The crazy controversies of Magic

Cards, Magic the Gathering, Modern, MtG -

The crazy controversies of Magic

In a perfect world, we as Magic players would have no complaints about the game.  The rules would always be logical, the cards balanced, the tournaments fair.  In a perfect world, we’d pull a foil dual land out of every booster pack and topdeck that Brainstorm exactly when we need it.

Unfortunately, as we all know, that perfect world does not exist (or if it did, it was probably eaten by Polukranos).

No, realistically that world can’t exist, because it’s impossible to create anything perfect enough to please everyone.  And where would be the fun in that, anyways?

That said, those crazy folks up in the Wizards of the Coast R&D department are constantly innovating to fine-tune the game as much as possible.  Some of these innovations are great, some of them are terrible.  Afterall, those R&D people are only human (Creature Type – Wizard?) so they aren’t infallible.

But, even their best decisions end up being controversial.  Many players don’t like change, especially change that seems like a bad idea at the time.

I was curious about what the most controversial changes to the game Wizards has made over the years, so I dug into an article with this tantalizing headline:

Twenty Things That Were Going to Kill Magic

Authored by none other than Mark Rosewater, the head designer of MTG himself, it sheds light on the biggest changes (and thus controversies) Wizards has triggered over the years.  While I recommend you check out the entire article for yourself, it’s pretty long so I’ve picked out two controversies that seem pretty crazy now that we’ve seen their effect on the game!

Two Crazy Magic Controversies

1. The Start of Type 2

Standard, aka Type 2, has not always existed.  It was preceded by – wait for it – Type 1.  And when it was first created, it was incredibly unpopular.  Can you believe that?  Players thought Type 2, the lifeblood of popular Magic play, was a bad decision.  Check out Mark’s description below:

…The public reply to this news dwarfed any complaint that came before it. What did we mean that cards were going to rotate out of the format? Were the cards that people owned going to become obsolete?

…In the history of Magic announcements, this was the one that I think had the largest outcry — which is impressive when you see some of the controversies to come. It’s interesting that, so many years later, Standard has become the favorite format by such a large margin.

Indeed.  I think we can all agree that on this matter at least, Wizards got things right.

2. The Creation of the Banned and Restricted List

Can you imagine that at one time, there was no banned and restricted list?  That any card could be played in any tournament?  That decks were stacked with the Moxen gems and Black Lotus…  and they were legal?!

Well, at one point, Wizards realized that obviously this was an issue, due in no small part to the Power 9 existing.  But believe it or not, this was not a decision immediately embraced by the Magic masses.  According to Mark Rosewater:

Players were again up in arms. Now there were cards they couldn’t even play and most of the best cards were limited to only one. This wasn’t going to stand.

Clearly Wizards stood strong on this one, as the lists still exist today, but I can imagine that many players with 4 copies of the Power 9 were none too pleased with the original decision.

But wait, there’s more…

These are just two of the many controversies that have rocked the Magic world over the years.  And while these are two that I think Wizards got right, there are plenty of innovations they’ve made that I (and many others) don’t agree on.  Check out Mark Rosewater’s article and let me know what you think: which decisions has Wizards made over the years that you strongly agree or disagree with?  Comment below!

-Jason Maxwell (J.M.)



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