Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond sets mix-up Lord of the Rings, Warhammer 40K

Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro revealed a major bit of news this week with a pair of new card sets. Both exist in a line that'll be called Universes Beyond. Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond will begin with a set for Lord of the Rings, and another set for Warhammer 40K. This could be amazingly fun and entertaining, or it could be the beginning of the end for the game.*

Two sets for starters

Hasbro (who've owned Wizards of the Coast since 1999) announced the new Magic: The Gathering initiative in an investor call this week. They've suggested that they'll have access to properties in the J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth universe. The Hobbit book and the main Lord of the Rings book trilogy are on the table, at the moment.

Warhammer 40,000, or Warhammer 40K, is a tabletop game with miniatures that's been in-effect since September of 1987. It's not clear at the moment whether we'll see Magic characters appear in Warhammer miniatures, but we WILL see Warhammer characters appear in Magic cards.

Release dates have not yet been revealed, we'll let you know as soon as we know what's up with the first two sets. Per the investor call this week: Magic Universes Beyond "crossover products" will "take fan-favorite brands and bring them into the Magic play system for exciting new collectible and social play opportunities."

Avoiding ARC

Back in the year 1998, Wizards of the Coast released a card game called C-23. The game was also known as Jim Lee's C-23, an awesome comic book series in its own right. The game C-23 was meant to be part of a card game system called the "ARC System."

The ARC System was an idyllic multi-universe card game system in which the Deckmaster system (like MTG) would set the stage for cross-play among all manner of properties. The ARC System also included Hercules and Xena sets, also from Wizards of the Coast – all sets were released in the year 1998.

The concept was fun, the game was fun, but the ARC System never developed beyond these three sets. Wizards of the Coast effectively abandoned the system and the sets after the release of Hercules in July of 1998. Cross your fingers the same doesn't happen with Magic now that they've jumped the shark.

*NOTE: It's VERY unlikely that Magic: The Gathering will end any time soon. They've already released all manner of bonkers and/or off-the-wall cards from sets from Unglued to My Little Pony, and they've been fine. No worries!