Magic: The Gathering Designer Breaks Silence On The Walking Dead Card Controversy

Michonne Walking Dead

The latest in a long line of limited edition Magic: The Gathering products is due to go on sale later this week and its contents are causing quite the controversy indeed.

For those not in the know, Wizards of the Coast revealed earlier this week that it was teaming up with AMC’s The Walking Dead to create a series of Magic cards based on the TV show, all of which feature exclusive art and unique card text/abilities. As of writing, just three characters, Michonne, Negan and Glenn, have been confirmed to get their own cards, with more due to be revealed leading up to season 10’s finale on October 4th. Having been delayed multiple times due to COVID-19, Sunday’s episode will coincide with the opening of pre-orders for Secret Lair X The Walking Dead.

As is the case with all such products, interested customers will only have a week to secure their order and once the final bell tolls, so to speak, they’ll no longer be available to purchase. Nothing out of the ordinary here, then, so what’s causing the widespread controversy?

Well, the key issue here, as succinctly outlined in a fan-made petition to have the cards banned before they’re even released, is that, unlike other promotional cards, these will be printed with black – not silver – borders, making them tournament legal in various Eternal formats. This change, when combined with the set’s extremely limited availability and high price, has led to concerns that Magic is becoming a competitive game that favors those individuals with the most disposable income.

Many have pointed to the fact that previous crossovers, such as Ikoria‘s Godzilla cards, were simply alternate art versions of existing creatures, making their rarity a non-issue. As to why Wizards decided not to adopt that method again for The Walking Dead, Magic‘s lead designer Mark Rosewater had the following to say over on his personal blog:

Unlike the Godzilla cards that were distributed inside of booster packs along with the rest of Ikoria, The Walking Dead cards are sold by themselves. That meant we wanted them to maximize their appeal as a box set. Putting extra names on them was aesthetically unattractive.

As for the border issue, Rosewater says the team decided to use black, not silver, for these cards as to ensure they weren’t dismissed as lesser, non-important products – a stigma supposedly held by many as far as the latter is concerned. Do those answers remedy any of the grievances that Magic: The Gathering players have with Secret Lair X The Walking Dead, though? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!