Magic: The Gathering did a huge crossover with Warhammer 40k this October. Prior to this, the TCG’s ‘Universes Beyond’ dabblings in other IPs have been mostly small-scale, limited to small bundles of cards in Secret Lairs. But the MTG Warhammer 40k Universes Beyond crossover is on a whole new level. It includes a full set of four, 100-card Commander decks, set in the far future dystopia of the Warhammer 40k universe. The four decks feature brand new cards with tasty Warhammer artwork and even some fresh mechanics.
While early artwork focused solely on the Space Marine boys in blue – fan-favourite Ultramarines – it soon became clear the MTG Warhammer 40k Universes Beyond collaboration would run the gamut, featuring plenty of Xenos, Imperium, and Chaos representation.
The decks are out, and they’ve been so popular that Hasbro saw the MTG Warhammer 40k crossover decks sell out twice. Here we’ve collected everything that’s been shared about the MTG Warhammer 40k crossover, both the Commander decks and a series of three 40k-themed Secret Lairs.
Should we hear about another MTG x Warhammer 40k crossover event, expect to read about it here.
MTG Warhammer 40k Release Date
So when did the MTG Warhammer 40k Universes Beyond decks come out?
When the MTG Warhammer 40k (and Middle-Earth) crossovers were announced, the originally scheduled release date was August 12. But delays did their thing, and the MTG Warhammer 40k crossover commander decks released on October 7.
The four Commander decks have been reprinted twice, so the supply of them is not as restricted as it initially appeared, but you’ll still struggle to find them in shops now.
Three Warhammer Secret Lairs went on pre-order on October 17 – as with all Secret Lairs, that’s the only time Wizards will sell them, so your only way to get their contents is from the secondary market.
MTG Warhammer 40k Decks
There are four Commander decks in the Warhammer 40k Universes Beyond release. They are:
- Tyranid Swarm (Green, Red, Blue)
- Forces of the Imperium (White, Blue, Black)
- The Ruinous Powers (Blue, Black, Red)
- Necron Dynasties (Black)
On August 18, the first artwork from each faction was shown. We saw the four commanders: Szarek The Silent King, Inquisitor Grayfax, Abbadon the Despoiler, and The Swarmlord.
The Xenos decks are pretty straightforward – you’ve got the Necron and Tyranid armies, ready to devour and destroy – though the Tyranids also have the Genestealer Cults in their corner. However, the human decks require a little more unpacking.
The Forces of the Imperium deck brings all the Imperium factions into one set of cards, with the Space Marines, Imperial Guard, Adeptus Mechanicus and Sisters of Battle each making an appearance. Similarly the factions of Chaos are combined in The Ruinous Powers deck, with daemons and Chaos Space Marines fighting side by side.
The set of four Warhammer 40k Commander decks is not colour balanced. It seems the 41st millennium has lots of Blue and Black, but not much White or Green mana to speak of – fitting for a far future where humans and aliens alike have ruined the galaxy with endless war.
Wizards sold two versions of the Warhammer 40k Commander decks upon release. There’s the regular ones, which need no explanation, as well as Collector’s Editions, which come all dressed up in shiny foil. This was the debut for the ‘surge foil’ card treatment, which looks like this:
As well as the four Commander decks, three Warhammer Secret Lair drops released a couple of weeks later on October 17. These are:
- Secret Lair x Warhammer 40,000: Orks
- Secret Lair x Warhammer Age of Sigmar
- Secret Lair x Blood Bowl
It seems like Orks just missed out on getting their own Commander deck, as they received one of the commander slots – and two Secret Lairs from the other Warhammer properties, Blood Bowl and Warhammer: Age of Sigmar.
MTG Warhammer 40k face Commanders
The four Warhammer 40k crossover commander decks each come with a face commander card, who synergises well with their deck. However, they’re not made equally.
Abaddon the Despoiler, the commander for The Ruinous Powers deck, is a 5/5 with trample who gives spells you cast Cascade, provided their mana value is equal to or less than the amount of life your opponents lost this turn. Ripping free spells off the top of your deck is always fun in commander, and the ruinous powers deck comes stacked with them.
The Swarmlord is every Timmy’s dream, a 5/5 that enters play with more +1/+1 counters on it for each time you’ve cast it, and draws you cards each time a creature you control with counters on it dies. Its growth ability should work in a ramp-heavy Voltron strategy, while the fact its triggered ability looks for any counter means it has more homes than just a +1/+1 counters deck.
Szarekh, the Silent King is the underwhelming face commander of the Necron deck. Whenever he attacks, he self-mills and can return an artefact creature or vehicle to your hand. This has some decent synergy within the precon, but it’s a narrow, fairly weak ability that doesn’t reflect this character’s immense power in the 40k universe.
Inquisitor Greyfax is a fairly cheap Human commander who gives your whole board Vigilance, while cheaply tapping down enemy creatures and creating Clue tokens. She has an obvious home in Esper humans.
