Magic the Gathering players in Korea and China will no longer be able to buy draft boosters in their languages as part of a "rebalancing" of the product lineup in the region.
Starting with Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty in February, draft boosters in Traditional Chinese and Korean won't be available for purchase and will be replaced with set boosters instead. Set boosters are significantly different to draft boosters, as they priorities a 'fun pack opening experience' with more alt-art cards and cards made for formats like Commander. Draft boosters have their contents carefully organised for a better draft and sealed play experience. Set boosters also cost slightly more and contain fewer cards – 12 compared to a draft booster's 15.
While draft boosters being unavailable will effectively shut down casual draft and sealed play in the region, Wizards said in its announcement that it Is "providing local game stores with options for play events on Prerelease", in an attempt to at least keep each set's prerelease events running. One option for stores will be to use English-language draft boosters, or special, undetailed products implied to be different from traditional draft boosters but still printed in Korean and Traditional Chinese to facilitate limited play.
For those in Korea and China who want to draft with their friends outside of organised events, the only option will be to buy English-language draft boosters, which "may" still be available from retailers. So even if a player can read English, there's a chance they won't be able to find the English draft packs they need to play.
Wizards is keen to reassure players in other regions that this is not part of an ongoing shift away from draft boosters, saying they "are and will remain an important part of the player experience". The role of draft boosters in Magic has been a concern ever since the introduction of set and collector's boosters. While popular with customers, some players them as a push towards constructed formats like Standard and, in particular, Commander, over limited formats that have traditionally been the focus of many in-person Magic events.
These anxieties flared up with the launch of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt in September, which featured a new-style booster bundle that replaced the traditional ten draft booster packs with eight set boosters instead. However, head designer Mark Rosewater has responded to the criticisms surrounding these new bundles, asking for feedback on whether Wizards should revert back to using draft boosters instead.
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty will launch on February 18, 2022. It will be a full release in all other regions with draft, set, collector's and theme boosters available for purchase.
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