Perennial trading card game Magic:The Gathering plans to revisit favourite past planes and blaze trails into new ones through four core sets slated for 2022. Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, Dominaria United, Streets of New Capenna and The Brothers’ War compose the next year of major releases, and fans got their first peek during a Magic Showcase stream.
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty will drop during the first quarter of 2022, sending players two millenia into the plane’s future to visit a world vastly different from the one first printed in 2004. A Planeswalker named Kaito was shown perched on a rooftop, holding a katana studded with what looked like shuriken, while a fractal raccoon perched on their shoulder.
Presenters and Wizards of the Coast’s representatives did their level best not to mention the word cyberpunk, but the sheer aesthetics undercut their efforts. Futuristic Kamigawa as shown in preview images is a sprawling cityscape awash in digital magentas and teals, with skyscrapers stylized after traditional Japanese temple architecture and holographic signs in a faux-kanji script blazing in every nook and cranny.
It looks very much like the perception of cyberpunk popularized by Blade Runner and video games such as CDProjekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077. That Wizards might take this route has left many fans worried, given the genre’s history of sensationalizing the Yellow Panic of the 1980s alongside a fetishization of broad Asian culture - already a criticism lobbed at the original Kamigawa block.
Senior creative director Jess Lanzillo began to address these concerns during the announcement, saying that Wizards has sought out cultural consultants and sensitivity experts to aid in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty’s portrayal. ““It was really important for us to go back to Kamigawa and do it right,” Lanzillo said. Dicebreaker has reached out to Wizards of the Coast for more information about this process.
The second part of next year will introduce a new world and an art style not before seen in the Magic universe. Streets of New Capenna captures a certain gilded urban fantasy somewhere between the grime and squalor of a noir film and the art deco movement of the European 1920s.
New Capenna was a city built by angels that is now ruled by syndicates of devils, demons and other decidedly non-angelic beings. The set will explore five notable crime families situated across three Mana colour combinations, each sporting their own mechanical keyword. Humans have a place in this world, but players should expect to meet families of the non-humanoid persuasion, as well.
The back half of 2022 will begin with another return to Dominaria, one of the first major, named planes and the center of the Magic: The Gathering multiverse in a number of senses. First described in the Alpha release that marked the beginning of the game’s history, this set is being positioned by Wizards of the Coast as a “coming home” to celebrate its 30th anniversary.
When Dominaria United drops, players will only be four years out from the last visit to the plane. Simply named Dominaria, that 2018 set revisited old legends and acted as a way to center both the lore and mechanics of the game as its first release in a post-block world - sets from here on out would follow a one-and-done thematic trend. Dominaria United seems to be establishing more grand fantasy tales in a similar fashion.
Next year will close out with another set steeped in Magic: The Gathering history, this time stretching back to 1994’s Antiquities. The Brothers’ War draws inspiration from the second ever set, which introduced inventor siblings Urza and Mishra. The two Dominarians famously waged war against each other with magics and artifacts that would establish legends and storylines rippling through to modern Magic: The Gathering Sets.
The Brothers’ War will retell that story from the perspective of those who lived through it, along with “widening the aperture”, as Lanzelli put it, to witness how the rest of Dominaria reacted and coped with the destruction wrought by the pair’s empire-spanning conflict.
All four sets announced during the stream will compose the full suite of boosters, decks and other products Wizards of the Coast normally uses to distribute its cards. No hard dates were provided, and the publisher was cagey with any concrete details about how any of them will play. Keep checking Dicebreaker in the future, as we will continue to report these details as they become available.