Magic: The Gathering’s next upcoming set isn’t about a world-ending threat nor a realm of antiquity filled with legendary heroes. Instead, the trading card game is sending players to a goofy, galactic circus/theme park with Unfinity - the latest expansion of the tongue-in-cheek Un-sets.
The Wizards of the Coast designers responsible for this collection of silver bordered – err, acorn-stamped cards have detailed the new mechanics and funky card designs contained within booster packs. Some, such as rolling dice and groan-worthy puns that have an actual mechanical effect, have shown up on past cards. Others push the envelope and reach beyond the table in a way longtime players will immediately associate with the Un-sets’ legacy.
We previously wrote about stickers, which come on a separate sheet card and allow players to modify their cards during the game by paying the ticket cost printed on the sticker sheet. Tickets are a new special resource gained from a bunch of Unfinity cards - as long as your slapping down creatures or slinging spells, you’ll have a fair handful to spend. Most bestow a keyword - trample, haste, double strike, etc. - or allow it to qualify for certain creature type tribal bonuses. Oddly, a lot of the stickers are hats or head accessories. That probably doesn’t mean anything.
Oh, wait - it certainly does! Quite a few cards, such as the common White mana instant spell Hat Trick, will refer to cards “wearing hats”. As long as someone in the artwork is wearing a hat, or one appears in the background, the bonus effect applies. This is where those stickers come in. Slap a beanie or a Nicol Bolas-horn headband on your goblin to qualify them for the fashion power-ups.
Perhaps the largest addition to Unfinity’s keywords and mechanics are Attractions, a new type of card that won’t be shuffled into the normal deck at the start of every game. Instead, whenever a card prompts a player to “open an Attraction”, they can pull one of their carnival sideshows, concessions or rides from the Attraction side deck and put it into play.
Attractions can be “visited” by rolling a six-sided die at the beginning of your first main phase each turn. If the result matches one of the lit numbers on the side of all Attraction cards, it activates the printed effect - these can range in impact depending on rarity, which also affects how many numbers will trigger a visit.
The last new mechanic is actually more a new spin on something Un-sets have been doing since their inception - reaching beyond the table to affect the people and things around the players. Several revealed Unfinity cards tasks players with asking someone outside of the game to answer a question about a card, such as which one looks the most like the member of a rock band, or attempt to guess the same “smelliest” monster on the board that a random passerby might. Like those poor employees whose job is to harangue folks just looking for the restroom, now you, too, can minorly inconvenience someone to answer a truly inane question.
Unfinity is a bit of an odd duck even among its MTG set peers, as it will comprise both Acorn-stamped cards that are not allowed in most formats and regular degular black-bordered cards that can be played most anywhere. Lead designer Mark Rosewater wanted players to have fun drafting Unfinity but also come away with something they could use in Modern, Pioneer or their Commander decks. Also, he has claimed numerous times that it opened up design to make the set much more cohesive and fun to play as a bounded game.
The exact split across all rarities are listed in this blog on the official MTG website. Unfinity will be available in draft boosters and the now ubiquitous collectors booster packs. Given the significant number of admittedly gorgeous full-art lands Unfinity boasts, expect these pricey packs of cardboard to move units. The cosmic theme park opens its gates on October 7th, with cards available from online retailers and local game stores. There’s no word if Magic Arena or Online will enjoy the full set any time in the future.