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MTG designer playtests wacky new team-up cards

Senior Magic: The Gathering designer Gavin Verhey tests some unusual team-up MTG cards – prepare for memes, long names, and Eldrazi squirrels.

MTG playtest team up cards - Wizards of the Coast art of Halana and Alena

MTG set March of the Machine introduced some legendary team-ups to the trading card game – quite literally, in the form of ‘team-up’ creature cards. Now senior Magic: The Gathering designer Gavin Verhey has taken things a step further. He playtested 62 wacky cards at an event during Magic Con Minneapolis, which took place between May 5 and May 7. Among these were some of the strangest crossover cards MTG has ever seen.

Verhey’s ‘Unknown’ event saw 400 people creating sealed decks, a combination of cards from March of the Machine and Verhey’s devious mind. Each player got ten playtest cards to try out. In a YouTube video explaining the event posted on May 10 (see below), Verhey refers to these cards as “the lost files of March of the Machine”.

The playtest team-up cards saw some unlikely characters working together. Avacyn and Griselbrand unite to create an angel/demon card, while Emrakul, one of the most fearsome MTG Eldrazi to grace the planes, joins forces with Chatterfang, a literal squirrel. Together, they’re a near-impenetrable force that can instantly bring 15 squirrel tokens to the battlefield.

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Verhey upped the chaos even further by teaming up characters in groups of four. This led to tongue-twisting card names like ‘Anax and Cymede and Kynaios and Tiro’ and ‘Halana and Alena and Gisa and Geralf’. To get even stranger, there’s one card that teams a character up with themselves. Introducing Riku and Riku, a riff off of Riku of the Two Reflections.

It wasn’t just creature cards getting crossovers, either. ‘Chatterstorm and Awaken the Woods’ is the first-ever Sorcery team-up, and it allows you to create a Forest Dryad Squirrel land creature token (say that three times fast). Two swords become one as ‘The Sword of Fire and Ice and War and Peace’, and more equipment gets spliced together in the form of ‘Jitte and the Divining Top’.

According to Verhey, “the most important team-up of all” is Colossal Dreadmaw and Storm Crow. This is a marriage based on Magic memes rather than mechanics. As Verhey says in Wednesday’s video: “Don’t let your memes just be dreams”. The meme-ing continued beyond the team-up cards, too. One playtest card is just an extended joke about Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star’.

For more legitimate MTG cards, here’s all the latest from the MTG 2023 release schedule. And for digital cards, here’s the low-down on MTG Arena codes and MTG Arena decks.