Since the product line’s introduction in 2020, Universes Beyond MTG products have been controversial, to say the least. While not all Universes Beyond cards, like Ikoria: Lair of Behemoth’s Godzilla cards, are despised, many aren’t community favorites. The mechanically unique Secret Lair Drop cards, in particular, have been a bane of the community since The Walking Dead cards were first revealed. Thankfully, after being met with sweeping criticism following their announcement, Wizards put in a reprint policy to quell fans’ anger.
Promising “Universes Within” reprints roughly six months after the Secret Lair Drop’s release, many players were finally appeased. Since this policy was put in place, however, only one Universes Beyond Secret Lair Drop has received this reprint treatment. Thankfully, while it has taken longer than expected, another Universes Beyond Secret Lair Drop is finally getting Universes Within reprints. Announced yesterday during a jam-packed Livestream, WotC confirmed that the Street Fighter crossover MTG cards are finally getting in-universe versions.
Initially launching on February 17th, 2022, the Universes Within cards for the Street Fighter Secret Lair Drop are somewhat overdue. Following Wizards’ initial six-month timeline, these reprints should have been released as part of Dominaria United. Instead of hitting this self-imposed deadline, however, Wizards is instead releasing the Universes Within reprints much later than intended. During a recent Livestream, Weekly MTG host Blake Rasmussen revealed the latest batch of Universes WIthin cards would be available in Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Within the set, the Universes Within reprints will appear only within Set Boosters via The List. With Phyrexia: All Will Be One scheduled to launch on February 10th, 2023, this means players have been waiting for reprints for almost an entire year. Six months longer than Wizards of the Coast initially promised players.
Thankfully, outside of the longer-than-expected wait, the latest Universes Within reprints are otherwise what players have come to expect. As with the first batch of reprints, the new Universes Within Street Fighter cards are mechanically identical to their Universes Beyond counterparts. Featuring the same creature types and abilities, the only differences between Universes Within and Universes Beyond prints are the cards’ names and art. Despite the new names, however, the Universes Within reprints are considered to be identical game pieces. You can only play up to four copies of the Universes Within and Universes Beyond versions combined in your deck. To indicate this vital detail, each Universes Within card features a handy identifier at the bottom of the card. Seen as “=SLD [number],” this little bit of text shows players which Secret Lair Drop card the reprint is equivalent to.
Considering that the Universes Within reprints are mechanically identical to their crossover counterparts, you may expect MTG players not to be overly excited by this recent reveal. That, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. With MTG players despising Universes Beyond products, many are seriously excited to see these reprints at long last. “Didn’t pay much attention to Chun-Li back in the day because I never liked SF, but that’s def a strong card,” Reddit user u/LightningLion stated while discussing the new Zethi, Arcane Blademaster. Similarly voicing their approval, u/Jest_Durdle00 simply cheered, “WHHHOOOOO! Finally! “
Across multiple Reddit posts, MTG players were keen to express their delight at these reprints for various reasons. On the Reddit post for Maarika, Brutal Gladiator, for instance, u/dranzerXIII stated they were “initially kinda bummed I couldn’t snag a Street Fighter SL. This is a very welcome alternative.” Other players, meanwhile, commended the new flavor and art that Wizards’ hardworking roster of artists has created for these cards. “Nailed it. This is my kinda flavor for this effect. Super, super cool. Can’t wait to make a deck around this,” u/Visible_Number commented about Zethi, Arcane Blademaster.
While many players were understandably excited about these Universes Within cards, not all the reprints were so beloved. The Howling Abomination, which replaces Blanka, Ferocious Friend, for instance, didn’t quite live up to expectations. “The reaction from both me and my friend ‘how is this a human’,” u/Blaze_1013 complained. Additionally, a common complaint across Reddit posts was that these new and exciting characters were somewhat left lacking. “The art for this round of Universes Beyond looks better than the Stranger Things set, but I really wish these characters had some lore,” u/huzzaahh commented. Currently, while these Universes Within characters are set on the plane of Dominaria, it’s unclear if they’ll ever feature within MTG’s story.
Better Late Than Never
Ultimately, regardless of how players feel about each card’s new art and lore, these reprints needed to happen. Wizards of the Coast did promise these reprints to players, after all. Beyond respecting the sanctity of that promise, however, these reprints serve a greater focus. By increasing the accessibility of mechanically unique cards, these reprints prevent unchecked FOMO from running rampant. Without this system, many players may feel forced into making purchases to have potentially essential cards. After all, players wouldn’t want to be left missing out should a mechanically unique Secret Lair card surprisingly break formats. Admittedly, this system isn’t perfect, with a roughly six-month delay between the original sale and reprinting. It is, however, certainly better than nothing.
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To make everything surrounding the new Universes Within cards as straightforward as possible, here are all the juicy details that you need to know. Firstly, as stated above, the Universes Within reprints will only be available in Phyrexia: All Will Be One Set Boosters. Within Set Boosters, Universes Within cards will appear via The List, which will also be chock full of other reprints. While unconfirmed, it’s believed that these cards will not be available in any foil treatment. This would follow the trend set by the previous Universes Within Stranger Things cards from Streets of New Capenna. Below is the list of every Universes Beyond Street Fighter MTG card and their new Universes Within counterpart.
- E. Honda, Sumo Champion = Baldin, Century Herdmaster
- Ryu, World Warrior = Vikya, Scorching Stalwart
- Ken, Burning Brawler = Aisha of Sparks and Smoke
- Blanka, Ferocious Friend = The Howling Abomination
- Chun-Li, Countless Kicks = Zethi, Arcane Blademaster
- Dhalsim, Pliable Pacifist = Tadeas, Juniper Ascendant
- Guile, Sonic Soldier = Immard, the Stormcleaver
- Zangief, the Red Cyclone = Maarika, Brutal Gladiator