WOTC Crossover Problem LOTR/40k
On Feb 25th, 2021 Hasbro/WOTC announced a new direction that they intend for the future of Magic the Gathering, chief among them, the creation of a new division called Wizards & Digital, tasked with expanding current IP’s and creating new games. This news is all well and good but it’s not the topic of today’s discussion.
We here at dicetry.com are primarily focused on Magic the Gathering, and not just the game itself, no, our main focus is on the lore, flavor, art, and Philosophies that this game has established. Even with its faults, it is a game that has captured the imagination of many with its worlds and characters. Due to this outlook and passion, the news that they intend to create a more robust integration of crossovers has been met with an uneasy shock. The first, of what will become many new crossovers in the future, will be the ever-popular IPs of Lord of the Rings, and Warhammer 40k. What’s more, is that at least with LOTR, this will be a full-fledged set, no reprints, no secret layer, but a full-on set. (It won’t be standard legal, but it has yet to be revealed what formats they will be legal in)
I will be the first to say that Lord of the rings holds a special place in my heart, and well, in the hearts of many. It is a beautifully and carefully crafted world full of life and stories, not unlike Magic, and the same goes for Warhammer.
Hell, I don’t even play WarHammer 40k and yet I find myself pouring over a lot of lore videos covering its rich history.
Where the major issue lies with all of this, is that by leaning on these great worlds they waste time that could be spent enriching the multiverse of MTG.
What I am trying to say, is that the time spent designing and creating these cards could be instead put into doing the same for Magic the Gathering. As it is, we are moving from Plane to Plane at breakneck speeds, and I among many others feel that the setting has begun to suffer because of it.
How about instead of going to middle earth for the 100th time, showing the same stories and characters over and over again, we could instead get another set in Eldraine, Kamigawa, and hell even Kaldheim. This would be their chance to make a set that has no Planeswalkers, no overarching story, and instead simply concentrate on world-building. More art, more characters, and more representations of these worlds would go a long way, rather than rehashing the work of other IPs. The multiverse is full of infinite possibilities, why not build upon that?
When it comes down to it, the reason why we can look at Warhammer and Lord of the rings so fondly is that they spent time and energy building up their respective worlds and stories.
The rich histories and overarching tales are what make them worth remembering. What’s funny, or tragic, is that Magic the Gathering is more than capable of having such an impact, it's just lately it seems like they are more worried about simply pushing product than building a strong foundation. Like I said at the top, I don’t play 40k and yet I am invested in its stories, it’s just that fascinating of a world.
What Magic needs is a return to the spark of imagination that once drove its stories and settings. Each Plane as of late seems to be more derivative than the next, and while inspiration is important, creating something utterly unique, something that can stand on its own, is something that solidifies a place in people’s hearts. The Magic team is more than capable of this and these planned crossover side sets, that simply rehash other people's work would be a great place to expand on what they themselves have created and deepen our connection to the Multiverse.
Now I by no means want to sound like this is all doom and gloom, I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they find an elegant solution, maybe they create an all-new format just for crossovers, who knows, but I think at this point I have the right to be a little apprehensive.
You know me, I don’t like to dwell on the negative and even in my color philosophy videos I try and paint each color in a positive light, so I try and be hopeful when I can.
Expanding Magic is a good thing, more artists, more writers, and more designers is a good thing. I just wish that this expansion of staff was there to enrich Magic, and not to create cardboard Funko Pops. Magic the Gathering has the potential to be the IP others emulate and one day, I hope they realize that.
Thanks for joining me in this rant, I am a passionate fan who feels like WOTC has maybe lost its way in some regards. I am still having a ton of fun with commander, and every set I pour over all the art, flavor text, and each bit of lore I can. Let me know how you feel about this whole thing at the bottom of the article in the comments section. I would really like to hear each person’s perspective. We are all big fans and that’s why we react strongly, and with that, I’ll catch you in the multiverse Bye.