Magic: The Gathering’s upcoming Unfinity set will give players the ability to radically change elements of their cards by pressing stickers included in booster packs on top. Lead designer Mark Rosewater revealed the mechanic and some key details during a weekend panel at San Diego Comic Con.
Unfinity is the next planned “Un-set” for the popular trading card game and part of a lineage of sets with historically oddball designs printed as silver bordered (now called Acorn) cards. Alongside the space carnival/amusement park/retrofuture sci-fi aesthetic, Unfinity will slot a random sheet of stickers inside booster packs that players can apply to their cards using a new mechanic.
Certain cards will award Tickets when played, which can be spent to purchase stickers from a sheet to augment one of your cards on the battlefield. Anything other than lands are valid targets - including inanimate objects from outside the game, in rare cases - and the stickers can alter a card’s name, artwork, abilities and Power/Toughness statistics. Ticket costs start at two and increase from there, and no keyword, name or art is repeated among the 48 possible sheets.
For those already gnashing their teeth at the prospect of sticking anything to their cards, remember that sleeves are a thing. Also, Rosewater explained on his personal blog that all of the stickers are made with “a very light glue (think Post It Note glue) that can be used numerous times and won’t harm the card it’s stickered on.” He also recommends using slips of paper, as long as the proxied sticker comes from the sheet the player pulled from their booster.
Stickers will no doubt create some goofy scenarios during draft, but the mechanic has been designed as legal in Commander, Legacy and Vintage formats, as well. This is thanks to Unfinity’s quirk of mixing acorn-stamped cards that are a bit too out there for ‘normal’ MTG with those the designers feel deserve to be played in other formats. Sticker cards already spoiled have hit both sides of this divide - you won’t be casting Animate Object on your beer during a Commander match, but you might be able to transform everyone’s favourite extortionist into Dockside Squirrel, instead.
Stickers will return to the sheet if the card is returned to your hand or library, and they can be used again from there. Outside of draft, players will randomly select three stickers sheets from a pool of ten before the start of the game, which keeps the mechanic from becoming less a fun source of chaos and simply another power outlet to maximise. All of the previewed cards can be viewed in the gallery below, and Rosewater published text versions on his blog.
Magic: The Gathering isn’t the only card game to dabble in stickers this year. The Pokémon Trading Card Game’s official tie-in with Niantic’s Pokémon GO mobile game included cards with a peelable face that revealed a Ditto hiding underneath. While these adorable tricksters can’t be used in tournament or official competitive play, making the in-fiction transformation literal is both clever and satisfying for anyone who enjoys peeling the protective static-cling plastic off new electronics.
MTG has deployed a full-sheet sticker on cards in the fairly recent past. The MSCHF Secret Lair drop included a bonus Plains basic land card depicted as a golf course. The top layer could be peeled away to reveal an alternate art Battlefield Forge with the inscription “Golf sucks and has always sucked” in Gothic script.
Unfinity is due to release on October 7th after experiencing delays that pushed it back from its original April Fools’ Day date. It’s not clear if the production of the new sticker mechanic caused this delay, as publisher Wizards of the Coast previously pointed to the general state of global shipping as the main contributor. Now, Unfinity will drop on the same weekend as the Universes Beyond Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks, making for quite a busy weekend for fans and collectors.