The scheduling of the pre-release weekend for the next Magic: The Gathering set, New Phyrexia, on the same weekend as Free Comic Book Day has aroused a significant amount of discussion among retailers that carry both lines (for example in Scott Thorne’s column, “Rolling for Initiative—Surfeit of Riches”). Some feel it’s a great opportunity to really pack the store in a positive way; others feel it’s going to be a problem to do either event justice.
Some have wondered about Wizards of the Coast’s rationale for the scheduling; Magic pre-releases have been somewhat more variable than Free Comic Book Day, which has been regularly held on the first Saturday in May (except for one year when an alternate date was tried).
We asked Wizards of the Coast whether the company was aware of the Free Comic Book Day date when the Phyrexia Pre-release was scheduled, and whether there was any comment on the sharing of the weekend. Scheduling to avoid holiday weekends in multiple markets around the world was mentioned as a primary issue, with a generally positive spin on the potential impact of two major events in hybrid comic and game stores.
The full WotC response was: “We schedule events to maximize overall player and store satisfaction around the world. This means that we need to take into account many variations by country and even within countries. May 7th was chosen because it provides a great opportunity for many retailers to create cross-sell opportunities during Free Comic Book Day in the USA while at the same time avoiding conflict with the European May Day holiday and Easter weekend for pre-release and launch weekends.”