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MTG head designer reveals worst setting of the past six years

Mark Rosewater has revealed the best and worst MTG planes since 2018, in a Rabiah scale article that tackles everything from Kylem to Thunder Junction.

MTG art showing two cyclops performing a warding spell.

MTG head designer Mark Rosewater has passed judgment on the settings released since his previous Rabiah scale article came out in 2018. It turns out that of the seven worlds we’ve seen since then, Kylem is the worst. Or rather, it’s the one the head designer thinks Wizards of the Coast is least likely to revisit.

In case you don’t remember Kylem – which is possible, since the supplementary MTG set Battlebond came out way back in 2018 – it’s the MTG plane with all the neon hair, glowy swords, and gladiatorial games. In fact, technically, Battlebond had been out for five months when the previous Rabiah scale article was published, but it slipped Rosewater’s mind. Not that memorable then.

MTG art showing a glitzy stadium with Greek columns.

What’s wrong with Kylem? Well nothing exactly; it’s just ill-defined. We’ve seen almost nothing of this MTG world aside from the arena, Valor’s Reach, so as Rosewater puts it, “it’s mostly a blank canvas.”

With only the stadium, and a vague theme of sports to work with, Battlebond “provided next to nothing to build on”.

“Going to Kylem would function a lot like visiting a brand-new plane”, so “why not just do a new plane that could have more to build around?”

MTG art showing five dragons in a cyberpunk city

Fear not, Kylem-lovers (there are dozens of you. Dozens!) a Rabiah scale score of 8 does not spell doom for your favorite world. In fact, Kamigawa got an 8 in the first Rabiah scale article, and then in 2022 it received a premier set, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, that was a major high point of the year.

After Kylem, the most troublesome new worlds are New Capenna, 6, “the plane just wasn’t that popular” and Ikoria, 5, whose associated mechanics (MTG Mutate and MTG Companion) come with “a lot of baggage”.

The most suitable for a revisit is Arcavios (which you may be more familiar with as the home of Strixhaven). That’s kind of cheating, as this set is already slated for a return in 2026.

After that, there’s Eldraine and Kaldheim, both 4s. Kaldheim is popular, with “a strong flavor”, but it’s hard to show off all 10 of its sub-settings.

Eldraine would require work to answer some of its narrative questions (like what’s happening to the courts), but it’s “beloved by a large portion of the playerbase” and “there’s plenty of material to work with”.

For more Magic content, check out our extensive glossary of every single MTG keyword in the game. Or take a look at what’s upcoming, in our 2024 MTG release schedule guide.