Ask Wizards: Shards, RSS, and Mysterious Symbols

Posted in Arcana on December 30, 2008

By Wizards of the Coast

Do you have a question about Magic: The Gathering or Wizards of the Coast? See if it's already been answered in the Ask Wizards archive. Or just send it, along with your name and location, to us via this email form. The best place to go for rules questions is the Rules Q&A Forum

November 25, 2008

Q: What are the symbols on the bottom of the booster box? One looks like a lion's head in a diamond, the other is the letters "CE."
–Greg, Cape Girardeau, MO, USA

A: From Andy Smith, Magic brand:

The back of a Shards of Alara booster pack

The CE Mark, together with the name and address of the first supplier, was required by law to appear on all toys placed on the market in the European Union on and after January 1990.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about what a CE Mark really means.

The CE Mark was established to ensure a free market of toys right across the Community and the mark has sometimes been described as the 'passport for product'. It is the first supplier's statement that his toys meet the essential safety requirements of the European Toy Safety Directive, and that such toys are therefore entitled to free movement throughout the Community. In order to show that his products meet that requirement, the first supplier in the Community has to maintain a Technical File which is a description of the means whereby the conformity of the production with the agreed harmonised standards is maintained.

The CE marking is not a European safety marker or quality symbol intended for consumers and should not be presented as such. Its purpose is to indicate to enforcement authorities that the toys bearing it are intended for sale in the European Community and signifies a declaration by the manufacturer or his authorised representative in the Community that the toys satisfy the requirement applicable to them and are entitled to access Community markets.

The address (which must also be displayed with the CE Mark) enables the inspector to trace the supplier and request the technical file if he/she has a reason to believe a non compliance with the regulations.

The CE Mark is now appearing on many other products, for example on Electomagnetic Compatability (EMC), Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment (R and TTE) and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as cycle helmets and knee and elbow protective pads used by skateboarders and others.

The Lion Mark

The Lion Mark was developed in 1988 by the British Toy & Hobby Association as a symbol of toy safety and quality for the consumer, exactly what the CE Mark is not.

While the Lion Mark is only used by BTHA members, its membership includes many major international and European companies. In all, the BTHA members supply around 95% of all toys sold in the UK.

So what is the point of a Lion Mark?

To display the Lion Mark, the supplier has signed a strict Code of Practice, (the TRA Code is based on this same document), which, as well as covering toy safety matters, demands the highest standards of ethics in advertising and in the thorny matter of counterfeiting.

The Green Dot

The Green Dot is an internationally recognized symbol that shows a company’s commitment to environmental protection. The Green Dot trademark is now protected in more than 160 countries around the world.

Duales Systems Deutschland established the Green Dot in Germany in the early ‘90s. PRO EUROPE, an umbrella organization, administers the Green Dot program internationally for the 20 national packaging recovery and recycling compliance schemes that use the symbol. Licensing fees are used to support the development and operation of national packaging stewardship programs.

The basic idea of the Green Dot is that consumers who see the logo know that the manufacturer of the product contributes to the cost of recovery and recycling. This can be with household waste collected by the authorities (e.g., in special bags - in Germany these are yellow), or in containers in public places such as car parks and outside supermarkets.

License fees are paid by the producers of the products. Fees vary by country and are based on the material used in packaging (e.g. paper, plastic, metal, wood, cardboard). Each country also has different fees for joining the scheme and ongoing fixed and variable fees. Fees also take into account the cost of collection, sorting and recycling methods.

In simple terms, the system encourages manufacturers to cut down on packaging as this saves them the cost of license fees.

November 25, 2008

Q: Oh no! One day when I was browsing some Shards of Alara cards, I just came to notice that Wayne Reynolds had his illustrational appearance only on Naya! Coincidence I thought, but that got me curious, so I checked out Mark Tedin`s artwork just to find it staying on Grixis. No coincidence then, right? So, did you pick adequate artists for every shard, or was it kind of random? And will it stay so in future sets?

A: From Jeremy Jarvis, Magic Art Director:

Hi Marco,

Yes and No.

Yes, artists were "stabled" by Shard.

No, I didn't pick "adequate" artists... I picked brilliant artists for each shard... Each one more perfect than the last! (end self-aggrandizing tirade).

Seriously, I've talked before about trying to visually distance each setting/block from the last. Well, that was exacerbated fivefold here. Each Shard needed its own visual identity. My goal was that, when you crack a booster, you know what shard each and every individual card hails from solely from the visual approach and style of the art. In fact, I really wanted the card encyclopedia in the Players Guide to be organized by shard, so you could get a good eagle's eye view of that shard's visual tone. I was out-voted, but It would have made me happy.

Anyway, look and feel by Shard:

Straightforward, more classical "realist" approach.
Weight and Heft portrayed with a straight face.

Esper was all about 'surface' and visual refinement.

Hectic, visceral mark-making... And the ability to be gross.

Passionate, primordial painterly-ness. Active art barely captured by the 'moving camera'

Naya was tough. The best I can explain it is Naya is about 'surface awareness' and stylization of drawing.


November 25, 2008

Q: For the old website I used to subscribe to the RSS feed. Is there an RSS feed for the new Specifically the portion?

A: From Monty Ashley, Magic Web Team:

Yes there is! It's over here:

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