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Magic: The Gathering maker sees “killer” future for tabletop with “multiple” Marvel sets, while Arena languishes on the vine

Final Fantasy set expected to “dwarf what we did with Lord of the Rings” in Japan.

Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

Magic: The Gathering’s corporate parent sang its praises to investors during a recent quarterly earnings call, once again heaping accolades on the trading card game’s strong performance as Hasbro attempts to pull out of its year-long nosedive. CEO Chris Cocks assured investors that MTG’s future remains strong, but the same couldn’t be said for Magic Arena’s digital app.

Outlaws of Thunder Junction has only been on shelves for about a week, but the company is already seeing what Cocks called “healthy growth” compared to the first two sets of the year, Ravnica Remastered and Murders at Karlov Manor. Fallout’s preconstructed Commander decks, part of the Universes Beyond imprint, is apparently the best performing Commander set ever (though we don’t have hard numbers on Cocks’ claim). That would mean Bethesda’s irradiated wasteland pulled more interest that Warhammer 40K’s cardboard invasion back in 2022. This year isn’t without estimated wins: Modern Horizons 3 is expected to be the biggest performer amid a period of fan engagement that has reportedly reached pre-pandemic levels.

Speaking of Universes Beyond, Hasbro’s investors are champing at the bit just as much as players for the upcoming Marvel and Final Fantasy crossovers. Cocks used that anticipation to temper worry about a relatively flat projects for the TCG in 2024: “While we expect Magic to be down for the year after a record 2023, we maintain our long term bullishness on the brand based on the continued robust fan engagement and a killer lineup of new Universes Beyond collaborations.”


Both crossovers will apparently be in the same league as The Lord of the Rings’ Tales of Middle-earth set, which cracked multiple internal WotC records and poured new players into the hobby. Cocks claimed Hasbro and WotC “are going to be doing multiple sets with the Walt Disney Company”, confirming a previous assertion that the Marvel Universes Beyond would span two years. Final Fantasy’s own set, which will introduce characters and locations from throughout the video game series, is expected to “dwarf what we did with Lord of the Rings” in MTG’s Japanese market. Japan constitutes the second-largest player base behind North America.

Future outlooks aren’t so rosy for MTG’s digital client, MTG Arena. Revenue was “down a bit” in 2024’s first quarter due primarily to the lack of a remastered set to match last March’s Shadows over Innistrad Remastered. Cocks barely mentions the video game version during these quarterly meetings, but one investor inquired after its health like you would a plant slowly dying in the corner of the room. The CEO said that Hasbro will “continue to invest in Arena” but that major changes would be a “long term digital project” that would take roughly two years, not a matter of months.

“We look at things like Commander on tabletop, and a lot of that growth has been in social-based play and collectability,” Cocks said. ‘So certainly we’ll be investing in those areas on the digital platform in the long term.” This is frustrating news if you primarily play Standard, Modern or any other 60-card format, which has shriveled under the shadow of Commander’s paper dominance. Updates and new products are slim (beyond regular digital versions of the premiere sets, and quality-of-life features arrive irregularly from a beleaguered team who seem to exist only to keep the digital sales flowing into the Hasbro coffers.

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