The 2024 release schedule is unsurprisingly aggressive, with six Major releases announced, spread out over the year. A very basic analysis of 2023 would tell you that 55 separate Secret Lairs were released, and given the upward trend in these lair drops, I’d be flabbergasted if 2024 didn’t see 60+.
At this point Wizards of the Coast’s attitude seems to be something along the lines of “the releases will increase until the fans stop buying them.” If one thing changed in the last year it’s that there’s a new challenger for Magic which may have the staying power and capital to really invest in a long-term effort: Lorcana, the Disney CCG. Disney’s core competency is in maintaining and leveraging intellectual property, and given 100 years of cartoons to draw from, there’s nearly endless versions of characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to draw upon before Disney would have to bother with something like Universes Beyond. Though with a Marvel collaboration already announced it remains to be seen how this competition will shake out.
That said, an area where Lorcana definitely isn’t competing is in the sheer volume of releases. Much like Games Workshop in the wargaming space, there’s seemingly a new release every few weeks to talk about for Magic, an ongoing cycle of new releases that ensures a perpetual spoiler season. Speaking of which, let’s dive into this year’s releases.
The first quarter features Ravnica Remastered, which we covered here, as well as Murders at Karlov Manor and Ravnica Clue edition.
Both these sets are mystery-focused, and will almost certainly feature heavy use of Clue tokens. There is also the Universes Beyond set for Fallout, which will consist of four Commander precons, much like the 40k Universes Beyond set, but also some sort of new booster. The timing is pretty close to the projected release of the fan project Fallout: London, which is essentially a fan-made mod of Fallout 4, but rather than a DLC with a new location, Fallout: London is an entirely separate game, with no linkages to the Massachusetts map from the core game. Oh, and maybe 15 or so Secret Lairs.
The second quarter features Outlaws of Thunder Junction, a set focused on some of Magic’s biggest villains but also features an old timey western theme. The released art clearly includes Vraska, Oko, Tinybones, and Rakdos as prominent characters, and we suspect Jace may also show up as a result. It’s hard to say how Wizards will mechanically adapt the Western genre to Magic, though it could include some kind of super first strike to account for gunslingers, a return of horsemanship, some equivalent of actually cattle driving, maybe a way to create a posse or hang someone, a mechanic similar to the coward / warrior interaction could account for outlaws and marshals or sheriffs; there’s a lot of interesting possibilities.
Plus another 15 or so Secret Lairs.
The 3rd quarter features Modern Horizons 3, which is likely a mix of new powerful cards and reprints, and the art assets for the set include the Eldrazi titans, Emrakul, Kozilek and Ulamog, so many are theorizing new versions of those powerful colorless creatures. And of course, maybe 15 or so Secret Lairs.
The big mainline Q3 release is Bloomburrow, a regular set, which isn’t “universes beyond” but appears to be directly inspired by both Redwall and the popular board game Root, so basically a plane with no humans but instead talking squirrels and stuff, finally the support that Blex, Vexing Pest Commander deck needs. It’s a more whimsical plane for Magic to travel to than they’ve been in a while, and we’re interested in seeing something a little less bleak on the radar. Wizards has talked in the past about the unpopularity of sets which don’t feature human characters and it will be interesting to see how they handle things here.
Quarter 3 also features another Universes Beyond tie-in, this time with Assassin’s Creed. And maybe 15 or so Secret Lairs.
Finally Quarter 4 includes Duskmorn: House of Horror, which is a more traditional horror set, not like cosmic horror Eldrazi, or aristocratic horror Innistrad, or body horror Phyrexia, or regular horror sprinkled throughout Magic’s history like Lord of the Pit or Zombie horror in Innistrad, or 80’s horror in Universes Beyond Stranger Things, this is supposed to haunted house horror, which is a new thing. I’m willing to bet at least one other surprise set, probably some other Universes Beyond, or something like The Holiday Release of Tales of Middle Earth, my prediction would be Fallout.
And also another 15 or so Secret Lairs.
All in all 2024 looks to have some interesting sets with exciting new mechanics, and also just a steady drip of cards so that preview season never ends.
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