We at Wizards of the Coast feel we owe the players of Magic: the Gathering a formal apology for the events of the last few months, and would like to take the time now to do so. We’ll also take a look ahead, to help you prepare for an announcement at the end of this article.
Having reached out previously to outside companies such as Microprose and Stainless Games for help in creating new and interactive ways to play Magic: the Gathering, we decided to team up with the guys at Twitch to offer a once-in-a-lifetime experience to all the fans across the world who invest so much time and money into our game: we would let you, the fans, build a set; that set would become You Make the Set 2016.
We announced a partnership with Twitch wherein we would utilize the Magic the Gathering: Online servers during a scheduled downtime to host the vote, and Twitch would handle the traffic from viewers and from players who used the stream’s chat feature to vote. If you haven’t seen the video yet, viewers could submit to the chat a number and a card in order to replace the card which was assigned to a particular slot in the list. There were 249 slots, which we filled with 249 basic lands in order to give players a clean slate.
It took about five minutes for the entire chart to be replaced with individual cards, but we had planned for the event to last 24 hours, so now the competition would begin. Cards were being cut left and right, most of which were dragons submitted by one particularly eager voter. The major cuts would happen in certain categories: after dragons, land destruction and counters were the next to go, followed by many of the game-ending cards and global removal spells. After about seven hours, the argument became about whether Avatar of Might or Plague Wind should occupy slot #64, and we fell asleep at our desks.
We awoke after a short, accidental nap to discover Tarmogoyf and Storm Crow as the only two cards in the entire list, fighting back and forth over dominance over every slot. Three factions had arisen among the forums and the stream chat: those who wanted cheap Tarmogoyfs; those who were trolling with whatever option they found funnier; and those who opposed the idea of a democratically-created set and wanted to destroy the system, so they voted for Storm Crow. There were enough participants voting back and forth that the thread itself had slowed to a crawl, posts disappearing almost as soon as they had been made; a five-second lag time was activated by the server to allow itself time to process. The list was changing constantly, every player fighting a total war against the opposing side for a completely pointless fight; after all, the set wouldn’t complete until all the slots were unique. So we thought.
We were wrong. For a split second, every item on the list was one card. The feed cut off immediately, and the servers exploded in a blast of blue electricity, knocking all but one of us out of our seats. An acrid smoke emanated from our screens, which was not the smoke of damaged equipment, but of some sort of … I can only describe it as an “evil” essence. Even if we had wanted to take on what was apparently an apparition of Satan himself crossing into our realm to ensure agony and torture be visited upon us, I don’t think any of us were in any way up to the task. It was though we had opened the door to Hell, but instead of Hell, it was a door to a room full of blue fliers for 1U.
In hindsight, Magic: the Gathering Online is not well-known for its stability. We were not as surprised when we found ourselves asking the only one of us still in their seat, Worth Wollpert, if he had any idea what had happened; he replied with an exaggerated shrug and a dry, “yeah, that happens.”
A few minutes passed before we were able to discover the truth of what happened. The smoke had cleared, the vote was over, and the players had voted for You Make the Set 2016 to be 249 copies of Storm Crow.
What Are We Doing About It?
Legal informed us that even though they had not planned for such an event, they nonetheless had to honor their contract with Twitch in that the set would be printed as-is once the voting period ended. They informed us that having the system literally destroy itself was about as close to a “dead run” as we could have achieved, and one of Legal’s nephews explained what that meant. Accounting said it would be too expensive to run another event like this. Our hands were literally tied. That was a weird meeting with Legal, come to think of it – like, not weirder than their usual, but –
Oh, Legal also informed us that we have to do a week of spoilers, even though we just told you what the entire set is. If you’ve visited noted rumor site MTG Salvation in the last week, it’s been all the forums are discussing. We are officially confirming this rumor, along with the previously-announced announcement that is coming later.
So, Let’s Talk About Storm Crow.
Pros of Storm Crow over Tarmogoyf:
1. Storm Crow is blue.
2. Storm Crow has flying.
3. Storm Crow starts at +1/+1 bigger than Tarmogoyf.
Cons of Storm Crow over Tarmogoyf:
1. Storm Crow stays small.
2. Storm Crow can’t feed a Skullclamp.
3. Storm Crow can’t be fetched with Green Sun’s Zenith.
Well, that does it for our preview card for today! Stay tuned all week for more hot and spicy spoilers as we dig into the sixteen new arts (and the ones we brought back), and be sure to click the sidebar for info on where to play a Release Event near you!
P.S. Here’s that announcement we mentioned at the beginning:
We are inserting exactly seven copies of Storm Crow with foil backs into packs. These were made as a print error, but we thought they came out kind of cool and would be interesting, plus it’s not as if anyone’s going to actually buy packs of this for any other reason. Further announcement about these foils to follow the release of the set. Happy hunting!