Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond gaming crossovers we want to see
It has been a big year for Magic: The Gathering, even for a new fan like myself. I barely knew my mana from my Merfolk at the start of the year, and now, I'm a dozen Commander Decks in and excited for Murders at Karlov Manor to kick off 2024.
While Universes Beyond, Wizards of the Coast's way of bringing in the likes of Doctor Who and Lord of the Rings, may be met with some disdain from longtime fans who just want to keep things to the Planeswalker multiverses, I'd be lying if I said the idea of next year's Fallout set, and Final Fantasy beyond that, wasn't an exciting one for me.
Here are some other gaming crossovers I want to see in Magic: The Gathering's Universes Beyond, as well as some fun Commander ideas for each.
10 - Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat's timeline is almost as complex as that of Magic: The Gathering's now, especially since Mortal Kombat 1 shook things up earlier this year with new takes on classic characters.
Still, I think that makes it a perfect time for those universes to merge, bringing Scorpion, Sub Zero, and the rest of NetherRealm's fighters into card form. Imagine cards for Scorpion's rope dart, Sub Zero's spine-ripping fatality, or Reptile's acid.
Commander: A Lin Kuei deck with Sub-Zero, Sektor, Smoke, Frost, and Cyrax would be very fun, as well as realm-based preconstructed decks like one for Earthrealm, one for Outworld, and maybe some Elder Gods, too.
9 - Diablo
Diablo already feels like it's dark and grim enough to fit in some of Magic's spookier realms, but I'd love to see Inarius and Lilith square off against each other across the table. With more treasure-focused mechanics resurfacing in Lost Caverns of Ixalan, there's a chance for a loot chase, too.
Imagine varying degrees of rarity in artefacts, ramping up as you equip them and mirroring the Diablo franchise's own power climb.
Commander: A Prime Evil deck with Mephisto, Diablo, and Baal would be so much fun, with each card focusing on Hatred, Terror, and Destruction, respectively. Then there's Lilith and her followers, as well as Inarius and his own cohorts. Class-based decks are possible, too, although Magic already has plenty of options for things like Barbarian Aggro, spellcasting and necromancy.
8 - Dead By Daylight
Dead By Daylight could be a complex property to handle since so many of its Killers and Survivors are plucked from third-party licensing deals, but there's plenty of original lore there, too.
Naturally, a focus on serial killers might make it a tough proposition to market, but while we may not get a Freddy Krueger or Pyramid Head card anytime soon, the Trapper, the Hag, and the Doctor are certainly creepy enough to entice fans.
With so many in-game perks, there are plenty of ways you can tweak each of the Survivors and Killers to fit within the five colours of Magic. You could even add alternate win conditions for repairing generators.
Commander: This one feels ideal for a Killers vs Survivors split, grouping a few of the original bunch together. That gives backup Commanders, too, so you can swap out the Nurse for Legion if you're in the mood for a change.
7 - The Legend of Zelda
Perhaps closer to the Doctor Who set than you may think, a Legend of Zelda Magic: The Gathering set could pull from the franchise's history, letting you summon multiple versions of Link, Zelda, or Ganon.
It'd be like the entire Zelda timeline converging into one, with a focus on the Triforce elements of Courage, Wisdom, and Power. Add to that artifacts like the Master Sword, and the option 'Amass Bokoblins' a la the Orcs in the Lord of the Rings set, and you've got a very fun set. Now there's the small matter of Nintendo signing off on it...
Commander: Give us eras, with a 'classic' Zelda set featuring Ocarina Link and more, a 'GameCube and Wii' set with Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, and Skyward Sword characters, and a 'Breath of the Wild/Tears of the Kingdom' setup, as well as a 'Death Mountain' deck for some Ganon/Ganondorf villainy.
6 - Halo
Magic: The Gathering has gone sci-fi before, but a Halo set that covers the mainline series, Reach, ODST, and the Halo Wars spinoffs would be incredible.
Just think of the number of iconic vehicles and enemies that could be included, and that's before we get to the characters. Chief, Cortana, Arbiter, Prophet of Truth, Aatrox, and plenty more would make for fantastic crossover additions.
Commander: For Commanders, Master Chief certainly makes sense, but a Noble team set would be amazing. Then there's the possibility of themed decks for each faction, too, or even one that has Cortana running amok. Hell, I'll even take Spartan Locke.
5 - Destiny
From Bungie's former franchise to its current one, Destiny's vast lore makes it fertile ground for a variety of Magic: The Gathering cards. Whether it's the Guardians, each of the opposing races, the current big bad, The Witness, or stories buried in the history of the game's universe, there's so much to cover.
As with Diablo, there's the potential to equip items like Gjallarhorn to your characters, but you could also lean into running a 'Fireteam' of a Titan, Warlock, and Hunter for bonuses. With Guardians being immortal, there's a degree of necromancy involved, too.
Commander: An Iron Lord precon and something for Savathun's Hive would be really fun to square off against each other. Then there's the Vanguard, the Awoken, or the battle between Red and Blue Cabal legions. The possibilities are almost endless.
4 - Arkane Games
Arkane, Redfall aside, is one of the most consistent studios in gaming, and there are plenty of cards to be pulled from its existing franchises. Whether it's Corvo and Emily from Dishonored, Morgan from Prey, Colt from Deathloop, or venturing further back, each world is tied together by a unique art style.
I'd love to see characters like The Outsider or Julianna worked into cards. In fact, Dishonored's array of targets or Deathloop's Visionaries could be their own sets entirely.
Commander: Give me a Dishonored deck, and I'll never ask for anything, ever again, Wizards. A Typhon precon could also work nicely, mimicking other characters and artefacts.
3 - Resident Evil
Resident Evil has so many characters, plotlines, monsters and locations that I'm surprised it hasn't made the jump to Magic: The Gathering already. After revolutionising survival horror, we've seen Game of the Year candidate Resident Evil 4 Remake this year, and while the less said about the movies, the better, we're hungry for more Resi.
Black colour decks are the obvious one for the sheer number of zombie and undead characters on offer, but with our quick-thinking heroes and boulder-punching protagonists, we could easily make an argument for Blue or Red options, too. We could even pit Nemesis against Mr X in a "creepiest stalker" face-off.
Commander: A Raccoon City deck with heroes and monsters from Resi 2 and 3 would be great, as well as a Resi 4-flavoured one with Leon and the Ganados. You could also probably fill an entire deck with versions of Wesker at this point, too.
2 - Overwatch 2
Overwatch was a sensation when it arrived, and the biggest reason for that is its wide range of characters. Chances are there's someone you gravitate toward, and that makes them ideal for Magic: The Gathering, as you can build your deck around them.
A Support deck that adds +1/+1 counters to your characters, a DPS one that's all about aggro, and a Tank deck focused on blocking and countering could be so much fun to build around the likes of Mercy, Reaper, Reinhardt and more.
Commander: The potential here is huge, so the challenge would be around grouping together various Overwatch characters. Tracer, Mei, and Winston, for example, or Reinhardt and Brigitte. A Pharah Commander, with flying, could be really fun to see in card form, too.
1 - Pokemon
Naturally, there's a good chance The Pokemon Company doesn't want to lend its cultural phenomenon to Wizards of the Coast, especially since Wizard used to publish the Pokemon TCG, but hey, we can dream.
I'd love to see a Pokemon crossover that leans on TCG card frames or borrows liberally from the Pokemon anime series and classic designs. It could go the other way, too, with more realistic versions of Pikachu, Charizard, and the gang.
Commander: Let's go classic for this one - a Red deck, and a Blue deck, featuring Pokemon from the original 150 that are tied to their version from the Game Boy release.