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Magic: The Gathering responds to significant Modern Horizon 3 leaks with a cheeky article instead of Pinkertons

Wizards of the Coast shares their own card images that aren’t “distorted potato camera photos”.

Ajani artwork from Magic: The Gathering set Modern Horizons 3
Image credit: Wisnu Tan/Wizards of the Coast

We are fast approaching another big Magic: The Gathering set after leaving behind the yeehaw deserts of Thunder Junction, which invariably means the return of spoiler season. But this time, enterprising leakers beat Wizards of the Coast to the punch by releasing heaps of images from the upcoming Modern Horizon 3 set online, so much so that the publisher responded with their own, better quality spoilers.

Leaks are a fact of life when dealing with a trading card game on MTG’s size and popularity, but the MH3 images were disproportionately larger than normal as they spread on Twitter, Reddit and other social media platforms. Wizards has responded with a fun mixture of tact and cheek in a recent post from Blake Rasmussen on the official MTG website.

Rasmussen, community director for MTG, said that company wanted to respond to this leak in a similar fashion to others by offering fans images of the spoiled cards “without the fuzzy, distorted potato camera photos getting in their way.” Often, the company simply ignores the leaks, thereby robbing them of any legitimacy or power vis-a-vis the Streisand Effect. If you're the type who devours leaks and previews as soon as possible, the Modern Horizons 3 leaks aren't hard to find,” Rasmussen wrote. “We're not going to point you in their direction or anything, but if you're into that kind of thing, you probably already know where they are.”

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Most of the previewed cards that appear in Wizards’ article had already been widely circulated, but the publisher offered up some alternate and extended art versions to sweeten the pot. Eldrazi players are eating well with cards such as Nulldrifter and Ugin’s Labyrinth, while those who prefer the older, 60-card formats will be drooling over the reprinting of Kappa Cannoneer for artefact-heavy decks (everyone else should keep an eye on new artefact hate staple Meltdown). There’s plenty more inside the post, including an absolutely adorable corgi legendary creature and the king consort of all bear-kind.

MTG’s maker strikes an odd tone in the article that at once regrets the fact that they must post this article at all - an implied disappointment that players couldn’t wait for the company to do its own thing - and a resigned acceptance that there’s only so much they can control. Designers, artists, producers and several other teams coordinate each set reveal as a celebration of a game that everyone involved obviously loves. Seeing that undercut by leaks is obviously disappointing. At the same time, parts of the playerbase likely want to feel as though their pastime isn’t wholly controlled by Hasbro’s corporate circus of promotion.

Eldrazi trio from MTG's Modern Horizons 3 set
Image credit: Pindurski/Wizards of the Coast

At least Wizards of the Coast didn’t call out the Pinkertons this time. In April of 2023, the company hired private investigators to track down and seize boxes of March of the Machine: The Aftermath that had accidentally been delivered to YouTube creator oldschoolmtg, who opened them on a stream. The Pinkertons, who have a bloody history of protecting corporate interests and capital over workers and the public good, allegedly threatened him with jail time and massive fines if he didn’t immediately hand over the cards.

The event further stained Hasbro’s goodwill with the community, which has been thoroughly exsanguinated by the OGL licence fiasco. Perhaps they learned their lesson on siccing private muscle on individuals, or perhaps they just can’t track down the address of this most recent leaker. Modern Horizon 3’s official previews begin on May 13th, ahead of the set’s full release on May 21st.

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