Ixalan reprints in Rivals of Ixalan

Discussion in 'General CPA Stuff' started by Oversoul, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    One of the topics that's been on my mind, but which I haven't gone into at great length (yet), is the tendency in "new" sets to sacrifice potential gameplay elements on the altar of fine-tuning the booster draft experience. I have some trepidation on this matter because I don't want to hate on Limited players or Limited gameplay. Even though I don't play booster drafts myself, I think it's a good format to have. It is the preferred way to play Magic for a lot of very active players, it helps move a lot of product, and it provides a fun alternative approach to the game. I could totally get behind the notion of making some minor concessions in set design to better accommodate booster draft gameplay.

    For the past few years, sets have not been making a few minor concessions to accommodate booster draft gameplay. They've been so singularly focused on it that any other consideration gets sidelined. I think it's severe. I don't want to overstate this, as there are other issues. Not every problem in Magic can be attributed to this pattern. But it does seem to be a significant, recurring influence on the game.

    The presence in Rivals of Ixalan of cards that were previously printed in Ixalan could practically serve as the avatar of this phenomenon. Those reprints serve no other purpose. It's disappointing because I really like Rivals of Ixalan for the most part. And I guess it's a bit tempered by the fact that this is, apparently, going to be the last "small set." But I still think it's pretty egregious.

    Looking back 15 or 20 years ago, sets had their fair share of issues and players had various complaints, some of which were overblown and some of which were reasonable. But this would have been the subject of outrage. "I just bought those cards in the first set and now you want to sell me the same cards again in the second set?" Yeah, that wouldn't have gone over very well at all...
  2. Terentius The Instigator

    Say what?
  3. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    WotC is doing away with the two-set block system. Every Standard set moving forward after Rivals of Ixalan will be built as a large set meant to be drafted alone. They've gotten a lot of feedback, which I think is correct, that the draft experience when a first set in a block comes out is better than when the second set comes out. For example when Amonkhet was the newest set, the booster draft format was just three packs of Amonkhet. When Hour of Devastation was added, the draft format became a pack of Hour, then another pack of Hour, then a pack of Amonkhet. Previously, they had tried other variations. But despite all that, the most consistent message they were getting was that the favorite draft format was always just the same set in all three packs. Although I'm no draft expert myself, I agree with this. Also, while I do think that some small sets have historically been spectacular, it's definitely been the case that they've generally struggled with designing them, with deciding which mechanics to carry over across the whole block, which ones to drop partway through, which ones to save for last, etc. Also, large sets sell better, perhaps because people can buy more packs and keep opening cards they didn't have yet or cards they didn't already have several copies of. So they're doing away with the two-set block system and switching to all large sets.
  4. Terentius The Instigator

    Sounds good to me!

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