In recent years, it feels that Wizards of the Coast is releasing no end of new products. If players aren’t already overwhelmed by the number of Draft sets and Commander decks being released, the number of new premium products will give even seasoned players second thoughts. Each time we or anyone else brings up this issue, players en masse agree Wizards needs to slow down. Unfortunately, however, it appears that is the last thing Wizards of the Coast will do. Like it or not, Wizards’ recent approach to creating MTG products is working, so more foils are all but a guarantee.
The Foil Problem
As we discussed recently, Magic: the Gathering has an excessive number of foiling techniques. With two kinds of Textured Foils, Surge Foils, Gilded Foils, Black Foils, Galaxy Foils, Traditional Foils, and multiple different types of Etched Foils, MTG players are truly spoilt for choice. With how much is on offer, Wizards has gone above and beyond giving players a choice, and things are starting to get confusing. This was evidenced by Dominaria United’s Textured Foils, which caused controversy before release.
After spotting the packaging for Dominaria United’s Collector Boosters ahead of release, players quickly condemned Wizards for reprinting Textured Foils. As one of the many highlights of Double Masters 2022, Textured Foils promptly became sought after and highly lucrative. Dominaria United, however, threatened to make these cards feel a whole lot less special. Not only was WotC seemingly reusing the Textured Foil effect, but one Textured Foil card was in every Collector Booster. Thankfully, this turned out to be a major miscommunication. Surprisingly, Dominaria United’s Textured Foils was something entirely different from Double Masters 2022’s foils of the same name. While this confusing crisis may have been averted, it shouldn’t really have ever happened in the first place.
No End in Sight
Unfortunately, whether we like it or not, Wizards of the Coast won’t be slowing down with their foiling antics. While it may confuse casual players and collectors alike, this new approach works. In a recent Blogatog post, Tumblr user Strix-soven acted as the voice of the MTG community, complaining to Magic’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, that “with every new foil treatment, each one feels less special, and collections get harder to manage.” Currently, 2022 is primed to see four brand new foiling techniques, so no wonder players are struggling to keep up.
Hoping to get some clarity on the situation, Strix-soven asked Rosewater, “are there any plans to settle on one standard ‘special’ foil treatment”? Unfortunately for MTG fans looking for a break, Rosewater confirmed that “the plan is to keep experimenting.” In fact, according to Rosewater, “interest in premium treatments is up as a result of the experimentation, not down.” With Double Masters 2022’s Textured Foils being some of the most beautiful and detailed MTG cards ever created, this interest isn’t all too surprising. Nevertheless, this response likely won’t be what many players want to hear.
Ultimately, it’s not new news that Magic: the Gathering is influenced by profit. Hasbro may be seeing record profit thanks in part to MTG, but more money is hard to say no to. In the past, Mark Rosewater has stated time and time again that “success breeds repetition.” Following this mantra, printing more premium products is the only sensible action path for Wizards. As a result, it seems that we should expect many more foiling techniques for the foreseeable future, regardless of whether the vocal majority of players want it or not.
What Can Be Done?
Ultimately, from what Mark Rosewater has indicated, Wizards of the Coast is going to keep making foils if they keep selling. This might not be entirely bad news, however. After all, this means that MTG players should be in control of Magic’s future. If foils become too much for the player base to handle and sales drop, things should calm down. Until then, it seems that players are actually happy about the product on offer, which is a good thing if you ask us.