This past week Wizards unveiled their social media marketing blitz for Shadows over Innistrad and it was a huge success. Tons of official spoilers were revealed through puzzles both online and live at the simultaneous Grand Prix tournaments taking place in Melbourne, Bologna, and Detroit. The gothic horror theme was front-and-center with Escape the Room-style events happening at tournaments and clue-searching puzzles going on at All in all Wizards did a fantastic job of showing us just how exciting spoiler season can be if it isn’t plagued by unofficial leaks.

Shadows Over Innistrad Marketing Campaign

If you missed out on it already, you should head over to and see what all the excitement was about. This marketing map of Innistrad featured three key locations to the story: the Thraben Cathedral, the Stitcher’s Lab, and Markov Manor, the home of everyone’s  favorite vampire-planeswalker Sorin Markov.

What was even more exciting was the real-world counterparts to these locations. Escape the Room is a fun event where you and some friends are locked in a room with clues for a puzzle that needs to be solved within a time limit in order to be released. Wizards decided to set one of these up at each Grand Prix. Melbourne hosted the Stitcher’s Lab, Bologna hosted Markov Manor, and Detroit was home to the Thraben Cathedral.

Wizards social media channels on Twitter and Facebook were on top of all the action throughout the week and the weekend. They shared images of players interacting at the tournaments, videos of the excitement, and of course plenty of spoilers. They were clearly more than prepared for the task. Months of preparation led to this marketing blitz. Check out this video from Grand Prix Bologna, featuring Markov Manor:

You don’t just come up with this stuff on the fly. A lot of planning goes into this. The sets, the costumes, the spoilers. Wizards clearly put a lot of effort into this and the fans have loved it. If you read this blog regularly you know that we’re never shy to criticize Wizards of the Coast when we feel they’ve made a mistake or that they should take a different course of action. However, Wizards is equally deserving of our praise when they hit a home run and this was a grand slam (for those of you outside of America replace “hit a home run” with “score a goal” and replace “grand slam” with “hat trick”).

Fresh Spoilers

Shadows Over Innistrad has not been free of unofficial leaks but thankfully they had virtually no impact on this week’s festivities. Wizards cried bloody murder in the past when cards like Wastes and Kozilek were leaked. Their reasoning was that the spoiler season is much more enjoyable for the fans when Wizards can control the message and control the flow of information of the new set. At the time the response to this argument was mixed, with a lot of fans believing that there’s no difference when cards are spoiled.

Can you imagine going through the Escape the Room Markov Manor at Grand Prix Bologna only to see spoiled cards you’d already seen on Facebook or Reddit? Or can you imagine sitting through an online activity and speculating with your friends on what’s at the end of the puzzle, just to see a spoiled card that was leaked on Imgur? You would be pretty let down.

This isn’t to let Wizards off the hook entirely. They still have a lot of work to do to clean up the leaks that occur at an alarming pace. But, if this week has taught us anything, it’s that Wizards puts enormous effort and thought into how they want to spoil a set and they’re willing to create these kinds of unique experiences for the community. All they ask in return is that we let them.

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.