The Brothers' War Key Art
3, Oct, 22

Wizards Hates MTG’s Messy Spoiler Season as Much as You

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Article at a Glance

With two products primed to release on the same day later this week, it’s safe to say that Magic: the Gathering’s current release schedule is busy. Following the launch of Dominaria United last month, MTG players have barely had space to breathe between umpteen spoiler seasons. Subsequently, many Magic players blamed Wizards of the Coast for their overeager release strategy. Following the compelling preview stream for The Brothers’ War, this problem reached its boiling point, with many players declaring enough is enough. Despite the roiling tensions, however, this overwhelming non-stop MTG spoiler season may not be Wizards’ fault. Instead, Wizards of the Coast may merely be the victim of some terrible luck. 

A Dire Delay

Angel of the Dire Hour
Angel of the Dire Hour | Commander 2014

While they’re still disappointing to see, delays to new Magic: the Gathering products are no longer surprising. Thanks to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, every recent set has been affected by a delay in some capacity. Whether it’s specific regions being involved, or entire products being pushed back, delays have unfortunately become commonplace. Originally intended to release in April, Unfinity was one of the worst affected sets. Thanks to “ongoing supply chain complications,” this much-anticipated set was pushed back an entire six months. Similarly, the Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks were also delayed, mercifully only being pushed back just under two months. 

Despite the disparity between the lengths of their delays, these products ended up with the same release date: October 7th. While the official reasoning is unclear, this date likely hasn’t been picked out of malice or corporate greed. Instead, WotC probably chose the first available date they could finish production, to keep players from unnecessarily waiting. Whatever the reason, this left players facing a back-to-back spoiler season that didn’t leave much room to digest each card. While somewhat unpalatable, players were nevertheless excited for this joint release and anticipating a truly momentous occasion. Unfortunately for Wizards of the Coast and players alike, however, these releases are now overshadowed by a new set. 

Receiving its “pre-beat” late last week, The Brothers’ War is now stealing Unfinity’s limelight. Debuting the spectacularly awesome Urza, Planeswalker, the MTG community is abuzz with high hopes and theories aplenty. This enthusiasm for The Brothers’ War has only continued thanks to announcements from Hasbro Pulse Con. Revealing a Transformers Universes Beyond crossover, as well as more retro frame artifacts, Hasbro made sure that The Brothers’ War was the topic de jour. 

A Shared Hatred

Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted
Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted | War of the Spark

While hype for MTG’s next premier set may sound like a good thing, it may be problematically premature. Even Magic: the Gathering’s Lead Designer is feeling the pressure of this congested and mixed-up release schedule. Speaking in a recent Blogatog post, Mark Rosewater stated that “I want all eyes focused on Unfinity too. If it doesn’t sell well, I don’t get to make more Un-sets.” Unfortunately for Mark Rosewater, however, Wizards’ hype train is a well-oiled machine that can’t easily be disrupted. 

In another Blogatog post, Rosewater explained that The Brothers’ War’s pre-beat was something they had to do, whether they wanted to or not. That’s because this early preview “allows stores to order product with a general sense of how excited their players are for it.” Since the pre-beat’s timing is “based on the order calendar for distributors,” there’s not much Wizards can do to reschedule. Ultimately, Wizards of the Coast knows this situation isn’t ideal. “I would have much-preferred Unfinity come out on April 1st,” Mark Rosewater stated. “But sometimes a global pandemic forces a glue company out of business.”

Ultimately, the pesky COVID-19 pandemic is the source of all this trouble. As Rosewater notes, “Unfinity was supposed to come out in April. Warhammer 40,000 in August. This results from COVID-related production issues, not because we wanted them this close.” While COVID-19 undoubtedly made things worse for Wizards and players alike, it’s not solely to blame for 2021’s overcrowded calendar. In recent years, Wizards have been releasing and teasing more and more products to support MTG’s growing player base. When spaced evenly apart, the multitude of releases isn’t inherently too much. However, one delay can suddenly cause a lot of confusion.

An End in Sight

Embodiment of Insight
Embodiment of Insight | Oath of the Gatewatch

While the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t entirely over at this point, hopefully, the worst of its complications are behind us. This should mean that Wizards can properly plan out a busy, but not all too crowded, release schedule. Similarly, the problematic pandemic winding down may also spell the end of the increased production errors increased production errors that have been cropping up in recent sets. For that, however, we’ll have to wait and see, as there’s no telling how long the complications will last. In the meantime, MTG players can look to even more from Magic’s messy spoiler season, as Wizards has been teasing a big announcement for tomorrow

Read More: MTG May Be Getting Cards That Require the Internet

*MTG Rocks is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more