Since MTG first launched all the way back in 1993, Draft events have been at the game’s very core. Leading MTG’s design philosophy for countless years, it’s hard to understate the importance of Draft events. Despite being one of the most important and longstanding formats, however, Draft events have nevertheless experienced several changes.
Over MTG’s lifespan, as the game experimented with different block structures and novelties, Draft has practically had half a dozen distinct variations. Even more when you include unique Draft mechanics such as those found in the Conspiracy sets. As if cards like Agent of Acquisitions weren’t enough of a twist, recently, Wizards has been continuing to experiment.
Through the shortlived Masterpiece series, and their recent reappearance as Bonus Sheets, Wizards has once again revolutionized MTG Draft formats. These occasional Bonus Sheets have been a beloved addition for many players, providing players with a cacophony of reprints. Other MTG players, however, aren’t so keen on their influence over the traditional Draft environment.
Unfortunately for these players, however, it appears that Bonus Sheets might be here to stay. This may well mean that Draft events could be forever changed.
Bonus Sheet Bonanza
Similarly to the Masterpiece series before it, Bonus Sheets have quickly become a much-loved addition to MTG sets. This is thanks to this supplemental side product providing incredibly easy access to powerful and desirable reprints. Acquiring these cards can become so easy, in fact, that prices of these once-expensive cards typically tumble exceedingly quickly.
Tempting players with reprints aplenty, as well as ultra collectible serialized cards, many players can’t get enough of Bonus Sheets. So much so that recently, players hoped to guide the development of MTG by requesting more bonus sheets. Sharing their support for the feature with MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, it seemed that players might get their way.
For better or worse, while players clarified their love for the reprints Bonus Sheets provide, that’s not their only quality. So, recently, Mark Rosewater continued to probe their audience on Tumblr to see if Bonus Sheets should really become commonplace. Setting up a poll, Rosewater specifically asked their audience about how they feel a Bonus Sheet affects the Draft environment.
Providing choices between “enhances,” “lessens,” and “is neutral to a draft,” players keenly continued to share their Booster Sheet support. Out of the 814 votes collected during this poll, 67.1% of players stated a Bonus Sheet enhances a Draft. Alongside this definitive majority, 19.4% of players voted that Bonus Sheets had a neutral influence. This leaves just 13.5% of players disapproving of their influences over any given Draft environment.
A Draft Dilemma
While the results of this poll provide a definitive answer to Rosewater’s question, this poll may not be entirely perfect. After all, as Tumblr user Llanowarminotaur points out, Bonus Sheets aren’t precisely the same as one another. Subsequently, answers to this poll might not be as clear-cut as you might initially expect.
“The answer here is determined by the specific cards on the sheet. The mere existence of a sheet with no other information tells us nothing about how it will impact the quality of the Draft.”Llanowarminotaur
Thankfully, to convey their feelings beyond a binary poll vote, many players took to the post’s comments to explain themselves. Here, numerous MTG players continued to voice their support for Bonus Sheets, as so far, they’ve been relatively successful. Highlighting this point were Tumblr users such as Hoiohoi, who reiterated the desire for more Bonus Sheets in the future.
“All bonus sheet’s I’ve had have either improved limited or just been nice throw-ins. No point removing them when they have so few downsides and tons of upside!”Hoiohoi
Alongside this blanket support, however, many players suggested that, while positive, Wizards shouldn’t go all out on Bonus Sheets. Sure, reprints are nice, however, Bonus Sheets nevertheless pose a slippery slope that could lead to problems in the future. After all, while they’ve been successful so far, there’s no guarantee a Bonus Sheet will always enhance Draft events, as Lostnumberzs pointed out on Tumblr.
“Enhances but it shouldn’t be overdone. Wizards has a tendency to look at anything successful these days and dial it up to 15 until people are sick of it. Strixhaven was the epitome of a bonus sheet done well.”Lostnumberzs
From the comments across social media, it seems many players are understandably concerned about this possibility of future trouble. For some players, however, Wizards of the Coast has already gone too far in March of the Machine. Voicing this concern were players such as u/SilentOperation1, who lamented Multiverse Legends for warping the Draft environment beyond recognition.
“I guess I’m in the minority but I really hate what they do to limited. I didn’t see a single limited archetype in either of the two prerelease events I did. Everyone’s deck was just battlecruiser 5-6 rare mythics and whoever got to play more of them by turn 7 won the game.”u/SilentOperation1
Furthering this point, players such as u/Mareykan posited that Multiverse Legends is actually “quite awful from a limited perspective.” This is partly thanks to bombs such as Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon which are almost unbeatable in Draft. Alongside this, Mareykan the printing of Companions, which are completely lacking support within March of the Machine Drafts.
The Ayes Have It
Unfortunately for MTG players concerned about the influence of Bonus Sheets in Draft, it seems they’re here to stay. After all, if Rosewater’s poll is anything to go by, there are significantly more popular than not. Alongside the recent request for feedback which was met with similar support, it now seems Bonus Sheets are a sure thing. Subsequently, it may only be a matter of time before another one is integrated into a premier MTG set.
Thankfully, this expected next bonus sheet will hardly be all bad news when it does appear. Even if it’s a flop in the set’s Draft environment, it will provide some much-loved reprints either way. While this may not appease investors, for the majority of players, this is excellent news. After all, it can make some once expensive cards such as Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice drop in value significantly. At the end of the day, it’s tough to argue that it is a bad thing, thanks to the popularity of Commander. Even if it does come at the expense of a hypothetically otherwise enjoyable Draft format.