Double functionality met with mixed reactions, the chief designer of MTG intervenes • News • MTG Arena Zone

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In this article: The Innistrad: Double Feature product was announced as a draft box that would combine cards from both Innistrad sets this fall into one sealed product for limited play. Now that the product has been revealed, the reaction from fans has been lackluster.

This fall has been the season of horror in the world of Magic: The Gathering, with two sets based on Innistrad’s Gothic blueprint. Each set contains a handful of spooky creatures ranging from zombies to spirits, but the first set, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, was primarily focused on werewolves while the second, Innistrad: Crimson Vow, was based on a marriage between vampires.

Back when we learned the first details about Crimson Vow in September, Wizards of the Coast announced Innistrad: Double Feature, a product that would mix cards from both sets and give the art a black and white treatment as a tribute. to classic horror movies of the past. When the product was first announced the reaction from the community was quite positive, with players eagerly awaiting the two sets to come together in a way that was organized to support a fun draft environment.

In the above Reddit post, many reviewers were excited and hopeful about the product. However, some also had less favorable expectations which turned out to be closer to the truth.

The product

Innistrad: Double Feature will be sold as 15 card booster packs and 24 booster racks. All cards from both Innistrad expansions are included, except for basic lands. The content of each pack is as follows:

  • 4x Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Communal room
  • 4x Innistrad: Crimson Wish Communal room
  • 2x Innistrad: Midnight Hunt rare
  • 2x Innistrad: Crimson Wish rare
  • 1 time Innistrad: Midnight Hunt rare or mythical rare
  • 1 time Innistrad: Crimson Wish rare or mythical rare
  • 1x silver screen foil card

You can find the full list of cards with illustrations, as well as additional product details, at Innistrad: Dual Functional Product Overview on the official Wizards website.

Expectations vs. Reality

Earlier this month, Innistrad: Double Feature was fully revealed, but a number of perceived discrepancies between how it was advertised and the reality of the product angered some gamers. Shortly after the product was showcased via an official product showcase from Wizards, influential members of the community shared their disappointment on social media.

The main issues people have with the Innistrad: Double Feature product boil down to two specific elements that were presented in a somewhat misleading manner in the original marketing materials. Both of these misconceptions stem from a particular line of text in the original ad: “Innistrad: Dual functionality combines selected cards from two separate sets… into a unique draft experience with special artistic treatment on each card.

First, this wording in the original ad seemed to imply that the product would contain a targeted selection of cards (“selected cards… unique draft experience”) from the two sets that were chosen to create a specific and distinctive sealed environment. In fact, it turns out that the Double Feature product includes all cards from the two sets combined together, removing the premise that Double Feature would create its own somewhat independent limited format.

A Reddit post published shortly after the full reveal directly calls out the original wording:

You can find this text in the article What Happened in Magic Showcase 2021? on the official Wizards website.

The second aspect of Innistrad: Double Feature that has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way is the “special art treatment” which was meant to feature all of the card art in black and white to pay homage to some of the classic films that have. helped inspire the Innistrad aircraft.

Back in that September Reddit thread, players discussed these special artistic treatments and whether Double Feature would include brand new art created in black and white, or if it would just be art. of the regular card printed in black and white. . It turns out that there is no unique art in the entire product and the original card arts were indeed presented in grayscale.

Some cards look pretty good with the Double Feature treatment, some don’t. The embedded post below, which has garnered over 1,600 upvotes on Reddit, uses the Faithbound Judge card to show how washed-out and uninspired certain pieces of art seem.

u / IronGlorfindel used Faithbound Judge to demonstrate Double Feature’s sometimes washed-out colors.

Some of the art is dark and difficult to follow, while others have lost the meaning provided by their original coloring.

Even during the first product discussions in September, not all gamers thought it was realistic to expect all cards to receive new art specially created in black and white. Regardless, it’s understandable that some have been disappointed with cards like Judge Faithbound, which in all honesty lacks contrast and certainly doesn’t look much like a classic black-and-white movie or even a comic book. .

A response from Mark Rosewater, chief designer of Wizards

MTG Chief Designer Mark Rosewater is well known for regularly answering player questions and comments on his Tumblr blog. On Tuesday, he addressed some of the community’s criticism directly in response to a player who shared his disappointment with Innistrad: Double Feature:

In its response, which does not address the color issue as it was not included in the reader’s comment, Rosewater conceded that the message around the product was not entirely clear. These are certainly no excuses though, with Rosewater’s statement in the second paragraph essentially boiling down to “players would have complained anyway” rather than significantly addressing the idea that the set had to feature its own. limited format – and no concern would have created the superior product for gamers.

A “parallel universe” of complaints

The Magic community has come to prominence in recent years for its harsh criticism and outrage on social media in response to some of Wizard’s management and product decisions. Some of these reactions have been more justified than others, but this case looks a little different. Rather than complaining about card design, pricing, or product availability, the problem with Double Feature really comes down to Wizard’s marketing and the messaging around the product that many now consider misleading.

Frankly, gamers who love black and white cards and want to collect them will buy the product, and anyone can just pass it on. However, Innistrad: Double Feature leaves behind a feeling of a missed opportunity with a high-profile product that is quickly deflating in the eyes of the community.

It is also true that some of the Magic products that have been very controversial have sold extremely well (perhaps most notably The Walking Dead Secret Lair drop), which might suggest that the opinions of influential figures in the MTG social media sphere do not always correspond with the sentiments of MTG players and collectors at large.

So what would have saved the Double Feature product from so many critics? While it’s probably unrealistic to expect brand new artwork for a product like this – especially when the two sets it’s based on are brand new themselves – maybe one handful of alternative artistic treatments to highlight the theme would have gone a long way.

In the end, Rosewater is probably right when he says the messaging around the product was the biggest issue. Innistrad: Double Feature won’t hit stores until January 28, so no one in the general public will have a chance to familiarize themselves with the product by then. Wizards will certainly be monitoring sales of Double Feature when it releases, and we’ll keep our attention on feedback within the community.

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