As we are all by now aware, Wizards of the Coast discontinued support for the Magic Interactive Encyclopedia following the Judgment expansion in July 2002. Several members of the Magic community have stepped in to provide compatible updates for recent expansions based on the official Wizards spoilers.

The problem, of course, is that the Encyclopedia is keyed by a five-digit number that Wizards tended to assign somewhat randomly. (The order actually made some sense from Alpha through Tempest, but thereafter it became incredibly erratic.) In order to create patches for the Encyclopedia that are mutually compatible, we must all settle on a common methodology for assigning key values to new cards, starting with Onslaught.

Prior to Onslaught, the highest number assigned was #37120 (the Centaur Rootcaster from Judgment). This card image appeared in the directory "37xxx", since the directories are defined by the first two digits of the key. We propose that each set start with a new directory, and that we assign numbers to cards in the order of the Card Numbers in the Wizards spoilers. Thus, Onslaught will use #38001 - #38350, and the Riptide Replicator will be #38309. The next set, Legions, will use #39001 - #39143.

This wastes a lot of space, admittedly, but Wizards will have to release 60 more sets before we actually run out of numbers, and we sincerely hope that they've published a new Encyclopedia by then. (After all, that's 15-20 years at Wizards' current pace of 3-4 sets/year.) This is the methodology that we've used for assigning numbers to the Magic Analyst cards, and it is already gaining somewhat wider acceptance. If you're a fellow Magic database developer and you disagree with this approach, please drop us a line.

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