Magic: The Gathering is dropping multi-release blocks and bringing back core sets

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13 June 2017
cardart_AKH_Liliana-Death-Wielder-49186.jpg Magic planeswalker Liliana, Death Wielder
‘Three-and-one’ model to take hold from spring 2018

Magic: The Gathering is making some major changes to the way expansions for the massive collectible card game are released.

The most notable difference is that blocks made up of multiple sets are being dropped, in favour of three large expansions launched in spring, autumn and winter that make up the majority of a new ‘three-and-one’ model. The current two-set block model was introduced in late 2015, reducing the previous three-set block release schedule.

Each pack will be legal for Standard play and drafted alone, with a unique theme, setting and mechanics – although stories may run over one, two or all three entries in each series, depending on the narrative.

The next big news is that core sets are making a return after being discontinued in mid-2015, with plans to launch a new beginner-friendly pack every summer – the ‘one’.

There will be some cards for existing fans – such as new and reprinted cards for Constructed play – but the set will split roughly equally between new cards and reprints, aiming to encourage easier drafting for newcomers and better mixing with sample and planeswalker decks, plus Deck Builder’s Toolkits.

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Head designer Mark Rosewater said the starter sets would be markedly different from their form in the past, and will be treated differently to the other three expansions each year. In other words, it should be easier for those who haven’t played Magic before to begin to understand the 22-year-old game and its various mechanics and gameplay aspects.

Rosewater added that Gatewatch characters and the Masterpiece Series wouldn’t be included in as many sets, holding the cards back for notable moments and taking the narrative focus away from Gatewatch planeswalkers.

The effects will take hold from the spring 2018 release of the small expansion for Ixalan, currently codenamed ‘Eggs’. Eggs will mark the final two-set block, followed by the standalone release ‘Soup’ (another codename), a core set and ‘Spaghetti’ in 2018, which will set the pace going forward. (The 2019 sets are nicknamed Meatballs, Milk and Archery, if you’re curious.)


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