02/02/2011 Feature: "Magic: The Gathering Toolbox"

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What is monopolistic about this practice?  Wizards isn't shutting down other deckbuilding games on the App Store; they're not even shutting down life tracker apps.  What they're shutting down is apps using their content.  Calling this 'monopolistic' is like calling calling CBS monopolistic because you can't watch 60 Minutes on Fox.

Except WotC had no interest whatsoever in shutting down these other apps until they released their own. It's not about shutting down apps that use their content, or else they would have been doing it years ago. It's about shutting down tools that compete with theirs--"they're using our content" is just the most convenient excuse for them to do so.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed

Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Wizards is almost certainly within their legal rights to shut down these third party apps, but that doesn't mean they should, or that people who use those apps should be happy about it.

Shutting down the apps sends a clear signal to the community: If you want to do something with Magic, don't. We'll come after you. And that's an incredibly bad message to send, because the magic community has benefited immensley from third parties creating resources for the game. And so has Wizards.

I mean, consider, say, the variety of single-player drafting simulators out there online. If these hadn't existed, there's no way I would have gotten back into the game--I'd have felt too intimidated to go and draft. WOTC would be out thousands of dollars from me alone. Wizards hasn't gone after those online programs specifically, but if they didn't already exist, and someone was considering making one, they would be a lot less likely to after this move by Wizards.

Then there are all the strategy and article sites. Most are hooked up to stores and have access to card images for that reason, but if a new one opened up that wasn't, would WOTC really want to take it down? Of course not. It's healthy for the game for people to have a place to learn about and discuss the game, even though Wizards has a competing product (DailyMTG). If sites like that didn't exist, we'd never have Commander, which has been a huge moneymaker for Wizards.

Magic is a more fun game to play because of all the third-party resources available to us. When players see an opportunity they go for it. And that's what all these third-party mobile apps did. They said, "Man, it would be sweet if there was a deck builder for iOS." So they made one. And some were indeed great. Stifling that kind of innovation is a bad thing.

WOTC's app could easily blow these other apps out of the water. It already looks like a pretty slick piece of software. I suspect most people who already owned these other apps would have downloaded it anyway--I sure would have, if it had actually been for iPad as advertised. I was eagerly awaiting it. Now, I'm furious and don't want to give them a dime because they're trying to take away something I find useful that enhances my enjoyment of the game. At the very least, they should have extended an olive branch to some of the top apps (Decked, iMTG) and offered a licensing deal of some kind. Yeah, they don't have to. But it would have been the decent thing to do.

Good PR is worth some quantity of money. That's why companies pay PR departments. I kind of doubt that whatever money they're going to make on microtransactions from people using their deck builder is going to be worth it if enough of the people the app is targeting are mad because their other apps, which had features this doesn't, are dead.
Isgard, exactly.

I feel strongly that WotC is 100% within their rights to do this. I also feel strongly that they should not have done it.

And I would really, really envy all the iPeople who get to use this (I use Android) if they had not done this. I would most likely have paid for the paid parts of the app when released for Android, in fact -- and I say this as someone who has never paid a dime for any app and has never been interested in doing so.

Commander damage... but no multiplayer support?

No multiplayer support, a price scheme which makes no sense, and the taking down of other third-party applications seems like a bad way to generate press for a product that should have been a slam-dunk for Wizards. Very disappointed. I know its typical to have a lot of complaining in the articles of comments, but I've also tweeted other head Magic people about how I feel about this. 
I'd like to see a few additional features from the app:

1.  Price Guide functionality.  Allow the user to use TCGplayer aggregate, SCG, or some other online dealers to price thier cards.  I expect Wizards won't do this because they don't want to officially endorse any single pricing system.  If WoTC can't do this with thier app then they should be especially careful not to shut down other apps on the market that have this functionality.  Example: Magic:TCG, Orcish Librarian, Cards Inventory.

2.  Collection Tracker.  Allow user to keep track of how many cards are in thier collection with a simple "swipe to add" ability.  Example:  Cards Inventory or to a lesser extent iMtG.

3.  Easier search and building functionality on the deck builder.

4.  Judge Section that includes the comprehensive rules, penalty guidelines, layers reminders, banned lists for formats, Oracle link, decklist counter, and draft timer.  Example: MTGJudge, MTG Rules.

They randomly decided to limit this to 3rd gen ipods - iOS 4.3+ 

Not sure why. I could struggle with converting it to an ad hoc installation and lowering the version requirement manually but I really should not have to.

