Tuesday, 28 Mar 2023

No, You Can’t Rub Off Step-And-Compleat Foil In MTG’s Phyrexia: All Will Be One

Despite claims online that say otherwise, Magic: The Gathering’s newest foil treatment won’t come off just by lightly rubbing on the card with your finger.

For Phyrexia: All Will Be One, Wizards of the Coast debuted ‘Step-and-Compleat’ foiling. This treatment mimics the step-and-repeat backdrops used at fashion shows and red carpets, repeating the Phyrexian emblem across the card. It looks great, and cards using it are often the most valuable cards in the set, however, there have been concerns that it is incredibly prone to damage.

On a stream where he opened packs of Phyrexia: All Will Be One, streamer PaymoneyWubby demonstrated how you can remove the Phyrexian emblems from a Step-and-Compleat card. Using an alt-art, Step-and-Compleat Kaya, Intangible Slayer, he rubbed his finger over one specific emblem, and, after only a few seconds, the emblem appeared to have been partially removed. For the rarest art treatment, found only in expensive Collector boosters, this sort of fragility would certainly be cause for controversy.

Fortunately, it appears as if this is not actually what is happening, and there is no risk of long-term damage to your cards. I repeated PaymoneyWubby’s process on my own Step-and-Compleat card, and got the exact same result as him. At first, it looks as though the Phyrexian emblem has been completely removed, and won’t appear regardless of what angle you look at the card from.

However, with a quick wipe of a microfiber cloth (or, more accurately, my shirt), the card looked as good as new, with the previously ‘removed’ emblem clearly visible. The oils from your finger temporarily obfuscate the emblem, but once they’re removed, the emblem returns as normal with no damage to the card.

While removing foiling from MTG cards is possible, doing so is a much more involved process than just rubbing it with your thumb. It often requires applying acetone and friction to completely remove not just the foil, but also the art itself. If there was a way to remove the emblems from a Step-and-Compleat foil, it would also cause visible damage to the card itself.

While there have been concerns about the quality of foils, such as how much more easily they curl or how they can look cloudy in sets like the original Commander Legends, accidentally smudging off the Phyrexian emblem on your Step-and-Compleat Secret Lair isn't one of them.

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