Key DnD and MTG staffers laid off despite Wizards’ success

Despite raking in profits, Wizards of the Coast was hit hard by the Hasbro layoffs, with lots of DnD and MTG workers losing their jobs.

DnD MTG - artwork of a warrior combatting a burning skeletal horseman.

Wizards of the Coast laid off multiple workers across a range of departments in Hasbro’s latest round of job cuts. As former DnD and MTG staff make social media statements, it’s become clear that the 1,100 Hasbro layoffs which the toy company’s CEO Chris Cocks announced on Monday include plenty of workers at Wizards of the Coast.

This comes as something of a shock, as Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast and digital gaming segment has proven to be the most successful part of the company by far in recent years. In Hasbro’s quarterly financial report in October, the segment had increased revenue by a massive 40% year-on-year, and though that’s partly due to the standout success of GOTY Baldur’s Gate 3, the tabletop and MTG subsections were also up 20%.

But Hasbro’s total revenue is dropping, as are its share prices, partly due to “headwinds” in the toy sector that were “stronger and more persistent than planned”. The CEO’s statement goes on to say that, “given the state of our business, [the layoffs] are a lever we must pull to keep Hasbro healthy.”

MTG DnD hasbro layoffs - statement from a WOTC worker laid off by Hasbro

It’s not yet clear how many Wizards of the Coast workers have been let go, but plenty of employees have shared their experiences via Facebook and Twitter. This is by no means a complete list, but here are seven Wizards of the Coast workers who’ve shared statements, as well as the work they did for Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering.

Eytan Bernstein was a senior development editor for Dungeons and Dragons. In the two years he worked at Wizards of the Coast, Bernstein edited 11 DnD books in total, and was the lead editor on four, including Keys from the Golden Vault and Prisoner 13. According to Bernstein, at least four other people from the DnD team “in the art, design, editorial, and product management depts” were let go.

MTG DnD hasbro layoffs - statement from a WOTC worker laid off by Hasbro

Bree Heiss was an art director at Wizards of the Coast for seven years. Working at Wizards since 2013, she started as an art director on Magic: The Gathering, and worked on plenty of MTG sets, from the packaging of Modern Horizons 2 to project lead for Commander 2019. As DnD art director she led projects like the Book of Many Things – which, Wizards recently declared – doesn’t come out until next month.

MTG DnD hasbro layoffs - statement from a WOTC worker laid off by Hasbro

David McDarby worked at Wizards of the Coast for almost nine years, and had a number of roles in that time. He started out as an operations administrator but was working as an MTG Arena game designer when his role was cut.

MTG DnD hasbro layoffs - statement from a WOTC worker laid off by Hasbro

Amy Dallen was a host and producer who you may recognise from the DnD Beyond YouTube channel and Twitch streams. If you didn’t follow those, you’ll likely know her voice from the countless other nerdy shows and channels she’s worked on.

MTG DnD hasbro layoffs - statement from a WOTC worker laid off by Hasbro

Larry Frum was a senior communications manager for Wizards of the Coast for the past year and a half. In sharing the news that he’d been let go, Frum describes the role as a “dream job come true for me”. He’s long been an advocate for Dungeons and Dragons, covering the game for outlets like CNN and the Daily Dot in his feature writing days.

MTG DnD hasbro layoffs - statement from a WOTC worker laid off by Hasbro

Dan Dillon was a DnD designer who previously worked at Kobold Press on third party titles. Joining Wizards in 2019, if you crack open any recent DnD book, from Candlekeep Mysteries to Phandelver and Below, to Monsters of the Multiverse, you’ll likely find Dillon’s name in the credits section.

MTG DnD hasbro layoffs - statement from a WOTC worker laid off by Hasbro

Jesse Hill was a community manager who you’ll have met if you ever went to the official MTG Discord, where he fielded complaints and questions, and was much admired by its denizens. Hill seems to have something of a specialty in managing the communities of trading card games, having gone from Hearthstone to Magic (with a stop on the way at The Pokémon Company).

These are just a few of the names and jobs of those we’ve seen laid off at Wizards of the Coast. It’s by no means comprehensive: we’ve seen more and more statements like these cropping up in the past day from job roles at all levels. Hasbro has cut its workforce by 20% in this move, and it’s the company’s second set of mass layoffs in the past year – as 800 lost their jobs in January.

According to CEO Cocks’ statement, the “headwinds we saw through the first nine months of the year have continued into Holiday and are likely to persist into 2024”. With the layoffs seemingly showing that no part of Hasbro is safe, it certainly puts a damper on the upcoming year.

For more Wizards of the Coast news, you may find our DnD release schedule and MTG release schedule to be handy guides to what’s coming out in 2024.