Magic players are focused on what’s new, and what’s about to be new. This is a wonderful aspect of the game: there’s always something new around the corner. Step away from the game for a couple years, and the new sets will completely transform the game. These sets are the backbone of playing Magic, just like new albums set the conversation for music fans.
But there’s no guide to going back and looking at old sets. Trying to read about things from even two years ago can be difficult, because people are so focused on creating with the new cards that they don’t step back to review what Wizards has given them.
I’m writing that guide. It’ll be comprehensive, starting with the very first Magic expansion, and going through every block through the present with an essay-length review of each block. Think of it as like the Rolling Stone Album Guide, but for Magic, and not written by Rolling Stone. (I’m writing it. I said that already.)
What this will tackle: what makes an expansion good? What gets people excited to sit down and play with fresh packs of Magic cards? What influences the future design in a positive way, or pushes people toward less frustrating hobbies, like clubbing themselves in the head with a baseball bat?
I’ll be covering everything about a set, from its design philosophies to its developmental decisions, as well as how everything looks and feels. The exact points of conversation will change from set to set, but things will always come back to how these (oftentimes very old) sets relate to the modern day. I’ll touch on some historical tidbits as they come up, but this is not an unbiased, encyclopedic project. These are reviews. They are opinions. No one who reads it will agree with everything. If this happens, I must have stated exclusively boring opinions.
What are my qualifications? I am not a pro player. I am not a game designer. I’m simply a fan who’s been playing since midway through Urza block, and I’ve written about the game a bunch: here, as well as my six-month stay at GatheringMagic.
I will be publishing all of them on this blog weekly. (The first one is up right now!) They are entirely free, and always will be. I’m going through Patreon so that, if people like the reviews and want to support my doing them, they can.
Why should people give me money for this? Well, that’s a pretty good question. I admit, I’ve paid no money to many creators I really like, even when their work was not free. By supporting this project, I can do things like record audio versions for people (like myself) who like listening rather than reading, because I currently have absolutely no way to record good audio. I’ll also write some short content exclusive to Patreon donors: for example, about Unglued.
I hope everyone enjoys these reviews. If you have any feedback, feel free to comment here or (preferably) hit me up on twitter: @KillGoldfish