It’s a new year which mean’s it’s time to look forward to the horizon for the next 12 months of Magic goodness (and some not-so-goodness). That’s right, this week we’re making bold predictions for the new year!

Six Bold Predictions

1. Magic Online Will Get Better

This one may be a bit of an easy prediction because a) Magic Online can’t get much worse and b) Sealed Deck Leagues will come out this year (fingers crossed). If some  kind of premier play options come out, and we continue to get better format support, then really we’re just a decent UI-upgrade away from having an actually usable Magic Online client. This could be the year that things really turn around for the perception of Magic Online.

2. Cheating Will Get Worse

Wizards had its hands full in 2015 with a lot of controversies but how much have they really done to address the cheating problem? The community has produced some videos on spotting common cheats, and some players have been banned, but ultimately the only proactive solution is better education about cheating and better vigilance as a result. I haven’t seen a large initiative on either front being spear-headed by Wizards, so expect cheating to continue to get worse before it gets any better. As a corollary to this prediction, continue to keep an eye on your bags at tournaments. Theft continues to be a huge problem.

3. The Supplemental Set will be Conspiracy II

We’re likely going to get the announcement at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch and I have a suspicion that we’re getting Conspiracy II for a few reasons. First, the original Conspiracy set was a big success for Wizards. Second, it makes sense to alternate between a product like Modern Masters which is aimed towards competitive players and a product like Conspiracy which is aimed towards casual players. Finally, Conspiracy is actually a decent vehicle for distributing new copies of both Commander and Legacy cards. Conspiracy was mostly reprints anyways and included a lot of very exciting reprints like Brainstorm, Breakthrough, Edric, Spymaster of Trest, Exploration, Ill-Gotten Gains, Misdirection, Pernicious Deed, Reflecting Pool, Rout, Stifle, and Swords to Plowshares.

4. Modern Will Get Shaken Up

You’ve seen the rumors. Odds are they’re all correct. Having a Pro Tour once a year that highlights Modern means shaking up Wizards premier non-rotating format. Originally Wizards was not happy about this. They tried to make all the Pro Tours Standard. In order for a Modern Pro Tour to be interesting, the format has to get shaken up a little bit every year. While it means some significant financial implications for the secondary market, it also means a much more exciting Pro Tour is on the horizon. Stoneforge Mystic and Bloodbraid Elf are two cards that everyone thinks will come off the banned list. On the other hand, Summer Bloom is a card that could be on its way out of the format. I won’t predict the exact changes, but expect Wizards to make all the common sense ones and maybe one that makes everyone shake their heads a little bit (if you’re reading this, Helene, please un-ban Dread Return).

5. Social Justice Will Continue

2015 was a year for Social Justice in the Magic community. Members of the community who have traditionally been the minority voice are now being given a platform in some pretty prominent places, not just here. The more exposure minorities get, whether its on-camera or as content producers, the more minority community members will flock to Magic. 2016 isn’t going to be the year that we “fixed” Magic’s diversity challenges, but it is going to be a year in which we continue to see strides made in that space. I won’t say that we’re not getting another situation like the women’s bathrooms at a Grand Prix all being closed, but what we are getting is a lot more discussion about how completely unacceptable that is.

6. Judges Will Organize

No, they won’t form a labor union. However, in the wake of the recent suspensions, and the community uproar, and the actions taken by a small but vocal minority of judges, a tipping point has almost been reached (if it hasn’t already passed) whereby the judges are left with very little choice but to distance themselves somewhat from Wizards of the Coast and become much more organized when it comes to providing their services to both Wizards and tournament organizers around the globe. No one’s happy with the current arrangement so it seems like change is inevitable. Recent events are likely the spark needed to begin making changes so that judges are compensated appropriately for their services, but also so that it can be clearly spelled out what is expected from them. Wizards won’t be happy to lose control over judges but it’s the right thing to do. Just like when Wizards tried to run their own retail stores, there are simply some aspects of your product that you don’t get to have full control over no matter how hard you try.

What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.