Halo “Not A Drug” According To WotC

WotC responds to claims that substance in Streets of New Capenna is an MTG drug

Island illustrated by Matteo Bassini

Wizards of the Coast (WotC) issued a statement to clarify that the substance known as Halo from Streets of New Capenna is not a drug.

The statement was made in response to negative feedback on Twitter and Reddit regarding a section in an article for Wizards Play Network stores running Streets of New Capenna prereleases to offer attendees their own version of Halo in the form of rock candy or fruity punch. The part of the article that mentions Halo is an ethereal substance that comes in many forms such as crystals, liquids, and vapors can be read below:

“Halo is the magical substance that rules the criminal underworld in New Capenna, sought after by all for its magic-enhancing qualities. It comes in many forms, such as crystals, liquids, and vapors, and you may consider adding your own to your in-store events.

You might present this ethereal substance by adding stones or crystals as part of your decorations—but if you’d rather serve it as a snack or beverage, you can get creative by using treats like rock candy or a fruity punch.

Remember, please do not serve in beverageware commonly associated with alcoholic beverages (i.e., martini glasses). Remember, Magic is for all ages and everyone should feel welcome!”

From “Boost In-Store Play with Unique Event Ideas” from wpn.wizards.com/en

Criticism of the concept of handing out fake drugs at prereleases came from many interpreting the line of “sought after by all for its magic-enhancing qualities. It comes in many forms, such as crystals, liquids, and vapors” as a reskinned MTG crystal meth. On top of the potential drug references, more backlash came from the idea of being fine with promoting the use of fake drugs while making sure it can’t be seen as drinking fake alcohol by specifically mentioning not to serve Halo in beverageware commonly associated with alcoholic beverages.

WotC’s response came about three and a half hours after the thread on Reddit “New Capenna is ruled by a drug called ‘Halo'” was posted. The WOTC_CommunityTeam account posted their response in the thread:

“Hey there folks. Wanted to weigh in here since we’re seeing a fair amount of discussion on the topic. Halo is a magical substance much the same way Aether or even mana is. It’s not a drug, but it is powerful. And like anything powerful, criminal elements seek to control it, no matter how pure and good the thing is. We’ll share more about Halo, its origins, and the world of New Capenna in the coming weeks.”

WOTC_CommunityTeam Reddit account

When SCG asked for an official response, we received the same message just missing the first two introductory sentences. The statement makes it pretty clear Halo isn’t a drug but is “powerful” and that no matter how “pure and good” something is, criminal elements will seek to control it.

Many players responded with takes that they didn’t see Halo as a drug while some did and didn’t care if it was or not.

Mark Rosewater, the head designer for Magic, reiterated on his blog that Halo wasn’t a drug but a substance that enhances magic use. Players will learn more about it when the Streets of New Capenna story is released and preview cards roll out.

“Part of building a world based on real world influences is incorporating the elements you like while not incorporating the ones you don’t. You’re not beholden to things being exactly the same. For Streets of New Capenna, we wanted a resource that the various factions could fight over, but weren’t interested in it being an illicit drug, so we leaned into the fantasy element to make that substance something that enhanced magic use. As we get into Street’s of New Capenna’s story and previews, you’ll learn what makes Halo so powerful.”

Mark Rosewater, from his blog

What do you think of Halo? What do you think it will do in the next MTG set? Let us know in the comments.