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Universes Beyond (abbreviated as UB[1]) is a “sub-brand” of Magic: The Gathering that exists in addition to, and alongside, the regular line of products.[2] The series was announced by Chris Cocks in February, 2021 during the Hasbro 2021 Investor Event.[3][4] The sets featured in this series are never Standard-legal,[2][5] but are generally legal in eternal formats.

Description[ | ]

Non-canon holofoil stamp

Triangular holofoil stamp

Not unlike the original Deckmaster concept, Universes Beyond is a series that combines the gameplay of Magic: The Gathering with worlds, characters, and stories of other IPs.[2][6] 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 is 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”.[7]

Distribution and appearance[ | ]

Universes Beyond products are not only found in Secret Lairs but are sold in the whole range of Magic products. Wizards of the Coast 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 also are occasional standalone products like The Walking Dead, but the intention is to typically make Universes Beyond as available as any other Magic product.[8]

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 are like The Walking Dead (alternate universe cards that stand on their own). According to Mark Rosewater, it is not feasible to have a Magic version for every new UB card, but R&D can make Magic versions of any UB card if the need arises.[9] 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.[10] If an original card has in-property words, R&D can print an in-universe version of it with substituted words and new art.[11] Any Universes Beyond mechanics are fair game for other sets. Some might need a name change.[12]

Secret Lairs[ | ]

In June 2021, the statement that there normally wouldn't be In-Universe reprints was amended for Secret Lairs.[13] 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.[14]

WotC initially did not plan to go back and do this for the cards from The Walking Dead.[13] Neither did they plan to extend this treatment 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.[15] This came true in October 2021, when Wizards of the Coast decided that they would apply this to The Walking Dead as well.[16]

In 2024, Set Boosters were changed to Play Boosters. Mark Rosewater reaffirmed that Wizards of the Coast planned to make sure that unique mechanical Secret Lair cards, in some form, would find a home in randomized booster product.[17]

Booster inserts[ | ]

In 2022, for the first time ever, some Universes Beyond cards were distributed through a premier set, advertising another Hasbro brand. Transformers cards could be found in The Brothers' War Set Boosters, Collector Booster and Bundles. Note that these are original designs, and not skinned cards.[18] When this type a set reappeared with the Jurassic World Collection in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, they were christened "Booster inserts".[19] However, feedback/data research later showed that players prefer Universes Beyond cards to be separated from the in-universe Magic cards.[20]

Commander sets[ | ]

Sets like Warhammer 40,000 Commander Decks, Doctor Who and Fallout are given the Commander treatment, with the main focus on several Commander decks.

Draft sets[ | ]

Some IP's have room for a fully draftable set. Examples are The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth and Final Fantasy.

Commander sets and large UB draft sets like won't receive 1:1 in-multiverse (Universes Within) versions, but R&D reserves the right to make them for individual cards if the need arises.[21][22] If a Universes Beyond card with an IP-specific creature type (e.g. astartes) would be rebranded, it would receive a brand new creature type in the Magic version. The <IP name> and <unique new creature type> would be one-for-one in the rules much like the names of the Godzilla skinned cards.[23][24]

Beyond boosters[ | ]

Beyond Boosters were introduced for Assassin's Creed, as a variant on Epilogue Boosters. These mini-boosters aren't draftable. They contain both new cards and reprints.[19]

Supplemental sets[ | ]

Ravnica: Clue Edition was the first self-contained supplemental set in the Universes Beyond range.

Non-canon[ | ]

The Magic story will not be told through any of the Universes Beyond sets.[25][26]

Planeswalkers[ | ]

Wizards of the Coast originally said that Planeswalker cards in Universe Beyond sets wouldn’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.[27] As a joke, they did introduce the Universewalker for Heroes of the Realm.

Later, it was said that they were planning to do planeswalkers in Wizards owned IPs only, and that Universes Beyond sets are not going to have planeswalkers.[28][29]

List of featured brands[ | ]

This is a list of featured IPs or "universes".

