Border Guardian | Unstable
25, Mar, 24

MTG Players Support Suggested Card Border Change

Article at a Glance

In Magic: The Gathering, there are three main card borders: Black, White, Silver, and Gold. Used to denote legality, this seems very straightforward at first, however, sadly MTG isn’t that simple. Thanks to Unfinity, Black-Bordered doesn’t mean cards are no longer automatically playable. While this is hardly the most confusing thing in MTG, these aren’t even the only card borders.

Alongside the core border at the very edge of each card, there’s also the card frame that surrounds it. Throughout MTG’s 30 years of history, this frame has been updated a fair few times to keep Magic feeling fresh. On top of these semi-regular updates, many mechanics also have dedicated card frames.

With Planeswalkers, Vehicles, Sagas, Legendary Creatures, Flip Cards, and more each getting unique borders, there’s no shortage of variance. As if all that wasn’t enough, the card frame can also be used to dramatically enhance collectability! Between Retro Borders, Futureshifted Cards, and the countless Showcase frames, MTG has no shortage of unique-looking frames.

Unfortunately, while MTG players have a lot to choose from, each border and card frame isn’t universally beloved. Often lamented for standing out too much, it’s bizarrely common for MTG cards not to look like MTG cards. This complaint has been frequently levied against Universes Beyond products thanks to their striking visuals.

While there’s no doubt that Fortnite-themed MTG cards take some getting used to the art isn’t the only problem. Rather unusually, Universe Beyond cards also have a unique border. For better or worse, this makes these cards stand out in your hand even more. As Universes Beyond has steadily become more acceptable, now some MTG players are eager to change this detail.

The Bizarre Universes Beyond Border

Watchful Radstag and Friends

In case you haven’t noticed, Universes Beyond cards don’t look like in-universe MTG cards. As much as it is a factor, this isn’t even due to the art, but rather the border. Instead of featuring the speckled and lightly textured colors that players are used to, Universes Beyond cards are weirdly shiny.

Seen on both the card’s border and text box, this glossy background makes every Universes Beyond card distinct. Even a card like Watchful Radstag which fits MTG’s aesthetic doesn’t look quite right. In an Elk Typal deck, this card clashes with the likes of Bellowing Elk and Dawnglade Regent.

Considering unique borders for enchantment creatures like Heliod’s Emissary already exist, this distinction may not be universally unpalatable. Despite this, some MTG players are nonetheless vying for the borders of Universes Beyond cards to be changed. Hoping for exactly that, Tumblr user Boymeetsanime recently asked MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, about the possibility of a change.

“Do you think there’s a chance that changing the UB border to that of regular Magic cards would help bridge the gap of acceptance [of Universes Beyond] in people’s minds?” 


Responding to this question, unfortunately, Mark Rosewater didn’t give a clear answer or confirm any plans. Instead, Rosewater simply turned the question back around on Blogatog’s readers, asking “I’m curious what you all think.” As usual, Question Marks quickly flocked to this question, sharing their own thoughts.

Across the post’s 51 comments, the vast majority of players expressed their dislike for the frame. Some users such as Chicasgeneralgoods went so far as to say “It looks a little weird tbh.” While many players shared this sentiment, the hatred wasn’t universal. Other players like Hopefvlromantic, for instance, noted it worked for Warhammer and Fallout, but not so much Lord of the Rings.

What Needs to Be Done

A trio of recent MTG Showcase frames

Sadly, as much as many players have made their minds up, there’s no telling if this poll will result in anything. In the grand scheme of things, a post with 78 notes on Tumblr is unlikely to completely change MTG’s aesthetics. That being said, this post could be the first step of a change that will take a few months, or even years, to materialize

While the future of the Universes Beyond border in MTG is nebulous it nonetheless seems that something should be done. After all, due to changing attitudes and their growing prevalence, Universes Beyond cards are becoming a lot more popular. With these cards now being staples in competitive and constructed decks, a lot more players are encountering this issue

Thankfully, should this issue become big enough to facilitate change, there is a simple solution; the security stamp. As Unfinity proved back in 2022, this little stamp can be just about enough to denote important information about legality. Due to this, using the security stamp to show a Universes Beyond card is exactly that shouldn’t be too hard.

Luckily, this is exactly what Wizards of the Coast, as you can see above, is already doing. In theory, this should make any change to the border of Universes Beyond cards fairly negligible. Sure, some players may kick up a fuss, but it’s better that cards are cohesive rather than needlessly distinct from one another.

Unfortunately, while this hypothetical card border change appears to be positive, Universes Beyond isn’t the only problem in MTG. Thanks to the lack of blocks and the use of collectible card frames, MTG is more discordant than ever before.

A Collectible Cocophany

Rick, Steadfast Leader

Nowadays, thanks to the lucrative power of Collector Boosters, each set has one or more highly collectible treatments and frames. Offering unique visuals on new and reprinted cards, these treatments are typically beloved, even if they don’t all hit. Since regular versions of these cards exist, thankfully they’re just optional extras for players to only enjoy if they want.

While MTG players do have the freedom to choose, sadly, building an entire themed deck is rather difficult. Since MTG jumps about so much nowadays, we don’t get enough of each showcase treatment. The dossier treatment for Murders at Karlov Manor, for example, is only found on 45 cards. 

Not only is 45 cards not enough for a Commander deck, but this five-color pile wouldn’t be any good. Sadly, Murders at Karlov Manor is likely to be MTG’s only murder-mystery-themed set for a long time. Due to this, it seems very unlikely we’ll see more of this treatment anytime soon. Frustratingly, this is true of almost every showcase treatment, not just the dossier cards.

Ultimately, while the potential change to the Universes Beyond border could make MTG a bit more cohesive, there’s still a cacophony of content. While this can be rather distracting at times, ultimately these collectible cards are optional. Much like Universes Beyond cards themselves, you don’t have to play with them if you don’t like them.

Read More: New MTG Beadle and Grimm’s Product Leak Gives Cool Hints Towards Bloomburrow Mechanics!

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