Currently, there’s an awful lot going on within the world of MTG. Pushing beyond the usual cadence of releases, we’ve had First Looks and announcements galore! Flooding the MTG sphere with too much news to keep up with, many players are understandably frustrated and concerned. As if this wasn’t bad enough, recent announcements have sparked even more fears among players!
In what’s likely just a bizarre coincidence, Universes Beyond is stealing the show right now. Between the Doctor Who Commander decks, the Fallout teaser, and now MTG x Marvel, these collaborations are everywhere. Presumably, this immense crossover density is just a coincidence of announcement timings and needed first looks, however, some players aren’t so sure.
Giving into their fear, it seems some players believe Universes Beyond sets will soon replace classic Premier sets. According to MTG’s Lead Designer, however, this isn’t something players should have to worry about.
Marvel Steals the Show in 2025?
In case you missed what everyone’s been raving about, yesterday, Hasbro announced a massive collaboration with Marvel. Taking everyone by surprise, Marvel and Magic: the Gathering are pairing up for not just one, but multiple MTG sets in the future. Considering Disney owns Lorcana, its own immensely popular TCG, this announcement certainly came as quite a shock.
During the various news posts, press releases, and even the trailer for the announcement, unfortunately, not much information was given. From what we do know, the first major Universes Beyond MTG Marvel set is going to be released sometime during 2025. Whether or not there will be a few Secret Lair releases before this point, currently remains to be seen.
On the surface, this announcement does seem rather plain, as 2025 is still a long way away. Thanks to this, while the hype is absolutely meteoric at the moment, it’ll likely die down in the near future. This might even happen today, in fact, thanks to The Lost Caverns of Ixalan’s spoiler season beginning.
While everything may seem fine on the surface, 2025 is a rather curious release date for the first major Marvel x MTG product. After all, 2025 already has a major tentpole Universes Beyond release scheduled in; Final Fantasy. Set to be a Draftable set, just like The Lord of the Rings, this set was meant to be 2025’s big Universes Beyond release. Now, however, it seems the calendar is more congested…
Given there will now be two, presumably Modern legal, sets being released during 2025, some MTG players are wondering what’s going on. Typically, one supplemental slot will be dedicated to a reprint set, however, there are fears this is now being eradicated. If this is the case, with Universes Beyond taking over, where does it end?
MTG Sets are Safe
Compounding the concerns about reprints potentially being skipped for a year, MTG players soon gave in to their fears. Speculating about Universes Beyond becoming too big, some players wondered if it could ever dominate Wizards’ focus. Stealing not just the limelight, but also development recourses from Premier sets players feared MTG would be nothing by crossovers.
Raising this concern, Tumblr user Hawk7915 asked MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, about exactly this. “Do you think we’ll ever hit a point where UB is so popular it makes it hard to justify printing non-UB products?” Justifying this rather bold question, Hawk7915 pointed towards Play Boosters and market movements guiding Wizards’ development.
Thankfully, in responding to this question, Rosewater shot down the concerns of players by leaning on Hasbro’s love; money. Simply stating “There are a lot of important business reasons to keep making in-universe Magic sets,” it seems Premier/Standard sets aren’t going away anytime soon. Considering these are fundamental to formats like Standard, this is certainly very good news!
While this seems like a definitive answer to shoot down player concerns, not everyone is so convinced by Rosewater’s answer. After all, there is a tiny bit of wiggle room around important business reasons and decisions, since times can change. Highlighting this concern, u/Nanosauromo, on Reddit, commented “Sure, he says that NOW. By the end of this decade, though? Will there still be?”
Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball to know exactly which way the future is headed, but these concerns may be unfounded. As Reddit user u/Breaking-Away notes, for instance, it would be foolish for MTG to exclusively be Universes Beyond. “Not having control of their own core IP/characters is a huge liability for Magic. They need their own iconic and recognizable brand characters.”
It’s All Part of the Buffet
Ultimately, even if Wizards didn’t need MTG to have its own characters to sell and market, only making Universes Beyond would go against Wizards’ product strategy. As spoken about by MTG’s designers time and time again, Magic effectively operates as a buffet, where players can pick and choose what they want. Within this buffet, Universes Beyond is just one of the many optional sections that players can engage with.
Similarly to what we’ve seen with Commander, this section of the buffet can absolutely expand over time. Receiving more support from players and Wizards alike, WotC will always cater to what players want. This, however, won’t necessarily come at the cost of other parts of the buffet that make MTG what it is. Instead, product lines and buffet sections are simply able to grow on their own.
Thanks to this, along with Rosewater’s statement, it seems that Premier MTG sets should be safe for a long time to come. After all, unless the format miraculously plummets in popularity, it really shouldn’t go anywhere. With this in mind, hopefully, the upcoming MTG x Marvel Universes Beyond sets will be a welcome addition to the product calendar. Whether or not that will be the case, however, remains to be seen.