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Play Design is a Magic R&D team solely dedicated to the health of tournament environments, to make sure that playing Magic in structured settings is as enjoyable as possible.[1][2][3]


The team was introduced in 2017, after R&D had missed the copy cat combo. Play Design is primarily focused on Standard, Booster Draft and Sealed.[4][5][6][7]

Play Design does the bulk of its work roughly one year before a set is released. The team has four three-month segments in the Design process, one for each play environment (with four Standard-legal sets released each year there are four distinct play environments). Each one lines up with Set Design such that the first two months are the last two months of Set Design and the last month is the set after Set Design hands off (but when there's still time to tweak numbers if necessary).[3]

Play design interacts with digital Magic — including MTG Arena and Magic Online — and how it affects the design and development of cards.[8]

Current members[]

Former members[]


In June 2017, the column named Play Design replaced Latest Developments on It was started by Melissa DeTora,[16] but other members also contributed. By 2019, that column had largely been replaced by a weekly stream on the Magic:The Gathering Twitch channel.


  1. Mark Rosewater (May 17, 2017). "Play Design". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  2. Dan Burdick (June 16, 2017). "On the Shoulders of Giants". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. a b author(s) (Mark Rosewater). "Vision Design, Set Design, and Play Design". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (May 20, 2017). "Are there plans for the Play Design team to work on Legacy and Vintage as well as standard?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  5. Mark Rosewater (May 20, 2017). "What exactly is the difference between Play Design and what the Future Future League does?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  6. Mark Rosewater (June 16, 2017). "The difference between Development and Play Design?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  7. Mark Rosewater (June 1 7, 2017). "Play Design?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  8. Melissa DeTora (December 15, 2017). "Play Design and Digital Magic". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Bryan Hawley (April 24, 2019). "Checking in With Play Design". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Jadine Klomparens (December 31, 2018), "How I Wrote Magic Strategy".
  11. a b Melissa DeTora on Twitter
  12. Blake Rasmussen (December 11, 2020). "2020-21 Season Magic Rivals League Roster Changes".
  13. Oliver Tiu on Twitter
  14. Tom Ross (December 1, 2017). "From Player to Play Designer". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Tom Ross. (November 9, 2018). ""I'll be playing in #SCGVEGAS next weekend."". Twitter.
  16. Melissa DeTora (June 23, 2017). "Cycle of Torment". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[]