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5 Things I Want To See From Magic: The Gathering In 2023

It doesn’t seem five minutes since the Magic Showcase 2021 introduced us to a new, cyberpunk take on Kamigawa and the crime-ridden Streets of New Capenna, but it’s already time to look forward to next year. August 18’s Wizards Presents conference is set to be a huge celebration of all things Magic: The Gathering, with the whole 2023 line-up shown off for the first time.

With next year also being Magic’s 30th anniversary, the pressure is on for Wizards to deliver. With that in mind, I do have a few personal requests that, as the internet’s leading Verified Card Boy, will surely be listened to by those over at Hasbro.

No Other Big Crossovers

We already know one of 2023’s sets will be the Universes Beyond release Lord Of The Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth. A full set made for Legacy, Vintage, and Commander play, it’ll bring all manner of sneaky little Hobbitses and grand-standing Gandalfs of various colours to Magic for the first time. Unlike the previous Universes Beyond releases we’ve had; this one will be a complete set with the full booster pack and draft environment treatment.

While it’s nice to see an outright fantasy property cross over with Magic after a year of Stranger Things and Fortnite, and I’m sure I can use it as a way to get TheGamer’s resident Tolkien Simp Ben Sledge into Magic, I still hope it’s the only one we get in 2023. This is meant to be Magic’s 30th anniversary, and one of the precious release slots for the year has already been taken up by something decidedly un-Magic. The focus should be on Magic’s world and characters given that it’s, y’know, Magic’s birthday. I’d be a bit mad if my birthday was crashed by a big conglomorate IP Cross-promotional Brand Synergy opportunity. Just saying that sounds cold.

This applies to Dungeons & Dragons as well. In the last two years we’ve had two different D&D crossovers, with Adventures In The Forgotten Realms in 2021, and Commander Legends: Battle For Baldur’s Gate in 2022. As much as I would love a Spelljammer set to tie in with this month’s Spelljammer: Adventures In Space, giving Magic the freedom to embrace its own characters and universe is only fitting for such a momentous occasion.

The Netflix Show

I would be very surprised if we saw anything about the Netflix show. While I have no insider information, my gut tells me it’s likely been quietly cancelled and will never see the light of day. And yet, I can still hope that, somewhere in the hype surrounding Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves next year, we might still see a little animated Gideon Dura show make its way onto Netflix.

The fact it had no mention at all at Netflix’s Geeked Week doesn’t fill me with confidence, and the last time Wizards acknowledged its existence was at last year’s showcase. But Wizards deserves to have its world and characters put in front of a larger audience who balk at the thought of cards in the same way Arcane avoided people’s aversion to MOBAs.

The show’s still scheduled to debut sometime this year, but the chances of that feel slim to none. Here’s hoping Wizards proves me wrong – maybe with a stealth release? Although that hardly feels fair for how beloved and huge Magic is, especially when Hasbro considers it even bigger than D&D, which is getting all kinds of fanfare for its newest theatrical outing.

A Satisfying End To The Phyrexian Arc

If you’ve not been paying attention to the current story, you’re missing out. The Phyrexians, Magic’s answer to the Borg or the Cybermen, have been spreading across the multiverse, compleating Planeswalkers and building armies. We know the nightmare that is Ashiok is involved somehow, and with the next two sets exploring Magic’s home setting of Dominaria, we know things are going to get very, very messy.

With any luck, Wizards has learned from its mistakes with the last major story, the War of the Spark, which was marred not just by infamously shoddy writing, but also by an overall lack of finality to it. Gideon’s dead, Liliana’s ‘gone good’, and Jace is hiding that Nicol Bolas isn’t actually dead, but that’s hardly the world-shattering result of an interplanar war for the souls of every Planeswalker in reality, is it?

On the other hand, the Phyrexian arc has the chance to have implications for decades to come. Hopefully next year’s conclusion doesn’t just get rid of the Phyrexians and fix everything back to how it was until Wizards needs them again in another ten years – they’re back in play and have interplanar travel; that should be something that shifts our understanding of Magic and raises the stakes for years or even decades to come. We can win this current war, but it shouldn’t just be back to business as usual once the dust settles.

Support For All Formats

The reason Magic is so popular is because it can be played in a dozen different ways. Whether you like Standard, Modern, Commander, Pauper, Pioneer, Vintage, Legacy, or even Alchemy, hopefully this 30th anniversary will have something for everyone.

Recent products have been criticised for their overall focus on Commander. Modern Horizons 2 introduced plenty of new staples for the format while also warping Modern in a way many fans didn’t like, while Double Masters 2022 could’ve likely been more accurately called Commander Masters with its numerous EDH-friendly reprints.

As much as I love Commander, I hope we see Wizards embrace the diversity of formats and release a little of something for everyone. Pauper and Pioneer in particular deserve a lot more love, whether they be specific Masters-like reprint sets (which would be fascinating for a common-only format like Pauper), or, controversially perhaps, full Horizons sets to inject new cards into the formats.

And, of course, a new Commander Legends would be nice. Something to rinse the taste of Baldur’s Gate out of our mouths and regain trust in the Commander Legends name.

More Reworked Planes

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty was a pivotal moment for Magic. Kamigawa was long one of the most-requested settings by fans, but the poor reception of its debut sets discouraged Wizards from exploring it further. It wasn’t until halfway through the cyberpunk set Neon Dynasty’s development that it was decided that it should even be Kamigawa, but the result was one of the most adored sets of all time.

People absolutely love Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. This fresh, tech-driven take on Kamigawa was an immediate hit, and its artifact vs. enchantment theme made it one of the slickest play experiences in years as well. More importantly, it showed Wizards that, provided there is a good enough hook, older, ‘less popular’ settings have the chance to thrive in the modern day.

We’re not likely to see returning sets in the same style of Neon Dynasty for a couple of years yet, thanks to Wizards working roughly two years in advance and Neon Dynasty’s success being a complete surprise to it. But a part of me hopes we’ll get something next year – maybe a return to the Arabian Nights-inspired world of Rabiah, or the human-less fairy tale wilds of Lorwyn-Shadowmoor. Neon Dynasty didn’t just bring Kamigawa back; it opened the door to countless other worlds that deserve a second chance.

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