Magic: The Gathering introduces a brand new format with its personal 20-card booster packs

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A depiction of a Planeswalker in Magic: The Gathering, shown wielding purple spells in a dimly lit room. An astrolabe moves in the background.

Image: Tommy Arnold/Wizards of the Coast

Magic: The Gathering launched a brand-new format on Thursday known as Jumpstart. The pick-up-and-play system makes use of current playing cards, plus a smattering of recent ones, for a collectible deck expertise that’s aimed squarely at rivals like KeyForge.

Traditionally, followers of Magic gas their pastime by buying prebuilt 60-card Planeswalker decks and 15-card blind booster packs. Jumpstart is being offered 20 playing cards at a time, however there’s a catch: All the playing cards inside every pack align with a selected theme.

“Jumpstart is a brand new solution to play Magic that mashes collectively themes from all through the historical past of the game and allows you to skip the deckbuilding half,” mentioned Wizards of the Coast in a news release. “If you can’t wait to have Pirates head into battle with Unicorns, smash two boosters together and ride on. If you absolutely must merge the greatest evils in the multiverse together, Cats and Phyrexian packs are waiting for you.”

Packs of Jumpstart cards will feature dogs and orcs on the pack art. The graphic design, which splits the two factions with the Jumpstart name, emphasizes that you need 2 packs to play.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

The mashup type of play has at all times been a well-liked means for followers to construct stunt decks, however the brand new Jumpstart mode appears squarely geared toward upstart KeyForge. Fantasy Flight Games’ “unique card game” depends on procedural technology, automating the method of design and producing a possible 104 quadrillion completely different decks. Each one is exclusive, and could be registered on-line. KeyForge essentially adjustments the calculus of the pastime, transitioning it from a collectible card game to a collectible deck game, and clearly Wizards needs in on that motion.

Jumpstart works very a lot the identical means so far as collectibility is worried, however limits the potential variety of combos in favor of a extra curated collection of playing cards.

“What theme each booster contains is randomized, but each themed 20 cards will be sealed inside the pack and labled,” Wizards mentioned. At launch, Jumpstart contains practically 500 reprints, configured into 121 completely different 20-card decks. There are even brand-new playing cards which were created for the Jumpstart format, all of that are authorized in different modes of play.

Jumpstart additionally embody 37 new playing cards, however they gained’t be authorized for play in Standard, Pioneer, or Modern. Instead they’ll be restricted to Legacy, Vintage, and Commander. Pre-release weekend is scheduled for June 20-21, with common gross sales to comply with.