In case you somehow missed all the hubbub about it in recent months, Magic: the Gathering now has a new card type. Introduced in March of the Machine, Battle cards are the latest innovation for MTG from Wizards of the Coast. Inspired by designs from Richard Garfield, Battle cards have a range of uses, as they can each be attacked, defended, and flipped.
Beyond just being new, Battle cards have also been proving their own within many competitive and casual MTG formats. Both devastatingly powerful and incredibly enjoyable, Battle cards have certainly made their mark. Despite this, however, it appears MTG players won’t be getting any new Battle cards any time soon. Considering their successes, this decision has understandably left players rather perplexed.
No Battles in Tales of Middle-earth
Since they were teased on Atraxa, Grand Unifier, Battle cards have seemed like a near-guaranteed inclusion in two sets. The first of these was obviously the next premier set March of the Machine. Alongside this, however, there was also the expectation that Battle cards would be in the The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth.
As a franchise that has countless major battles, sieges, and wars, Lord of the Rings has plenty of thematic crossover. Subsequently, even before we know what Battle cards did, MTG players were expecting to see a lot of them. Unfortunately for these excited players, however, it seems that presumption was rather wide of the mark.
Rather than having some, or even one Battle card, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth won’t have any Battle cards at all. This is according to MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, who recently confirmed this on Blogatog. Alongside this, Rosewater also confirmed that the set will not have any Planeswalkers.
Following on from the events of March of the Machine: The Aftermath, the lack of Planeswalkers may not be surprising anymore. The lack of Battle cards, however, certainly was, with many players across social media being left befuddled and disappointed. One of those disheartened players was u/hawkshaw1024, who suggested Battles may go the way of colorless mana and Tribal.
When reacting to this news, many MTG players hunted for an explanation as to why this odd decision was made. Offering up a potential answer were players like u/Street-Prune6673, who mused Battle cards may have been too experimental. “Not surprising. They were designing this set long before they could get any feedback from players.” Alongside this, Street-Prune6673 also identified flavor concerns about Battle results that don’t fit the story.
No Battles for a While
Whether it be through clairvoyance or following Blogatog, Street-Prune6673 was correct in their assessment. Player feedback is the main reason behind the lack of new battles in The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. This was also revealed by Mark Rosewater thanks to an intriguing question on Blogatog.
After being asked a question by Tumblr user Honor-Basquiat, Rosewater revealed the primary reason behind the lack of Battle cards. “I said we wanted to see how Battles were received by the public before putting them in other sets.” Considering MTG players are often more than happy to share their opinions, this may seem like a rather small hurdle to pass. Unfortunately, however, it’s not easy to make fast changes in MTG.
Following on from their first point, Rosewater reminded players that Wizards “work two years ahead.” Thanks to this sizable development delay, new Battle cards are a long way away. In fact, according to Rosewater, we won’t see a new Battle card until at least the start of 2025.
As you can imagine since Battle cards have proven to be an enjoyable new mechanic, so far, many players were rather disappointed by this news. For instance, Tumblr user Workfromsaklas continued to bemoan the lack of Battles in Tales of Middle-earth. “That’s kind of a shame. If you’re telling the Lord of the Rings, there are actually a few named battles that would fit. Ah well.”
Thankfully, while Battles may be disappearing for now, there is the expectation they will return in the future. After all, Battle cards have been rather well received by the community. So long as the financials for March of the Machine stack up, Battles should be back before we know it.
All Will Be Revealed
Currently, as usual, very little is known about the future of MTG. Later this year, however, that will change in a major way. This is partly thanks to the expected Wizards Presents Presentation. Typically airing around August, this event details what players can expect from the coming year. Sadly, while this won’t includes details on new Battle cards, it would at least name the next premier sets.
If past precedent continues, this presentation will also be the Debut Livestream for Wilds of Eldraine. If that is the case, this means Wizards Presents 2023 will be broadcast on the 15th of August 2023. While this date is certainly worth looking forward to, this year, there’s another date to mark on the calendar.
Scheduled to take place between the 3rd and 6th of August is Gen Con 2023. As usual, Wizards of the Coast will be there to show off MTG and D&D. Since Gen Con is North America’s biggest tabletop convention, this appearance is fairly standard. What is unique, however, is the big 30th-anniversary Livestream that will also be taking place.
According to Blake Rasmussen, this presentation will reveal what the next three years hold for MTG! Thanks to this, we may know the name of the next set with Battle cards sooner than expected! That is the expectation, at least. As we learned throughout this article, that’s sadly no guarantee we’ll see what we want. Subsequently, we’ll just have to tune in for this blockbuster 30th-Anniversary presentation.