We’re crossing into the final quarter of 2022, and there’s no better time to look ahead to 2023’s release schedule for Magic: the Gathering! We’ve already known for a year that Dominaria and Phyrexia are going to war again, which will happen in the upcoming sets Dominaria United (released 9 Sept) and The Brothers War (Q4 2022).
But now the biggest news is that the war with Phyrexia is far from over even as we head into 2023! The last 2 sets of 2022 form only the 1st half of this mega event. Beginning in 2023, there will be 3 more sets tied in with the Phyrexian saga, followed by the revisiting of 2 relatively new planes – Eldraine and Ixalan.
Fantasy fans will also finally get their hands on the highly-anticipated release of the Lord of the Rings Universes Beyond products in 2023, plus look out for a new tie-in with Dr Who possibly before the year ends!
Here’s a closer look at all the upcoming releases for 2023:
Phyrexia: All Will Be One – Q1 2023
After The Brothers War rounds off 2022, the battle between Domarians and Phyrexians doesn’t end there! Phyrexia: All Will Be One will be the 1st set of the new year, and will take place in the living machines’ homeworld.
Elesh Norn looks to make her long-anticipated return since all the other Praetors have been slowly revealed since Kaldheim last year. If the recent Jin-Gitaxias, Progress Tyrant from the recent Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is an indication of power level, expect Elesh Norn, the leader of the Praetors, to make a significant impact.
In this set we could also very well go into the underbelly of their world, as depicted here by Illustranesia. With suns of 5 different colours and Phyrexian Mana being carved onto edifices, it’s already got us spooked.
March of the Machine and The Aftermath – Q2 2023
Perhaps taking a card out of Avengers’ playbook, the final 2 sets to finish of the Phyrexia war looks like a 2-parter as well.
In this epic artwork by Chris Rallis, we see members of the Gatewatch teaming up with some unlikely allies (is that Esika’s Chariot?) going against what we would guess is the Phyrexian horde.
One of Magic’s oldest and most powerful Planeswalkers – Teferi – is also seen here facing off against Elesh Norn in this promo art by Billy Christian.
What does it all mean for Dominaria, Phyrexia, and the wider Magic multiverse? One world could very well be destroyed and we already expect to see some notable deaths
Wilds of Eldraine – Q3 2023
Planeswalkers’ 1st foray into the adventure land of Eldrain in 2019 were treated to some of the most powerful cards in recent years. Oko, Thief of Crowns was summarily banned in almost all formats after dominating the scene.
This time, players will be taken on a new journey with intriguing characters, including a certain Eriette Charming, deliciously drawn by veteran artist Magali Villeneuve. With that evil look in the mirror shard, better not take any apples from her.
In Throne of Eldraine, there were the powerful Legendary Artifacts such as Embercleave and The Great Henge, with the latter still a strong contender in some formats. Players will likely hope for a similarly high-powered set, but chances are Wizards will have learned from the previous adventure.
Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth (Universes Beyond) – Q3 2023
After being announced way back in 2021, the Lord of the Rings themed set will finally make its way to the shelves in Q3 of 2023! LOTR belongs to the Universes Beyond line of products, where the Street Fighter and Fortnite crossovers also reside.
If the likes of casting Aragorn or Sauron hasn’t already got you standing up, then this amazing panoramic artwork depicting The Battle of the Pelennor Fields will. As the art has too much detail to be squished into 1 card, Wizards have spread it onto over a dozen cards that you can collect to see the full picture.
It’s currently unclear what formats the cards will be legal in, but rumour has it that the set is designed to be drafted (just like how Baldur’s Gate focuses on Commander Draft). At least some of the LOTR cards will make their way to the online platform Arena as well, as part of their Alchemy format.
Lost Caverns of Ixalan – Q4 2023
What do pirates, dinosaurs and merfolk have in common? In Magic they live and fight side by side in the world of Ixalan, first introduced in the 2017 set named after itself. Merfolk are definitely making a strong reemergence, hinted by this new “Winter Wind Scout” card art by Adam Paquette.
We are also expecting to see the Legendary Flip Lands return in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. The original set was famous for 10 cards that could transform into Legendary Lands that had some pretty powerful mechanics.
One of them was Growing Rites of Itlimoc that would turn into Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun, effectively an exact copy of the old Gaea’s Cradle that could add green Mana for each Creature you control. Could we see even cooler Legendary Lands when we return to Ixalan?
It might be a year away, but we’re already looking forward to plundering some treasures.
Dr. Who (Universes Beyond) – Unknown Date
Universes Beyond will next be tackling the 60-year-old franchise Dr Who! There is no release date yet, or if it will be a full set or just a Secret Lair release, but Wizards left several teasing images to give fans an idea of its scope:
If these are official artwork to be used on cards, it looks like it will be a mix of traditional painting mixed in with digitally-remastered shots from the TV series.
That’s a lot to take in, but we couldn’t be more excited with the upcoming sets for 2023. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re a traditional Magic fan, or a fan of multiple franchises and want to see how 2 worlds meld together.
2022 has already been great for Magic, with stores holding events and regional tournaments like the APAC League garnering a lot of attention. The gathering will continue in 2023, and we dare say, it will be even better.