For most purposes, the year became 2014 less than a week ago - but Magic core sets work a year ahead, so today on the mothership we received the very-expected announcement for the upcoming core, Magic 2015... as well as one other piece of tantalizing information straight from Aaron Forsythe himself. First, to the usual technical data on what's usually the most boring release of the year - and then to the stuff that's causing much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the MTGSalvation.com Rumor Mill and that promises to make this the biggest shakeup of any core set since Magic 2010.
M15's tagline is "Hunt Bigger Game," and its spotlight planeswalker seems to be none other than Garruk, who is pictured in the announcement arcana in a minimalist portrait, very pissed-off and very Veil-afflicted. Could this be the year he finally takes down Liliana?
The 269-card set has its prerelease on the weekend of July 12-13, and is due out naturally on July 18, the following Friday. Game Day is August 9-10, and Pro Tour Magic 2015, in Portland, Oregon, is a Standard and M15 Draft tourney.
The design team, led by Aaron Forsythe, has Max McCall, Shawn Main, Mike Gills, and Jenna Helland, while the development team has Billy Moreno heading Shawn Main, Adam Lee, Tom LaPille, and of course Sam Stoddard - looks like Shawn had his work cut out for him as the effective liaison.
In addition to the expected products - boosters, Fat Packs, Intro Packs, M15 will introduce something called a "Clash Pack," the details of which are scant so far, but which sounds like a sort of two-player out-of-the-box-game product like Booster Battle Packs or Duel Decks.
And now, what did Aaron Forsythe have to say about Magic 2015 that's caused so much controversy? I'll give it to you straight: New card frame. The changes here obviously aren't as drastic as from pre- to post-8th Edition frames, and, to be fair, some of them aren't even noticeable except on certain cards, but there is still one jarring difference at the bottom of the frame. Let's hear it from the horse's mouth:
1) The font
Since its inception, Magic has used off-the-shelf fonts on its cards. As a brand, we feel that we'll be better served by having our own unique proprietary font—something with a little edge and character that is still very readable.
In general, we liked the heaviness and shape of the "Matrix Bold" font we'd been using previously, so there are a lot of similarities between the old font and the new, named "Beleren," which should alleviate any jarring feeling when you mix the two together in decks.
2) The holofoil stamp
You'll notice a little silver oval in the bottom center of Waste Not. That's a new unique holofoil stamp that we're applying to all rares and mythic rares going forward. This stamp makes those cards feel more special, as well as guarantees authenticity.
Commons, uncommons, and basic lands will not feature this stamp.
3) The collector info
In the lower left of the card is a series of letters and numbers that indicate the card's collector number (122/269), rarity (R), set (M15), and language (EN). The little dot between the set and the language will be a star on premium cards, so just about everything you'd ever need to know about a card's edition is in one easy-to-read place.
Making the bottom of each card black to accommodate this information was not an easy decision, and may be the most disconcerting part of this frame update, but it was done with the best of intentions. This information is machine-readable by recognition software at our production plants. It will help eliminate the rare packaging error, like cards sneaking into the wrong expansion's boosters.
4) Decreased border size
In order to fit all this cool new stuff on the cards, we've reduced the width of the black border by almost a millimeter all the way around. This reclaimed real estate allows us to have slightly bigger art and text boxes as well.
5) The designer credit
You'll notice that we gave you all credit for making this card in the place normally occupied by flavor text—"Designed by the Magic community." This is the first time we've ever given credit for a specific card design on the card itself, and it's you! You should be very proud! While every card going forward won't feature a designer credit (kinda sad, really), there are a handful of others in Magic 2015, specifically, that will. (You'll have to wait on those details! It's cool, I promise!)
So for every question answered about the new frame, two more are raised by what's been left out. Why does designer credit share the same space as flavor text? And why is it on some cards and not others? What's up with that holographic stamp? In the end, all we can do is what Magic players are best at: Wait.