19, Jul, 23

Celebratory Artists Appear in New Japanese MTG Promo Cards!

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Article at a Glance

Promo cards have been popular in the world of MTG for many years. As the game has grown over time, more and more versions of already existing cards have become available. While many examples simply showcase the cards with different artwork or treatments, sometimes promo cards are designed to celebrate MTG and its evolution as a game. That’s exactly what MTG 30th Anniversary promos were designed to do. Almost a year ago, Wizards of the Coast announced this series of promos that would last all the way into 2024.

Interestingly enough, Japan is releasing additional 30th anniversary promo cards beyond those originally listed by Wizards of the Coast. These promos, specifically Shivan Dragon and Destroy Evil, have unique artwork and cool designs. Given their lack of distribution, these cards could end up selling for a decent chunk of money. So how do these cards differ from the traditional 30th Anniversary promos?

30th Anniversary Announcement

Back in 2022, the 30th anniversary promo series was announced and was kicked off with the set Dominaria United. Beyond the nearly $1,000 30th Anniversary Edition product, the goal of this group of promos was to show off MTG cards from every year of Magic’s existence. In Dominaria United, Serra Angel kicked things off, alongside Ball Lightning and Fyndhorn Elves. At each of eight prereleases, starting with Dominaria United, players at local stores would have the opportunity to walk away with one or more of these cool promotional items.

These promos are set to run all the way through the first set of prereleases in 2024, past Wilds of Eldraine and Lost Caverns of Ixalan. 29 of the 30 promo cards were revealed late in 2022, with the last promo coming from Brother’s War, which hadn’t been released at the time of announcement. Additionally, some of these promos were designed as foreign cards, available only in one specific language. One of these cards, Tarmogoyf, was even featured in Japanese. Importantly though, none of these promos include Shivan Dragon or Destroy Evil. These appear to be entirely new promotional items, so let’s take a look at what they have to offer.

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Shivan Dragon Speculation

While it appears that not a lot of information is available regarding these promos so far, translating the promotion of Shivan Dragon can give us some clues. It looks like the place running this promotion is an official Anniversary store, meaning its likely sanctioned by Wizards of the Coast. This also could simply mean that there are multiple stores running this promotion, but not every one (select stores), but we are unsure.

This image seems to imply that there are two ways to get these cards. First, you could buy an entrance ticket in advance, which would come with one copy of the Shivan Dragon promo delivered by mail. Second, for every 5,000 Yen spent, you get to walk away with that many copies of this Shivan Dragon promo card.

The artwork is very well done by Kota Nakatsubo, who has actually done artwork for another dragon-themed card in Kamigawa, Neon Dynasty. One variant of The Dragon-Kami Reborn, a double-sided saga, features his artwork. The artist for the Destroy Evil, however, has never illustrated MTG cards before. Let’s take a look at the Destroy Evil promo and the potential ways to obtain it.

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Destroy Evil Speculation

For Destroy Evil, there doesn’t seem to be any bonus for spending extra money. Instead, you can either guarantee that you receive a copy of the Destroy Evil promo by purchasing a ticket in advance, or you can purchase a ticket the day of and receive one if there are any left. By buying a ticket ahead of time, you will get a Destroy Evil promo by mail, much like with Shivan Dragon. However, you also have the chance to get one even on the same day, but there is a limited quantity.

Destroy Evil’s artist, Naoki Saito, has never worked on MTG cards before, but is a renowned artist in the world of Pokémon cards. He also has significant contributions to the Dual Masters card game and to Hitsune Miku merchandising. Otherwise, he was the main illustrator for the game Dragalia Lost and even wrote and illustrated an entire Manga series.

It’s cool to see these promos available, even if it is in limited distribution. That being said, plenty of players are still questioning the choices to use Shivan Dragon and Destroy Evil for these promos.

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Underwhelming Inclusions

While Shivan Dragon is definitely an iconic MTG card, it’s obviously not a super powerful card by today’s standards. Power creep has simply made this card relatively obsolete. Meanwhile, Destroy Evil is certainly playable, but is still just a common at the end of the day. In that sense, it may feel underwhelming to see these cards be the choice for these promo cards. Unfortunately, many of the promo cards for Magic’s 30th Anniversary celebration have a similar feel. While some cards like Tarmogoyf are decent inclusions, there are plenty of inclusions, such as Acidic Slime, that are relatively uninteresting.

What slightly separates these promos, especially the Shivan Dragon promo, is that it appears there may be a limited supply. These cards may potentially still sell for a decent amount of money, even though the cards themselves are nothing special. Shivan Dragon, being as iconic as it is, also makes sense to include in an MTG celebration such as this. The card even gets the unique flavor text highlighted above that gives off celebratory vibes. More information about these promos may become available over time. For now though, it’s interesting to see a specific store(s) in Japan showing off these cool cards, and it’s definitely worth monitoring these promos in the coming months.

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