Throughout recent sets, Wizards of the Coast has been going all out with new foiling techniques and art treatments. Within 2022 alone, Wizards flooded MTG sets with seven brand-new foiling techniques, much to fans’ delight and dismay. These foiling techniques included Silverscreen foils, Neon Ink foils, Gilded foils, Galaxy foils, Surge foils, Textured foils, and Double-Rainbow foils. As you might expect, these myriad foiling techniques made building a consistent collection rather difficult. Moving into 2023, that problem looks to be getting worse, not better, as even more foils are being released. Phyrexia: All Will Be One, for instance, features two brand-new foiling techniques all on its own. Problematically, at least one of these new foils appears to be incredibly susceptible to damage.
Phyrexia: All Will Be One Step-and-Compleat Foils
Out of Phyrexia: All Will Be One’s pair of new foiling techniques, currently, players only have their hands on one of them. This is thanks to Oil Slick Raised Foils being exclusively contained within the highly prized Bundle: Compleat Edition. Unlike the set’s regular bundle, this commemorative product doesn’t launch until the 3rd of March next month. Subsequently, for now, MTG players are left clamoring over the brand-new Step-and-Compleat foils. Adorning cards with a shimmering array of Phyrexian mana symbols, these cards have been selling for a steep premium. On TCGplayer, for instance, Step-and-Compleat foils of Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines are selling for between $13 and $90 over non-foil variants.
With multiple Step-and-Compleat foils selling for over $50 on average, it’s safe to say this new foiling technique is rather successful. Unfortunately for interested players, however, some users are reporting these fancy foils are worryingly fragile, potentially being ruined in seconds. This was recently highlighted by YouTuber Askrias, who showcased just how easy it is to destroy these new foils. Within their video, Askrias demonstrated that simply by rubbing Step-and-Compleat foils with a finger, the Phyrexian Mana symbols can disappear. “Without any other solvents or things like that, you can actually rub off the symbols,” Askrias claimed while demonstrating the effect.
Throughout their video, Askrias, using only their finger, wiped clean a Step-and-Compleat Sinew Dancer with incredible ease. Subsequently, due to just how easy it was, Askrias delivered a warning, instructing players to be cautious when buying and even handling these foils.
“My recommendation is that if you are to pull Collector Boosters, you have to quickly put them [in sleeves]. As soon as you get it, don’t hold them by the sides. Don’t even use your fingers to hold onto [the card face] because the oil in your fingers will probably wipe that off.”Askrias
A Compleat Foil Failure?
As you might expect, following Askrias’ shocking demonstration, many MTG players across social media feared for their cards. For instance, YouTube user Cosmic Collectibles stated, “so glad I double sleeved my Junji Ito Step and Compleat Elesh Norn. If the symbols came off it, that’d be tragic.” Similarly, over on Reddit, u/digitek commented, “this is hilarious and very sad at the same time. I know ink on foil cards can literally be erased off with an eraser, but with just a finger smudge, the symbol is gone? Sigh…”
While many players were quick to voice their concerns, other users noted that Askrias makes un-Compleating cards look deceptively easy. Reddit user u/Revolutionary_View19, for instance, proclaimed that stated that actually removing the Phyrexian Mana symbols wasn’t an easy feat. “It’s not a finger smudge. You have to actively rub the card with gusto. I’ve also tried to scratch the foil off with another card in order to check whether simply storing or shuffling will remove the foiling effect, and it didn’t happen.”
Due to these conflicting reports, I decided to put a few of my own Step-and-Compleat foils on the line. In the name of science, my Step-and-Compleat Quicksilver Fisher was given a really good rubbing. At first, I emulated Askrias’ technique of simply wiping the card with my finger, which resulted in no visible change. Upping the ante, I then vigorously rubbed the card with my finger to the point of causing friction burns. Once again, the card remained unscathed. Even introducing a solvent, rubbing alcohol, into the equation still left the card unscathed, despite my best efforts.
From my limited testing, I would claim that Step-and-Compleat foils are not susceptible to damage simply from being handled. Nevertheless, it’s probably still a good idea to sleeve your cards for added protection, especially if they’re valuable. Despite my own findings, however, it’s entirely possible that some Step-and-Compleat foils can be damaged, as Askrias demonstrated. It is no secret, after all, that there are regional differences in the quality of MTG cards. Subsequently, Step-and-Compleat foils from one region may be prone to damage, while another region’s cards are safe to handle. Ultimately, if Step-and-Compleat foils are able to be easily damaged, it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen foil cards being ruined. Stickers from Unfinity, for instance, have been previously named and shamed for damaging Warhammer 40,000 cards. While this is less than ideal, players probably shouldn’t be going out of their way to damage their own cards.