Get ready to tap a lot of lands, planeswalkers, because Magic: The Gathering is bringing the likes of Gandalf to its Multiverse with Universes Beyond, a new product line.
Wizards of the Coast have been branching out from the various original realms that Magic has explored, with a new set of cards dubbed Secret Lair. To date, these sets have brought Godzilla and The Walking Dead to the trading card game, and these creative crossovers will continue into the worlds of Tolkien and Warhammer 40,000 with the Universes Beyond line. This will act as a new brand within the brand, merging “the gameplay of Magic: The Gathering with worlds, characters, and stories that are cherished by millions of fans around the world.”
Universes Beyond cards will not be legal for use in Standard format, and will feature a distinct frame and holofoil stamp to separate them from more mainline Magic cards. The new moniker will be applied to products featuring worlds created outside of Wizards of the Coast—so the forthcoming Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set, which brings Wizards-owned Dungeons & Dragons to the card game, will not be included. However these products are intended for sale in all the usual formats where Magic products are currently sold.
Some of the Universes Beyond cards will reskin existing Magic: The Gathering cards as entities from these crossover licenses, an approach used in the Secret Lair: Godzilla set. Others will be wholly original, as in Secret Lair: Walking Dead, and may include their own separate mechanics and keywords. They may also be used to tie-in with sets from the core game, as the Godzilla set did with the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths expansion. The Warhammer 40,000 products will be a set of decks for the popular Commander format.
The crossover with Games Workshop may come as a surprise to some. The UK-based company publishes Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer Fantasy Battles, and other games set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. Warhammer is a more graphic game in tone than Magic: The Gathering, and Tolkien’s estate is often protective of his intellectual property, but the mash-ups could be a dream come true for many fans on all sides. Magic players have long made their own cards for non-Magic properties, so Universes Beyond may scratch that itch in an official way. However, some expressed dissatisfaction with the previous crossovers, so the initiative’s success remains to be seen.
“Universes Beyond came about thanks to a simple thought—if we can expand our story beyond the game system to things like comics, novels, and other games, then surely we can expand the game system to let players explore worlds outside of the worlds of Magic,” a spokesperson for Wizards of the Coast said in their official announcement. “We are all fans of these other universes. Many of us imagined what it might be like to play a game of Magic with Gandalf the Grey, sketched out how we might translate the One Ring to Magic, or wanted to build a deck around the mighty Space Marines. In many ways, Universes Beyond is us living out those dreams of our own.
“But we also hope that Universes Beyond will bring the game we love to more people who might not have otherwise found us. We hope fans of these worlds and characters will find our game through Universes Beyond—and we hope they’ll stay a while and become part of our amazing community.”
New Universes Beyond products will arrive in 2022, with the existing Secret Lair: Walking Dead being retroactively considered part of the product family.