I suppose their android version will support 2.3.5 and above only to seem "cool" too 

DCI Rules Advisor 06/15/2011


I never let my mind wander. It's too small to let it go off by itself


CCG achievements Still calls the games CCGs and not TCGs... bah, young 'uns!

Decipher games 2001 North American Continental Champion - Inaugural Hall of Fame Inductee - Responsible for killing Young Jedi CCG (really!)

Wizards of the Coast games Won my one and only Pokemon tournament using only Pikachu and Raichu in the deck - and declaring loudly "PEEE-KAH-CHUUUUU" -- true story. 

I use Decked Builder almost every day, and while I hoped they'd dodge the bullet, I figured the app was living on borrowed time from the get-go. Still sad to hear that it's going to be a shadow of its former self in the near future.

If WOTC is going to apply this kind of pressure to MTG app developers, they should be able to offer a competitive or superior product. Having played with MTG Toolbox, it's clear they haven't, IMO.

- The app is laggy all over, and there are many design choices that seem to sacrifice performance for flashy effects. (Selecting an option from the main menu causes one screen to fade into the next -- those fractions of seconds add up quickly when you're moving around a lot.) I've gotten used to flashy effects with snappy response times on iOS; this app should have jettisoned the flashiness if it couldn't deliver on speed.

- Live-searching the card database as you type is foolish. This is another choice that negatively affects performance -- I don't need matching cards to auto-update everytime I type a new letter in the search bar! This causes typing itself to become frustratingly slow. At the very least, there should be an option to disable live-search-as-you-type. (If it already exists, I haven't been ale to find it.)

- The store locator just opening that page in Safari is pretty useless. This isn't solely this app's fault; that page is horribly out-of-date. I've been burned two or three times hunting down the address of card shops listed on that page, only to get there & find them out of business long, long ago.

- The background textures used throughout the app offer up a lot of visual noise, to a degree that outweighs their aesthetic value. I expect a much "slicker" appearance from a professional iOS app.

- Phyrexian mana symbols seem to be completely non-functional, and don't appear when searching up cards or looking at their rules text in detail, unless you're looking directly at the card image itself.

- When adding cards to a deck, you find an individual card page, hit the "+" button in the top right (not a necessarily obvious function -- why not just use the word "Add" in its place?), toggle the number of cards to be added up & down, then tap a deck in the "Select a deck:" list below. This seems to have 1- or 2-too-many steps. I'm usually only building one deck at a time; it's rare that I want to add 4 of a specific card to multiple decks at once.

- The confusion deepens when you are viewing a deck, and want to remove cards. How to do it? I tried tapping the card I wanted to remove, then... Hm. The only option is the "+" button. Huh?? I want to take cards away, not add them! Worse still, "remove cards" isn't an option from the menu that drops down from the "+" button. Instead, you must back up, tap the "Setttings" gear icon in the deck view, then tap "Edit cards". Doing so introduces some buttons to toggle the number of copies a card up or down. I'd suggest not using the "red circle with minus sign" icon here -- that's meant as a delete symbol across all of iOS; its incusion here made me think tapping it would delete all 4 of a card at once, not lower it by one at a time.

- The way the little home button sticks down from the UI when viewing Daily MTG content is a little annoying -- you can't scroll down as far as you'd like while reading, because that yellow bulge will overlap the middle of a sentence.

- When searching for cards, the app frequently seems to forget my filter settings and defaults to "Standard". This is frustrating when deck building for other formats.

- Currently, I can't seem to return any results for cards from Dark Ascension, despite having that set info downloaded. The filter is set to "All", not "Standard", yet for instance only mono-black Sorin is returned when I search his name (along with his spells from M12). 

Sadly, I feel like this is just the tip of the iceberg for now. I absolutely think the app will improve, but here's my ultimate point: Why not just hire the developer of Decked Builder as a freelancer for MTG Toolbox, or offer to buy his code/app outright? Or if not Decked, one of the other successful apps that's out there. Decked Builder has gotten pretty much everything I want from such an app right; couldn't WOTC have saved themselves some trouble this way? They contracted digital design outside of the company for DOTP -- and the difference shows! I wish WOTC's in-house programs had that level of polish. If contracting outside WOTC meant the app was $.99, $1.99, etc. instead of free, I'd pay the difference in a heartbeat.

I don't begrudge WOTC the desire to profit from the MTG app market, and I think their pricing scheme at $3-$4 a year is quite fair. That's a single booster pack! Chump change. I'd gladly pay it, if only I believed it would do what I needed. So far, that just isn't true.
OOC, why are 'MTG search engines' allowed to exist? They're using the card images...

