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MTG designer’s unique cards turn Magic into a team sport

Unique MTG cards were designed for MTG Philly by senior designer Gavin Verhey, which transform the game of Magic into a team-based affair

MTG artwork of a giant dinosaur, Colossal Dreadmaw

Magic: The Gathering senior designer Gavin Verhey created his own micro MTG set specifically for MagicCon Philadelphia, and seems to have had loads of fun running a secret event based around it. As well as containing plenty of goofs and weird design ideas, these unique playtest cards also turn MTG into a team game.

At the event last week, players were split into Phyrexian or Mirran teams and could earn three points for their side by winning a game. Sealed decks were built with Phyrexia: All Will Be One packs and Mystery Booster packs, but Verhey also brought along his own Mystery Booster style playtest cards, including 62 unique designs in total. These were designed exclusively for the event, printed off at Wizards of the Coast HQ and hand stickered onto cards by Wizards staff.

Many of Gavin’s cards have different effects based on which team you were on, and some even care about which side is currently winning the overall battle. It’s the closest thing we’ve seen to a Magic: The Gathering Legacy board game (like Pandemic Legacy, we don’t mean the Legacy format).

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Card examples include Unclaimed Cat which has Lifelink if you’re on the Mirran team and Toxic 1 if you’re Phyrexian. Other cards win you points: Good Knight and Bad Knight, for instance, score points for your team if they’re alive at the end of each match and can only be played if you’re Mirran or Phyrexian respectively. There’s also Snapsail Rider, seemingly a Marvel Snap reference, that doubles the number of points a game is worth.

There are, of course, references galore (what MTG designer would be able to resist indulging?): like Memnarchitect, a mashup of Memnarch and Grand Architect. Or Locus Cobra, which is Lotus Cobra, but for Locus land cards. At a certain point these cards get pretty meme-y, like Original Skullclamp and ‘Then Dreadmaws Ate’.

Check out Verhey’s Good Morning Magic video above for a more in depth look at this interesting event and the unique cards he created. While the designer says he doesn’t expect any of the cards to show up for real in future sets, he hinted on Twitter that if one or two were particularly popular, he’d consider that in future work.