My Take on the New B&R System

So, yesterday my YouTube recommendations were inundated by various content creators, who wanted to have their say on the “leaked” B&R announcement for next Monday. Yes, it turned out to be a fake, but at the same time, the creators acknowledged that this was possible or even probable, but they still decided to talk about it? Why?

The answer is quite easy. It’s the same reason people buy 5k courses from cults, that promise to change their lives for the better. They want to believe. They want it to be true. The content creators, whose livelihoods often rely on the format to be good, wanted that eight card list to be true enough that they actually recorded and in some cases edited content based on it in a hurry.

How could you tell that it wasn’t true? Well, we know that, under no circumstances, will Wizards of the Coast give away that many wild cards. There is just no way. They just aren’t apparently making enough money, even though each of their on average $75k employees makes almost $4 million each year (again, on average). Making their game better by taking this kind of a hit is just unthinkable.

So, now they have decided that despite their very poor testing processes and their admittedly complete lack of testing for the new three-year rotation, they think they can make B&R announcements only once a year. In other words, they have announced that they will not be stewarding their supposed flagship format in a way that would feel like we could trust them to work for the betterment of that format. They are saying that “trust us, we will handle this”, while not actually acting in a way that would show us that they are trustworthy.

They have given themselves a small window of few weeks in which they can ban cards from new sets, if they turn out to be very bad for the format. So, they assume all formats will be set in a few weeks? Is this actually true? Probably not. Also, we can easily disprove the stupidity of this approach. Remember Oko? Well, everyone who played at or around that time has heard of Oko.

Here’s that card’s history of banning:

It was released in October of 2019.
It was banned in Standard and Brawl next month
It was banned from Pioneer and Historic in December
It was banned from Modern in January
It actually remained in Legacy for about one and half years…

So, under the new rules, they would either have to ban Oko from all of these different formats or those formats would have to wait for a full year. Are they going to be that aggressive with their bans? No. After all, they need to sell cards, so you have to suffer. They give a shit about the people who bought the card, but they don’t give a shit about the people, who bought other cards, but are not interested in playing the format now, because it just isn’t fun. Their whole approach to the problem is just severely flawed.

They need to actually learn to do their job here. How many times have they tried to ban something that is not the actual problem, but then had to go back and still ban the actual problem? Like Hogaak. They tried Bridge from Below first and took an additional month before acting on Hogaak the way should have immediately (they should have actually tested it first, but that appears to be a problem they are also unwilling to fix). Or that time they tried to nerf the energy decks by banning two ways to make energy before they actually got around to banning Aetherworks Marvel full four months later. Or that time it took them 8 months to ban Uro from Standard…

They are telling us that if Standard sucks, and it will, they are not going to act. They are just going to wait it out and hope. They have promised to make the format better, but the first two steps they have taken feel more like the first ideas they had instead of actual planned solutions. We just have to trust the people, who can’t apparently do anything right. The reason the game still exists is the historical goodwill for the game. It almost feels like they are trying to suck that well dry.

Personally, I made the decision to just get rid of all my cards outside of Pioneer and EDH. I probably should get rid of the latter as well. Maybe just all of them except for my cute little artisan cube. I mean, the powercreep is still visible in that, but at least I can have fun without spending money on anything. And while it would seem that I am now on a tangent, this is actually important. Their inability to do what’s important for their format is the reason I’m thinking about this and why I already got rid of all those cards. While MtG has the potential to be great, their current stewardship is just not living up to that potential. Instead they are trying to follow fads and copy other games, when they should be the game other games are aspiring to be. This is the reason for the recent rise of other games. They are filling the position left open by MtG, while Wizards has chosen the road of milking their product until it dies.

Unless they make an actual course correction, don’t spend money on the game. Just let it die. You can find other games.

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