Magic: The Gathering's latest set, War of the Spark, will feature a planeswalker card in every pack for the first time in the game's illustrious history. Typically, sets usually contain around three planeswalker cards, and they're mythic rares, which means they're the hardest ones to acquire.
War of the Spark appears to be the end of a years-long saga between Magic: The Gathering's most recognizable heroes, the Gatewatch, and the game's most iconic villain, Nicol Bolas. A trailer for the upcoming set even hinted at the possibility that major characters could meet their end in the culmination of the narrative. Of those rumors, the most credible seems to be Gideon, a character who has recently struggled with leadership roles and is becoming increasingly dedicated to victory against Bolas at any cost.
In an official update on Magic: The Gathering's homepage, Wizards of the Coast took a closer look at the stained glass windows that populated the upcoming set's memorable teaser trailer. The post also reveals some significant information regarding the set: for the first time ever, planeswalkers will appear in every single pack player's open. That's a big deal, as opening a planeswalker is one of the most exciting experiences for casual players and should drive interest in the set even higher than it already was.
The other big takeway from the post, though, is that all 36 characters who appeared on the stained glass windows in the trailer will have their own planeswalker card in War of the Spark. That will mean the return of some major characters we haven't seen in some time, including Sorin, Nahiri, Narset, and the oft-maligned Tibalt. That also means 36 new planeswalker cards being introduced into Standard when War of the Spark releases, and that number is far and away the largest amount of planeswalkers that will ever be released in a single set. Planeswalker cards are typically impactful on the Standard metagame and house powerful, reusable abilities in ways that few other cards can mimic, so Standard is in for a major shakeup soon.
Of course, it's hard to truly know what the implications of this kind of design decision will be until players get their hands on the cards and begin experimenting with them. What's clear, though, is that Wizards of the Coast is embracing the newfound buzz surrounding Magic Arena and attempting to convert it into long-term player retention. Magic Arena's esports endeavors are a way to keep professional players in the spotlight while amateurs can chase a million dollar dream, but for the millions of new Arena players who are just interested in learning the game, opening up a powerful planeswalker in one of their first packs will go a long way in them sticking around for the long-haul.