edge from the cards from the two booster boxes I purchased. Regardless of the type of card, it is.” Similarly to the problematic Step-and-Compleat foils, this printing difference effectively mandates the use of sleeves. For many players, this may be the opposite of a problem. However, not everyone wants to spend money on sleeves.

Offering up an explanation for this bizarre printing quirk, u/ArborElf highlighted how mismatched card printings have existed for years. “If you still have the wrappers, check them. USA printed vs. Japan printed cards have always been like this.” Backing up this point, u/LegoPercyJ also attested to this being a longstanding issue, albeit one that’s not world-ending. “This is pretty normal – cards printed in the US vs Japan also had different colored edges like this, which doesn’t matter if you’re using sleeves and also is hard to abuse if you are playing unsleeved as getting specific cards from specific printers isn’t that easy.”

While sleeves may mitigate the issue of mismatched sides, it’s far from the only printing problem in Phyrexia: All Will Be One. For example, u/KommunistKirov recently noted how the art of some foil cards doesn’t look as it should. Highlighting two copies of Koth, Fire of Resistance, it’s clear to see the stark difference in the artwork’s brightness. Thankfully, the text on both cards is still legible. However, this is nevertheless hardly what you want to see. Unfortunately, once again, this printing issue doesn’t appear to be an isolated issue

Skeptical Sleeve Solutions

Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer
Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer | Dominaria United Commander

Thankfully, as we mentioned earlier, sleeving your MTG cards should ensure your cards look uniform once again. Unfortunately, however, this does essentially make sleeves a necessary cost of playing Magic beyond the kitchen table. Thankfully, since sleeves also protect your cards, this isn’t the worst thing in the world, however, it’s still not ideal. Sadly, it appears that this printing quirk won’t be solved any time soon. As players across Reddit highlighted en masse, this issue has been prevalent within Magic for years. Subsequently, there’s little expectation that Wizards will fix this issue soon. After all, with delays affecting almost every MTG set now, Wizards seems to have enough printing problems as it is already. 

Read More: Controversy Over Very Powerful Reprints in MTG Phyrexia Packs

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