October 16, 2023 B&R Announcement


The Tentacled One
There have been announcements that frustrated me, annoyed me, delighted me, surprised me, and confounded me. Mostly, they've just disappointed me. But I can't think of any B&R update in the history of the game that rivals this one for strangeness. And that's not even because of some change I disagree with! It's not even because of the lack of changes: that would just be disappointing again.

They lead with this specimen of a sentence. "There are no changes to announce for formats." Grammatically correct, but worded in such a way that no native speaker of English would ever come up with. So that right there is weird enough to be notable. After a boilerplate link to the lists, we get another curious sentence. "In keeping with our goal of greater consistency across our formats, we are making no changes to any formats." I mean, it's coherent. But the notion that it expresses? Why not just say that you don't believe changes to any format are warranted at this time? Maybe even note some of the issues that are being monitored or whatever? That'd make sense. Players might disagree with it, but there's a case that one could make. Instead, it's being stated as though not making changes is, in an of itself, a substantial change. I mean, really?

And what's consistency "across our formats" supposed to mean? Different formats are different. Why should there be consistency "across" them? Why would that be a goal? To my knowledge, there was never any prior statement that such a thing was a goal. It raises so many questions. Mostly, I'm left wondering if the person who wrote this announcement was in some kind of altered mental state, or if perhaps the whole thing was poorly translated from some other language.

Finally, in the space where one would think we'd get some explanation or notes on points of interest in different formats, we're treated to an ad spot! WotC used the B&R update to promote their own product. What? Why?
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The Tentacled One
Why? Because WotC/Hasbro is greedy!
On the one hand, yes. I mean, that's the cliche, right? Corporate greed. To an extent, that's fine. They've always been greedy. People don't go into business to not make money. And I'm sure that there have been plenty of times that decisions motivated by greed have frustrated us as players.

On the other hand, while I can understand the decision to change the booster pack formula in this manner being motivated by greed, I can't understand how that translates to this. Make booster packs more expensive? Profit. Consolidate two different booster pack products into one, saving resources and incentivizing greater levels of distribution? Profit. Use the B&R announcement as a vehicle to publicize this change? What? I'm not seeing how they'd get anything out of that, nor how they'd even think that they'd get something out of that.

It's just not the purpose of the B&R announcement. WotC have been publishing announcements for bans and restrictions in tournament formats since 1994, originally through The Duelist magazine, if I remember correctly. The audience has an idea of what to expect. I thought we've always read these announcements to learn what the legality changes are and to get some insight into what motivates changes, what future changes might be on the horizon. Nothing else. Trying to advertise for anything in that space seems like a fool's errand. This could have and should have been its own separate announcement.