MTG Universes Beyond is Magic: The Gathering’s new money printing machine. Its basic concept is characters and worlds from third party IPs, popular nerdy stuff like Lord of the Rings and Stranger Things, turned into Magic cards. Universes Beyond started out slow with the Walking Dead Secret Lair in 2020 and The Walking Dead in 2021. But now that drip, drip, drip has become a torrent of new and varied MTG releases that’s very hard to keep up with.
Fortunately, we’re here to sort all the Universes Beyond releases out for you, from the smaller MTG Secret Lairs to the Universes Beyond MTG sets. Check out our MTG 2023 release schedule to see how all of the year’s releases, third party and otherwise, are shaping up.
It’s worth noting that, so far, Wizards of the Coast has kept all its Universes Beyond cards out of Standard. They’re mostly used in eternal formats like Commander or Modern.
Upcoming MTG Universes Beyond products
MTG The Lord of the Rings
Due out in 2023, MTG Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth will be Magic’s first full Universes Beyond set, featuring not just a set of four Commander decks, but also a whole batch of new cards. This set is coming to MTG Arena as an MTG Alchemy set, but won’t be in Standard – instead going straight to Modern.
MTG Lord of the Rings is designed to be drafted, and features all your fave Lord of the Rings characters, many of them depicted in an enormous 18-card collage. Wizards says it expects MTG Lord of the Rings to sell better than the regular Standard sets of 2023. There’ll also be Lord of the Rings Secret Lairs, of course.
MTG Doctor Who
Slated for release some time in 2023, MTG Doctor Who will consist of Secret Lairs and four Commander decks, featuring Doctors, companions, monsters and aliens from both old and nu-Who.
MTG Assassin’s Creed
We don’t know much about MTG Assassin’s Creed, except that it’s on our radar for 2024.
MTG Final Fantasy
Similarly, MTG Final Fantasy remains a mystery – it’s also slated for release in 2024.
Released MTG Universes Beyond products
MTG Transformers cards were released in November 2022, appearing in the set and collector boosters for MTG The Brothers’ War – a first for Universes Beyond cards. These featured 15 of the titular Transformers, all of which could switch between a creature form and an MTG vehicle form. There were also rare Shattered Glass variants for the cards, featuring artwork from a parallel universe where the Autobots are evil and the Decepticons are good. These are found only in The Brothers’ War collector boosters.
MTG Warhammer 40k
The first real big-hitters for Universes Beyond were the MTG Warhammer 40k Commander decks, which came out in October 2022. There was one for the Tyranids, Necrons, all the Warhammer 40k Imperium of Man factions, and all the Warhammer 40k Chaos factions, each featuring powerful and flavourful cards, which went down a treat with fans. Also included in the release were three Warhammer Secret Lairs, themed around Warhammer 40k Orks, Warhammer Age of Sigmar, and Blood Bowl.
Released in July 2022, the MTG Fortnite cards are all existing Magic cards reskinned with Fortnite flavour and names. For instance, Smuggler’s Copter became Battle Bus, while Wrath of God was Shrinking Storm. These 12 cards were split across two Secret Lairs, one with seven regular cards and one, Fortnite: Lands and Locations, just featuring Fortnite versions of the five basic MTG lands.
MTG Street Fighter
MTG Street Fighter was part of the February 2022 Secret Lair superdrop. It consisted of eight Street Fighter characters depicted on unique, original Magic cards. Their Universes Within reprints (more on that below) are each Dominarian characters set to appear in Phyrexia: All Will Be One.
Found in the Dec-Nov 2021 Secretversary Secret Lair, the Arcane Universes Beyond cards are reskinned reprints of regular Magic cards, such as a Duress featuring Jinx and a Round Two featuring Vi. There were two Arcane Secret Lairs in this drop, one again just containing Arcane-themed basic lands.
MTG Stranger Things
The October 2021 Superdrop had MTG Stranger Things UB cards, showing Eleven and the gang, the Mindflayer, Hopkin’s Laborary, and the Upside-down. The Universes Within versions of these cards showed up in Streets of New Capenna set boosters in 2022.
MTG The Walking Dead
Technically the very first MTG Universes Beyond product, and the first unique third-party IP cards printed, MTG The Walking Dead cards were highly controversial when they first appeared. Released in their very own Secret Lair in October 2020, the Walking Dead cards came out before the Universes Beyond term was coined and was grandfathered in, becoming part of the product line retroactively.
Wizards flip-flopped a little on whether this batch of cards would get Universes Within versions, eventually deciding they would – though we’ve seen neither hide nor hair of them so far.
What is Universes Within?
When Universes Beyond first showed up, it was pretty controversial with a subsection of MTG fans, and many players still don’t like to use cards that feature characters that aren’t canonically from the MTG universes.
To help address that issue somewhat, Wizards has promised to make MTG-universe versions of all mechanically unique Universes Beyond cards produced in Secret Lairs (though not those made for Commander decks, sets, and other products). These have been dubbed ‘Universes Within’ cards.
So far, that’s just the Stranger Things, Street Fighter, and Walking Dead cards – and of these, only the Walking Dead ones are still to be announced.
Non-UB MTG cards featuring 3rd party IPs
The Innistrad: Crimson Vow box toppers featuring cards reskinned to show characters and locations from Dracula, and the Ikoria box toppers reskinned to show Godzilla monsters are not considered Universes Beyond products, even though they fit the bill. The Godzilla lands that dropped in a 2020 Secret Lair aren’t, either. See, we told you it was tough to keep up!