What Just Happened? – Scooby Dooing the Evidence

(Insert Evil Laugh Here)
(Insert Evil Laugh Here)

“I was there.”

You read things like that online all the time.

“Dude, my friend said he saw that happen.”

“I know that guy, why would he make things up? Why does no one believe him?”

Because that’s the internet. No one believes anything on the internet. You can’t believe everything you read on the internet; that’s how WWI got started.

In case you haven’t heard, Wizards of the Coast is putting old Vintage cards into packs of Zendikar. Yes, seriously. Yes, this is really awesome. At the moment, we don’t know what cards they are (Someone has pulled an Ancestral Recall), and I’m not here to talk about the rules. I’m here to say Wizards were telling us all along this was happening.

Wait, back up. Wizards told us this was coming? I didn’t read any rumors until like two days ago. This was clearly a well kept secret.

Sure, they kept the fact that  this was happening a secret, but they dropped hints in plain sight for everyone to read. It’s called marketing. They why they haven’t hired the guys who keep trying to create their commercials. Wizards is a gaming company, and this was a really big game. Like Ace Ventura, I’m going to unravel the whole thing that no one saw coming

(Deep Breath)

– First off, there’s Zendikar’s tag line: Deadly Perils, Priceless Treasures After the set was spoiled, there was two obvious things: We saw the perils (traps); where was the treasure? Were the lands the treasure? Was Lotus Cobra treasure? Nothing was screaming out as a “wow” factor.

– In June, Mark Rosewater (really, who else could it be) answered the following question from Twitter in his weekly column:

Has there been any real consideration in Wizards for abolishing the reprint list, either partially or in full? – @dochetwas

His response:

I’ve talked about this before but it’s an important enough point to make again. The reserve list (the list that tells us what cards we can never reprint, for those who don’t know) was created long ago by people who no longer work at Wizards. It was done to help ease concerns of our player base at the time. The majority of current R&D feels that the reprint list isn’t fulfilling the function it was created for (and at times seems to actually counteract it), but, and this is the important sticking point, we’ve learned through market research that the majority of our audience feels it’s important for Wizards of the Coast, as a company, to keep its word. So we’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. We want to do what is best for the game and our players and we want to keep the confidence of our consumers. If anyone has a solution to this Gordian knot, please let me know.

Remember, he picked out these tweets himself. He didn’t answer mine about if Wizards was going to print full art basic lands someday (That’s a joke). It was a good question and no one thought anything of the time. Of course, why would we?

2009 State of Design column had a major clue (Again, Mark Rosewater).

Goal #3: Continue to Challenge Expectations

A lot of attention has been made on magicthegathering.com in the last few years about how we are trying to streamline the game and make it more accessible for newer players. Unfortunately, this has created the misconception that we are spending the majority of our time focusing on newer players. The reality is that ninety-five percent of our time is spent making the established players happy. Which brings us to this goal.

Part of the job of design is to keep the game fresh. We want to keep surprising you. In order for the game to constantly reinvent itself, design is forced to keep reinventing what it does. As such, one of our ongoing goals is to keep finding new areas to explore. Zendikar block will attempt to deliver in this area as well….

…As you can see, we are working hard to keep all of you on your toes.

Yes, yes you are.

– Then there’s a PAX party. Yes, we saw fetch lands for the first time, but the big hint was the big thing in the middle of the room:

Hedron at PAX (from @dailymtg)
Hedron at PAX (from @dailymtg)

The big prize for winning a contest there was to open that baby up. What was inside? $1000. $100 bills folded in the shape of a lotus. A Black Lotus. A Magic icon that people were curious about why it was folded as that, but shook it off as a Magic icon. But if you take it as a metaphor, the Hedron is a pack of Zendikar, and you may get a trap (trap cards) or you get treasure (A Lotus). Then things died down after a while.

– Then people who like to read the tournament rules point this out a few days ago:

Other than basic land, only cards from the expansions of the boosters opened (and only cards opened in that player’s pool) may be used in a player’s deck. For example, in a Magic 2010 Sealed Deck tournament, any card in a booster other then the Magic 2010 game cards received by the player and basic land may not be used in a player’s deck during that tournament.

Now, while this covers sometimes printing mistakes, people were throwing it out there. People were shooting it down saying, “Hey, it’s for idiots who register Tricks and Tips cards.”

Then the rumors started to come in about people pulling old cards out of Zendikar. Yeah, right. People were playing into this rumor and trying to pull a fast one. After some harder evidence (a card shop owner opening up one as well) people were confused.


– People were waiting for Friday night Magicthegathering.com update. Didn’t happen. Mark Gottlieb was still sick from Swine Flu from PAX. Several weeks ago.

Unfortunately, Mr. Gottlieb has been experiencing some perils of his own. He spent nearly a week out of commission due to the swine flu he contracted at the Penny Arcade Expo (or so his archnemesis Mark Rosewater would have you believe).

The silence was deafening.

All the pieces fell into place before the judge announcement came out. All of these things, right in front of our faces. None of this was done on what “I heard from a guy.” It feels like you should have known it was coming, like the ending to The Sixth Sense.

Buy why did Wizards do this? at the time of this posting, we still don’t know. But one thing was clear, they pulled off what they tried to do before. Again, another piece of the puzzle staring us right in the face if we looked for it.

This was all just a big game, dropping hints here and there. But as MaRo has said the humans want to create patterns. So, all of this, might have been hints that they dropped. Or all of this I just created in my head to justify it all.

You guys have any other hints besides rumors that could make this real? Twitter them or post them here.

I’ll be Twittering from the Seattle Prerelease. MaRo’s going to be there. This should be fun.

Enjoy the Prerelease.


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