This last week has featured both mundane and exciting new for the world of Magic the Gathering. Some minor rebalances and promos for Wilds of Eldraine are coming to Arena while the cancellation of set boosters promises to shake up the tabletop market.
Anime Arts & New Sleeves: Wilds of Eldraine Promotional Products
For Arena there will be two new sleeve packs from the Spookydrop art: The Princess Bride and The Evil Dead.
While all of the sleeves look stunning, the best one by far is the 'Rodents of Unusual Size' sleeve
This Week in Arena: Qualifier Play-Ins and Alchemy Rebalances
Those who actively play Arena know that the 14th was the first Qualifier Play-In, an event where you can compete for entry to the monthly qualifier weekend. Minor changes were also made this week to Orcish Bowmasters and The One Ring.
Qualifier Play-Ins & the Qualifier Weekend
The Qualifier Play-Ins are the entry point to competitive play and are held twice monthly on MTG Arena. The Saturday event is Best-of-1 and the Friday event is Best-of-3, with the format of both being Standard (the format changes each month). Tomorrow is the Best-of-3 event, if you are interested in playing and want a meta overview and more information on the Qualifier Play-Ins check out this article.
The Qualifier Weekend will be held this Saturday, and players who place well will be invited to the Arena Championships later in the year. You can qualify by getting the required amount of wins in the Qualifier Play-Ins, 6 on Saturday and 4 on Friday.
Earlier this week Wizards rebalanced Orcish Bowmasters and The One Ring in Alchemy, Wizard's Arena specific format designed to play like a digital CCG reminiscent of Hearthstone and Legends of Runeterra.
Orcish Bowmasters will lose its enter-the-battlefield, meaning their effect will only trigger when an opponent draws a card after the first one each turn.
The One Ring will cost a colorless mana for its activated ability which only required you to tap it before.
Play Boosters: The End of an Era
In the biggest new of the month and possibly the entire year, Wizards of the Coast has announced the discontinuing of both Set and Draft Boosters in favor of the new Play Boosters; a change that will take affect with the release of Murder at Karlov Mansion. This undoubtably will have major implications both on brick & mortar stores and the Limited format. We wrote an in-depth breakdown on Play Boosters and Mark Rosewater's article; but for the purposes of this article we will just summarize what Wizard's has stated.
The Inciting Incident: The Economic Issues of Two Core Boosters
According to Mark Rosewater the reason for this change is primarily because of the issues resulting from promoting two unique core boosters. The main issue was that Draft Boosters were doing poorly, with many stores buying less and less or even ditching them in favor of Set Boosters.
The Climax: What is a Play Booster?
Play Boosters will essentially be a draftable version of the Set Booster. While there will be less chances for a pack that contains an obscene amount of Rares and specialty arts, there will be more cards and a better distribution of rarities and colors. Play Boosters will have one less card than a draft booster and three less Commons, which will undeniably lead to massive changes in draft.
Resolution: How Will This Effect Magic?
Other than the already stated effects on Limited, this will certainly have a massive impact on local gamestores who have had to adapt to the two-booster system that has existed since Zendikar Rising. The inventory problem caused by buying too many or too few draft boosters will certainly be fixed, but if this change will bode will with players remains to be seen. Set Boosters were popular with players because of their potential for insane pulls, and with Play Boosters returning to a more stable format this potential for insane pulls will be diminished.
It was mentioned in the previous This Week in Magic that with Troll & Toad leaving MTG we might see changes from Wizards to remedy the problems Troll & Toad expressed. While this change is certainly to recent to be cause by Troll & Toad, it could predate more changes removing the product overload expressed by Troll & Toad, local stores, and most importantly, players. While there is nothing in his article suggesting future changes to Magic the Gathering sealed products, there is reason to hope that more changes will follow.
We won't be able to tell the complete impact of Play Boosters until several sets after Murder at Karlov Mansion, but we can expect its impact to shape the future of Wizards' policy going forward. If it fairs well we might see more radical changes to how Magic sells sealed, if it doesn't then we might not see anymore changes at all.