While Magic: The Gathering’s upcoming collaboration with The Walking Dead features some cool cards, it hasn’t been well received by a large number of Magic fans. In a Twitch stream, Wizards of the Coast has addressed community concerns over the Secret Lair drop, as reported by Dot Esports.
While Magic: The Gathering has done limited crossover sets before, such as the Ponies: The Galloping collaboration with My Little Pony, the sets are usually silver-bordered cards featuring only unique art. The Walking Dead set has been revealed as black-bordered cards that are legal in Eternal formats, with mechanically unique cards that’ll open up new options for play.
Fans aren’t happy that such cards have been released in a limited run set–like other Secret Lair drops, the Walking Dead cards will be printed to demand and then never released again. Other MTG players don’t like the idea of mixing Walking Dead lore with Magic’s already rich and distinct world.
On Magic’s official Twitch channel, Wizards of the Coast’s senior communications Manager Blake Rasmussen was joined by product architect Mark Heggen and director of Magic R&D Aaron Forsythe to talk about the new set, and what Wizards was doing to address fan concerns.
Forsythe talked about the origin of the set, and how it was inspired by internal discussions at WOTC about peeling the world of Magic away from the core mechanics of the game. “There are tons and tons of partners who would make awesome, fun Magic cards, and the Walking Dead was the first one we decided to try this out with.”
“The world is kind of Magic adjacent,” Heggen added. “It’s a world full of zombies and combat. It wasn’t a stretch for us to imagine ‘oh, what would a card would look like?'”
When asked why the Walking Dead set wasn’t silver-bordered like other crossovers, Forsythe said that it just didn’t fit this new set. “[Silver-bordered sets] are typically designed to be things that just do not work in black-bordered Magic sets,” he said. “With this Walking Dead set, it seemed very easy to make Magic cards that did work well within the Magic rules.” The final decision really came down to making sure people could actually play with the cards that they had bought, he explained.
This doesn’t mean the Walking Dead is officially part of Magic canon, though. Forsythe explained that the Walking Dead cards have a unique foil stamp at the bottom denoting them as part of a different canon.
While nothing has been confirmed, the Wizards team indicated that Magic-specific versions of the Walking Dead cards could be reprinted with new art, if there happened to be high demand for the mechanics of those cards in a competitive context.
Pre-orders for Walking Dead sets are available now on Secret Lair, with the limited sale running until October 12.