Seed of Hope
16, Feb, 24

MTG Designer Reassures Players In-Universe Releases Still Exist

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Following a disappointing slump in profits, Hasbro recently announced a major change to the MTG calendar. Starting in 2025, Wizards of the Coast will now be releasing two Universes Beyond MTG sets per year. Supposedly continuing well into the future, this massive change marks a bold new frontier for MTG.

Despite The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth being a hit, many MTG players weren’t happy about this news. Sure, Final Fantasy and Marvel sound like great sets, but they’re not what makes Magic so magical. With Universes Beyond expanding its horizons, there is real concern that normal MTG sets could become a thing of the past.

Thankfully, contrary to initial concerns, it seems MTG will continue releasing premier sets as normal. You don’t just have to take our word for that, as MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, confirmed this fact recently.

Premier Sets Are Safe!

Glenn, the Voice of Calm | The Walking Dead Secret Lair
Glenn, the Voice of Calm | The Walking Dead Secret Lair

While MTG players have been concerned about what Hasbro’s Universes Beyond changes may now bring, the future is surprisingly clear. Typically, Wizards keeps a lot of details about future releases up their sleeves but 2024 and 2025 are different. During an absolutely massive preview panel at Gen Con, Wizards teased almost everything players can expect in the future.

Going beyond even 2025, Wizards teased two sets from 2026 which conclude the major story arc. In both these years, four premier MTG sets are planned as normal, so no Universes Beyond changes there. As if that conformation wasn’t enough, Wizards has also teased a further two sets with their codenames.

In total, we currently know that 12 premier MTG sets are in the works, four per year until 2027. Not content with this already expansive roster, Mark Rosewater recently confirmed one more while listing off upcoming sets. In doing this, Rosewater hoped to assuage players that Universes Beyond wasn’t replacing anything. 

“Quilting, Rugby, Swimming, Tennis, Ultimate, Volleyball, Wrestling, Yachting, Ziplining, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Cairo are all started but not released yet, so there’s a lot of really cool Magic in-universe sets coming your way.”

Mark Rosewater

Bumping the list of confirmed future premier sets to 13, Cairo is the first confirmed set from 2027! Unfortunately, while this is an interesting detail, the codename Cairo doesn’t tell us anything beyond the fact this set exists. With this in mind, it’s a wonder Rosewater didn’t reveal even more codenames for future 2027 sets.

In theory, three years’ worth of premier sets being confirmed should mitigate concerns about Universes Beyond taking over everything. Unfortunately, however, the issue is more complex than that. While premier sets may be safe, there are other MTG sets in each year that could still get replaced.

The Concerns Continue

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Dragon’s Rage Channeler | Modern Horizons 2

At the end of the day, supplemental tentpole sets have to all fit somewhere in each year’s release calendar. Since premier sets take up four of the six slots, it’s only the other two that are up for grabs. Usually, these are things like Masters, Horizons, Legends, or Un-sets. In 2025 and beyond, however, it seems these slots will always be Universe Beyond.

Unless Wizards simply adds another set to the already loaded content calendar, this replacement is inevitable. Looking at 2025 we can already see this happening as Final Fantasy and Marvel leave room for nothing else. Technically, Innistrad Remastered is still being released, however, this set isn’t a Tentpole release as it lacks Commander decks.

Unfortunately, alongside this seemingly inescapable detail, the concerns about the removal of premier sets are still very much alive. Responding to Rosewater’s recent comment on social media, many MTG players continued to fear the worst. While the future may be set in stone for the next few years, the future could still shift after 2027.

“I don’t hate UB but a list of unreleased sets really doesn’t mean much in relation to this concern. No one expects them to end the original IP next year or the year after – it would be 5-10 years, long after all of these codenamed sets have released.“

u/GingeContinge

While a major change during 2027 or beyond is a distinct possibility, some players feared this problem would arise sooner. Despite a complete lack of evidence that something like this happened, some players predicted that future sets would simply be canceled. Technically, this is a possibility, but considering Wizards works two and a half years ahead, it seems incredibly unlikely.

“It’s not like sets can be retooled or canceled before release or anything… Having a bunch of Magic IP sets in development means nothing if one of the head honchos panics because their stock didn’t increase by 12% this year and demands sweeping changes/cancellations to the upcoming line-up.” u/Ned_the_Lat

u/Ned_the_Lat

Beyond these issues, other players posited that MTG sets getting replaced was never really a major concern. Instead, the actual problem with additional Universes Beyond sets is that players will be driven away. Technically, while this is a major concern, this problem seems unlikely to manifest, since new players will be intrigued by the Universes Beyond offerings.

Impossible Knowledge

Thirst for Knowledge | Kamigawa Neon Dynasty

At the end of the day, without a crystal ball to ponder, we don’t know what will happen in the future. Right now, plans seem set in stone until 2027 at least, but those could theoretically change. Ultimately, since these dates are so far away, there’s no sense getting into a fuss about it now.

Within the next three years, a huge amount can change about MTG as we know it. Just looking back three years is evidence enough of that. Three years ago, Universes Beyond hasn’t even been named yet. On MTG Arena, Alchemy, Timeless, and even Explorer weren’t official formats. On paper, Standard was still on its 2-year rotation, and Grief and Fury were just emotions.

To put it lightly, a lot can change about MTG in just three years, so there’s no sense in predicting the worst. At the end of the day, we’re just going to have to wait and see what’s going to happen. Hopefully, if we get another major Gen Con announcement like last year, it won’t be long before we know more.

Read More: New Karlov Manor Story Chapter Revealed as MTG ARG Ends!

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