Magic: The Gathering reveals Foundations, a new set expressly made for beginners


A muscular elf stands side-on, a wicked curved sword poised above his head. His face is determined, lips taught and grim.
Image: Kev Walker/Wizards of the Coast

The entry-level set will be MTG’s new baseline experience until at least 2029

Publisher Wizards of the Coast has spent the last few years targeting two very different segments of the Magic: The Gathering audience. On the one hand, you have the multiplayer style of play called Commander, arguably the game’s most popular format. On the other hand, you have the ambitious Universes Beyond products, designed to turn the heads of lapsed fans and non-players alike with products that support multiple styles of play. Now the trading card game is returning to its roots with a new set called Foundations, a collection of cards and a curated play experience custom-built for newcomers.

Foundations launches on Nov. 15, and will have all the trappings of a mainline set release — that includes Play boosters, Collector boosters, Jumpstart boosters, and Bundles as well as all the same pre-release pomp and circumstance as any other new set of cards. But it will also feature two new-to-Magic products: a Beginner Box and a Starter Collection.

Nine-Live Familiar is a Creature, a cat, that costs 1 colorless and two black mana. At 1/1, it has special abilities that allow it to revive itself after death.
Image: Wizards of the Coast
Anthem of Champions is an Enchantment costing one green and one white mana. It gives creatures the caster controls a 1/1 buff.
Image: Wizards of the Coast

Wizards’ game design director Bryan Hawley told Polygon that the Beginner Box will include 10 packets with 20 cards inside each one, with two packets for each of Magic’s five colors of mana. Using a mix-and-match system originally designed for the Jumpstart product line, players will be able to combine and recombine those 10 packets into many different kinds of decks. At least some of those packets will be pre-shuffled, with the intent that players will first open and explore them alongside a detailed, step-by-step written tutorial.

“One of the things that Foundations is really trying to do differently than any of our past attempts at an onboarding experience,” said Hawley, “is to really focus on that full pathway, [taking a new player from] I am interested in Magic, but I don’t know anything! up through Oh, I’ve identified what I like to do and I’m going to do more of that! So the Beginner Box is a significantly more built-out experience that has a lot more content [than previous starter sets]. You can play dozens of games straight from the box.”

Day of Judgement is a Sorcery costing two colorless and two white mana. It destroys all creatures on the table.
Image: Wizards of the Coast
Omniscience is an Enchantment costing 7 colorless and three blue mana — which is quite a lot. It allows the caster to cast spells from their hand without paying their cost in mana.
Image: Wizards of the Coast
Llanowar Elves is a Creature, and Elf Druid, that is 1/1 and adds a green mana when tapped.
Image: Wizards of the Coast
Cards in the Foundations set will be a mix of new and old cards, with a split of roughly 50% of each.

Once players have mastered the Foundations Beginner Box of 200 cards, then they can move on to the Starter Collection. That 350-card box will help them to expand on the themes and techniques they’ve already discovered, while also serving to keep them well within the warm embrace of a kind of estuary — a place of calm that should remain stable even as multiple new sets of cards are released year after year.

That long-term stability is a new feature for Magic as a whole. When a new set of cards is released it only remains viable — that is, “legal” to play in certain formats — for about three years. Hawley said that cards from the Foundations set will be legal to play until at least 2029, or nearly twice the usual length of time.

“Our hope and intention is that as long as the set continues doing its job,” Hawley said, “helping new players learn the game, get acclimated to the game, and find what they like about the game — and being that foundation for Standard in general — it will continue to remain Standard-legal.”

Magic: The Gathering FoundationsBeginner Box will retail for $29.99, while the larger Starter Collection will cost $59.99. Expect more information from Wizards in the lead-up to the release this fall.

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