Magic: The Gathering is easily one of my favorite card games of all time. There isn’t much denying what it has accomplished and how popular it has become. There are so many different things that have brought this game to where it now sits on top of the mountain. Things like good game play, fun designs, multiple formats, and more. But recently there has been something missing in the game for me. I have had a blast playing new things like JumpStart or drafting EDH with Commander Legends but the core sets themselves seem to leave something more that I desire. Talking with some of you on reddit and in the comments on Facebook, I finally put it together. The story, that is what is missing to me.
There are so many amazing sets from the older days that bring so many awesome memories and stories to mind. The Urza saga and Phyrexian blocks were amazing. The story telling left us wanting more until the final epic conclusion that left the multiverse changed forever. We had the Zendikar block with the unforgettable Eldrazi titans and how that went, to the original Innistrad block. There are countless others but since the end of The War of the Spark we have had nothing but one offs to different planes. We had some nostalgia like going back to Zendikar. There were new worlds like Eldraine and Ikoria, but while both these worlds left endless possibilities, we were thrown into them in the midst of chaos. No introduction, no exploring, just the crisis to fix.
This to me is what is missing from the MTG world right now. There is no time to properly set up a story and make it mean more in the climax of the sets. We used to get three sets in a row that all led up to that finale and most of the time, we were all hooked and couldn’t wait to see the end. I’m not saying that every one was a home run or they were all amazing, but I am saying that the world of Ikoria would have been amazing to just see for what it was before the Ozolith twisted it. There was no time to get to know the nobles of Eldraine before the entire system was thrown up into the air by Oko.
Missing the introduction of a new world takes away any investment that the player has. Would we have cared as much when the Eldrazi started destroying Zendikar if we hadn’t fallen in love with the world first? The more this investment by players is lost the more we see the rise of MTG finance stuff and people rare or mythic hunting. As someone who sells cards there have been sets recently where after the “big money cards” are found and sold, everyone only talks about how much this or that is worth. There is no connection to the characters or world. Just a dollar sign and this is the way to a quick death for a game. With no story to hook new players, where will the new players even come from?
I am not suggesting that MTG is dying or anything insane like that. It is thriving and doing better than it ever has and I think next year will only grow on top of that. What I am saying is imagine the state the game would be in if the stories that were being told now had more time to develop. Imagine how much more we would care and how many more people would be excited to see new worlds coming. Kaldheim is coming next but to be honest, at the rate new product drops. There will be little time to enjoy it and soak in the new world. It will be gone and people talking about Time Spiral before I have even finished making new and janky decks to play with.
What do you think? Do you think WoTC would do good to go back to the block set style of storytelling? Do you think there is a middle ground to be had? Let us know in the comments or find us at any of our social media accounts. The links are at the top right of this page! Thanks for taking the time to read it and we hope to see you again soon!