Earlier this summer saw the release of the Magic: the Gathering 2020 Core Set, but Wizards of the Coast isn't done yet. The company is already preparing to release the next expansion of the game, The Throne of Eldraine, which involves cards inspired by Grimm's fairy tales and Arthurian legend.
During Comic-Con International in San Diego, shortly after the set's announcement, CBR spoke with Mark Rosewater, one of the chief designers for Magic: the Gathering. Rosewater explained the origins of the latest expansion, what kind of cards will be introduced and the impact of the Magic community on the game.
Throne of Eldraine introduces a number of fairy and mystical cards to the universe of Magic: the Gathering, something Rosewater had been hoping to accomplish for a while. "What happened was, there are some things I've been wanting to do for ten years, and I just haven't been able to make it happen," Rosewater explained. "But then another co-worker had an idea for a completely separate thing. He suggested it, and I realized that his suggestion and my suggestion actually merged together to make the perfect set!
"One of the cool things about fairy tales and Arthurian tales is that they have a lot of themes that run through multiple stories," he continued. "This lends itself well to a trading card game, as each piece can be played with any other piece. This allows you to have moments where elements of stories get to link together as they did in the original tale. It also allows you to mix and match the elements so that your games can create brand new story moments. As with any top-down work, we really had fun with the designs bringing the tropes to life."
The style and genre of fantasy that's coming to the new expansion would seem to be primarily fanciful and only sweet-natured. But Rosewater assures that the darker elements of Magic won't be forgotten. "Fairy tales and Arthurian tales run the gamut of storytelling and easily provided material for all five colors," he confirms. "Both Camelot and Grimms' fairy tales have their dark moments, so making black cards wasn’t difficult."
"One of the ways we make sets is to do what we call 'top-down design,' where we take real-world things as an inspiration and put them through the lens of Magic," Rosewater explained. "Genre tropes have proven to be great fodder for Magic design and fairy tales have the advantage of already being set in a fantasy setting. In addition, Magic has been growing over the last decade, and we’re always looking for sets that can stretch the game’s appeal to new players."
This awareness of the community and all the potential players is something Rosewater and Wizards of the Coast are keen to remember, no matter how many expansions or new interactions of the game are released. Magic has been running for decades, and has given generations of players a world to explore and a game to master. "One of the things we love about Magic is the community," Rosewater stated. "It'll cross over from groups and languages. I've sat down and played Magic with a person who didn't speak the language that I spoke. But we were able to play Magic and have a good time."
"Magic is printed in eleven languages and all around the world. That's really the neat thing about the community. You can meet people that you normally wouldn't meet, and have this common bond that ties you together. That's something we hear time and time again. The community is something that is really, really important to us. It's something we promote, and it's something we've very happy about.
"Throne of Eldrane has a wonderful heart to it. It’s just filled with designs that will get people smiling and make them fall in love with cards."
Magic: The Gathering’s Throne of Eldraine is scheduled to be released on October 4. A limited pre-release will occur on September 28 and 29.