Yes, those Transformers. You read that correctly. In its latest mash-up with a popular IP, Wizards of the Coast is adding some popular Transformers characters to its Magic: The Gathering lineup. The cards will appear as a Universes Beyond set in the upcoming The Brothers’ War expansion set. If you think your dumb little goblins have a chance against Optimus Prime, think again.
Announced during this year’s Hasbro PulseCon, this isn’t the first time Magic: The Gathering has gone all Fortnite on us with IP integration. Doctor Who, Warhammer 40K, The Walking Dead and Arcane have all appeared in the world of Magic: The Gathering. But none of those bring with them the overarching appeal of Transformers.
The first six cards revealed are depictions of Optimus Prime, Starscream, Soundwave, Slicer, Goldbug, and Flamewar. Soundwave was the best Transformer toy ever, hopefully Laserbeak adds some supplemental abilities to Soundwave. Regardless, players will likely be building decks around these cards just to be able to slap down Optimus Prime for the win.
While the Transformers cards will be available in a standard set, they’ll only be playable in Commander, Legacy, and Vintage formats. There will be 15 Transformers cards, each one available in different styles. If you’ve kept up with the comics, then you’ll recognize the Shattered Glass aesthetic. Otherwise, you’ll get all nostalgic with the 1980s style.
All cards will be double-sided and have holo stamps. We all know you have a box of just holo-stamped cards. They’ll also be introducing two new keywords to the Magic: The Gathering universe: More Than Meets the Eye and Living Metal. Also the names of a couple local 80s hair metal cover bands.
In an IGN exclusive Gavin Verhey, principal game designer at Wizards of the Coast told IGN, “The Brother’s War is an incredible set that retells one of the most classic stories of Magic. There’s a lot for established players to dig into here, but we wanted to have something that might catch the eye of someone who didn’t have the background of Brother’s War to get them excited about the set. We’ve been looking for a place to put Transformers, and in a world full of giant mechs and sweet artifacts, it made sense.”
That artifact notation is important. All the Transformers cars will be Legendary artifacts. One side will be robot mode, the other will be the transformed vehicle. The important bit is that unlike other artifact vehicles, these will not need to be crewed. Mostly because there’s no Shia LeBeouf card being added to the set. But mostly because Transformers are sentient beings and don’t require a crew.
If you play standard, this news might not be that great initially. Though Wizards of the Coast is usually amiable to catering to its fan base. With enough energetic furor from players, it’s very possible that the most popular Transformer card(s) make it to standard format in the way of a reprint. While that’s not set in stone, Verhey didn’t confirm either a positive or a negative in that regard in his IGN interview.
For players just getting into Magic: The Gathering, this nostalgic IP could be a good entry point into some of the non-standard formats that often can seem daunting. For long-time players, this could be perceived as just another gimmick, but who cares? It’s Optimus Prime in Magic: The Gathering. That’s worth picking up a few expansion packs for sure.
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