Oh No, There Goes Toho’s Integrity. Here Comes WotC’s MtG Godzilla!

3 Apr

EUcjj3sXYAIOLQd.jpgBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Just what I thought the teaser I saw on April 1st (tweeted out on March 31) with a huge footstep in rock by Wizards of the Coast was a joke, nope, they were deadly serious with the next set of Magic: The Gathering cards. This Renton, Washington based company got in touch with Toho Studio‘s to offer a tie-in to their Gojira property in the form of alternate art cards! The good: they are legal for game play, with the titular character available in one of the three designs as a buy a box promo. The bad: the remaining 15 cards to finish this set are only available in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Collectors Boosters.

Hard core monster enthusiasts will pay a premium to find and own each of these Godzilla series set of cards. Will I buy and play with them? Maybe, after being triple card sleeve sealed.The tie-in with Hasbro’s Transformers is pure genius (sarcasm intentional), but I did not rush out to buy them because of the MSRP. They are great to look at, and whether many people played them was not hugely reported on. There’s nothing unique in these “variants;” all the game designers did was say this is the card to slap new artwork over. And should the Japanese studio take issue over copyright infringement since WotC is very clearly taking inspiration from kaiju films, the American company thought it’d be best to work together than get sued.

Aside from admiring the art and for being the neighbourhood geek loving these cards like they were the first release Pokemon the Card game with an alternate art charizard with his tail distinguished. I’ll look at the secondary market to see how expensive it is to purchase there instead of grabbing a box. As most seasoned players will tell you, if all you want is just those specials, paying the collector’s pricing for the cards can sometimes be cheaper than getting a bunch of cards you don’t want.

While my time with the game was short, lasting about two-and-a-half years, I could not keep up with the continuing investment to buy and play in standard Friday Night Magic. I returned to playing because of WotC’s adaptation of the Egyptian mythos into the game with Amonkhet, and I kept going with its Meso American theme and pirates with Ixalan. But after that, the shift to Greco-Roman mythology felt like it arrived into the playing field much too late, and faerie lore should have came sooner than later. Not all legends need a MtG treatment.

WotC’s is smart to constantly change the dynamics to draw in new players, but not everyone can afford to keep on playing. I kept up because of the League format, but since this is no longer officially supported, this company has lost a player/consumer. A huge issue I’ve noticed is that nearly half the cards will always be staples of the game, but simply renamed to fit the current set. I understand this is done so this particular set can be played standalone, but when will it end and the designers actually do their job and have a completely new spell to replace yet another Giant Growth?

Unless there’s a way to keep a player’s interest (digital versions of the game notwithstanding for ‘free to play’), this game will always be a hit and miss affair because of the cost. Even veteran players admit to it and I’ve talked to many at my local game store and even conventions, as an inquiring member of fandom press. Yes, I’ll have to play with my favourite King Ghidorah, but it’ll be with trepidation.

 

When this latest marketing gimmick is designed for that–to draw in Godzilla fans and introduce them to this game–not even the mighty G can be that entirely enthusiastic. He’ll raze the next tournament circuit before rotation takes him out of play. A two year run is good; there’ll be nothing left when the clash of the titans stomp humanity asunder.

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