Before Magic: the Gathering’s latest spoiler season began, many players were understandably cautious about Magic’s future with Universes Beyond. Having initially gotten off to a rocky start in 2020, Universes Beyond products were exciting but had yet to earn their place in many players’ hearts. After debuting with somewhat dull-face commanders, the MTG Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks appeared to be more of the same. Now that the decks’ spoiler season is well underway, many players are changing their tune.
With a litany of powerful and exciting cards across the trio of currently spoiled decks, excitement has steadily been building. The latest Necron Dynasties deck alone appears to be an absolute powerhouse, with plenty of synergistic and infinite combo-enabling cards. Subsequently, many players have been ditching their past reservations and wholeheartedly embracing the grimdark world of Warhammer. Not every player is so content to fill their deck with Warhammer-themed cards. However, that’s not for lack of love. Instead, even before release, many players are already vying for the Warhammer 40,000 Commander cards to get reprinted.
A Unique Look
For better or worse, Universes Beyond products have many elements which differentiate them from traditional in-universe MTG cards. For instance, Universes Beyond cards have their triangular security seal. However, this is hardly their most distinguishing feature. More obviously, on Universes Beyond cards is their radically different art styles compared to in-universe cards. The recent Fortnite Secret Lair is a clear example of this, as the Secret Lair Drop utilizes the game’s striking art style. Even the MTG-styled Universes Beyond crossover cards don’t quite look like traditional cards. With a focus on character portraits, the Stranger Things and The Walking Dead crossover cards appear out of place amongst an entire MTG deck.
Alongside their exclusive rarity, this mismatched art had many players demanding in-universe reprints for Universes Beyond crossovers. Following plenty of controversies, Wizards of the Coast conceded this point and planned to introduce in-universe versions of Secret Lair Universes Beyond cards six months after launch. This scheme turned the visually distinct Eleven, the Mage into more thematically appropriate Cecily, Haunted Mage. By appearing via The List, Cecily, Haunted Mage is significantly cheaper than their Universes Beyond counterpart.
While not as visually jarring as The Walking Dead or Stranger Things crossover cards, the Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks undoubtedly have their style. Focusing on four of Warhammer 40,000’s main factions, each deck is visually distinct within Warhammer’s grimdark tone. Each Commander deck has a unique version of Command Tower and Sol Ring for instance. Despite each of the deck’s cards looking utterly fantastic, not everyone is fond of the darker militaristic aesthetic. This has already led to calls for in-universe MTG reprints, despite the Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks not even being out yet.
Unfortunately for fans of the Commander decks’ mechanics, in-universe reprints don’t appear to be in the cards. After being asked about the possibility on Blogatog, Magic’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, revealed that “there are currently no such plans” to create in-universe versions of the Warhammer MTG cards. There is still a slight glimmer of hope, however, as Rosewater noted that “we reserve the right to make in-universe versions if the need arises.” While it’s no absolute confirmation, this means in-universe reprints could happen if the demand were high enough.
Interestingly, it’s not only players looking to spice up their decks with in-universe versions of Warhammer cards that are complaining. Thanks to each deck’s quality and theming, adding cards to improve them can feel equally as egregious. As Reddit user u/Dreamtillitsover noted, “my issue is that I’m not sure if I want to add stuff in that won’t have appropriate artwork to go with the new art on all the cards.” This sentiment by u/pkuhlman140, who stated the Tyranid Swarm deck “is one of the few decks I’m leaving untouched.”
While the Commander deck’s art is already striking enough, this issue is further exacerbated thanks to Surge Foils. As a brand new and exclusive foiling technique for the Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks, you can’t get Surge Foils anywhere else. This means that any card you add to the deck will stick out like a sore thumb. Thankfully, while they’re by no means perfect, each Warhammer 40,000 Commander deck does look thoroughly entertaining on its own.
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