Heroes of Kamigawa | Heroes of the Realm
19, Dec, 23

Ultra-Rare Employee Exclusive MTG Cards Revealed Amongst Layoffs

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To put it lightly, Wizards of the Coast has been incredibly busy this year. Releasing ten major sets, thousands of cards, and a mountain of products, 2023 has been truly non-stop. Thankfully, however, now that the year is almost over, Wizards is finally taking a break. Before that happens, however, there are a final few spoilers to see.

Created to celebrate the achievements of Wizards of the Coast employees, new Heroes of the Realm cards have been released. Awarded to select groups of employees, these custom MTG cards are unfathomably rare and undeniably awesome. Unfortunately, however, the vast majority of MTG players will never get to see, let alone enjoy, one of these highly limited cards. 

Still, what a way to send off 2023.

Elusen, the Giving

Elusen, the Giving

Revealed by @__jontelle, the aptly named Elusen, the Giving was given to charitable WotC employees. Specifically, the cards were awarded for “supporting philanthropic work at Wizards in 2022!” As Jontelle explains, this includes work with Black Girls Code, Extra Life, The Trevor Project, Operation Gratitude, and the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

To celebrate the charitable source of Elusen, the Giving, the card is all about charity too. Specifically, each turn, Elusen will be given away to the next player on the left. When this happens, or whenever a player “donates” another permanent, you get quite a handy boost. Rather than a tax write-off, you get to draw a card, grain a life, and create three Treasure Tokens. 

While “donates” may not be a keyword, taking it at face value makes Elusen an incredibly unique Commander option. Synergizing with cards like Humble Defector Elusen, the Giving can give you insane value. All you need to do after getting that value is decide what to do with it. After all, a boatload of Treasure Tokens rarely win games on their own.

Despite the lack of an actual gameplan, Elusen, the Giving, along with the plethora of other “gains control” cards is a wonderful heap. Through using cards like Scrambleverse you may even luck yourself into a synergistic win! Regardless of whether or not that happens, however, this deck is most definitely flavorful.

Heroes of Kamigawa

Heroes of Kamigawa

As the name suggests, the brand new Heroes of Kamigawa card was given to Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty contributors. Supposedly being the top-selling product of 2022, it’s only right that this set’s creators get some much-deserved recognition. After all, not only was Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty fantastic, but it paved the way for Lorwyn’s return in 2025!

Continuing the trend of aptness, which is common for Heroes of the Realm cards, Heroes of Kamigawa is once again incredibly flavorful. Featuring Kaito and The Wanderer, this card synergizes with all things Kamigawa. Quite literally, as when in play, each spell from a Kamigawa expansion costs one less!

As if this wasn’t enough Acorn-inspired goodness, Heroes of Kamigawa also lets you open packs! Curiously, the cards from any pack you open this way go into a “Booster Pile,” which you can then draw from. Alongside this new deck you can potentially draw from, Heroes of Kamigawa also lets you resurrect fallen Kamigawa creatures.

If you really love the plane of Kamigawa, Heroes of Kamigawa may well be the perfect Commander for you. Sure, you’ll likely have to proxy and Rule Zero them, but still, think of the flavor! Considering many of the older Kamigawa cards really aren’t too great, flavor is definitely the main draw here. This is no bad thing, however, as a Heroes of the Realm card like this really should celebrate all things Kamigawa.

Cool Cards, Bad Timing

Cut Short
Cut Short | March of the Machine

While there’s no doubt that the new Heroes of the Realm cards are awesome, the sentiment rings a little hollow. Sure, it’s nice for Wizards to celebrate their employees, but Hasbro did just lay off a bunch of them. With 1,100 employees getting cut, it’s possible at least one Heroes of the Realm recipient may lose their job. 

Regardless of whether or not that unfortunate situation happens, the recent layoffs definitely dampen the mood. That being said, however, it’s still important that these cards be created and given out. Sure, the timing might suck, but the alternative of no Heroes of the Realm cards just kicks employees while they’re down.

Whether or not the new cards were a good idea or not, they’ve been created and there’s no going back. If you want to play with them yourselves, unfortunately, you’re out of luck. Since Heroes of the Realm cards are only given to WotC employees, acquiring them is exceptionally difficult. Even if you do get your hands on one, you won’t be able to play it without Rule Zero in Commander.

Uniquely, despite having a non-standard card back, Heroes of the Realm cards are occasionally Commander-legal. This is only the case, however, if you’re name is on the card specifically. This way, WotC employees can legally play with their own cards without any complications. For everyone else, however, some fenagling will be required. Considering how beloved Heroes of the Realm cards are, however, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Read More: New MTG Dragon Promos Likely to Hold Immense Value!

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