For a few hours last week we all had fun speculating about the amazing plane of Atlazan. You see, Atlazan is a mythical place where all of the hopes and dreams of the fans of Magic the Gathering can live in harmony. It’s where the Vorthos in each of us can see more of the Magic story unfold. It’s where the history buff in each of us can see Wizards’ take on the legends of Atlantis alongside Mayan and Aztec cultures. It’s where the spike in each of us can once again beg for a Damnation reprint.

But Atlazan isn’t real, at least not yet. Instead it was the highlight of a promotional marketing image that was leaked to Reddit. The response blew up pretty quickly resulting in the original thread being closed and the original poster deleting their Reddit account. This shouldn’t be too surprising since Wizards has promised swift justice and retribution in the past, especially in the wake of a few high-profile leaks from earlier this year, most notably in Battle for Zendikar block.

So why do it? The survey included this marketing picture which, according to Wizards, includes theoretical packaging for future expansion sets. To anyone who is familiar with these surveys it was quickly clear that this was a theoretical image, not necessarily reflecting the real names of future expansions. It seems the interest on the part of the leak-provider was to share something cool with the community. After all, the Magic community is nothing if not obsessed with information about future expansions.

The leaked packaging wasn’t the only recent leak either. Major spoiler alert: Four of the set’s story cards [leaks in the link] were found using an exploit in the website security for Wizards of the Coast. Now, this is a bit of a different case but the end result is the same. More information was disseminated to the Magic community outside of WotC’s planned schedule. How and why does this keep happening?

These two leaks are not the same in my opinion. In one case we have a survey participant who got over-zealous about some information in the survey without, perhaps, fully understanding the nature of the content before sending it out into the wilds of the internet. In the other case we have an individual whose intent was to compromise Wizard’s security to find leaks to push to the community. Two completely different cases and it will be very important that Wizards treats them as such.

Leaks are inevitable but not all leaks are created equal. Whether or not you think leaks are good or bad for the community, there is a clear line between malicious attacks on Wizards (such as by a disgruntled factory worker) and found information that the finder gets excited about and wants to share with everyone (because let’s be real, Magic information is exciting).

At this point we haven’t actually seen much of an official response from Wizards other than a tweet to acknowledge the packaging was part of an official survey.

I don’t expect Wizards to track down the Redditor who shared this image. The damage is done and it’s likely they feel some level of concern over what they’ve done (hence deleting their Reddit account). On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if Wizards was attempting to discover who found the story cards on their site and sent them out into the public. I also wouldn’t be surprised if that individual was ultimately suspended from the DCI for some time. It’s entirely possible Wizards would take legal action against what might be considered theft, but I’m not a lawyer.

One thing I want to conclude with is that even though this is a significant leak, Wizards seems to have learned their lesson about making a big fuss over leaks. In the past, several #wotcstaff members have had pretty incendiary things to say in the wake of leaks. I’m not going to hold that against them. They work very hard on Magic the Gathering and having the revelation of that work stolen from them feels absolutely awful.

On the other hand, the visuals of the staff complaints on social media are not good. It does not paint Wizards in a positive light. Taking rational and measured approaches to these leaks is what will endear Wizards to the community. We all like Magic the Gathering. We don’t have to necessarily like Wizards of the Coast as well (though many of us do). It’s important for Wizards to endear us to them as a company not just a game, otherwise malicious leaks may continue to be a problem for the community.

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.

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