Wizards gifts staff unique, bizarre MTG Commander cards

An angel that swaps owners and a planeswalker that opens Magic: The Gathering boosters are among the latest Heroes of the Realm MTG cards.

MTG card angel planeswalker - Wizards of the Coast art of Kaito the planeswalker

Wizards of the Coast employees have revealed some of this year’s ‘Heroes of the Realms’ MTG cards, sharing photos via Twitter on December 18 and 19. This year’s unique cards, gifted exclusively to WotC staff, come with some pretty unusual abilities, guaranteed to shake up any Commander game.

Heroes of the Realm is a series of Magic: The Gathering cards designed to recognize the efforts of internal Wizards of the Coast staff. First introduced in 2016, they were created by current Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks. They’re not legal in most MTG formats, but the Commander Rules Committee allows someone to play a Heroes of the Realm card if their name is printed in the bottom-right corner of the card.

MTG card tweet from Carmen Klomparens

Game designer Carmen Klomparens revealed she was gifted ‘Heroes of Kamigawa’, an MTG planeswalker designed for staff who worked on the MTG set, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. “Not every day I receive what’s def the coolest trading card I will ever own”, Klomparens writes on Twitter.

When the card is in play, each spell you cast with a name printed in a Kamigawa expansion costs one less to cast. Its +2 loyalty ability lets you open a sealed Kamigawa booster pack and pick the top four cards to split equally between your hand and graveyard. Its -3 ability also allows you to return a creature card with a name printed in a Kamigawa expansion from your graveyard to the battlefield.

MTG card tweet from Jontelle Leyson-Smith

Jontelle Leyson-Smith, director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Wizards of the Coast, also received a Heroes of the Realm card for “supporting philanthropic work at Wizards in 2022”. ‘Elusen, the Giving’ has flying, vigilance, lifelink, and haste. At the beginning of your post-combat main phase, you give control of Elusen to the player on your left. Any time a permanent is donated to another player, its original owner draws a card, gains a life, and creates three Treasure tokens.

While Heroes of the Realms celebrates the achievements of Wizards of the Coast staff, this year’s cards come at a less-than-jubilant time for the trading card game publisher. Hasbro announced layoffs for 1,100 employees on December 11, and many Wizards of the Coast employees are facing redundancy.

For more on the latest MTG cards, here’s everything coming up in the MTG release schedule. Or, for digital players, here’s the latest on MTG Arena decks and MTG Arena codes.