RENTON, WA — A scheduled Magic Online downtime went longer than expected Wednesday when Wizards of the Coast received a cease-and-desist order from Cockatrice, Ltd.
“Although we have tolerated Magic Online for many years, on the advice of counsel, we can no longer allow this inferior product to dilute our brand and confuse our users,” said Cockatrice CEO Johan Johannsen in a prepared statement.
Industry analysts pointed to Magic Online’s antiquated user interface, frequent bugs, and haphazard rules enforcement as possible reasons for the move.
The backlash on Twitter and other social media was swift and hostile. “This sucks,” said Twitter user @bonergod69. “Now I guess I’ll have to play Magic for free.”
MTGS users’ reactions were more guarded. “I knew this day would come,” said poster xXx_JaCeSePhIrOtH_xXx. “But I haven’t used MTGO since they got rid of the only good format–Extended 100-card Singleton with no counters and free mulligans.”
“And Cockatrice lets us keep track of our Sheldon Points,” poster BEEBLEFAN_1488 added. “On Magic Online, how am I supposed to know how good I should feel about myself for making all these tokens?”
Reached for comment, Wizards of the Coast spokesman Jacob van Lunen was confident that Magic Online would prevail.
“The Magic Online experience is what keeps our users coming back,” said van Lunen. “On Cockatrice, what are you supposed to do? Remember whose creatures a Domri Rade emblem gives hexproof to? Or how Pillar of Flame works? Or where the teeth come from? The Magic Online engine keeps track of all these things for you, and so much more.”
The legal action gave new life to the long-standing rumors that Wizards of the Coast was seeking to implement an in-person version of Magic Online using small pieces of cardboard. Sources at WotC, however, were quick to refute those rumors, pointing out that the cornerstones of the Magic experience — double-queueing, clock management, and derisive screenshots of opponents’ misplays — would translate poorly to the in-person format.