Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair Strixhaven set hits the frame

Today we’re taking a peek at a pair of Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair drops, the first of which is butting up against the frame with Strixhaven. The second – which you’ll see this afternoon – blasts the frame into bits. The Strixhaven set looks like the game element designers dove in to holy magic stained glass windows and tore them asunder, making way for the next level.

This is the newest Secret Lair drop, a Showcase: Strixhaven set of six cards. These cards include art that not only places high-level or otherwise eye-blasting art in Magic cards, but expands upon the way in which card art interacts with the play elements in the game.

In an interview with Polygon this week, Wizards of the Coast senior creative art director Tom Jenkot spoke on the evolution of Magic: The Gathering card art, and the design techniques used to allow the art to breathe and interact with the card’s standard format.

“These [techniques] give us an ability to create these gorgeous moments where the frame and the art kind of merge,” said Jenkot. “We like to think of it as more of a card treatment than just a frame design. It’s the art and the frame coming together.”

In this latest drop, Wizards of the Coast feature art from Rovina Cai, Minttu Hynninen, Dominik Mayer, Anato Finnstark, and Justin & Alexis Hernandez. In the imagery in this article you’ll find an image of each card as well as an expanded view of each piece of artwork.

The Secret Lair drop will appear in two editions, one standard, one foil. The basic version will cost users approximately $30 USD, while the foil version will cost you around $40. These sets will be available through the Secret Lair page where users can order starting on April 26, 2021.

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Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair cards break all borders with psychedelic visuals

If you’re looking for the most fantastical Magic: The Gathering cards to ever appear outside of Unglued… here they are. This is a new Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair set called “Our Show Is On Friday, Can You Make It?” This set expands upon and twists apart the standard layout for Magic cards in general. In these five cards, you’ll be forgiven if you don’t recognize that they are, in fact, Magic cards from the start.

The set “Our Show Is On Friday, Can You Make It?” is limited edition and made as part of the “Secret Lair” gallery. Wizards of the Coast make these sets with collectors in mind, selling them to people who might otherwise open packs and place cards directly into protective cases.

In this case, we’ve got five cards made by some truly awesome artists. Alexis Ziritt, Jermaine Rogers, Sam McKenzie, Ian Jepson, and Jeff Soto. Each of them have agreed to make a card in their own style in a way that keeps Gig Posters in mind.

Gig Posters are artist and/or designer-created pieces of design and/or art meant to deliver information about a music event. You might also hear them called “rock posters” – and they’ve been celebrating individual engagements in music and partying for decades.

Cards in this tiny baby set are all “hand drawn.” This doesn’t necessarily mean each individual card is marked up and painted, nor does it mean that every single element in each card is hand-crafted. Instead it indicates that the artist and/or designer of each card had a direct hand in arranging nearly every element in their card.

Where a classic Magic: The Gathering card has a large portion dedicated to standardized elements specifically aimed at streamlining gameplay, these cards get wild. The title of the card is drawn by the artist, the mana costs are illustrated by the artist or the fonts in the majority of the cards are chosen by the artist and placed by the artist.

The colors are all chosen by the artist, and each card acts as a tribute not only to the medium, but to the various versions of the cards that’ve been created over the years they’ve been in play. One of the eldest of this set, “Wrath of God” has been a card since the original release of the game, back in 1993 – it’s been being made and remade with different artwork for 28 years!

With this set of cards, the user gets Degree of Pain, Gamble, Nature’s Lord, Preordain, and Wrath of God, each hand-drawn, each in what’s likely their most extravagant visual form yet produced. The release date for this set is August 25th, 2021, and the sale date is April 26th, 2021.

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Magic The Gathering Arena released for iOS, Android: Hearthstone has a challenger

At long last, Magic: The Gathering can be played on almost any touchscreen device or gadget you have in your possession. Magic: The Gathering (aka Magic cards) from Wizards of the Coast (a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., is now prepared to appear on your smartphone or tablet with Magic: The Gathering Arena. This game was previously available on desktop machines, and is now ready to roll on Android and iOS.

Magic: The Gathering Arena can now be played on Windows PC, Apple’s Mac OS, and on smartphones and tablets with iOS or Android. That means most any Android device, so long as it works with Android 6.0 and newer. This game is approximately 120MB large, and is likely a lot larger depending on which version of the game you get and which content needs to be loaded for the latest sets of cards.

If you are looking to play the game on iOS, you’ll need a device with either iOS 13.0 or iPadOS 13.0 or later. The game is approximately 906MB large right out the gate – and will likely get larger as more cards and content are added to your collection.