MTG Warhammer 40k best commanders
Several, monstrously powerful commanders came out of the 40k commander decks.
Marneus Calgar is the chapter master of the Ultramarines, but you’d think he was the Primarch Roboute Guilliman from the card he received. Starting as a 3/5 with doublestrike, Guilliman lets you draw a card whenever any tokens enter the battlefield under your control, and pay six generic mana to create two 2/2 Astartes tokens. As a baseline, he’s a powerful midrange commander who gives great value to tokens decks – but he’s also a combo enabler. If you have an engine for creating either tokens or mana, Marneus will draw your whole deck for you, putting your combo win into your hand.
Ghyrson Starm, Kellermorph is a Genestealer Cultist, a three-armed gunslinger from the Tyranid deck. Whenever a source you control deals exactly one damage to a permanent or player, Ghyrson deals two more. Note that this is a triggered ability that doesn’t have a target, so Ghyrson can deal damage to hexproof creatures or players if you have a way to apply the damage, such as a spell that deals one damage to all creatures. Starm requires building around, but he doesn’t necessarily have to cost a lot of money – because they’re ordinarily so underwhelming, spells and creatures that can deal exactly one point of damage are very cheap, and Starm triples their output. He’s utterly lethal at the helm of a spellslingers or storm deck.
Be’lakor, the Dark Master is the backup Chaos commander, and he’s a brutally simple demon tribal commander. When a demon equals play, it deals damage equal to its power to any target – like Scourge of Valkas, only for demon tribal instead of dragons. Sometimes, you’ve just got to play the hits.
MTG Warhammer 40k commander decks –
Each MTG Commander deck comes with a Sol Ring these days, it’s basically Magic: The Gathering law. It’s therefore only natural that each Warhammer 40k MTG deck gets its own copy of Sol Ring, each themed around its faction.
Along with plenty of new cards, the crossover includes reprints of existing MTG cards with Warhammer 40k MTG artwork and theming. Fabricate was reprinted with art showing Belisarius Cawl (who’s also got his own card), Archmagos Dominus of the Adeptus Mechanicus as a promo card for the crossover and was only available from stores around the time of launch.
Just like their 40k counterparts, the Tyranid cards are big and stompy.
Broodlord and Zoanthrope are examples of the deck’s new keyword ‘Ravenous’. This allows those nasty ‘nids to enter the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters, with X being as much mana as you want to spend: spending five or more allows you to draw a card too. It’s a little similar to the classic ‘Devour’ ability (which is fitting for a race also known as The Great Devourer).
The X plays a secondary role on both cards. Broodlord can share out X +1/+1 counters amongst its fellow hive-mates, while Zoanthrope does X damage to any target.
These cards will come in handy if you happen to have The First Tyrannic War in play, as this gives a creature card with an X mana cost an extra number of +1/+1 counters equal to the number of lands you control. It can also double the counters on a target creature. We’ve got the full Tyranid Swarm decklist, with 42 unique Tyranid cards in total. You can check out a bunch more cards below.
Saurian reprints of both Abundance and Hardened Scales enchantments show up in the Tyranid Swarm deck.
The Ruinous Powers
The Ruinous Powers deck is full of demons, board-wipes, and gets lots of value out of the extremely strong Cascade ability.
Blood for the Blood God is one of the most entertaining new cards in the deck, named after the catchphrase of the Chaos God Khorne‘s followers. It’s sort of their scout motto. This is an extremely expensive spell that drops in price once things start dying, replacing your hand with eight cards and dealing eight damage to each opponent. It pairs perfectly with the classic board-sweeper Blasphemous Act, which (coincidentally) gets a reprint here as well.
Unsurprisingly, this mono-black deck has plenty of graveyard interaction, including the return of the Unearth mechanic we also saw in MTG The Brothers War. This is a deck all about putting artefacts into the bin, pulling them back out for free, or doing something tricksy with them when they’re in there.
Forces of The Imperium
Forces of the Imperium features a load of tokens. The Vanguard Suppressor was previewed early on and has the decks signature Squad mechanic. It’s a 3/2 flier with a mana value of four, which draws you cards whenever you damage the enemy – that would be playable in draft, but the Squad ability makes it extremely powerful. You can pay two mana as you cast the Suppressor, as many times as you like, creating a token copy for each time you’ve payed the cost.
For details on current MTG sets – check out our guide to everything we know about The Brothers’ War.
MTG Warhammer 40k crossover card reprints
Wizards has said the cards in the Warhammer Secret Lairs will be later be rethemed and reprinted in regular MTG sets. This may well be as ‘Universes Within’ cards filling the list slot of set boosters, which is how the mechanically original Stranger Things Secret Lair was reprinted for general access. However, that was just reprinting six cards, and there are hundreds of new cards in the 40k commander decks – not to mention that the Astartes, Necron and Tyranid creature types are part of Games Workshop’s intellectual property, so presumably can’t be reused without their license.