The Balrog
6, Oct, 22

MTG Players Are Worried And Excited About Universes Beyond Threat

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As the release of the Universes Beyond Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks draws ever closer, players are once again concerned for the future of MTG. Without a promise for total Universes Within reprints, players lament having to play with artwork they don’t like. Unfortunately for these peeved players, Wizards of the Coast isn’t planning to stop creating Universes Beyond products any time soon. Hasbro has recently announced two more Universes Beyond crossovers, and a statement from Mark Rosewater has MTG players seriously worried. Due to how much they’re despised, some MTG players are even calling future Universes Beyond products a “threat.” In reality, however, many players needn’t be concerned about Hasbro’s latest business venture. Some MTG players are even excited about the possibility of more weird, wonderful, and definitely unexpected crossovers!

The Threat

Despite making emphatic statements repeatedly by Mark Rosewater and Wizards of the Coast, MTG players are still having a good ol’ argue about “Universes Within” reprints. Previously, players have been told that “there are no current plans for in-universe Magic versions,” however arguments still rage on. Most recently, frustrated MTG players have been looking back at the Godzilla Universes Beyond cards in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. Implemented alongside Universes Within versions, these thematically appropriate Universes Beyond cards are often considered to be the best and simplest form of crossover by the product line’s critics. Since this model happened before, aggrieved players who don’t like Universes Beyond cards are asking for it again. Some players even go so far as to say, “Wizards just shouldn’t make more UB products than they can make UW equivalents.” 

After these frustrations, once again, reached Mark Rosewater, Magic’s Lead Designer, reiterated that this approach just isn’t possible. “What you’re suggesting isn’t possible with what’s coming,” Rosewater bluntly stated to try and end the debate once more. Unfortunately, however, many MTG players latched onto this comment and started predicting the worst. “This implies we’ve only seen a fraction of the UB stuff and that the majority is yet to come,” u/JubX stated on Reddit. “Reads a lot like ‘be ready to really be swamped by UB stuff’ to me,” u/mallogo similarly complained. U/AvatorofBro even went so far as to say, “this sounds like a threat.”

Premature Evaluation 

While there are definitely more Universes Beyond products in the works, the Universes Within approach players are asking for is already untenable. That’s true even if you look at the Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks. Featuring 168 brand-new cards, creating Universes Within versions for these Commander decks would be an obscene amount of work. While MTG is “on track to become [Hasbro’s] first billion-dollar brand,” Wizards aren’t given infinite money to work with. Mark Rosewater recently stated, for instance, that Unfinity could only have 30 legendary creatures since that’s how many were budgeted. With these strict limitations in place, it’s understandable that “it’s just not feasible to make equivalent versions of every Universes Beyond card.” 

Nevertheless, Wizards of the Coast isn’t totally dismissive toward the concept of Universes Within reprints. As Mark Rosewater states, “we have built the system such that if a Universes Beyond card becomes very popular, we have the ability to create a Universes Within version.” While this approach may not be the favorite of Universes Beyond skeptics, it’s ultimately Wizards’ most sensible option. After all, commissioning art for only a handful of cards is much more practical than remaking an entire 400-card set, only for a fraction of those cards to see play. Unfortunately for players hoping for a Universes Within Poxwalkers, there’s no telling how long this process may take. Players may be waiting for up to six months, similar to Secret Lair Universes Beyond reprints. Alternatively, Wizards could quickly respond to demand to ease tensions around Universes Beyond products. 

Not All Bad News

Final Fantasty VII Remake Intergrade
Final Fantasty VII Remake Intergrade | Square Enix

While Universes Beyond certainly has its critics, there are MTG players who’re excited about the prospect of more sets. Recently, Hasbro delighted fans, for instance, by announcing Final Fantasy and Assassin’s Creed Universes Beyond crossover products. Planned to release sometime in 2024; currently, there’s no word on if these products will be decks, sets, or just Secret Lair Drops. That small detail, however, hasn’t stopped enthusiastic MTG players from speculating about what might be to come. With Final Fantasy fans stating, “even if it’s just a Secret Lair, I’m already sold on this set,” and “this is the first UB product I’m actually excited for,” it’s clear that Universes Beyond products aren’t entirely hated. 

As evidenced by this overjoyed Reddit thread, Universes Beyond products can be a fascinating prospect to a franchise’s fans. Surprisingly, while their development presents challenges, Wizards of the Coast also relishes the opportunities presented by Universes Beyond. Mark Rosewater notes, for instance, that “top-down designs can lead to new design discoveries.” By approaching a set from a new perspective, “we end up with cards, mechanics, and themes we’ve never made before.” Occasionally, these mechanics aren’t well received. However, like it or not, innovating with new designs is vital for Magic’s future. 

Read More: MTG Combo Piece Explodes by 600%! EDH Cards Skyrocket!

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