Written by Kevin McCoy
The Magic: the Gathering Showcase 2021 took place a couple weeks ago, and Wizards lived up to the hype by announcing a huge list of upcoming physical product releases. As always, the new sets will be accompanied by Ultra PRO’s officially licensed Deck Protector® sleeves and playmats, which will feature the artwork from each set as they come out over the next year and a half. This means you will always be able to festoon your play area with the newest characters and creatures of the Multiverse!
The first exciting announcement is the immediate opening of presales for the new Secret Lair Out of Time superdrop. This collection consists of four separate limited edition Secret Lair box sets with both foil and non-foil reprints of some of Magic: the Gathering’s most iconic cards, all with exclusive artwork! Kamigawa Ink includes five borderless legendary creatures from the Champions of Kamigawa block, one of each color. There’s Reki, the History of Kamigawa; Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker; Heartless Hidetsugu; Kami of the Crescent Moon; and Toshiro Umezawa, all done beautifully in the traditional Japanese style of brushwork by artist JungShan.
Teferi’s Time Trouble is a Secret Lair celebrating the classic look and feel Magic had in its first decade of existence. It comes with three planeswalkers: Karn, the Great Creator; Dack Fayden; and Teferi, Time Raveler, each with the old-fashioned card border and foiling. In a fun quirk, the card text is laid out as it would have been back then, resulting in a wall of text that still reads clearly and intuitively. Wizards even got classic Magic artists Adam Rex, Greg Staples, and Mark Zug to create new art for these planeswalkers.
There will also be a new pair of new entries in the Secret Lair Artist Series. Johannes Voss is bringing his vivid and colorful style to new exclusive versions of Carpet of Flowers, Karmic Guide, Sphere of Safety, and Sanctum Prelate. Meanwhile, Thomas M. Baxa gives us his creepy (in a good way!) reimagining of Ob Nixilis Reignited, Sire of Insanity, Spellskite, and Sliver Hivelord. Those are some great cards to be getting the Secret Lair treatment and two tremendous artists to be profiled.
All of these Secret Lair drops make awesome additions to your MTG collection or Commander deck, and Ultra PRO is releasing plenty of accessories to go with them. JungShan’s portrayal of Toshiro Umezawa, the hero of Kamigawa himself, will be featured on Deck Protector® sleeves and playmats, while Adam Rex’s Teferi, Time Raveler will be available in playmat form. From the Artist Series, Thomas M. Baxa’s Sliver Hivelord and Johannes Voss’ Karmic Guide will be transformed into Ultra PRO accessories, too. These can all be pre-ordered right now and, like the Secret Lairs themselves, will be print-to-order. That means you can only get them for a limited time!
A superdrop of Secret Lairs wasn’t the only thing announced at the Showcase. No, no, no, not even close! We also got to see what’s in store for Standard all the way through next year. We already knew that Magic was going to return to Innistrad in the next set, but it has now been revealed that the next two Standard-legal sets take place there as Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and Innistrad: Crimson Vow. The new story arc explores the new riskier lengths the humans of the plane must go to in order to protect themselves now that Avacyn is gone. We also learned about a nifty novelty set called Double Feature which will include cards from both sets and also be fully draftable.
The first Standard release of 2022 will bring a highly anticipated (and highly surprising) return to Kamigawa in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. Taking place 1,300 years after the Kami war that defined the first three sets, the plane has become a cyberpunk-inspired world of samurai and ninjas who wield energy weapons. Ultra PRO already has several accessories planned for this exciting release, including a highly adorable plush Mochi-Kami that will tug right at your heart strings.
Following this return to Kamigawa, Wizards will take us to a previously unknown plane in Streets of New Capenna. Details are a little scarce right now, but this new world is a cityscape that is run by demon crime families in what sounds like a darker version of Ravnica. We also know that Elspeth will be part of the story taking place there. For the rest of 2022, we will be returning to the plane that started it all in Dominaria United and The Brothers War as Magic celebrates its 30th anniversary. The first Dominaria set is still a complete mystery, but we know based on the name that The Brothers War will involve the conflict between Mishra and Urza which looms large in MTG lore due to its huge impact on the Multiverse. Ultra PRO is still working with Wizards to determine how it will support these releases, but rest assured that it will be awesome.
In addition to the normal Standard sets, the 2022 schedule will include a slew of other interesting releases. The Dungeons & Dragons crossovers will continue bringing Magic to the Forgotten Realms with Commander Legends: Baldur’s Gate. Commander players should expect another hefty dose of D&D flavor along with a new batch of foil-etched legendary creatures. Double Masters 2022 has also been announced, and it will be overflowing with desirable reprints. As with the first Double Masters set, there will be two foil cards and two rare or mythic rare cards per booster, for double the pulls.
Likely the most remarkable news from the showcase was the announcement of a litany of crossovers. There’s so many IPs! A set of four Commander decks from the Warhammer 40k universe is coming with new cards and reprints featuring exclusive artwork. Wildly popular video game franchises Fortnite and Street Fighter will each get their own Secret Lair collection. But the most exciting crossover announcement might be the Lord of the Rings Magic set coming out in 2023. This isn’t a preconstructed deck or a Secret Lair, but an actual, factual, draftable expansion set! Ultra PRO hasn’t announced any accessories for that far in the future, but personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on them!
The Magic: the Gathering Showcase turned out to be a huge news day for the TCG community. It is clear that the future of the game is bright as new and exciting releases continue to accompany the traditional Standard sets. As always, Ultra PRO will be there the whole way providing protective accessories for each new foil or Mythic Rare in your collection.