I saw that bit in the "racist cards" thread and to be honest, I didn't really think it was that big of a deal if they decided to not reprint a few cards that most people would rarely play with anyway. Granted, their reasoning seems a little vague, and while most of the people I remember playing with didn't play for ante I suppose someone MIGHT if given an opportunity, and if they pay a grand for a pack of cards and get an ante card for their trouble there's every reason to believe they'd certainly consider trying it...
To be clear, it's not so much that I have a gripe with them removing a particular card from this product that I wasn't going to purchase anyway, but more the general interest in which things they believe to be OK vs. not OK, since they've been tight-lipped about that ever since 2020. We get glimpses that let us know indirectly that certain pieces of art are ones they want not to reprint, but they never explain their reasoning. And it's kind of fun to speculate? I don't know. I've heard that the art on Weakness is "ableist" and that seems like a really bizarre analysis to me, since the implication was always that black magic is being used to afflict a creature, so the creature should appear, well, weakened. I briefly thought that perhaps the card was removed just because the illustration is very low-quality (I do not think this would be an insult to Douglas Shuler because it's pretty obvious that the quality of his work improved dramatically
as time went on), but that's true for a lot of the early stuff, so singling out just one card would be strange.
As an aside, I do find it interesting that some people are talking about drafting this product. That would be one expensive draft! So the removal of ante cards and the uptick in dual lands generally improve draft decks across the board. But completely removing Crusade nerfs White Weenie. I do not know enough about Limited/Unlimited draft archetypes to know if White Weenie gets drafted much, but this would seem to affect that.
Not to steal your thunder here (or even to detract from it), but I imagine WotC's is doing it this way so they can generate some publicity while protecting their "reserved list" card values. Since people would have to spend $1000's to acquire the "New" versions of the cards they'd have a high value in and of themselves. The older cards would still be MORE valuable, since they would be valid for legal play whereas the newer cards would not be, but the new cards would still be attractive to a certain (very limited) group of consumers with money to burn and groups they play in that wouldn't care about using cards that are only proxies. Sleeve them up and to most players they wouldn't care whether they were technically "legal" or not, and since they would have an inflated value they might even drive the price for the authentic cards up a bit.
That's a big part of it, yeah. Thunder stolen.
But seriously, this product doesn't have to even be profitable (which it will) in order to do its real job of inflating secondary market values on old cards.
It IS kinda fun playing with the old-time power cards. I myself have a fake "Black Lotus" and a fake "Library of Alexandria" that are actually pretty good copies of those cards (they would fail the bend test) that I break out sometimes when playing with my kids, but they wouldn't impress anyone since they only cost me $5 each...
The "bend test" is really something that no one should be doing at all anymore. It was popular in the 90's when most fakes were crappy enough that they failed it and real cards almost always passed it. Things have gone the other way. Newer fakes almost always pass. And while newer real cards would probably mostly pass, cardboard does lose its elasticity with age. Plenty of very real cards would fail a bend test just because they're nearly thirty years old. A flashlight and a loupe can easily be used to detect nearly all fake Magic cards.