Sadly, most of us have seen the abysmal fake Egyptian font of the Amhonket invocation card names. Not only am I going to say that this was clearly a terrible oversight, but additionally it is something that shows us that Wizards experimented too much with these types of cards, and that they should return to the style of the expeditions and masterpieces. I have heard some arguments that people don’t have a right to be upset about these hardly readable card names, but these arguments usually cite the fact that these packs would still be being bought without invocations, and that these are essentially free lottery tickets. However, I see things a little differently.
By introducing these kinds of cards in every two-set block, Wizards of the Coast allows us to criticize them and look at them through the lens of the other “premium-er” groups of cards. Because I now expect this lottery type product in my packs, I have a right to be disappointed by them. By making these types of cards a staple, Wizards has opened that door. These fonts don’t just make the cards difficult to read, but they also just diminish the culture that Wizards has chosen for this set’s inspiration.
Why do these invocations look so bad? This year’s invocations make me very disappointed. They prove that this program is a place for experimentation, when it should be the last place they experiment. People want a certain level of visual quality in these types of cards, and the invocations are lacking. I went to a Magic spoilers website to look at the invocations when writing this article, and I actually cannot read what they say. Is Wizards filled with superhuman X-Men who can read unreadable fonts?
There was nothing wrong with the fantastic masterpiece design that was already very popular, and this is clearly a careless oversight, which is something that Magic consumers clearly don’t like. Was it necessary to further theme this set’s “masterpieces”? The card design of the expeditions and masterpieces didn’t relate strongly to those sets, and people liked them!
Additionally, even when in other sets there have been masterpiece-style cards that were too good for Limited, in this series of invocations we have Worship, a card that is so miserable for Limited that it is practically unbeatable, causing non-games of Magic where one side has it and one side doesn’t have an answer. Additionally, we also have cards like Attrition and Cryptic Command, which clearly adds to an unpleasant Limited environment when one is opened, especially in tournaments such as Grand Prix, where someone can prepare and play at a very high level, but because variance has been increased even further by these cards, the game loses it’s aura of a game of skill.
Don’t even get me started on Mind Twist. That card is almost too good in Cube, so it’s definitely not remotely fair in Limited. It is clear that these invocations should not be playable in Limited, and there’s a reasonable solution that lets people be happy they opened these cards and still keep the competition even!
I understand that these cards are very rare, and considering them a full part of the format is nearsighted, but Wizards has in the past been vehemently opposed to cards that actively prevent interactive games of Magic from taking place, and these invocations do exactly that. I am failing to see the problem with the system that was implemented with the “God pack” back in Theros.
What would be the problem with simply replacing the cards if you were to open them in a tournament? Nobody should have the opportunity to have their Limited tournament ruined because someone got lucky enough that they can simply avoid playing interactive, thought-intensive games of Magic.
Let’s now touch on the borders on these cards, they are… odd. Even with the addition of the terrible font that is very unreadable, almost as if not more fundamentally problematic is the way that Wizards designed the borders of these cards. These cards literally look like Yu-Gi-Oh! cards or that rare Mew Pokemon card (picture below). I would be ashamed to show these cards to people that do not play Magic, because they are so unappealing that I wouldn’t want anybody to think of Magic when looking of cards like this.
Nothing about these cards look like Magic cards. I hope that Wizards doesn’t keep iterating on the design of these types of cards. What Wizards needs to do now is understand and recognize that they made a mistake, learn from it, and continue to produce the consistently excellent products they’ve been producing.
Wizards has given us reasonable “lottery ticket” cards that are interesting and collectable, like expeditions and masterpieces, and I hope that these premium-er cards return to that sort of design, instead of forcing through card designs that are more thematic to the world, but take away from the gameplay, both in the physical design, and the impact that these cards will have on any Limited tournament in which they are opened.
Let me know what you think about this.