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The Depot #3
By Robert Hilliard
The Depot #3
Time to refuel, and go-off… this time it’s the horrid artifact background, and thoughts on Darksteel. Personal feelings about the artifact background, I’d rather spend the night with the Hasran Ogress!… On we go…

A personal disclaimer: I do purchase both physical and digital Magic Cards. I have purchased no 8th edition boosters or decks. I have purchased Mirrodin cards with the new borders. I do own 8th edition, and Mirrodin cards with the new designs, and I do so because the card abilities are worth having to play with. So from a play/development stand point, WOTC did one heck of a job with concepts, and card interactions.

Besides the fact that I’m mentally ill in a lot of minds – not my own thank goodness…here is my outtake on the artifact background…
Now – off with the disclaimer, and on with the other issues:

As we all know, WOTC is changing the background of Artifacts in the 5th Dawn expansion which comes out next Summer… Why not sooner – I’m coming to that, hold your Dopplegangers… My first question, is, why not in Darksteel??? Here was Buehler’s answer to a similar question in the Ask Wizards column:

==================================================
A: From Randy Buehler, Director of Magic R&D:
"Because of the way our production schedules work, it's already far too late to implement any changes to Darksteel. Darksteel cards were finalized and films shot many months ago. In fact, we only just barely made it under the wire for Fifth Dawn. Producing eight languages' worth of Magic cards for simultaneous release around the world requires a lot of planning and coordination and it means that we lose the ability to change a card set about six months before you guys can buy it." ==================================================
Now – my next point is simple – Darksteel is scheduled to be released in February 2004. Needless to say, certain stores in the country will have the cards sooner because there will always be holes in distribution chains, as nothing is fool-proof. Pre-releases will be at the end of January. According to Buehler, even if it took 6 months prior to a release for changes to be made, changes for Darksteel could have been made in July. Core Set – 8th Edition was released in July, specifically for the big 10th anniversary promotions. After seeing the background of the cards while 8th packs were being opened around the world, changes still were’t put through. I was there, I saw the shock, disappointment, and sickening feeling players got as they lost their minds trying to distinguish artifacts and white cards…

Now – In all due credit, I don’t know how long it takes for changes to be implemented, and in effect before cards are printed, but I do know that images and designs of the cards had to be created, films shot, and prepped for the entire production process. I also know that if I was in charge, changes would’ve been made staff-wise so this change never came to light in the first place. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that someone knew how bad these looked, okayed production, and then sold them to us anyway. And that someone should be fired, after being stoned, tarred and feathered, and …

Sad part is, we did what we normally do as consumers of the game, we purchased it. Again, and again, and again. Like the addicts we are, hey, I admit it, no shame here, and my wife is glad I’m past the denial part, we’re progressing. Anywho, what did WOTC do, let us purchase it for at least 2 more expansions. Mirrodin and Darksteel, respectively. And now there’s rumor of the MSRP upping to 3.69, don’t get me started on that one… short and simple of my feelings on it – I’ve applied for a concealed handgun license… and purchased cases of ammunition.

It seems, from the provided timeline, that some changes could have been made to Mirrodin. Why, you ask? Since it was released after 8th edition, way after, the prints and looks for 8th were known about, but no changes implemented for Mirrodin. This my fellow Magic players was treason to the Magic community.

So we land ourselves in a rut, because of some high-ups decision and play with the worst background art on artifacts we’ve ever known.

Glad WOTC’s changing them, but while doing so, why not return the card design to what it was, Magic… and don’t forget to fire that someone…
I will say that the design is not as bothersome as it used to be… aka, I’m null to change as long as I get my cardboard crack fix daily, even though I have strong feelings about it… The morphine helps…

Now, this next portion is not necessarily a question, but a theory on Darksteel, and since we were discussing still seeing the bad background for artifacts in Darksteel, this does have a tie in:

Recent Magic sets have balanced colors throughout the block, if not necessarily a set within a block. Noting this pattern, and understanding the reason behind “Mirrodin” for a set’s name, Darksteel, in my theory, will be the set for Black or Red to have a commanding role in. Blue got huge with affinity, and green has made some strong surges against the environment. White is heavily encompassed with artifacts, and equipment, but nothing per say on Black and Red.

That said, we may be looking at another strong showing for white in 5th Dawn.

The day is coming – keep eyes out for spoilers…

and if I'm right - you all owe me a power nine play set...

Take Care!

'til next time

The Loco

Read More Articles by Robert Hilliard!

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