IP Set(s) Year Notes
The Walking Dead Secret Lair Drop Series: The Walking Dead 2020 Grandfathered in.[2]
Stranger Things Secret Lair Drop Series: Stranger Things 2021
Arcane Secret Lair Drop Series: Arcane
Secret Lair Drop Series: Arcane Lands
2021 Exclusively reskins.
Street Fighter Secret Lair Drop Series: Street Fighter 2022
Fortnite Secret Lair Drop Series: Fortnite 2022 Exclusively reskins.
Warhammer 40,000 Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks
Secret Lair Drop Series: Warhammer 40,000: Orks
Secret Lair Drop Series: Warhammer Age of Sigmar
Secret Lair Drop Series: Blood Bowl
2022 New cards in Command Precons. Exclusively reprints in Secret Lairs.
Transformers Transformers
Secret Lair Drop Series Transformers: Optimus Prime vs. Megatron
Secret Lair Drop Series Transformers: Roll Out or Rise Up
Secret Lair Drop Series Transformers: One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall
2022 New cards in The Brothers' War. Exclusively reprints in Secret Lairs.
Dungeons & Dragons Secret Lair Drop Series: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves 2023 Though Wizards of the Coast owns the rights for Dungeons & Dragons,
the actors of the movie appear as their characters on the cards,
making the drop UB in essence.
The Lord of the Rings The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth
Secret Lair Drop Series: More Adventures in Middle-earth
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Holiday release
Creepshow Secret Lair Drop Series: Creepshow 2023
Doctor Who Doctor Who
Secret Lair Drop Series: Doctor Who: Dalek Lands
Secret Lair Drop Series: Doctor Who: Weeping Angels
Secret Lair Drop Series: Doctor Who: Regeneration
2023 Doctor Who includes mechanically unique Planechase cards.
Doctor Who: Regeneration cards are also mechanically unique.
Evil Dead Secret Lair Drop Series: Evil Dead 2023
The Princess Bride Secret Lair Drop Series: The Princess Bride 2023
Jurassic Park / Jurassic World[30] Jurassic World
Secret Lair Drop Series: Jurassic World: Life Breaks Free
Secret Lair Drop Series: Jurassic World: Dr. Ian Malcolm
2023 Mechanically unique booster inserts in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.
Skinned cards themed around Dinosaurs.
Skinned cards themed around Dr. Ian Malcolm.
Tomb Raider Secret Lair Drop Series: Tomb Raider 2023 Mechanically unique Lara Croft, Tomb Raider card, six skinned cards and a token.
Cluedo / Clue Ravnica: Clue Edition 2024 Mechanically unique evidence cards.
Fallout[30] Fallout
Secret Lair Drop Series: Vault Boy
Secret Lair Drop Series: Points of Interest
Secret Lair Drop Series: S.P.E.C.I.A.L.
2024 New cards in Fallout Commander Precons; Collector Boosters include nine skinned cards.
The Vault Boy drop contains another skinned card.
Hatsune Miku[31] Secret Lair Drop Series: Sakura Superstar

Secret Lair Drop Series: Digital Sensation
Two more Secret Lair drops.

2024 At least three reskinned cards. The rest are straight reprints.
Assassin's Creed[32][33] Assassin's Creed

Secret Lair Drop Series: Assassin's Creed: DaVinci's Designs
Secret Lair Drop Series: Assassin's Creed: Lethal Legends

2024 100 mechanically unique cards.

Five straight reprints.
Five skinned cards.

Final Fantasy[32] Final Fantasy 2025
Marvel[34] Marvel 2025

Non-UB crossovers[ | ]

Note that the Dungeons & Dragons crossovers are not part of Universes Beyond, because Wizards of the Coast owns both the Magic and Dungeons & Dragons IPs.[2]

Early Hasbro-owned cross-over products were the 2017 HASCON promos and 2019 Ponies: The Galloping. The latter had a follow-up with Secret Lair Drop Series: Ponies: The Galloping 2 - Extra Life 2023.

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.

