Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Card Backs: A Retrospective

The link to my card back theories was featured prominently on this week's Monday Night Magic (about 3 minutes worth, towards the end), and Chris seems a little doubtful about my wingnut card back theories.

Honestly, I feel like new card backs are the future. But on the other hand, I never in a million years would have believed double faced cards were coming, either.

I will leave the issue with a single point. 

In April of 2004, smack in the middle of the "Ask Wizards" Column, one Mark Rosewater answers a question. Here it is:

Q: "What does the 'DECKMASTER' on the back of Magic: The Gathering cards mean?"
-- Craig Stubing, Chicago, Illinois
A: From Mark RosewaterMagic Lead Designer:
"When Magic was first designed, Wizards of the Coast had plans for a series of trading card games. To group these games together, they were all given the name "Deckmaster". MagicJihad(renamed Vampire: the Eternal Struggle) and Netrunner, for example, were all Deckmaster games. Wizards of the Coast eventually abandoned this method of grouping our trading card games, but the Magic card back is locked (to ensure that all the cards look the same fromm the back) so the Deckmaster logo remains."
Now fast forward 2 years from now. How would Mark answer the question?
"Well, Craig, the Magic card back is locked (to ensure that all the cards look the same from the back) so the Deckmaster logo remains. Except, of course, for those 10 werewolf cards we printed way back in Innistrad. They will forever remain the exception to the rule."
Are people going to be using the special "checklist" card to disguise their Innistrad double-faced cards in the next Modern Grand Prix? Honestly, they will probably be using card sleeves. Which would also hide different card backs.
Richard Garfield, when designing the original Arabian Nights expansion, conceived of a hot pink card back to differentiate from the Core Set. I don't think we will be seeing colors for different expansions, but one single "modernized" remake.
But that is neither here nor there.
The Innistrad previews keep coming. I found my new favorite card to discard to blazing shoal:

In EDH, this is going to be both a monster board sweeper and a great pitch card for just about everything. I've already put Greater Gargadon into my Spellbound Dragon. Now things are about to get more Blasphemous. And to think, I was kinda excited about Into the Maw of Hell. And to think a few years ago I was kinda excited about Shivan Meteor.

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