You Android complainers

OK, I'm gonna stop you right here. There's a difference between complaining and making sure that WotC hears from the members of the community who would more than gladly pay for this on Android, but can't give them money because it's not out yet.
need to a) read the other articles that said they are coming out with an Android version

Yup, done that. Before you made this post even! But see, the problem is that I'm not giving money to WotC right now because it hasn't happened yet, weather or not it will eventually.

and b) realize that Android programming, due to the open-source, multiple versions, makes it a lot more difficult to design and stress test.  If they released a version for the Android that didn't work on your particular device, you would complain also, so why not wait until they have time to release something that works across all of the versions instead of complaining they didn't release one yet.


Yes... this makes perfect sense... I much prefer having 0% chance of getting one on my device instead having them release one (they could even label as a beta app for all I care) and have a chance at being able to use it... .01% is definitely exactly the same as 0%... ((and I'm sure that I'd have much greater than .01% chance of it working on my device)) 
Stop using "IMO" in sentences that aren't opinion. If you don't think a deck will ever be tier 1, that's great - but it's not an opinion. It's a prediction of the future. I identify as neither male nor female. You may refer to me with either gender pronoun or the singular they, whichever suits you best. ^_^ Re: Dismember
97543238 wrote:
Everybody knows that having your awesome creatures killed before they can do anything is frustrating, but the Red mage in me doesn't seem to understand why it's so bad when his creatures spontaneously combust into Flame Javelins and make his opponent discard something at the same time.
Currently Working On: Self-Mill (Standard)
They've said on Twitter that they submitted the iPhone and Android apps at about the same time, but it's taking longer for the Android version to be approved, and that it should be available within a few days.

Also, what are you guys talking about when you say no multiplayer support? You can add up to six players to the life tracker, and include General damage and poison counters the same way you can with a two player game.

Edit: I forgot to mention that after about twnety minutes of use, the app seemed to be more responsive. Maybe it was because of the downloading in the backgroung. I don't see myself using it for anything other than the life tracker, and I have no complaints with it anymore since it's become more responsive.
They've said on Twitter that they submitted the iPhone and Android apps at about the same time, but it's taking longer for the Android version to be approved, and that it should be available within a few days.

This is a lie, plain and simple. You should not believe everything they tell to you.

There is no approval process for Android. Apps go live in seconds, hours in the worst case due to caching used on the servers.

Saying that is a poor excuse, and a lie.

What it says on the official site: developer.android.com/guide/publishing/p...

When you are satisfied that your publishing settings are correctly configured and your uploaded application is ready to be released to the public, you can simply click Publish in the Developer Console to make your app available for download around the world. Keep in mind, it can take several hours for your app to appear on Android Market after you click Publish in the Developer Console. 

When I'm not grumbling about mythics, I actually have a day job as an IP lawyer, working primarily with digital content owners and platforms. When combined with my experience within the music industry I have practised for over 15 years in this area and I would say I know more about the legal and commercial merits of IP enforcement within it than the entire staff of Wizards.

I am 100% against the aggressive actions taken against other apps*. In all likelihood, a lot of these cases will be without merit but using strongarm tactics, since it is not per se unlawful to create an app designed to support someone elses IP - it is really no different to all of the websites with deckbuilding functions etc. But even if all of the apps were unlawful (which I have not looked into) then there is still a question as to whether it is commercially worthwhile, and all of the evidence suggests it is not.

I recently attended a conference in which the keynote speaker was the creator of angry birds. Their attitude to piracy was simply this: make your own product the easiest to access, better than the others, and reasonably priced, and let the customers sort it out. And that's piracy - this is not even piracy, its just creating rival products.

Shame on you Wizards. I was looking forward to this app, and there are some features that I really like, but I find the deckbuilding clunky and the update pricing regime needlessly grabby. But its the fact that you want to abuse your market position to push out the alternatives, rather than working on improving yours, that I find unacceptable. You are not serving the customer needs, and you are not even serving your own commercial needs.

* I'm assuming that these other apps in question work properly, offer a function and deliver on it, and don't pretend to be an official Wizards product.
I'm not sure where all the animosity about WotC taking down 3rd party apps is coming from. If you absolutely must have an app on a platform that involves Magic, it really isn't that difficult to build your own. Also, what's so interesting about this thing in the first place? Why buy something to do Magic related things when you already buy Magic cards either in cardboard form or in digital form?

So you can think about Magic on a bus ride, standing in line at a store, or waiting in the bank? What did you do before now, and why did it all of a sudden stop existing now that this app is available?

