In recent years Magic: The Gathering seems to have gotten into the habit of printing some of the most powerful cards that the contemporary era of the game has ever seen, but it also hasn't been shy about dropping the ban hammer much more frequently than it used to. Even just a decade ago new bans and restrictions seemed fairly rare, but lately players have come to expect multiple updates to the B&R lists throughout any given format year.
The latest update arrived over the weekend and delivered a heap of changes to multiple formats that were scheduled to go live as of February 15, 2021. Luckily this time around there are no changes to Standard, which means that the most widely played format won't require any deck updates this week. That said, changes did go live for Historic, Pioneer, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage.
In addition to the banned and restricted card list changes, the developers also rolled out a slight change to the way Cascade works in Magic: The Gathering. The updates rules text is outlined below...
The changes are live now in the game's digital formats and should be in place at any in-person events as well (not that many of those are happening right now...). As always, WotC should continue to monitor tournament results and analyze the data to determine if these changes fixed the issues that were being seen and if the formats are more appropriately balanced now. If not, then expect another B&R update in the near future.
Magic The Gathering doesn't necessarily seem like a game made for crossovers at first. It takes its lore very seriously, and is always grounded in its fantasy ideals. However, the basic mechanics that make up Magic cards are flexible. Themes associated with each of its five colors are great ways to categorize fictional characters from all kinds of different sources. As a result, there's lots of Magic the Gathering cards representing characters from totally different IPs. Not all of them are legal in most forms of play, but they're definitely all worth appreciating, especially when Wizards of the Coast creates unique and funny designs to match the source material.
Not every crossover gets particularly flashy. Magic's crossover with The Walking Dead last year featured some fairly straightforward card designs that wouldn't have felt out of place in a proper Magic set, so long as the characters got new names. Some crossovers take the opposite route and get as odd and flashy as possible. That brings to mind the handful of My Little Pony cards that Magic once produced. Out of all the game's crossovers, a few in particular stand above the rest in terms of themes, design, and charm.
For those who don't know, Wizards of the Coast's parent company is toy company titan Hasbro. Back in 2017, Magic the Gathering made an appearance at HasCon, a fan event meant to celebrate Magic the Gathering and Hasbro's other products. Two of those products are the Nerf foam dart gun series and the Transformers franchise. It's pretty easy for Hasbro to arrange internal crossovers for Magic and these other IPs. Plastic toys might seem hard to cross over with trading cards, but Magic's developers did a great job and produced a couple amusing and perfectly playable cards.
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