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Only “small minority” dislike Universes Beyond, says MTG boss

Answering fan questions on his blog, Magic the Gathering lead designer Mark Rosewater says fans care much more about gameplay than IP when picking MTG cards

MTG Universes Beyond Walking Dead Secret Lair Rick, Selfless Leader, art by Jake Murray

Mark Rosewater says that Wizards of the Coast’s market research indicates only a “small minority” of players don’t like mixing in Magic the Gathering Universes Beyond cards to their regular decks. Answering a fan question on his Blogatog blog on Thursday, Rosewater adds that the main concern for MTG deck builders is picking Magic the Gathering cards that will be fun to play, not IP.

The (excelently-named) LizardWizard100 asked Rosewater to address his concerns that the proliferation of external intellectual property entering Magic the Gathering via MTG Secret Lairs and sets like MTG Lord of the Rings and MTG Doctor Who might result in yet another rule zero conversation at Commander tables, as players don’t want to play in games involving external IP.

MTG Universes Beyond Street Fighter Secret Lair Blanka, art by David Rapoza

Rosewaters response is that WotC’s market research shows that worry is unfounded: players who care about mixing Universes Beyond cards with the MtG IP are “very vocal online” but “a small minority of players”.

“The biggest driving factor” for players deciding how to build a MTG deck is “what they think will be fun to play (which also works with the rest of their deck)”, Rosewater states. He adds that “game play is a significantly larger factor for card inclusion than flavor”.

For players who really are put off by the prospect of facing a Rick, Steadfast Leader MTG commander deck, Maro adds that “Magic’s customizability is one of its biggest strengths”, and there’s nothing stopping players from creating lore-purist commander pods.

MTG Universes Beyond Godzilla Secret Plains, art by Lars Grant-West

Wizards of the Coast president Chris Cocks cited the popularity of Universes Beyond as a major factor driving growth for Magic the Gathering, during a conference call with investors discussing Q1 revenue growth in April. He called out both the Warhammer 40k Commander Decks and the upcoming Lord of the Rings MTG set as amongst the most successful MTG products ever.

We in the Wargamer (virtual) office are perfectly open to playing with Universes Beyond cards; not a big surprise given there are so many Warhammer 40k fans among us. Matt has promised to give my Ghyrson Starn, Kellermorph deck (from the Tyranids Warhammer 40k MTG commander pre-con) a beating with his Gor Muldrak, Amphinologist at the next work quarterly meeting.

Don’t fancy forking out for expensive Secret Lairs or the pricy Lord of the Rings set? Check out these MTG Arena Codes to unlock free packs in the online Magic client.