Orzhova Witness

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Disregard women acquire chase rares.
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How;s a 2 drop 1/2, Flying broken? What am I missing?
You're missing it because *turns Storm Crows sideways* all your base are belong to Chuck Norris and every other overused meme ever.
Uhm ... if anyone simply searched the markets there are already MTG apps that do everything this does and more, all free, and on android as well as just iphone.  Not only are you behind WoTC, you're trying to rip us off.
That could be the reason why WotC is using legal threats to shut down the existing competitors to their just-released Toolbox app.
I'm an Android user and I'm sorely disappointed. Since the official toolbox was announced, what I felt was the best MTG app on Android, MTG Deck Forge got pulled from the app store. 

Deck Forge was an amazing app for building decks along with sample hand generator and simple mana curve charts, doing card lookups, and made deck constuction super easy and convinient. 

One of the best parts of Deck Forge was the updates. The dev worked hard to continually clear up bugs and ALWAYS provided the newest set ready to be searched up by the app's card lookup engine and deck builder tools at latest, the day of the set's release. All these conditions such as a micro-transaction every time I want a new set in the deck builder when others once charged a one-time fee to buy the app, and provided support until the app was forcibly pulled by WotC? Pretty disgusting.

I have to agree with many other posters on this thread. Wizards is functionally releasing an inferior product that screams money grab with the micro-transactions for updates and simultaneously demolishing all other alternatives in the market using IP strongarm tactics.

Fortunately, even though there will never be another deck forge update, the app is still there, and even without DKA being added or modern format card sorting, the app still appears functionally superior to the money grab that the official toolbox is right now.
Shame on you, Wizards! Do you even realize how much money YOU have been making from players using Decked Builder? Or what Magic would really look like without the support of the community? Decked Builder is one of the greatest tools ever made, it improves player's ability to brew and to play the game well, and yes, it makes them buy cards. Everything you have ever produced in terms of digital products has been subpar, so yes, I understand you'd rather remove the competition than trying to compete fairly. But there is a big difference between being legally right and behaving like a bully.

But of course, legality and intellectual rights have nothing to do with this. Otherwise, you would have gone after Decked a long time ago. Nope! You just want to make sure you'll get as much as you can out of your silly app. Well, your silly app can go to he**.
Not too long ago Wizards shut down an app called iGather, now they release their app which is almost identical to it in every way! Accept now it functions much more slowly and I get the added bonus of paying to update my deck building database. Also they are attacking other excellent apps just so they won't need to worry about the competition! 

Wizards, Magic lives and dies based on the community, so stop acting like bullies and thugs and let the community thrive! 
Curious as to how I can update the deckbuilder? I don't see a pay option anywhere...
I'm going to add to the conversation that's actually relevant to the topic of the toolbox and not Android users bitching or fake lawyers.

According to the article, everything up to Dark Ascension is available, yet I can not locate any of Dark Ascension's cards in the database for deck building. Is there something I have to do to enable this?
I'm not sure where all the animosity about WotC taking down 3rd party apps is coming from. If you absolutely must have an app on a platform that involves Magic, it really isn't that difficult to build your own. Also, what's so interesting about this thing in the first place? Why buy something to do Magic related things when you already buy Magic cards either in cardboard form or in digital form?

So you can think about Magic on a bus ride, standing in line at a store, or waiting in the bank? What did you do before now, and why did it all of a sudden stop existing now that this app is available?

People have been using other apps for years, Wizards decides it fancies making it's own and then DMCA's the rest out of existance...at least that seems to be their plan. Their app isn't as good as some of the others and pointlessly won't even run on anything less than ios 4.0.3.

Why buy them? Most of them are free, but you can for instance have records of all of your decks or indeed all of your collection...in paper form that wouldn't be very portable.

I have a long train ride to work I often make decks during it.     

+1 for Windows Phone 7 Please!
Add another vote for Windows phone please.
I'm a Decked Builder user, I wouldn't mind if Decked charged me for the new set on Wizards behalf.  IT ISN'T THE MONEY THAT %^&*( ME OFF.  Decked let you buy the cards you made in its builder and it was a smoother program.  I don't know why they would kill a vender like that.  I don't have a problem paying if its something worth paying for... This new app just doen't fit that cryteria.  Let third parties charge for you like any other card shop.  

I will not be buying any more cards until they remove head from rectum on this one.  
Vote for not neglecting Android users nor WM 7 users (soon WM 8) as I use both. Why are You forcing people to use Apple's phones while Android is easier to make programs for !?


when's it coming out on android phones?
I wanted to download this app on my new iPhone, but I can't find it in the app store anywhere. I tried searching on the app store from the phone and from iTunes, and I even tried googling, but I still can't find it. Can anyone help me?


This app sounded cool.  Whatever happened to it?

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