Magic: The Gathering‘s next Secret Lair release is fast becoming one of the most controversial products ever created for the collectible card game.
For those not in the know, Wizards of the Coast announced earlier this week that AMC’s The Walking Dead – due to air its final season 10 episode later today – is to get its own set of suitably themed cards as part of a special collaboration. Unlike previous crossovers such as My Little Pony and Godzilla, however, these particular cards are neither silver-bordered (denoting their status as non-tournament legal) or alternate art variants of existing cards, as was the case with the latter in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.
Instead, those so far revealed, which feature several characters from the show including Michonne, Negan and Glenn, all have unique abilities to call their own. While all three are legal in formats such as Commander, none are overtly strong or even meta-defining, making their extremely limited availability somewhat inconsequential. That silver lining managed to somewhat keep emotions in check, then, though the fragile peace has since been shattered thanks to the reveal of a fourth card – Rick, Steadfast Leader.
As pointed out by fans over on Reddit, the low cost, flexible nature and huge buff to tribal human decks that Rick provides to mono white decks represents a considerably higher power level over those previously shown and makes it a borderline must-have card for the archetype. Only adding further insult to injury, many have noted that Rick has all the hallmarks of a top-tier Commander (a creature that can be played from a hand multiple times after being destroyed) for white, a color that even Wizards of the Coast admitted previously has been lagging behind others in the format.
Making one of the best printed in recent memory exclusive to a limited time product, then, has led to overwhelming negativity and criticisms from players calling out it out as a thinly-veiled move to boost sales. Whether this latest development in the long-running feud will prompt another statement from Magic: The Gathering‘s creator remains to be seen, of course, and it’s worth noting that we’ve yet to see the entire set revealed. The remaining few cards will be unveiled later today, though, as part of a special episode of Talking Dead, so stay tuned.