Wizards higher-ups know fans want less Magic: The Gathering

Wizards of the Coast knows many players want slower MTG set releases, as lead designer Mark Rosewater says he's passed the message up the chain.

MTG set release fatigue - the mtg art for Thunder Junction

Mark Rosewater has revealed on his blog that Wizards of the Coast is well aware of fan complaints about the rapid pace of MTG set releases. According to a post he made on January 4, the request to slow down “is a message that is being communicated by many players”.

The Magic: The Gathering lead design and unofficial spokesman adds that he’s passed on that message; it’s “being conveyed (by me and others that interact the most with the public) to the people making the calls about how many products we produce.” Rosewater also says that complaining on his Blogatog blog helps, as he can then report back on the feedback.

For a long while, a vocal subsection of the Magic community has clamored for a less packed MTG release schedule, with sets more spaced out. Complaints of ‘never ending spoiler season’ have become trite by now, and many players complain of product fatigue.

MTG set release fatigue - the art from Duskmoor

It’s undeniable that the pace and number of Magic releases has sped up significantly. You only have to take a look at the sheer quantity of MTG sets released last year to get a sense. As well as the usual four premier sets, each with their own EDH decks, there was the bumper release of Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth and its holiday follow-up. There were the Doctor Who decks. There was Dominaria Remastered, and Commander Masters, and Aftermath.

Go back to a random year, say 2015, and along with the quartet of premier sets (which didn’t have Commander decks attached at this stage) you have Modern Masters, the annual EDH release, and that’s pretty much it, beyond some theme decks full of reprints.

MTG Secret Lairs are another area where the acceleration becomes obvious:

Year Number of Secret Lairs
2020 26
2021 46
2022 59
2023 54

While fans are very vocal about their disillusionment with the glut of MTG product, it’s hard to know how much of an impact it’s actually having on the health of the game in general, or for that matter on Wizards of the Coast’s bottom line.

Rosewater himself has previously defended the speed of releases. At the end of 2021 he described Magic as a buffet where players should be “picking and choosing the food that makes the best meal for you”. He explained that “There’s a lot of different Magic players that want very different things” and that Wizards “wants to produce what makes Magic special for each player in enough volume that they stay invested”.

He added in January 2023 that Wizards’ approach was going to depend on its metrics of success, from sales to play numbers, rather than ‘internet chatter’. It’s interesting that now, a year later, Rosewater seems a little more receptive to the viewpoint of the ‘slow down’ crowd.

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