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This Week in Magic: February 16th, 2024


New CommandFest Events Announced

On Tuesday, Wizards of the Coast announced a whole host of all new CommandFest events coming up throughout 2024! Several will be held all across the world, ranging from the US to England to China. For those of you in the United States, you'll even be able to find two run by our very own CoolStuff Events, with the first being in Dallas in April and the second in Atlanta in June. We hope to see you there and if you can't make it to either of those, you're able to enjoy a CommandFest somewhere near you!

Sheldon Menery Secret Lair Revealed

Yesterday, on the Commander Rules Committee stream, members of the Rules Committee alongside WotC employee Trick Jarrett revealed the upcoming Sheldon's Spellbook Secret Lair. This Lair was announced back at MagicCon Las Vegas 2023 as a way to celebrate the life and achievements of Sheldon Menery, who passed away last September from cancer. The cards included in this Lair were all hand-picked by Sheldon, as well as the art for those cards, with members of the Rules Committee helping to pick out the flavor text for him. These cards include such gems as Inkshield (a card Sheldon helped design), Greater Good in Italian (a nod to how he would only refer to the card by its Italian name), and Sol Ring with Shakespeare in the flavor text and hidden in the artwork as well.

This Secret Lair will be sold from February 26 until March 24th, and will sell for $39.99 in nonfoil and $49.99 in foil. All proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society. Additionally, unlike the new release method for current Lairs this one will be printed to demand. As such, you won't have to worry about the Lair potentially selling out before you can get a copy yourself. Celebrate Sheldon's life and get your hands on some cool cards in the process.

Beyond Boosters and Epilogue Set Discussion

During the WeeklyMTG stream this past Tuesday, Wizards provided a retrospective on March of the Machine: The Aftermath. This was to both discuss what went wrong and what the team learned from attempting such a product. They originally had multiple sets planned like this, but ended up restructuring them to take these lessons into account.

The first - and perhaps most notable - was Beyond Boosters, a special booster pack variant that will be used with Universes Beyond products including the upcoming Assassin's Creed release. These Beyond Booster sets will feature a higher number of cards in the set, up to around 100 from The Aftermath's 50. For a breakdown of how these packs will be laid out, you can check out this graphic shown off during the stream:

Last but not least, Wizards also noted that they originally had an epilogue set planned for the upcoming Outlaws of Thunder Junction. After the reception of The Aftermath, however, they scrapped it as its own individual product. Now the set will release as a sort of bonus sheet within Outlaws of Thunder Junction itself, and we'll find out more about the details of this during the preview panel at MagicCon Chicago next week.

If you'd like to check out the entire discussion for yourself, you can check out the VOD that was uploaded to YouTube shortly after the stream ended.

Tolarian Community College Fundraiser for Trans Lifeline

In what has become an annual tradition, Tolarian Community College has set up a big charity fundraiser to help the Trans Lifeline charity. Contributions to this charity helps provide aid to trans people in need of assistance and the annual donations typically provide a tremendous amount of funding for the charity. Donating $4 or more enters you into a raffle for a shot at a whole host of prizes provided by Tolarian Community College and many members of the community as well.

As of time of writing, the fundraiser has already reached the initial goal of $250,000. In addition, the Professor noted that TCC has now raised over a million dollars total over their entire history of running these charity fundraisers! If you want to get involved, you can go donate right over here. The fundraiser with giveaways ends this evening, but even when it's over, you'll still be able to donate if you'd like!

Two Major Universes Beyond Sets Expected Each Year

Despite a week full of wonderful announcements and good community efforts, one news piece published by Dicebreaker drew quite a bit of ire amongst players. This article went into detail explaining how during a quarterly investor call for Hasbro, CEO Chris Cocks noted that beginning in 2025, Magic would be dedicating two of its six major annual releases to being Universes Beyond sets. While we previously knew that there would be two major Universes Beyond releases coming in that year - Final Fantasy and Marvel - the big news here is that this will likely continue for several years to come afterward.

The investor call also noted that Magic saw minor growth, though down from the tremendous amount seen in the last few years. Additionally, to better set expectations, Cocks noted that 2024 would likely appear down from last year overall, largely owing to the monumental success of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth and the low likelihood of sets this year matching that success.

Decklist of the Week

This past weekend saw yet another US Regional Championship come and go at Dreamhack Denver with Minh Nguyen taking home the trophy! Minh won riding on the back of rhinos thanks to cascading into copies of Crashing Footfalls and crushing his opponent! His victory did come with some controversy due to an illegal play captured on camera during the finals. Due to the event's stream being on a delay, judges weren't able to catch this at the moment. However, per comments in a Reddit thread discussing the controversy, it was noted that judges did investigate the situation before giving Minh a warning (likely for a game rule violation, as would be standard in these kinds of situations) and continuing on with him having won. Regardless of this controversy, though, Rhinos was among the most dominant forces during the entire course of the event, and Minh's victory shows how powerful this deck can truly be.

Paige Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

YouTube: TheMaverickGal

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