Mark Rosewater: The Single-Set Structure Has Yielded The Most Successful Years In Magic’s History

Mark Rosewater addresses the Magic set release discussion

Oko, Thief of Crowns, illustrated by Yongjae Choi

Mark Rosewater, Head Designer for Magic: The Gathering, recently responded to a question on his Blogatog regarding Magic’s set release structure and if Wizards of the Coast (WotC)’s data showed favorable support for single-set releases over two and three-set blocks.

Back in June of 2017, Rosewater released his Metamorphosis 2.0 article, detailing the positives and negatives of the two-block structure, and why WotC would be shifting away from it in favor of a single-set structure. In short, designers felt that the two-block structure presented a lot of tricky problems, including Draft consistency, too much narrative focus on the Gatewatch, no room for Core Sets, and more.

Throne of Eldraine, codenamed “Archery”, launched in late 2019 and marked the start of the new single-set structure. The new structure allowed WotC to build fully-contained worlds within single, large sets – making for more consistent Draft environments and less pressure to stretch story narratives.

As we near three years of the single-set structure, many in the Magic community have strong opinions on the subject – both in favor of, and against it – which is what prompted the following question:

Do y’all have data on what the response to this style of releases has been? Do non enfranchised players even care about how Magic story is presented in these sets?

Tumblr user crossingpaths

According to Rosewater, despite some users on social media voicing a negative view of the single-set structure, these opinions are not indicative of Magic’s wider player-base – quite the contrary, actually.

As it turns out, the years since its implementation have “been the most successful years (by the many different metrics we monitor) in the game’s nearly thirty year history.” For example, this past February gave us Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, which quickly became the most successful winter set of all time and is only the fifth set in Magic history to generate over $100 million in total revenue.

After this question and answer were posted to Reddit, users continued discussing their thoughts on the state of Magic set releases, and while it’s obvious that the single-set structure is successful and profitable, many feel that it needs more time to grow and evolve.

So what do you think of Rosewater’s response? Where do you stand on the set release structure debate? Let us know what you think in the comments over on Facebook and Twitter.