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Magic: The Gathering’s Warhammer 40K crossover will be a full-fledged Commander deck

Plus more details on newly announced Universes Beyond

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A sister of battle amidst the flames of battle. Image: Anna Steinbauer/Games Workshop
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

During an investor call on Thursday, Wizards of the Coast parent company Hasbro announced a new initiative for Magic: The Gathering. Called Universes Beyond, this new line of products will include other licensed properties, including Warhammer 40,000 and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. In a blog post published later on Thursday, Wizards provided more detail on what that new product line will look like.

“Universes Beyond came about thanks to a simple thought,” Wizards said in the blog post, “if we can expand our story beyond the game system to things like comics, novels, and other games, then surely we can expand the game system to let players explore worlds outside of the worlds of Magic.”

Universes Beyond items will be branded with the same holofoil stamp that appeared on The Walking Dead crossover that appeared in a Secret Lair print-on-demand offering in 2020, according to Wizards. But this new product line will not merely be a set of alternate-art cards available online.

“Universes Beyond products will generally be sold in all Magic channels — these will not be strictly Secret Lair products,” Wizards said, referring to online direct sales, online retail, and brick-and-mortar retail stores. “The Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks, for example, will be available everywhere we currently sell Commander decks, as will The Lord of the Rings product. We may occasionally do associated Secret Lair products related to the main release, like the Secret Lair Godzilla lands when Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths came out. There will also be the occasional standalone product like The Walking Dead, but the intention is to typically make Universes Beyond as available as any other Magic product.”

Wizards also specified that the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons-themed Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set is not part of the Universes Beyond initiative. That appears to have been misstated during the investor call earlier. But the company came down firmly by saying that Universes Beyond will not merely be reskins of existing cards. Some products in the line will contain entirely new cards with new rules and mechanics. The legality of Universes Beyond cards in Magic’s many formats remains an open question, and will likely change from set to set.