Another crossover without the UB holo stamp are the five Outlaws of Thunder Junction Standard Showdown promos with Cowboy Bebop inspired art.[35]

References[ | ]

  1. 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.
  2. a b c d e Wizards of the Coast (February 25, 2021). "Magic's Voyages to Universes Beyond". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Christian Hoffer (February 25, 2021). "Magic: The Gathering Announces Crossovers With Lord of the Rings and Warhammer 40,000".
  4. 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.
  5. Mark Rosewater (July 25, 2021). "In the future will magic sets based on other...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  6. Mark Rosewater (February 26, 2021). "The answer is something we call “economy of scale”.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  7. 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.
  8. Wizards of the Coast (June 9, 2021). "Secret Lair: Stranger Things on Geeked Week". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Mark Rosewater (December 19, 2023). "How likely is it for Universes Beyond cards (LoTR, Warhammer, etc.) to be reprinted?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  12. Mark Rosewater (June 25, 2024). "Is there a chance of a universes beyond mechanic making it into a regular set in the future?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. a b Wizards of the Coast (June 7, 2021). "Secret Lair Universes Beyond Update". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Aaron Forsythe (June 7, 2021). "There will be a different treatment that indicates that the cards are related.". Twitter.
  15. Magic: The Gathering (June 7, 2021). "We want to use this new Secret Lair drop as a way to gauge feedback.". Twitter.
  16. Magic: The Gathering (October 22, 2021). "TGIF, folks!". Twitter.
  17. Mark Rosewater (March 10, 2024). "ith the advent of play boosters, is the rule of “approximately 6 months later” still the case?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  18. Hasbro Pulse Con 2022, DAY ONE (Video). Hasbro Pulse. YouTube (September 30, 2022).
  19. a b 30th Anniversary Panel at GenCon – A Recap of MTG's Past, Present & Future (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (August 5, 2023).
  20. Mark Rosewater (May 2, 2024). "Do you'll think you'll be mixing in universes beyond with any sets like you did with the Transformers cards & the Brothers' War in the future, or was that a bust?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  21. Mark Rosewater (February 26, 2022). "Is it too much to ask for in-universe versions of the LOTR set?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  22. Mark Rosewater (September 15, 2022). "will the new cards in the wh40k commander set be printed into a regular set?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  23. Mark Rosewater (September 12, 2022). "If you were to print a magic version of one of the Warhammer 40k cards, it'll have to keep its typeline right?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  24. Mark Rosewater (February 20, 2024). "Has WOTC figured out how in-universe versions of UB cards with unique creature types will work?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  25. Mark Rosewater (April 21, 2021). "I want to voice my general displeasure at the...". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  26. Mark Rosewater (January 11, 2023). "Can you confirm that Universes Beyond is not and never will be canon?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  27. Mark Rosewater (July 5, 2021). "Will UB sets be allowed to make do without planeswalkers?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  28. Mark Rosewater (June 11, 2023). "Is no planeswalkers going to be the norm for Universes Beyond, or did they just not fit in 40K and LotR?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  29. Mark Rosewater (April 12, 2024). "That has been decided, so I would set your expectations accordingly.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  30. a b Jess Lanzillo, Chris Kiritz, Athena Froehlich & Mark Rosewater (August 5, 2023). "Magic: The Gathering 30th Anniversary Panel at GenCon – A Recap of MTG's Past, Present & Future (Video)". Magic: The Gathering. YouTube.
  31. Wizards of the Coast (April 29, 2024). "Hatsune Miku Comes to Secret Lair". Wizards of the Coast.
  32. a b Matt Jarvis (October 4, 2022). "Magic: The Gathering is getting Final Fantasy and Assassin’s Creed cards".
  33. Magic: the Gathering (October 5, 2022). "We have a sneaking suspicion some of you are very excited by this other news today…". Twitter.
  34. Hasbro and Marvel Team Up to Bring Popular Marvel Characters and Stories to Magic: The Gathering in Multi-Year, Multi-Set Deal. (October 23, 2023).
  35. Wizards of the Coast (April 22, 2024). "Announcing Cowboy Bebop Promo Cards". Wizards of the Coast.

External Links[ | ]