Wizards of the Coast has announced the release dates for the next two Magic The Gathering sets, and it's experimenting with simultaneous digital and tabletop releases.
The next Standard set, the art deco Mafia-themed Streets of New Capenna, will be launching on April 29. The set after that, Commander Legends: Baldur's Gate, will be launching less than two months later, on June 10.
In the blog post announcing the dates, Wizards also revealed it is trying out a new release schedule for Streets of New Capenna. Up to now, sets have traditionally released digitally a week before the tabletop launch. With New Capenna, the tabletop prerelease will instead be happening on April 22, a full six days before its digital launch on Magic Arena and Magic Online.
This is big for a number of reasons. First, many players have felt disenfranchised by Wizards' push into digital, and have been concerned about the impact releasing a set on Arena first might have on local game stores and their prerelease events.
Secondly, any set released digitally first tends to be 'solved' much faster, as people can play more games in a shorter amount of time. This has been an ongoing problem right the way through the pandemic, as people have identified the most powerful cards and those not worth even touching before people got a chance to open a single physical booster pack.
Streets of New Capenna is following hot on the heels of the excellent Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty in pushing the limits on what a Magic The Gathering setting can look like. The set will play up crime movie tropes and mafia aesthetics, being set in an art deco city built by angels, but run by five three-colour demon crime families. We already know the Planeswalkers Elspeth Tirel and Ob Nixilis will feature heavily in the set, but other details are currently thin on the ground.
Meanwhile, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate is the second time Magic has hosted a crossover with Wizards' other big franchise, Dungeons & Dragons. Unlike last year's Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, though, this will be a supplementary product built for the Commander format. Like the original Commander Legends, it'll be a fully draftable set based on Commander, and will have a huge number of legendary creatures to build around.
With the news Streets of New Capenna is launching this April, it's probably a good thing that the upcoming parody set Unfinity was delayed from its original date of April 1. Two sets in one month would have been far too much, no matter how exciting both of them look.
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