COVID-19, more commonly known to many as the Coronavirus, is taking its toll on many companies providing non-essential business (including the entertainment of those cooped up inside and self-isolating). The tabletop and card game industry is being especially wracked right now, with not only local game stores, but distributors and even gaming companies themselves all being heavily affected worldwide.
Therefore, it's no surprise that Wizards of the Coast, the company that makes Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, is being hit pretty hard at the moment.
This is getting so bad, in fact, that Wizards of the Coast has decided to delay the release of their next Magic: The Gathering set, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, by roughly three weeks. This delay only affects North America, Latin America, and the European Union, however – in other words, Asian and Pacific countries holding prereleases will be having their prerelease and release events on-schedule.
In fact, the release and prerelease of this set will be the same day. Technically, this means that Asian and Pacific game stores will have Ikoria before anyone else and on top of that will be able to buy sealed packs, boxes, and cases of cards four weeks in advance of anyone else.
From the release on DailyMTG, Wizards of the Coast's official Magic: The Gathering news hub, this is what the schedule looks like:
- April 2 – Ikoria Debut, trailer launch, (7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET/2 p.m. UTC) and the start of previews
- April 10 – Last day of previews
- April 16 – Ikoria released on Magic: The Gathering Arena and Magic Online
- April 17 – Prerelease/release in Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong
- May 15 – Prerelease/release in North America, Europe, Latin America, and Australia/New Zealand
If, as an American, I said I wasn't a bit jealous of those countries, I'd be lying through my teeth. However, I do understand exactly why this is the case. After all, the "curve" is starting to flatten nicely in those regions of the world while the Western countries who have the set delayed for them are still struggling to keep safe despite all the warnings and advisories set by their governments.
In any case, I'd like to know what your thoughts are on this delay. Do you think it's fair? Do you think it's the right thing for Wizards to do? Is there a better plan of action they could take, or are they good? Let us know!