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Unreadable MTG cards in draft packs “a mistake”, Wizards says

Magic: The Gathering head designer Mark Rosewater says WotC has “gotten plenty of complaints” about Phyrexian language MTG cards in draft boosters

MTG Phyrexian language draft mistake - Wizards of the Coast art of Elesh Norn's mouth

MTG head designer Mark Rosewater shared a blog post on March 1, admitting the handling of recent Phyrexia draft boosters wasn’t compleatly perfect. “Putting the Phyrexian language cards in draft boosters was probably a mistake”, Rosewater says. “We’ve gotten plenty of complaints about it.”

Phyrexian language cards are alternative versions of regular Magic: The Gathering cards from the recent Phyrexia: All Will Be One set – only all the text has been translated into Phyrexian. It’s a fun version to pull, but it could cause problems during an MTG draft; if a player isn’t familiar with the card, they’ll have to dig through Google to figure out what the text says.

Rosewater’s comment came in response to multiple fan questions on his blog. Tumblr user Lizardwizard100 kicked off the discussion on February 28, saying: “It was brought up before, but I want to second the opinion that draft boosters should not include non-readable card styles (for example, Phyrexian text)”. “As draft boosters are targeted specifically towards gameplay (draft/sealed) it does not make sense to include cards which by design, make gameplay more tedious.”

Rosewater says the unreadable cards were included to ensure draft-only players “still have access to the cool variants”. Additionally, he tells Tumblr user Captainjackharness, “for some drafters, the best experience is getting to open cards they’re excited for while they’re drafting”.

To this, Tumblr user Tybonel13 replies: “I love the Phyrexian language cards and would be elated to open one in draft or limited, but how would moving them to a non-draft product be any different from other non-draft treatments?” “I can’t pull extended arts, step-and-compleat, oil slick, or Jumpstart cards in draft, but Phyrexian (the only treatment outright harmful to draft/limited) must be in those boosters?” “I don’t get it”, they add.

Here Rosewater admits the potential mistake, delving into the reason behind the move a little more. “We thought they were going to be one of the most popular booster fun versions” he says, “and we know that some players only buy draft boosters”. “It wasn’t that long ago that I created an uproar here when I asked if we should leave booster fun treatments out of draft boosters, so it’s a more grey topic than I think most players realise.”

With All Will Be One out in the world, many Magic players will be looking forward to the next big release in the MTG 2023 release schedule. If you need something to tide you over ‘til then, now’s a great time to explore digital Magic with MTG Arena decks and MTG Arena codes.