Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, the latest set to release for Magic: The Gathering, left fans surprised last week after its two preconstructed Commander decks were revealed. Framed as a werewolf-themed release, many expected the decks to have an appropriately lupine theme, rather than their human and zombie tribal builds. Yesterday, MTG head designer Mark Rosewater explained the thematic choice.
Asked on his personal blog about the difficulties of adding double-faced werewolf cards to the precon Commander decks, Rosewater suggested budgetary and resource constraints prevented their inclusion. While many new double-sided werewolf cards were created for Midnight Hunt, the resources weren’t available to design and produce similar cards for the Commander decks.
“Every product has an outline,” Rosewater said. “It lists what resources the product has access to. For example, what is the set’s budget, how much new art it has access to, what raw materials can it access, what printers can it use, etc. When making decisions about that product, you have to stay within the confines of the outline.”
“Double-faced cards require additional art, dictate what printers can be used, add certain logistical components that have to be addressed (making sure the two sides of a card are the correct corresponding ones takes resources, for example), require extra cards in the product for the checklist cards, etc,” he added.
“The outline for Commander decks just doesn’t have enough resources to support double-faced cards, so they’re what we call ‘out of scope’.”
Rosewater’s explanation suggests double-sided cards won’t be appearing in Commander precons anytime soon. It might therefore be prudent to expect Innistrad: Crimson Vow’s EDH decks to include few, if any such cards.
Werewolves and vampires in MTG have often been printed as double-sided cards to mechanically reflect their shape-shifting form. One side represents their human, or original state, while the other shows their lupine transformation, as well as the stat and abilities changes that come with it.
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt released on MTG Arena yesterday, and will launch for tabletop on September 24.