MTG head designer says Wizards can’t figure out starter sets

Mark Rosewater says that creating a beginner product for Magic: The Gathering has been a 30-year struggle - turns out it's hard to teach MTG

MTG robot guide

Wizards of the Coast has struggled to make an MTG starter set targeting beginners, the company’s head designer Mark Rosewater has admitted. Instead, the company currently relies on online platforms like MTG Arena as a tutorial for the game, or on friends teaching each other how to play.

According to Rosewater, replying to a comment on his blog on Sunday, Wizards has “spent almost 30 years trying to make a product where people can teach themselves, and it’s turned out to be really, really hard.” He adds that “as such, we currently lean on other people/the computer to help people learn.”

Personally, we think the Magic: The Gathering 2022 starter kit is a good way to learn how to play MTG. It has two balanced starter decks, a booklet with the basic rules, and codes so you can unlock the decks on MTG Arena and keep learning. Plus, it’s just $15.

MTG woman reaching for scrolls

As Rosewater suggests, this certainly is an area where Wizards has tried numerous approaches. Even in just the last five years we’ve had the reimplementation of core sets as a beginner friendly set in 2018 (now discontinued once again), to various versions of Jumpstart, to the rather hefty MTG Game Night boxes.

Magic’s such a complicated game that it’s tricky to teach every nuance without making it too intimidating. As Rosewater seems to be hinting here, it may be impossible to make a physical product that’s better than MTG Arena for allowing people to teach themselves.