Universes Beyond (abbreviated as UB) is a “sub-brand” of Magic: The Gathering that exists in addition to, and alongside, the regular line of products. The series was announced by Chris Cocks in February, 2021 during the Hasbro 2021 Investor Event.
Universes Beyond is a series that combines the gameplay of Magic: The Gathering with worlds, characters, and stories of other IPs. The series is branded slightly differently from regular products and has a specific look as a result. These are still Magic cards, but the card frame will be distinct and has a triangular holofoil stamp that denotes them as the non-canon cards. This holofoil stamp was first seen on cards of the Secret Lair Drop Series: The Walking Dead, and that set was grandfathered in into the Universes Beyond-series. Another border color for UB cards was dismissed, because R&D (and Sales) feared that the UB sets wouldn't get treated as “this is a different subset of Magic”, but rather as “this isn’t a real Magic card”.
Universes Beyond products will not only be found in Secret Lairs, but will be sold in the whole range of Magic products. Wizards of the Coast may occasionally do associated Secret Lair products related to the main release, like the Secret Lair Godzilla lands when Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths came out. There will also be the occasional standalone product like The Walking Dead, but the intention is to typically make Universes Beyond as available as any other Magic product.
Wizards of the Coast announced that on occasion they could utilize the treatment from the Ikoria Godzilla cards (existing Magic cards skinned with the alternate universe). But mostly, the sets would be like The Walking Dead (alternate universe cards that stand on their own). According to Mark Rosewater, it was not feasible to have a Magic version for every new UB card, but R&D have the ability to make Magic versions of any UB card if the need arises. The other way around, Universes Beyond may feature straight reprints from original Magic sets with the same card name (but new art) and same mechanical cards but with a new name. It depends on how well the name fits the IP.
In June 2021, the statement above was amended for Secret Lairs. It was announced that for upcoming Universes Beyond Secret Lairs, Wizards of the Coast planned to:
- Create and print rebranded versions of the mechanically unique Secret Lair Universes Beyond cards that are set in Magic 's Multiverse approximately six months (the exact time may vary) after their release in Secret Lair.
- Make the in-Magic versions available on The List, findable in Set Boosters for as long as players are still interested in opening them. To start, they'll appear on The List more frequently than other cards to make them easier to find.
- Possibly reprint those cards in other products.
- Consider the non-canon cards and the canon cards equivalent game pieces, meaning you can only play four copies (or one copy) of either the Magic version or Universes Beyond version in your deck. There will be a special card treatment that indicates that the cards are related.
WotC initially did not plan to go back and do this for the cards from The Walking Dead. Neither did they plan to extend this treatment extend to the larger, non-Secret Lair, product releases. However, implementing something similar to this with The Walking Dead wasn’t off the table in the future. This came true in October 2021, when Wizards of the Coast decided that they would apply this to The Walking Dead as well.
Planeswalker cards in Universe Beyond sets won’t represent actual planeswalkers as that concept doesn’t exist in most properties. R&D explored choosing a new word, but decided the confusion in gameplay wasn’t worth it as the cards act in a game sense like planeswalker cards.
List of featured brands
- 2021 Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
- 2022 Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate
Crossovers that have the skin treatment can be part of Universes Beyond but some of them are not. For example, the Godzilla Series and the Dracula Series do not have the triangular holo foil stamp used for Universes Beyond.
- Mark Rosewater (February 27, 2021). "In the MTG style book, is UB now 'Universe Beyond'? As in a blue black is no longer referred to as UB for style purposes?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Wizards of the Coast (February 25, 2021). "Magic's Voyages to the Universes Beyond". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Christian Hoffer (February 25, 2021). "Magic: The Gathering Announces Crossovers With Lord of the Rings and Warhammer 40,000". Comicbook.com/.
- Hipsters of the Coast (February 25, 2021). "Magic is introducing a new class of product: Universes Beyond, which will take fan-favorite brands and bring them into Magic.". Twitter.
- Mark Rosewater (July 25, 2021). "In the future will magic sets based on other...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (February 26, 2021). "The answer is something we call “economy of scale”.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (February 27, 2021). "Why did yall feel it was necessary to pollute the identity of the core game rather than just spin off a "Universes Beyond" format that was Legacy + UB cards?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Wizards of the Coast (June 9, 2021). "Secret Lair: Stranger Things on Geeked Week". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (February 27, 2021). "I didn't love Secret Lair Walking Dead, because my choice wasn't Walking Dead Negan or MtG (Name), my choice is Negan, or nothing.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (February 27, 2021). "If we end up with reprints from MTG sets would they get Godzilla card treatment from Ikoria or something else in mind?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Wizards of the Coast (June 7, 2021). "Secret Lair Universes Beyond Update". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Aaron Forsythe (June 7, 2021). "There will be a different treatment that indicates that the cards are related.". Twitter.
- Magic: The Gathering (June 7, 2021). "We want to use this new Secret Lair drop as a way to gauge feedback.". Twitter.
- Magic: The Gathering (October 22, 2021). "TGIF, folks!". Twitter.
- Mark Rosewater (February 26, 2022). "Is it too much to ask for in-universe versions of the LOTR set?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (April 21, 2021). "I want to voice my general displeasure at the...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (July 5, 2021). "Will UB sets be allowed to make do without planeswalkers?". Blogatog. Tumblr.