I Need To Hide My Wallet Because the 2022 Magic: The Gathering Release Schedule Has Me Excited
Look at the mech-animals!
My first introduction to Magic: The Gathering (MTG) was from my high school AP Physics teacher training us with his hundreds of cards and calling Yu-Gi-Oh (the game we would play in his class) the game for children and MTG the game for “men”— I know this sounds like some toxic masculinity, but it was just an attempt to get us to put down one trading card game for another. Fast forward almost eight years later, and I found myself obsessed with this card game a few months into a pandemic. (This was before I knew MTG Arena existed.)
A full year of playing with my partner and hours upon hours of Arena later, the 2022 Magic the Gathering release schedule has me so excited and negotiating with my bank account as to where are we going to give in. While some of the logos are not finalized, Wizards of the Coast (WotC) released their incoming Standard release schedule for 2022. This doesn’t include any side events, un-sets, or Magic Universes, or the incoming MTG content coming on Netflix (supposedly in 2022). The success of League of Legends‘ Arcane has set the bar high, and I’m ready for a teaser or something!
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
With 2022 days away and the set releasing in February, we have the most information on Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. Kamigawa‘s Shinto Japanese-inspired setting was first introduced in 2004 for the Champions of Kamigawa. However, set over 1,200 years after the end of the storyline introduced in ’04, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty will likely feel like a whole new world. Despite these changes, as Lead Vision/Storyboard Designer Mark Rosewater said in the Weekly MTG live stream, this set will have elements that reward fans of the original and include references to Japanese pop culture tropes.
Rosewater emphasized there are “things we just didn’t do last time,” and that combined with comments made about Narrative Designer Grace Fong made about including cultural consultants from Japan probably means that this “inspiredness” is not the end and the beginning like sets of MTG past. We’re reading this as a relationship built over time with the Japanese artists/storytellers and player market, as well as signaling a promising response to responsible storytelling.
The face of the rollout is new Legendary Planeswalker Kaito Shizuki, with his phase-out ability that will allow him to “leave” the battlefield temporarily outside of his player’s turn. This ability (which sounds cool, but I know I’m not going to play him because he isn’t in the color spectrum I play in) compliments his persona as this cool futuristic ninja. Youniae Choi illustrated this blue/black character for the original card.
Arena players can access the set early on February 10, and all others can pick up their physical cards on February 18. There is a lot of lore information and history for Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty will release throughout December and January. Fong enthusiastically pointed to the published work online to learn more about Kaito and his robotic origami-like raccoon.
Streets of New Capenna
Before I read anything, I looked at the logo of this set and said, “yes, please.” It’s giving turn-of-the-twentieth-century and the roaring twenties while also reminding me a bit of BioShock Infinite. During quarter two (sometime between April – June), Streets of New Capenna will introduce players into a metropolis built by angles and run by three-color demon crime families. One better be green/white/red, but regardless, they have me interested.
MTG teased that the city is significant to Elspeth, which, if they’re referencing the Planeswalkers, means good fun for white mana players.
Dominaria United and The Brothers’ War
The final two places released have minimal information; however, Dominaria United will kick off the 30th Anniversary of MTG. The first bit of concept art released also features one of my favorite landscape artists Sarah Finnigan.
Her original work, The Passing Gate, literally sits on the wall behind my monitor. Finnigan’s first set was for the Norse-inspired Kaldheim— which was also the first set release I had a faint idea of what was going on and started to explore the lore.
Using Dominaria’s wording building, the final set (The Brothers War) will expand the lore in the fourth quarter. At first, I thought The Brothers’ War was the only one of the final two sets where the logo would be worked on further by WotC. Still, seeing how connected it is to the Dominaria United releases, I wouldn’t be surprised if they ended up complimenting each other visually in some way.
In addition to the Standard sets per quarter, others are releasing between the main sets, like Innistrad Double Feature, Unfinity, Commander Legedents: Battle for Baldur’s Gate (the D&D set), Double Masters 2022, and Jump Start 2022.
Except for Jumpstart 2022 (which hasn’t been confirmed yet), like the Universes Beyond sets (featuring our girl Chun-Li and more), all of these sets won’t be available on Arena. While collectors and monster film lovers will have a hard time not reaching for Double Feature, I’m most excited for Unfinity.
Taking place on what Rosewater calls the Myra the Magnificent’s Intergalactic Astrotorium of Fun, this un-set’s setting is an intergalactic traveling carnival. It reminds me of all the bursts of color and fun from Strixhaven while playing with space and science fiction like the upcoming “regular set” Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. Because many carnival games include chance (with the scales tipped out of one’s favor), I’m curious to see if there is more dice use and chance rolling with these cards.
As a new player, this doesn’t apply to me as much, but this set seeks to reward those with a vast knowledge of characters — like the majestic, level-headed Ajani Goldmane in the bottom left corner, looking like he’s having the time of his life.
What are you most excited about in MTG’s upcoming schedule? Tell us in the comments.
(Image: Wizards of the Coast and Marija Tiurina)
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