Magic: The Gathering will soon be expanding its reach to encompass as much of wider pop culture and geekdom as possible as part of a new initiative.
Following on from the Wall Street Journal’s report yesterday that multiple crossover products for the card game were in the works, Wizards of the Coast parent company Hasbro confirmed exactly that in the form of collaborative Warhammer 40,000 and Lord of the Rings expansions. While many questions regarding their place in the wider Magic ecosystem remain unanswered, we now know that both of these, as well as all future commodities featuring third-party properties, will fall under the umbrella of Universes Beyond.
Though specifics are due to come at a later date, Wizards does shed some light on what this will all mean for the average player. First and foremost, anything printed under the brand will not be Standard-legal. This doesn’t just include upcoming visits to Middle-earth and the dystopian universe of Games Workshop’s Warhammer, but pre-existing sets, too. Last year’s Secret Lair X The Walking Dead, for example, will be retroactively placed here. Godzilla cards found in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoth packs, on the other hand, will not, as they were designed as alternate art versions of core Magic cards.
Standard will be left completely unaffected by the above, then, but what of other formats? No specific mention of Vintage, Historic, Pioneer, etc. is made in the press release, though considering the legality of Rick Grimes, Negan and other TWD cards, we imagine most, if not all, applicable products will be playable in at least one. Were that not the case or, indeed, the intention, then the existing blue-bordered promotional design would have been used instead.
In essence, then, Universes Beyond straddles a thin line between playable and collectible Magic: The Gathering. Welcome news, or one step too far? Let us know what you think down below!