Magic: The Gathering Head Designer Mark Rosewater said on his blog yesterday that 2023 will feature the premier set with the most ambitious design he’s ever done.
When asked to clarify, Rosewater said that he mostly does exploratory and vision design for sets. The most recent set to push the boundaries in a similar fashion was War of the Spark from 2019. That set included 36 planeswalker, with one in each pack, ranging from uncommon to mythic rare. Notably, War of the Spark also kicked off the era of FIRE design that pushed cards to the limit, resulting in the banning of 14 cards in Standard alone over just two years — not to mention the the errata to the companion mechanic. FIRE design was a push to power Standard back up after a few down years and stood for Fun, Inviting, Replayable, and Exciting.
While certainly exciting at times, FIRE led to some of the most broken Standard environments in the history of the game and required the design team to purposefully lower the power level in an attempt to get a grasp back on the marquee competitive format. The bans for eternal formats surpassed the number of Standard bans and had to account for cards in supplemental sets as well as premier sets.
From 2019 to the end of 2020, these 14 cards were banned in Standard:
- Field of the Dead
- Oko, Thief of Crowns
- Once Upon a Time
- Veil of Summer
- Agent of Treachery
- Fires of Invention
- Cauldron Familiar
- Growth Spiral
- Teferi, Time Raveler
- Wilderness Reclamation
- Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
- Omnath, Locus of Creation
- Lucky Clover
- Escape to the Wilds
Of course, Future Sight takes the cake as the most ambitious set of all time up to this point.
With more than 20 mechanics, the advent of the planeswalker and tribal types, a new card frame, hints at future sets and mechanics, and more, Future Sight still stands alone as the most ambitious design of all.
While we still don’t know the name of the premier sets in 2023, we do know that it will conclude a four-set story arc that begins with Dominaria United and continues with The Brothers’ War. The Lord of the Rings Universes Beyond crossover is also coming next year, but that set won’t be Standard legal, so it doesn’t fit the bill for a “premier set.”
Will this mystery premier set that Rosewater calls the most ambitious design ever look more like War of the Spark or Future Sight? Will it cause massive issues in Standard and eternal formats? Let us know what you think in the comments over on Facebook and Twitter.