After months of speculation and theories, last week we finally found out about Magic the Gathering’s latest set. Yes, that’s right, the preview season for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is in full swing and it looks like Wizards have outdone themselves in terms of cards design. While it will be a while yet before we know how this set will impact the meta, it is fair to say most of the community is abuzz about this plane of giant monsters.
Now if you haven’t had chance to check out the latest spoilers or the preview stream from Wizards of the Coast, fear not. Today I’ll be taking you through the key points of the new set and how it could affect Magic for years to come. So get ready everyone, as we are about to walk with giants.
In most planes across the multiverse, humans and their civilizations are one of the key focuses when it comes to the narrative of Magic the Gathering. Whether it’s the humans fighting for survival on Innistrad or the clans of Tarkir battling for supremacy, these creatures usually hold a prominent spot in the story Wizards is telling. It makes sense when you think about it; after all, we are humans ourselves and so focusing on humans allows us to have a stable reference point for the more fantastical elements of the planes we explore.
Even when they are low down in the pecking order, humans are still seen to be holding their own against arguably more dangerous threats. Looking at our two previous examples, on Innistrad humans might be hunted by nightmarish creatures like demons and vampires, but they are also shown to be capable of fighting back against the darkness for a brighter world. And on Tarkir, some humans are shown to be the leaders of the different clans and on par with the (now) ruling class of dragons. But on Ikoria, it is a very different story.
Ikoria is a world of gigantic monsters who roam the land, sea, and sky as the true inhabitants of the plane. These fantastical creatures are the real stars of the set, and we, as the lowly humans, are little more than ants to them. To try to survive in this realm of monsters, the humans have built giant cities to protect themselves. But our defences are but paper to these behemoths, and it seems we are little more than a nuisance to them. To this plane comes Vivian Reed, to explore and research these marvellous creatures- but what will happen next is anyone’s guess.
Now if you think that all that sounds remarkably like those classic monster movies you watched as a kid, you are not for off the mark. Wizards of the Coast have stated they’ve always wanted to have a go at creating a plane of giant monsters, and Ikoria is the fruits of those labours. But there were some higher-ups in Wizards of the Coast that thought Ikoria would be an amazing opportunity for a partnership of sorts. And so they reached out to the legendary studio Toho (makers of classic movie monsters such as Godzilla) and asked them if they wanted to collaborate on this project.
The result is a series of alternative art cards that depict classic Toho monsters like Mothra, King Ghidorah, and the original Godzilla that you can use in your games of Magic the Gathering. Now it is important to stress that this doesn’t mean that these creatures are officially part of the Magic canon. Instead, these cards are alternative arts for several other creatures in the main set (and no, that doesn’t mean you get to add eight copies of each to your deck). A novel concept to be sure, but it is the implication of such a historic move that really has me excited.
This if the first time that Wizards has included other characters from another IP into the world of Magic. Sure, we have had Transformers and My Little Pony cards in recent years, but these have always been silver bordered (and therefore not legal in most formats) and part of IP’s held by Wizards’ parent company, Hasbro. This historic move has opened up the possibilities for Wizards of the Coast to partner up with other companies to give us more unique content in the future.
Imagine a set based on a plane of high fantasy, with wizards and warriors battling a dark lord and his minions. Now imagine alternative art copies of the legendary characters from that set as the Fellowship of the Ring. Or a promotion where our favourite Planeswalkers are redesigned as some of the world’s most famous superheroes. The possibilities are endless, and as long as these partnership are done in a similar manner they could be a great way to open up the hobby to more and more people.
And that is going to about do it for today. Next week I’ll be looking at the mechanics of Ikoira and their impact on Standard, Commander and beyond. If you don’t want to miss out on that or any of our other content, why not like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics.
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