You’ll need either a touchscreen or a connected mouse of some sort – this version of the game is made for the touchscreen environment. This game works with the same account you use for Magic: The Gathering Arena on a desktop device. You’ll use your official Wizards Account to access your existing collection and match with players cross-platform.

It’s been a long time coming. The folks at Blizzard that make Hearthstone must have been keeping an eye on the progress made by Wizards on this expansion of their own card-based game. Now that the most famous Collectable Card Game ever made is mobile, will the digital card game universe suffer – or blossom?

You can get this game on Google Play for Android right this minute for free. It’s also free on the Apple app store for iOS. But be warned: If you find the game addicting, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself spending real money on digital packs of cards. That can drain your wallet quick!

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Magic: The Gathering Arena launches for all on Android, iOS

Although still going strong with a loyal following, collectible card games aren’t as big as they were decades ago. The games have also had trouble adjusting to the digital world and not for a lack of trying. Only a few of its kind have made it big on PCs and mobile but that’s not stopping one of the biggest names in that genre from making an even bigger play by taking Magic: The Gathering Arena available to all mobile devices this week.

This wouldn’t be the first Magic: The Gathering or MTG game on mobile and hardly the first video game adaptation of the franchise. Translating the game mechanics of the physical card game, which involves real-time in-person matches, hasn’t always translated well to the digital setting, even with online play. MTG Arena seems to have been considered successful enough after almost two years on the PC that Wizards of the Coast is confident enough to open the gates to fans of the game on mobile.

MTG Arena is pretty much a direct port of the CCG to the digital realm, with the Internet serving as the channel for pairing opponents. All the mechanics of the physical game are present as are the same cards, though the digital versions will naturally catch up with the releases of the physical ones after a certain gap. The digital game will play out exactly in the same way save for the random mechanic that will take the place of real-world card shuffling.

MTG Arena has actually already been in beta on Android since January, almost two years after the game launched on PCs. Now Wizards of the Coast announced that the game is being made available to all and also adding support for iOS devices as well as tablets. The game also offers cross-play between mobile and PC so gamers can take their matches wherever they are.

It is quite interesting that WotC pushed through with the mobile launch of the game, which probably shows the publisher’s faith in the MTG brand more than the popularity of its particular digital incarnation. Other major players in the digital CCG market have already bowed out, including Valve and its Artifact, leaving MTG Arena and Blizzard’s Hearthstone as the only notable titles in this market, at least for now.

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Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond sets mix-up Lord of the Rings, Warhammer 40K

Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro revealed a major bit of news this week with a pair of new card sets. Both exist in a line that’ll be called Universes Beyond. Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond will begin with a set for Lord of the Rings, and another set for Warhammer 40K. This could be amazingly fun and entertaining, or it could be the beginning of the end for the game.*

Two sets for starters

Hasbro (who’ve owned Wizards of the Coast since 1999) announced the new Magic: The Gathering initiative in an investor call this week. They’ve suggested that they’ll have access to properties in the J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth universe. The Hobbit book and the main Lord of the Rings book trilogy are on the table, at the moment.

Warhammer 40,000, or Warhammer 40K, is a tabletop game with miniatures that’s been in-effect since September of 1987. It’s not clear at the moment whether we’ll see Magic characters appear in Warhammer miniatures, but we WILL see Warhammer characters appear in Magic cards.

Release dates have not yet been revealed, we’ll let you know as soon as we know what’s up with the first two sets. Per the investor call this week: Magic Universes Beyond “crossover products” will “take fan-favorite brands and bring them into the Magic play system for exciting new collectible and social play opportunities.”

Avoiding ARC

Back in the year 1998, Wizards of the Coast released a card game called C-23. The game was also known as Jim Lee’s C-23, an awesome comic book series in its own right. The game C-23 was meant to be part of a card game system called the “ARC System.”

The ARC System was an idyllic multi-universe card game system in which the Deckmaster system (like MTG) would set the stage for cross-play among all manner of properties. The ARC System also included Hercules and Xena sets, also from Wizards of the Coast – all sets were released in the year 1998.

The concept was fun, the game was fun, but the ARC System never developed beyond these three sets. Wizards of the Coast effectively abandoned the system and the sets after the release of Hercules in July of 1998. Cross your fingers the same doesn’t happen with Magic now that they’ve jumped the shark.

*NOTE: It’s VERY unlikely that Magic: The Gathering will end any time soon. They’ve already released all manner of bonkers and/or off-the-wall cards from sets from Unglued to My Little Pony, and they’ve been fine. No worries!

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