“You’re just too good to be true, I can’t take my eyes off of you.”
Wizards of the Coast is at it again. The famous gaming company, who runs the nerd culture’s cornerstones of Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, are pushing one of their major properties into bizarre territory and new horizons.
Gaming has covered a wide variety of mediums and concepts. As such, we’ll cover a bit of that wide variety as well today, specifically what games like Magic: The Gathering has in store both physically and digitally.
We’ve got exciting stories, magical creatures, and…cookies?
New Worlds: The Thrones of
Magic: The Gathering has been through a lot.
For those unaware, the venerable card game has been around since the early 90s and has featured apocalypses, gothic and cosmic horror, massive realms with memorable characters, and of course, the addictive collective card gaming experience.
Magic: The Gathering now adds another magical world to their multiverse roster. The new set, Thrones of Eldraine, adds the world of Eldraine, a bizarre mix of classical Faerie mythology, Arthurian Legend, and whimsical fairy tails.
The set promises the hallmarks of Magic: The Gathering. There will be the ever-present concise and interesting mechanical design, cheeky humor blending into a wide variety of fantasy ideas, and delightful characters both old and new.
But with the new Thrones of Eldraine trailer featuring a Gingerbread couple running for their lives, has Magic gone too…silly?
Silly but Satisfying
Magic is no stranger to weird and silly, but with this new endeavor, they are leaning into it.
Alongside gallant and noble knights fighting dark witches and evil monsters are new interpretations of Goldilocks, Hansel and Gretel, and an entire race of sentient Gingerbread people, just to name a few.
The trailer launched in a recent streaming event alongside many announcements. The gorgeous animated trailer features delightful music, intense action from a long-awaited fan favorite, and the tragic tale of a Gingerbread Woman scorned.
The gut reaction may be that this is all too far. Gingerbread people has got to be too bizarre…right? Just earlier this year, Magic had a somber trailer for a previous expansion featuring a Linkin Park cover and the death of a major character. The tone shift between these two ideas couldn’t be bigger.
Yet, that is actually where a lot of the appeal from Magic: The Gathering comes from.
Magic: The Gathering has always been a game of charisma. Many of the characters have endured years, even decades, due to their interesting dynamic and charming personalities.
Witty one-liners and deep world building exist as fun little flavor text on the majority of cards. The art and card names have always had fun humor and dramatic high-fantasy blended so seamlessly.
That has, and perhaps always will be, the power of Magic and many other Wizards of the Coast products. They understand how to balance fun, fantastic, and dramatic all in one well-made core
That broad appeal has helped them expand, and it doesn’t stop at Gingerbread and fun song choices in trailers.
The New Way Forward: Arena
Many years ago (back in 2002), Magic: The Gathering made a push to online gaming. The launch was popular and still runs to this day.
The problem is that the client, design, and effort put into it has remained stale for well over a decade. Wizards of the Coast now plans to change that. Facing down their major competitor Hearthstone, and many other knockoffs, Magic: The Gathering aims to claim their spot on the digital card game stage.
Their new client, Magic: Arena, has already made a lot of waves. A lot of this is due to Magic: The Gathering’s physical popularity, which Magic: Arena works in tandem with.
The client aims to upgrade with a good deal of new additions alongside the launch of Thrones of Eldraine. Can it keep up its popularity and run alongside Hearthstone’s head start footing in the digital card game arena?
Wizards of the Coast thinks so. With many pushes to use Arena as a premier client both for their fan base worldwide and eSports gaming going forward, the effort is now there after many years without.
News on the Horizon
The talk of online clients and fairy tales weren’t the only things previewed at Wizard’s stream. 2020 is already promising to be an exciting year, with 4 new sets promising the return of more fan favorites and exploring some awesome new ideas.
Theros: Beyond Death
A return to the Greek mythology inspired world of Theros gives us a closer look at their unique underworld and hints at the return of a fallen friend trapped within its mists.
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
Giant monster fans rejoice! Ikoria is another new planar IP that promises the biggest monster battles you can imagine and crazy ways to make them. Magic: The Gathering may be seeing a brand new scale of monster power!
The Core Sets have returned and now bind the yearly products with simple but interesting places to start for players both new and old.
The 2021 set features a popular character like the 2020 set, trading out the fire mage Chandra with the time-bending Teferi.
The massive plane of Zendikar barely survived cosmic magic eating tentacle monsters. Now that it has time to recover, it can return to what it first became known for: D&D inspired adventuring roots!
Where the Story Goes From Here
Magic: The Gathering has seen a lot over its nearly 30 years as one of the most popular card games on the planet. There has been whimsy and humor, and dark tales and tragic ends.
The phenomena of Magic is shown daily in a worldwide fan base of excited fans young and old. It is a hallmark of gaming that showcases how well a franchise and a community can flourish given the proper tender loving care.
It is that tender loving care that has made the game triumph for so many years. The dedicated designers, artists, and creative storytellers all working together for their passion for the game made it what it is.
Wizards of the Coast has shown that they have the people, the effort, and the mindset to keep Magic: The Gathering running for many years to come.1