Magic: The Gathering Fans Upset As New Stickers Circumvent Pithing Needle

A new ruling is sending shockwaves through the Magic: The Gathering community. Unfinity’s new Stickers can be used to get out from under the terrible power of Pithing Needle, a staple card in many of Magic’s competitive formats.

Stickers were recently revealed by Magic designer Mark Rosewater at San Diego Comic-Con. Sort of a mix between a new card type and a counter replacement, Stickers allow you to change or modify almost anything printed on an existing card, and in some cases, even create cards out of inanimate objects.

It’s pretty wild, but what’s even wilder is that Rosewater confirmed Stickers wouldn’t be limited to just Magic’s wild and zany Un-formats. Stickers will be legal in Legacy, Vintage, and Commander, potentially mixing up Magic’s bedrock formats.

If that was all Stickers did, Magic fans would probably have been fine, but today’s ruling has upset players who rely on Pithing Needle to control opponents. Pithing Needle has been a staple card of multiple formats since its introduction in Saviors of Kamigawa. Priced at just a single colorless mana, Pithing Needle allows players to shut down threats by simply naming them, preventing the named card from using its abilities.

The only way to get around Pithing Needle previously was to destroy the Needle, but Stickers now offer a new way of avoiding this ruthless card. According to Matt Tabak, principal Magic editor at Wizards of the Coast, "A permanent under Pithing Needle that changes names, be it from mutate, a copy effect, or a name sticker, will no longer be affected by the [Pithing Needle].”

In other words, all you gotta do is change the Needled card’s name to stop Pithing Needle dead in its tracks. And since Stickers can be used in Legacy, Vintage, and Commander, this could mean Pithing Needle’s days are numbered in multiple formats.

Some Magic players accepted the ruling at face value, but others have gotten agitated at the thought of an Un-set mechanic upsetting old, established formats like Legacy and Vintage. You could even say some of them are a little pithed.

Unfinity hits Magic: The Gathering on October 7.

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