He Also Did: Mark Rosewater, Head Designer of Magic R&D, was a writer for Roseanne for a short time before he worked at Wizards of the Coast. This fact has become something of a Running Gag in his weekly column on the official website.
The now-discontinued annual Magic Invitational tournament invited the game's top players to compete for the chance to submit their own custom card to the game and get their face featured in its artwork.
Promoted Fanboy: Many current members of the R&D team that creates the game started off as regular players. Notably, contestants in the Great Designer Search received internships in R&D as a reward for winning a card design competition, and are now full-time employees.
Sleeper Hit: Wizards of the Coast wasn't big until got a hold of Magic, and at that point their only call to fame was being the holder of the Ars Magica RPG franchise. A decade later, it was big enough for Hasbro to come calling.
When making the first true expansion, Arabian Nights, the idea was tossed around that cards from different sets would have different card backgrounds to determine what set they were from (Arabian Nights's was going to be purple with gold accents). The change was averted at the last minute, seeing how the different card backs—as deck protectors weren't that widely used yet—would help players fix their decks. Instead, we were given the expansion symbols that appear on the right side of the card between the art and the text box. And the rest is history.
Originally, Withengar's art was going to depict him as being much smaller and missing a finger, which was supposed to have been the blade that he was sealed in. When the artist, Eric Deschamps, was told to redraw Withengar so that he was as big as a building, Withengar's fingers were much larger than knives, so Deschamps drew Withengar without any missing fingers and redrew the blade.
Working Title: Every set has a codename that the designers and developers use before the final name is decided. Normally, each three-set block gets a three-word phrase (a practice that began with Mercadian Masques); for example, Ravnica, Guildpact, and Dissension were Control, Alt, and Delete, respectively.