Magic: The Gathering fans are up in arms about the 30th Anniversary Edition booster box, which Wizards of the Coast announced on Tuesday, in its October 4 Weekly MTG stream. Since the announcement, players have taken to social media in droves to express their displeasure.
This product includes new versions of Beta MTG cards, including the most expensive Magic card of all time, Black Lotus. However, the cards are not tournament legal and are not intended as playable MTG game pieces, but instead as collectors items – meaning they don’t upend the Reserved List.
The big problem, and the one that had everyone reeling when it was announced, is the price tag. For just four packs containing 15 cards each, you’ll have to pay a literal grand total of $999. YouTuber Pleasant Kenobi seems to best sum up the initial reaction of the MTG community to this, tweeting “$1000 dollars? Are you fucking kidding me?”
“IT’S A BOOSTER PRODUCT HAHAHAHAHAHA”, was his follow up. Beyond the sheer expensiveness of this item, the fact that you have to play the lottery game has been a major point of criticism on this product. It’s been shown that fans are willing to pay a premium price for collectors items like Secret Lairs, when the contents are known. But $999 is a lot to gamble with, when you might not get anything you want.
Other creators focused more on the fact that these are not real cards, and therefore Wizards of the Coast is essentially selling proxies, which you can legally make yourself using a printer, provided you’re not reselling anything. Blogger Maxtortion called the product a scam, while The Professor aka Tolarian Community College rather sarcastically tweeted: “Really great to see the use of proxies in casual play gaining more and more acceptance in Magic: The Gathering!”
Over on Reddit, a 2000 comment thread on r/magicTCG is largely extremely critical of the 30th Anniversary edition. Fans are touting it as a significantly worse misstep than Innistrad Double Feature, a product that was universally panned for its uninspired concept (we didn’t like it either.)
One Reddit user, u/BlurryPeople, pointed out that the way Wizards of the Coast is making “gameplay edits” with Sol Rings moved to the common slot, and double the amount of dual lands increasing your chance of pulling one, it seems like it knows people will use these cards in their Commander games. “You wouldn’t do either of those things for any other real reason besides knowing people are going to use these in EDH,” they write. “I find the entire product scummy because of how much WotC is exploiting this grey area, and the overall good nature of EDH players, who typically allow proxies that are forbidden by WotC, themselves, to begin with.”
While there’s been a lot of kickback from fans and creators, not everyone is so down on the 30th Anniversary Edition boosters. Pro player Brian Kibler, for instance, tweeted out “I think this 30th anniversary edition is the exact kind of thing WotC *should* make. It doesn’t gatekeep actual game pieces from people behind high prices and allows them to target collectors directly, like with Secret Lairs.”