The Current State of Magic the Gathering

James Whitlock
6 min readNov 8, 2023

Over the past couple of years, Wizards of the Coast has implemented significant changes to their flagship game, Magic: The Gathering. In the past, Magic releases followed a predictable pattern. Each year brought a set number of blocks or groups of sets with cohesive themes. The characters depicted in card artwork were either original or drawn from Magic’s extensive lore. The art itself was known for its originality, high quality, and use of traditional artistic techniques. Standard, which used to be Magic’s flagship format, comprised a maximum of seven sets. However, these times have evolved, and Magic has become more profitable than ever. The question that arises is whether these changes are truly beneficial for the game.

The new block format

For many years, the format in which Magic: The Gathering sets were released followed a distinct pattern. Sets were organized into blocks, each consisting of three sets with a particular theme. As the block unfolded, players could glean story elements from flavor text and card artwork, offering glimpses into a deeper narrative. This approach created excitement around the release of new cards that harkened back to old characters from Magic’s rich history. Personally, I was enamored with this method of designing sets and enjoyed immersing myself in each theme or setting.



James Whitlock Retro and modern game collector and enthusiast. Check out my linktree for my Instagram profile, ebay account, and game list.