Introducing as it has almost 400 new cards into Magic: The Gathering‘s current Standard rotation, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is a monster set in both name and size. As any creative mind can no doubt attest to, however, not every idea is one worth pursuing, a mantra that card designers at Wizards of the Coast make sure to keep in mind when an upcoming set is still in the concept stages.
In the latest episode of Good Morning Magic, senior Magic designer Gavin Verhey reiterates that the end product fans buy at their local game stores represent but a fraction of the total number of cards originally created for a set, a figure that he says can often stretch into the thousands. Verhey continued to share several examples of cards that were at one point or another intended to appear in Ikoria, one of which was a new Planeswalker, Empronix, Impulsive Elementalist, which, when played, would allow the user to become that character.
Sound familiar? Empronix would eventually become the draft-only card Abion, Luvion Usurper, found in Mystery Boosters.
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Other examples of cut cards include:
- Springtime (Green Sorcery) – Each player puts any number of land cards from their hand onto the battlefield tapped. End the turn.
- Lifeforce Exchange (White Enchantment) – Swap life totals with your opponent.
- Mutating Contagion (Black Creature Spell) – Return Mutate to another creature when it dies.
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is out now for Magic: The Gathering Arena and launches next week, May 15th, for tabletop following manufacturing delays caused by COVID-19. For an in-depth explanation for why all of the above cards were ultimately scrapped, hit the link below.