Something like this apparently takes a while (years) to arrive to their conclusion, but there is a little update.
WotC has updated the document with 100+ pages of specific examples, which are basically comparing individual cards in HEX to what they deem to be counter part in Magic.
To me (no legal background), these seems rather more valid argument than the original claim where they mentioned about identical card types, tapping/consuming mana/resource, 5 colors + 1 color (artifact) etc. These original claim seemed rather to generic and if such claim went through, I was afraid WotC can use same argument to almost any other existing trading/collectible card game i.e. totally monopolize the genre.
Safe or Out?
These 107 examples brings up rather interesting perspective.
Obviously, Wizard of the Coast gathered these list, and their intention is to say these cards are copied from Magic and violating copyrights.
The similarity here is undeniable, but if you look at these card carefully there is a very subtle difference.
Although the HEX’s threshold is different from Magic’s mana color due to the difference in the resource system, they can be easily considered as same entity just presented in a different way. If this assumption is correct, then in Magic you need two swamp (black) mana but in HEX you need only one blood (purple) threshold.
For those of you who don’t play dTCG/dCCG often may argue, that’s way too subtle difference but those who play these genre of game knows the balance among cards are almost everything in card game. If the balance is off, then the game becomes easily broken and not fun to play. In fact, it is not uncommon to have a change in card balance for just 1 casting cost, 1 attacking/health to restore these balance.
So playing devils advocate here is that “yes. game are similar”, and “yes. I believe HEX is inspired by Magic”, but having different stats (even they may appear slight at first glance) it tells the overall game balance are different.
Now I intentionally picked the card that looks so similar. Obviously, not all are like above. For example,
Very similar effect between the two cards. However, in HEX this requires only wild(green) threshold whereas in Magic it requires both forest(green) and plain(white) mana.
Furthermore, in HEX you have to exhaust specific type of troop (Shin’hare) whereas in Magic you can tap any creature.
The difference extends even furtherer. The Battle Hopper is 0/1 troop whereas Magic’s card creates 1/1. On top of all these, of course Concubunny has 0/1 but Selesnya Evangel has 1/2.
In short, we have token creating troop/creature with requirement being exhausting/tapping itself and additional troop/creature of own. However, costs, stat of the card, stat of the token, and specific requirement of the creating token are different.
But of course, there are cards that are identical between the two games.
These two cards are essentially identical even to the point of rarity.
Obviously, conclusion here is all up to the judge and anyone can make any assumption or prediction. But as a dTCG player, I hope Cryptozoic will be able to defend themselves; otherwise, Wizard can really monopolize the industry and there will be no potential growth in the genre other than whatever Wizard thinks right.Blunt copying is not right but we have to remember in game, even what appears small/subtle difference can change audience and the experience.
I don’t know if Street Fighter was the first 2D battle game but if Capcon was allowed to prevent all other 2D games that have the similar mechanics, there would be no Mortal combat, may be no Virtual fighter, Tekken or hundreds of other fighting games. We can say the same for FPS, third person shooter, or RPG.