Magic the Gathering (MtG) looks set to expand into new territory like never before. During a recent investors call Wizards of the Coast (WotC), and parent company Hasbro, unveiled Universes Beyond. A new brand for MtG that will see it crossover with other much loved intellectual properties (IPs).
Universes Beyond will be an additional offering, alongside existing product lines. The crossover sets will combine the gameplay of MtG with the stories, worlds, and characters of the crossed over IPs. In an article posted to their website, WotC named Warhammer 40,000 and Lord of the Rings as the first such crossovers.
MtG players have already experienced crossovers in varying forms during 2020. The Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths expansion, released in April, included a "Godzilla series" of cards. These cards featured alternative artwork of standard cards, portraying monsters like Godzilla and Mothra. Then, in October, a limited Secret Liar set featured characters from The Walking Dead. These cards were not just alternative art on existing cards, but new cards, legal for play in eternal formats.
The two provoked different reactions from players. The Godzilla series, being simply a re-skin of existing cards received positive feedback. However, The Walking Dead set the zombie cat amongst the pigeons. Some voices called the cards overpowered and not "in fitting" with MtG. In addition, WotC had already announced a Dungeons & Dragons crossover set for release this year. Adventures in the Forgotten Realm will drop in Q3.
The Walking Dead set will be grandfathered into Universes Beyond. However, Adventures in the Forgotten Realm will not be. Universes Beyond will be limited to worlds not developed by WotC. So expansions set in the Forgotten Realm will remain in Standard - but not (yet) canonically part of the Magic Multiverse.