Magic: The Gathering leaks are nothing new. Whether by accident or on purpose, reviewers and gamers with early access to new sets of card packs have, pretty regularly, shown off card pulls before they were allowed to do so. Usually the consequences for leakers are simple and effective: Wizards of the Coast, which publishes Magic: The Gathering, typically refuses to allow those individuals early access in the future. It’s slightly more unusual for Wizards to have allegedly sent Pinkerton agents to a man’s house in order to retrieve “stolen goods.”
Over the past week or so, a YouTuber known as oldschoolmtg has been uploading videos of himself opening packs of the new, unreleased Magic: The Gathering set: March of the Machine: The Aftermath. He uploaded three videos, which were widely shared on Reddit and MTG communities, even making headlines on IGN and other sites. He alleged to have 22 boxes, and uploaded multiple videos last week. It’s estimated that oldschoolmtg leaked about 75% of the entire set, or about 36 of the set’s 50 cards. The set is scheduled to be released in just a few weeks on May 12, with “official” reveals set to begin at the start of the month.
And then on Sunday, April 23, oldschoolmtg uploaded a video titled “The Aftermath of The Aftermath … Everything Is Gone!” He described how Pinkerton agents allegedly showed up at his door that morning, demanding the return of the Magic cards. You might be familiar with the name; Pinkerton is a risk management and security firm that many people associate with agents sent to undermine unions in the early 1900s, infiltrating those unions in order to prevent unionists from gaining employment, recruit goon squads, act as security guards for management, and undermine strikes. Pinkertons were also a part of the Battle of Blair Mountain—the largest labor uprising in the United States. It is the kind of company you hire when you want to intimidate people and force them to comply immediately.
According to his YouTube video, the Pinkertons allegedly asked oldschoolmtg to turn over the “stolen product”—which is, in this case, Magic cards. They collected the cards, the boxes they came in, and even foil that the booster sets are wrapped in. He stated that the agents counted the cards to make sure they retrieved all of them. In the video, oldschoolmtg said that the agents also mentioned “jail time” while they were speaking to him and his wife. The agents gave oldschoolmtg a name and number at Wizards of the Coast, allegedly told him to delete the videos he posted onto YouTube, and left.
Oldschoolmtg thinks he knows how the mix up happened—and says that he believes it’s a complete accident he received these cards ahead of time. He said that he purchased the booster boxes from a friend of his who is “not really a Magic player” and is much more invested in other Trading Card Games (TCGs) like Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokémon. Because the earlier set of cards was titled March of Machine and was released on April 21, oldschoolmtg suspects that his supplier simply didn’t realize that the cards he was selling (titled March of the Machine: The Aftermath) was a different, unreleased set.
When he got on the phone with the Wizards of the Coast representative, oldschoolmtg says that the man was “apologetic” and they needed all the product back in order to “plug the hole.” He describes the interaction as “nice and laid back,” and it appears as if Wizards of the Coast was “apologetic” about sending literal Pinkerton agents to his house.
When asked for a comment, Wizards of the Coast confirmed that the video, its allegations, and the alleged Pinkerton agents were a “part of their investigation.” When asked for clarification, the company said it had no additional details to share, and did not deny the hiring of Pinkerton to aid in the product retrieval. io9 has reached out to oldschoolmtg for comment.
In the wake of a tumultuous year for fandoms of properties under the Wizards of the Coast’s banner—including the infamous Dungeons & Dragons OGL fiasco in early January—this is not a great look for the company. Instead of handling this discretely, it likely hired the most infamous rent-a-cops in the United States to raid the house of a man who runs an Magic appreciation channel on YouTube with less than 4,000 subscribers.
We will update this story as we learn new information.
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