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Magic: The Gathering plans to release two Tale of Middle-earth sized crossover sets per year starting in 2025

The success of last year's Lord of the Rings set has paved the way for more premiere-sized Universes Beyond crossovers.

Magic: The Gathering players should prepare for even more full-sized crossover releases, a la last year’s Tales of Middle-earth. Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks told investors on February 13th that two of the trading card game’s six annual premiere sets will be dedicated Universes Beyond crossovers starting in 2025.

While 2024 will seemingly be a year of restructuring and reappraisal for the massive toy company - it laid off 1,100 employees just before Christmas, including hits to the MTG and Dungeons & Dragons teams - Cocks was confident that 2025 will replicate last year’s bumper revenue crop by doubling down on crossovers.

This may end up pushing out or replacing a tentpole set (a business-only term the company uses for its six annual major releases) to make room for whatever comes after Final Fantasy and several Marvel-themed releases.

We already have a rough calendar of MTG's premiere sets through 2026, which include the aforementioned properties plus the Innistrad Remastered supplemental set.

Universes Beyond is MTG’s imprint focused on trucking outside intellectual properties and other media franchises into the popular trading card game. What started with fun reprints sold via Secret Lair has ballooned to preconstructed Commander decks featuring Warhammer and Fallout, and complete premiere sets that rival their five other core releases each year. The TCG has hosted Jurassic Park, Street Fighter, Doctor Who, My Little Pony, Godzilla and The Walking Dead, and while internal design has attempted to keep the more outlandish deals away from the main game, we’re seeing that resolve slip in recent years.

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They’ve also become a massive revenue stream for publisher Wizards of the Coast - Cocks confirmed that Tales of Middle-earth earned $200 million in under six months and has become the best selling MTG set in the TCG’s long history. This is a high-water mark amongst an already successful year where five of the six premiere sets earned over $100 million - a point of pride for Hasbro’s c-suite.

“We believe the brands that will be shipping in 2025 have the same carrying power as Lord of the Rings,” Cocks told investors on a recent earnings call. “We think we’ll have a similar uplift as we did for Lord of the Rings, and that’s underlying a lot of our bullishness on the growth of Magic.”

Players expressed worry upon Universes Beyond's release in late 2020 that the economic power in mashups (see Fortnite over the last several years) would eventually eclipse MTG’s own desire to tell original stories using a competitive trading card game. Several designers, including WotC mainstay Mark Rosewater initially assuaged the public that financial pressures would not impinge upon creative endeavours. Rosewater’s mood has recently shifted to something more akin to pragmatic embracing, and Cocks’ forecast might be why: the future of Magic: The Gathering is less planeswalkers and more pop culture.

Update: the article now correctly contextualises "premiere sets" and "tentpole sets" within the discussion of future Universes Beyond releases.

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Chase Carter

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Chase is a freelance journalist and media critic. He enjoys the company of his two cats and always wants to hear more about that thing you love. Follow him on Twitter for photos of said cats and retweeted opinions from smarter folks.
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