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5 perfect Magic: The Gathering pop-culture crossovers that deserve their own Universes Beyond set

Anything should be possible.

Image credit: Warner Bros/Square Enix/Gege Akutami/Shueisha/Parlophone/Warner Music Group/

Magic: The Gathering’s Universes Beyond crossovers have been a far bigger success than anyone was really expecting. For players, they’re a fun chance to play the game we love with a nice mix of TV shows, movies and video games represented. For the card game’s maker Wizards of the Coast, it’s been money constantly, and has helped prop up some of the other Hasbro-owned companies that haven’t been doing so well.

Even though there are some legitimate criticisms of Universes Beyond - such as making card recognition harder and adding to the weird dilution of MTG lore that’s been occurring since March of the Machine - we do like them overall. There’s no denying the sheer strength of things like the Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks or Lord of the Rings set Tales from Middle-earth.

Taking a look at Magic: The Gathering's Lord of the Rings set, Tales from Middle-earthWatch on YouTube

They also offer chances to revisit mechanics that might otherwise stay buried. Things like seeing Suspend built upon thanks to the Doctor Who decks or energy come back in this year’s Fallout Commander decks is all good. They are, ultimately, entertaining, and - as long as they’re handled well and not made the main attraction of MTG - they make for a great chance for new people to find the game and for existing MTG fans to show off their love of other things.

Because of that, we’ve come up with a wishlist of five more Universes Beyond we’d like to see make the leap to Magic: The Gathering in the future. If you’re wondering why, it’s because it’s a good way to spend a bit of time and life is short and expensive and tiring.

1. Dragon Quest

Dragon Quest's characters were designed by Dragon Ball mangaka Akira Toriyama, making their artwork perfect for MTG cards. | Image credit: Square Enix

Let’s kick things off with one of the most beloved video game series of all time. That’s right: Dragon Quest. There are a lot of long-running gaming series out there, and it’s hard just picking one, but Dragon Quest fits the bill so very well. For starters, a lot of the artwork, including characters and monsters, comes from the genius that is the late Akira Toriyama. Seeing that artwork in more places will make our inner Dragon Ball fan smile - and it just so happens that the game series has a lot of aspects that would fit Magic: The Gathering perfectly, too.

Dragon Quest is absolutely chock-a-block full of amazing monsters, legendary heroes, fantastical places, special weapons, magical effects and more. You could absolutely just pick a single Dragon Quest game here, but if MTG were to draw from the whole series then it could have different heroes and villains running amok in the set along with their companions and minions. Also, frankly, we deserve a Slime card.

2. Jujutsu Kaisen

Jujutsu Kaisen is a manga-turned-anime series about powerful sorcerers battling fearsome curses - the ideal fit for MTG's duels. | Image credit: Gege Akutami/Shueisha

Jujutsu Kaisen is one of the coolest anime in recent years. It’s also one of the slowest and most laborious manga going right now - but, hey, the anime can fix that. Set in a world where sorcerers face off against powerful curses, it’s just dripping with all sorts of awesome lore, plenty of potent characters and a lot of trauma. Every curse and human already has their own specific set of powers, which means they can be naturally translated into Magic: The Gathering cards - and that’s not all.

The world of curses would fit brilliantly alongside the curses already in the TCG, meaning we could see a big focus on enchantments of different kinds. Jujutsu Kaisen has plenty of characters to serve as legendary creatures too. We think Satoru Gojo would be all five MTG mana colours because he’s chaotic and uber-powerful, but we’d love to know for sure. We also already know that the potential for the art side of things is there because of all the anime treatment MTG cards that come into the game every so often.

3. His Dark Materials

Phillip Pullman's series of fantasy books have been turned into a movie and TV series, so why not a Magic: The Gathering set? | Image credit: Chris Wormell/Scholastic

His Dark Materials is a series of books by Phillip Pullman that started back in 1995 with Northern Lights, and mostly follows a girl called Lyra Belacqua and a boy called Will Parry as they navigate a seemingly cursed multiverse. Lyra’s world sees human beings with their souls effectively roaming around outside of their bodies in the form of animals, while Will ends up in possession of a knife that can cut through reality itself. They end up journeying together to fight off monsters that are close to grim reapers, and close up holes between dimensions.

It’s an astoundingly good series, and it’s also still going on thanks to a new trilogy of novels that started in 2017. The lore of the world already involves multiverses and has plenty of fascinating concepts and monsters. There are also things like polar bears that wear armour, so that’s always nice. His Dark Materials isn’t a series that’s full of combat, but we already know that’s not necessary for a Universes Beyond set. After all, if Doctor Who can be in MTG, so can His Dark Materials.

4. Barbie

There are more than enough Barbies to fill out a full MTG set - just imagine the Commander decks you could make! | Image credit: Warner Bros

Greta Gerwig’s Margot Robbie-starring Barbie movie is a fascinating look into not just the impact the toys have had on the world, but also feminism, the meaning of life and Ryan Gosling’s abs. At least, we think that final one was important to the plot. You might not think that there are enough characters in Barbie to warrant a full Magic: The Gathering set, but you’d be wrong.

All you need to do is make sure that every character is a version of Barbie, Ken or even Allan, and then you’re done. That’s it. Make Universes Beyond: Barbie the first creature-only MTG set, make the bad guy capitalism, and then have the special treatment borders all be the brightest shade of neon pink you’ve ever seen in your life, and - boom - you’ve got a winner. Of course, you could always just make this more akin to a Secret Lair than a full set, but we think it could work either way.

5. David Bowie

Bowie's various alter-egos would make for excellent legendary creatures. | Image credit: Warner Music Group/Bowie Estate

As a Magic: The Gathering fan, you’ll likely know that MTG tends to have things in sets of five. Aside from having five mana colours in general, you also have five allied pairs, five enemy pairs, five tribes on Tarkir and so on. What you might not know is that legendary rock star David Bowie had five alter egos. Ziggy Stardust is likely the most well-known one, but he also had the Diamond Dogs-era Halloween Jack, Station to Station's The Thin White Duke, his latter-day The Blind Prophet from final album Blackstar, and Aladdin Sane.

As one of the most experimental and fascinating musicians of all time, at least since humans started recording music, it would be amazing to see the concepts and characters Bowie came up with find their way into Magic: The Gathering. You could have each of his alter-egos heading up their own faction, or all vying for control of a single body. The biggest challenge here, in our opinion, would be making sure it’s respectful to Bowie and his legacy, but if you focus on his creations instead of the man himself, that should be easier to do.

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