Outlaws of Thunder Junction’s Big Score Is Kind of Embarrassing

What is Big Score? A year ago, they tried the Aftermath. It was a small set of 50 cards that was sold in booster packs of 4. However, those packs were priced similarly to regular packs. Of course, the consumers are not stupid and there was an immediate backlash. So, they decided to scrap the similar product that was planned for this year and 30 of those cards were rolled into Outlaws of Thunder Junction.

So, what’s wrong with that? Well, first of all, these are all mythics. They weren’t last time around, but apparently they didn’t want to bother with collation this time around. I mean, that would have been extra work, right? While this is actually good for the paper players, that does mean for the Arena players the cards that were supposed to be uncommons and thus purchasable with uncommon wild cards, which are easy to accummulate, they now have to spend mythic wild cards.

Why is this good for the paper players? Well, I can’t be sure it is, but here’s my thinking: Suppose every pack in four has a Big Score card. Now, suppose 4 out of 7 times they were uncommons, 2 out of 7 times they were rares and only once in 7 they were mythics. There was 10 mythics in the Aftermath set, so based on that one might assume all of those would be in this set of 30, because I doubt they would want to leave them out, you would only hit a specific mythic in 1/280 packs, where as now you would hit a specific mythic 1/120 packs. Of course, these numbers are estimates and they might have just decided to put less Big Score cards in the boosters to offset the rarity homogenization.

Anyhow, why were they so adamant on getting these printed? Either there are cards they see as being important to the balance of Standard. You could easily see them thinking leaving out Rest in Peace or Grand Abolisher or Torpor Orb might change things quite a bit. Or they are just so desperate to find selling points for the set that they had to include this special sheet.

Of course, they decided to put key story information into this set as well. That’s embarrassing in itself. They are clearly trying to open things up for a new storyline with Jace and Vraska finding or freeing Loot, the Key to Everything. Their policy has been that you can kind of get an idea about what’s going on in a set by opening a booster and fanning out the cards. Now, if the special sheet, which is supposedly important for the overall story, is a complete mess of random cards and you probably won’t see the actual key cards, ever, you will miss this part of the story.

Loot in itself feels lazy. They’ve realized that “cute” has been a selling point recently, so they decided to have their own cute little creature. How calculating is that? With them being very slow, they are probably at the tail end of this trend. Like with Gatewatch and the Phyrexians trying to take over the multiverse, they just seem to be copying others (which they sometimes are, like the Gatewatch, and sometimes just appear so, like with the Phyrexians) and failing to do it well. They just seem derivative. I don’t even watch The Mandalorian or play Fortnight (or Overwatch or whatever game that penguin character was in, can you tell how well I know these properties?), but still seeing Loot immediately felt to me like they were copying these exact IPs.

The name Loot is also just bad. I understand that they are all about puns in the names, but they shouldn’t do that to major characters. There might be a good in-story explanation for it, but since most players won’t read those stories, that explanation doesn’t matter. It will just seem stupid. Nevermind things like would copyright to that name hold under any circumstances or taking SEO into account. Or the fact that ‘looting’ has a meaning within the game. A meaning they have themselves built by using it in multiple cards.

They are also tapping into the nostalgia again. There’s references to Black Lotus, Umezawa's Jitte and Memory Jar as well as a start of a new Sword-cycle based on the earlier megacycle. Is someone still excited for these?

Spice8Rack has teased a video called Universes Beyond & the Death of the Future. I guess more than teased, as the script is apparently available on his Patreon. I have a strong feeling I know what this is about, as I have been feeling the same way. They are not focusing and putting resources into their own worlds in the way they should, when they are making money with Universes Beyond. They keep learning the wrong lessons. They made a good set in Lord of the Rings and it sold better than any other set ever, so now, instead of trying to make good sets for the people who actually enjoy the game, they are trying to find new IPs to use. How long can they sustain that? There’s already signs that basically not at all.

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