Vertex Paladin | March of the Machine
3, Apr, 24

MTG Designer Confirms New Battle Cards Are Coming Soon… Ish

Article at a Glance

For the longest time, Magic: The Gathering only had eight core card types. Regardless of which mechanics a card used, everything was either an Artifact, Creature, Enchantment, Instant, Land, Planeswalker, Sorcery, or Kindred spell. In 2023, this all changed as after 16 years, Wizards created a brand new MTG card type; Battle.

Appearing in March of the Machine, there was understandably an awful lot of excitement about Battles and how they played. Not only did Battles offer brand-new mechanics to enjoy, but many of them were rather good too! Still seeing regular play in multiple formats, Battles were undeniably a hit from the moment they launched.

Despite being a success from right out of the gate, Battle cards haven’t reappeared since March of the Machine. With multiple sets having seemingly offered great opportunities in the meantime, players have understandably been wondering what’s going on. Thankfully, according to MTG’s Lead Designer, it now seems players will have some new Battles to enjoy soon… ish.

Battles Are Coming Back!

Invasion of Ixalan

After a bout of April Fools Day silliness, Mark Rosewater is back to answering questions as usual on Blogatog. When doing this, unfortunately, it’s rather rare that Rosewater reveals any concrete information about what Wizards is planning. Outside of their pre-set release teases, MTG players usually have to settle for a cryptic When/If answer.

Bucking this trend, recently Mark Rosewater officially confirmed that Battles are coming back. “I can say there is at least one upcoming set (meaning something we are currently designing) that currently has Battles in it.” Expanding upon this reveal, Rosewater stated the unnamed set “still has to make it to print.”

Beyond this confirmation, Rosewater also stated that Wizards of the Coast “are looking for places to use Battles.” Hopefully, for fans of the new card type, this means Battles should appear again and again whenever they fit. While it’s somewhat frustrating these opportunities haven’t been realized already, it’s understandable Wizards wanted to wait for player reaction first.

When Will Battles Return?

Invasion of Ikoria | March of the Machine
Invasion of Ikoria | March of the Machine

Unfortunately, in their recent, surprisingly revealing statement, Mark Rosewater didn’t explicitly say exactly when Battles will return. That being said, there are still a fair few clues that we can piece together to form an answer. For starters, at worst, a new Battle will released by late 2026

While not ideal, this very large potential release window is defined by Wizards’ development schedule for sets. Currently, MTG sets will be in development for roughly two and a half years before they are finally released to the public. This means the Fall 2026 premier set, codenamed Berlin, is the latest opportunity for a Battle to appear.

Thankfully, while Berlin is one possibility, it’s highly likely we’ll see new Battle cards sooner than late 2026. Before then, we’d be very surprised if Ziplining didn’t contain a few new Battle cards since it is a “Capstone” MTG set. Much like March of the Machine, Ziplining concludes the three-year Metronome Arc, so new Battles seem rather likely.

Alongside this obvious opportunity, some MTG players predict that either Ultimate or Wrestling could contain the much-desired new Battles. Releasing in the Spring and Fall of 2025, these sets are the earliest logical places that new Battle cards could appear. Launching two and two and a half years after March of the Machine, there’s very little chance Battles could appear before this.

While Magic’s return to Tarkir and Lorwyn seems like the earliest opportunity, there is some speculation Modern Horizons 3 could contain Battles. This theory has come from some unique horizontal-looking art for the MTG set, which Battle cards feature. Currently, this theory is unconfirmed, but we should find out soon once the set’s spoiler season starts.

Why Haven’t Battles Returned Yet?

Caetus, Sea Tyrant of Segovia | March of the Machine
Caetus, Sea Tyrant of Segovia | March of the Machine

Ultimately, there’s a good reason that players have been waiting for new Battles for so long. For better or worse, Wizards of the Coast wanted to make sure they got this new card type right. Since Battles were such a major innovation, Wizards didn’t want to rush and flood future sets with them, in case they failed.

Instead, Wizards wanted to make sure that March of the Machine, and its Battles, were a well-received success before making any more. This is the reason why The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth didn’t contain any Battle cards. Similarly, this is the reason Ultimate is the first opportunity a new Battle card could be feasibly released.

Beyond Wizards waiting to make sure Battles were popular, there is another problem; Battles are double-faced cards. While not every Battle has to be double-faced, the current design of Siege cards means printing Battles isn’t without issue. Much like regular double-faced cards, Wizards needs to create an entire double-faced print sheet, making a single Battle MTG card practically impossible.

Thankfully, despite there being some difficulties in the design of Battles, new cards are nonetheless coming soon. While we may not know exactly how soon, this explicit confirmation is nonetheless exciting. With plenty of great-looking MTG sets releasing in the meantime, hopefully, the wait until 2025 won’t feel as agonizingly long.

Read More: MTG Thunder Junction ‘Aftermath’ Reveals Key to Everything!

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