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27, Mar, 23

New MTG Story Content Instantly Beloved by Fans!

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After literal years of build-up, the Phyrexian Arc is coming to an end in March of the Machine. With the fate of the Multiverse hanging in the balance, this MTG set is arguably more important than any other- from a story perspective, at least. To ensure this climactic story doesn’t end up falling flat, for March of the Machine, Wizards is going all out. Not only are additional story chapters being released alongside highly-requested narrations, but an entire supplemental story set is being released. Aptly dubbed March of the Machine: The Aftermath, this unusual Standard-legal set will heighten the impact of the Phyrexian Arc. Even before all of March of the Machine’s story content has been released, it certainly seems Wizards’ strategy is working. As, already, the new MTG story content being released is beloved by fans. Unfortunately, however, that doesn’t mean it’ll be sticking around in the long term…

The Story So Far

Reconstruct History
Reconstruct History | Strixhaven: School of Mages

Since the introduction of the four-set structure, many MTG players have complained about Magic’s once illustrious story suffering somewhat. With only ten story episodes devoted to introducing a plane and its characters as well as telling a complete story, many sets felt incredibly rushed. This was especially true for Streets of New Capenna. While an incredibly lore-rich set, the rushed story ultimately squandered this set’s appeal. So much so, in fact, that many players lamented it for sticking out as a sore thumb. Some even called Streets of New Capenna the worst MTG set of all time. While the story wasn’t Streets of New Capenna’s only problem, it’s hard to understate its importance. Subsequently, it’s no wonder that MTG players are frequently requesting more story episodes to flesh out new and interesting planes. 

As we’ve already discussed, for March of the Machine, MTG players were, at long last, getting just that. Rather than the traditional allotment of just ten story episodes, March of the Machine pushed the count up to eighteen! Split between ten main episodes and eight side stories, this increased allocation has greatly improved storytelling. With intriguing reveals and gutwrenching moments, essential details aren’t being pushed off the page as we’ve seen before. Considering how much players have requested this improvement over the years, unsurprisingly, many are delighted by the changes. The fact there are more episodes, however, is far from the only improvement within March of the Machine’s storytelling. 

Story Successes

Story Seeker
Story Seeker | Kaldheim

Alongside the additional story chapters and the narrated segments available on YouTube, the latest major change are spoilers being embedded within episodes. At the time of writing, MTG players have been delighted by two powerful and unexpected spoilers. In case you’ve somehow missed these cards taking over social media, they are Archangel Elspeth and Wrenn and Realmbreaker. These spoilers have kept MTG players on the edge of their seats by appearing in story episodes. After all, now players aren’t just waiting on the next story section; they’re also eagerly awaiting a potential card reveal. Subsequently, the hype for March of the Machine has been pushed to an all-time high, with players laying on praise.

Consolidating the praise spread across countless social media threads, u/Kaidavis recently praised Wizards for a job well done. Stating, “I really love the preview cards integrated into the stories,” Kaidavis noted how “it’s a great way to tie the reveal into the story, and it feels quite natural. Kudos to whoever on the team thought up and executed that idea. As a long-time player and story fan, it has been an excellent way to first experience Archangel Elspeth and Wrenn and Realmbreaker.” 

Commenting on u/Kaidavis’ post, many MTG players quickly agreed with their sentiment, further praising Wizards for a change. “Yeah, this is definitely the way to do it,” Reddit user u/wadprime stated. “It gives a little of something to everyone, and seeing these complement MaRo’s teasers quite nicely as well.” Despite this technically returning feature receiving plenty of praise, however, not everyone wanted it to stick around. Reddit user u/HonorBasquiat, for instance, noted how too much of a good thing could ruin the feature’s appeal. 

“It’s a cute twist on previews and was a nice surprise. I would like to see it happen more often even if it’s not for every story or even every set.” 

u/HonorBasquiat

“I agree. Done on occasion, it’s nice. Done every story? It loses its spark. I was surprised that we didn’t get Chandra revealed this way, but that shows WotC understands this is a preview slot that should be used sparingly, not for every planeswalker or in every story.”

u/Kaidavis

Into the Unknown

Allure of The Unknown
Allure of The Unknown | Theros Beyond Death

Thankfully for players who don’t want MTG’s constant spoiler season to return in force, the future of March of the Machine’s story innovations is currently unclear. While the additional chapters and spoilers have been a smash hit, more story content does require more resources. Subsequently, Wizards of the Coast faces a balancing act, as the increased workload must be worth the cost. This conundrum was recently brought to MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, by Tumblr user Jimhensonreject. In a question posted on Blogatog, Jimhensonreject asked whether the improved storytelling will continue given the additional cost. 

“You’ve mentioned before on the blog that it’s hard to request more from the creative team because any additional resources focused there need to come from somewhere else. My question is: does the success and reputation of sets where the story is deeply integrated like this fall under ’success breeds repetition’? Is there a way the audience can communicate a desire for more intertwined relationships between story and set, even outside of big epic crossover sets?” 

Jimhensonreject

Thankfully, in responding to this question, Rosewater revealed there is hope for the future. “We do market research on this kind of thing, so players loving it helps.” Unfortunately, while this is a positive answer, it’s unclear just how positive MTG players have to be. Subsequently, while it may seem like players like story spoilers are a knockout success on social media, in the broader scheme of things, this feature could be lacking support. Ultimately, for the time being, we’ll just have to wait and see, as March of the Machine may still be the exception rather than the rule going forward.

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