Spend two mana, tap Godzilla: Player may stand up and yell one â€œSKREE-ONKâ€ into the air.
Jokes aside, no joke: Hasbro, Wizards of the Coast, and Toho have teamed up to create a special series of Kaiju cards celebrating decades of Godzillaâ€™s titanic scraps within the next expansion set for Magic: The Gathering. Which is fitting, because said expansionâ€”Ikoria: Lair of Behemothsâ€”is all about players visiting the titular plane of giant beasts and summoning their own monstrous titans to do battle, alongside the Planeswalker Vivien Reid and a mysterious man named Lukka, who forged a forbidden bond with one of Ikoriaâ€™s giant beasts and became an outcast of his society.
So how does Godzilla of all things fit in? Well, aside from the giant monster inspiration behind the setting, the King of All Monsters (and a few of his best friends) will actually be arriving in Lair of Behemoths as series of special alternate art cardsâ€”an idea actually put forward by Magicâ€™s Japanese team when work on Ikoria began.
â€œFrom the very start, one of the central goals of this set was to create a Magic experience that delivered the building-scale monster action we grew up watching in places like the Godzilla movies,â€ Magic: The Gathering product architect Mark Heggen told us over email. â€œThe team was partway through creating our own world full of giant monsters when the group that manages Magic: The Gathering in Japan came to us with the idea to actually include Godzilla in the set. It kind of blew our minds at first, but we just couldnâ€™t stop smiling at the ideaâ€”it was such a perfect fit! The next thing we knew, theyâ€™d flown to Japan and started a great relationship with Toho Company.â€
Toho were more than eager to help make it all happen. â€œToho was fantastic. As soon as the collaboration began, they started sending over tons of options and reference materials,â€ Heggen continued. â€œThere were always plenty of great ideas to work with. We worked together from both sides, and arrived on a final lineup that worked well for gameplay and also delivered the characters that Toho knew would speak to hardcore Godzilla fans.â€
Speaking of which, check out one of those cards below: The Titanoth Rex, whose alternate art variant is none other than Godzilla, Primeval Titan!
Other than the inherent absurdity that this, right here, is Actual Godzilla on an Actual Magic card, what makes Lair of Behemothâ€™s Godzilla cards fun is that, because theyâ€™re alternate art cards for normal cards in the set, these are fully legal in a tournament Magic setting. Players will still be able to tell what card the Godzilla versions are based on and they share the same rules and costs.
â€œWe have created promotional crossover cards a few times before but those have always been silver-bordered, which means theyâ€™re for casual play only and not legal in most Magic formats,â€ Heggen noted, referring to past convention-exclusive bundles like the special Hasbro toy crossover cards. â€œGiven the themes of this set and how naturally Godzilla and his friends fit in, after a lot of conversation and consideration we decided that it was finally time to welcome new faces into tournament-legal Magic cards.â€
Thereâ€™ll be 16 alternate art cards in the series in total, along with three bonus cards that will only be available in the Japanese market, all reflecting different takes and eras of Godzillaâ€™s long cinematic history. â€œThereâ€™s just so much great source material when it comes to Godzilla, we didnâ€™t want to limit ourselves,â€ Heggen told us. â€œWeâ€™re approaching these cards as fun alternate versions rather than a cohesive Godzilla storyline, so we were able to showcase all kinds of great eras of giant monster action rather than having to pick just one.â€
If you want a chance at getting them, theyâ€™ll be found in Magicâ€™s special Lair of Behemoths Collectors Boosters (and not in the standard individual â€œDraftâ€ booster packs), each of which will contain two random Godzilla Series Monster cards, while purchasing a full sealed draft booster pack display will also net you one random Godzilla Series Monster card. And you wonâ€™t miss out if you play Magic: The Gathering through Arenaâ€”Wizards of the Coastâ€™s online version of the physical card gameâ€”because theyâ€™ll also appear there as special new card styles. If you purchase bundles of six or more Ikoria: Lair of Behemoth digital booster packs inside Arenaâ€™s client, youâ€™ll receive the styles as a bonus.
Image: Lius Lasahido, Wizards of the Coast
The full card art for <em>Godzilla, Primeval Titan</em>...
Image: Svetlin Velinov, Wizards of the Coast
...and the card heâ€™s alternate art for, <em>Titanoth Rex</em>.
Being able to field an iconic creation like Godzilla himself in Magic is a wonderfully fun idea, but itâ€™s also a big potential turning point for the game. While Heggen would only say that Wizards of the Coastâ€™s collaboration with Toho strictly concerns Ikoria: Lair of Behemoth, he did say that future crossovers like this could potentially, become a new norm for Magic.
â€œHonestly, weâ€™re not sure what the future holds,â€ Heggen said of players potential reaction to the new Godzilla cards and other crossovers. â€œWeâ€™ll never force something, but if our fans enjoy this experiment and the right opportunity comes along with a future set, weâ€™d certainly consider trying this kind of thing again.â€
Godzilla stomps into Magic: The Gathering when Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths launches in Magic: The Gathering Arena April 16, before its worldwide physical release on May 15.