MTG Predictions for 2024

5 MTG Predictions for 2024

Tom AndersonDesign

Happy New Year everyone! We’ve officially made it through the cleanup phase of 2023, and it’s time to start stacking upkeep triggers for 2024. There’s always that wave of annual diligence and new-year rituals to observe in these first few weeks of January, not least of which is casting our minds forward to try and predict what the next 12 months has in store.

Lucky for us, Wizards tend to announce new Magic products even further in advance, so we at least have a surface-level idea of where the game is heading. But what about the specific stuff? The new mechanics, plot twists, format shakeups and even more product announcements?

All will be revealed with time, of course – but for those who don’t enjoy waiting, let’s try our hand at anticipating the big Magic news of 2024.

The lines of genre in Magic and the border with Universes Beyond will continue to blur

The player base tends to be very sensitive to changes in the tone and presentation of Magic, even more so than to shifts in mechanical design and game balance. Wizards has already been pushing the envelope in the past few years with more Universes Beyond crossovers and more sci-fi inspired settings. But if you were looking to 2024 for some kind of reprieve from this upheaval, then I’m afraid I have bad news. 

Most of the upcoming expansion sets seem to be pitched around interpreting unexpected genres into Magic – the western, the whodunit, the haunted house, the anthropomorphic animal fable. Now, Wizards might try to anchor the tropes of these new genres to familiar Magic planes to help them fit more naturally into the game. They’re doing exactly that with Murders at Karlov Manor, and with the associated Cluedo cards adapting that board game’s classic cast into Ravnica-specific personages.

But there’s some early telltale signs that this might not be the case for all of the above. One piece of Duskmantle splash art very clearly shows a modern-era punk wandering around that mansion. Maybe that can be explained by Duskmantle being “an omniversal locus of primal fear which draws in mortal prey from all possible worlds” or some similar premise. 

The mere fact we can’t even readily tell whether this art is for a Universes Beyond card or not shows steady progress towards making Magic a sort of all-encompassing, setting-agnostic game system. 2025 will bring more genre-bending expansion themes like a Wacky Racers/Cannonball Run vehicle set and a full-blown Space Opera. How much that apparent endgame excites you is, of course, subjective.

Tezzeret will fully emerge as the undisputed Big Bad of the Magic canon

This plot arc has been in the works long enough for me to speculate on it in previous predictions articles. But now we’re entering the phase where Tezzeret’s extraplanar power play seems to be a matter of when and how, not if. 

However, those secondary questions are still quite juicy, considering that the post-March of the Machine lore paradigm favors the Master of Metal. While most other planeswalkers have lost their Spark, Tezzeret can still move freely between planes to carry out his schemes. Thanks to his new indestructible darksteel body he got as a reward from Elesh Norn, he can even use his Planar Bridge to transport others freely between planes.

It may not amount to a full-scale multiversal invasion the way the Phyrexians tried it, but there’s also no way for defenders on different planes to coordinate or warn each other, except through the limited connection of the Omenpaths. As 2024’s expansions look to introduce several brand-new planes to the Magic canon, I’ll be watching closely for hints of Tezzeret’s agents and what his greater plans might be – likely a combination of power grabs and targeted revenge against the planeswalkers (or former planeswalkers) who have foiled him in the past.

But since Murders at Karlov Manor takes place on Ravnica, the potential connection for that set may already be established from earlier lore. Given Tezzeret has previously collaborated with the Dimir and that guild’s expertise in subterfuge, the only reason to believe they aren’t responsible for the titular killings would be if you think it’s too obvious. I’m sure that’s what the Dimir want you to believe, at least…

Face-down cards are the big new design space we’ll see opened up and explored across multiple sets

I’ve been intrigued by the hints Wizards are dropping so far about Murders at Karlov Manor, and specifically about the new “disguise” mechanic. All we’ve had officially confirmed is that it “interacts with face-down cards”, which may not seem like much to get excited about.

But you have to think about how rarely face-down cards are actually used in Magic – aside from the few sets which use morph or manifest. So the disguise mechanic is almost certainly going to expand that niche and have a new way of turning cards face-down, while potentially still interacting with Morphs, the Cybermen cards from the Doctor Who commander, Foretell, Hideaway, Illusionary Mask, and anything else involving face-down cards.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this actually turned out to be the signature design theme connecting various sets in 2024. Just as their self-enclosed stories will always feature small hints and references to build towards an overarching plot, there has to be a certain level of synergy between each set’s cards to ensure they play well together in Standard and other Constructed formats.

Outlaws of Thunder Junction and Duskmourn: House of Horror both seem like they could involve disguises or deception as key themes given their genre roots. Or if Duskmourn goes the Innistrad route and builds around transforming double-faced cards, we could see supporting mechanics carefully worded so that they work with MDFCs and face-down cards as well!

That would provide a nice mechanical link both back to the DFCs in current Standard and forwards to Return to Tarkir in 2025 – where we are likely to see morph and/or manifest reappear as well.

I am definitely interested to see how disguise approaches the design challenges which have kept face-down cards from ever being a common feature of Magic. Face-down permanents especially are tough to balance; they have to all be alike in cost and stats while face-down in order to hide information, but then that constrains what you can do to balance the face-up side. 

Perhaps the solution is something close to the role tokens from Wilds of Eldraine. A series of predefined “disguises” with simple but distinct effects and stats, which you can put into play “on top of” a facedown creature to define its stats until it turns face-up. This would add some choice and flexibility without needing huge word counts on individual cards, and contrast well to morph where the focus is on what happens when the card flips face-up.

2024 will feature fewer new cards than 2023, but not fewer product releases.

Along with Universes Beyond and a heavy focus on Commander, a defining trait of Magic’s current era has been the ever-accelerating schedule of new product releases. Secret Lairs, bonus sheets, Commander products and The List all provide further avenues for cards to enter the game, even when they wouldn’t normally fit into a Standard expansion.

V.A.T.S. | Permission Denied

With significant layoffs across Hasbro affecting Wizards in late 2023, it’s hard to see how the company would be capable of continuing this relentless pace of development on new cards. But it also doesn’t seem like a position where they would be happy selling fewer products.

The easy solution, of course, is to keep releasing new products built out of older cards. Precon decks, JumpStart, Remastered and Masters sets, and other reprint-heavy products will help keep shelves filled in 2024. Wizards R&D does work on sets well ahead of the release schedule, so we are still getting new stuff like Modern Horizons 3

But it’s probably a good thing to ease off slightly on the constant new card hype, let the metagame settle, and instead think about how to package different Magic experiences.

Annex Sets will be revived to extend the Universes Beyond approach and target non-Magic players.

One such novel approach is Ravnica: Clue Edition, coming out alongside Murders at Karlov Manor. When this was announced it seemed like it might just be a reskin of the board game, but instead it’s something like a multiplayer JumpStart or Sealed experience with unique Clue mechanics. 

New casual-friendly ways to engage with multiplayer Magic have to be the holy grail of product design for Wizards, applying the proven formula of Commander to something which might have appeal outside Magic’s established fanbase.

Personally, I have my fingers crossed for more Archenemy sets or other cooperative game modes. But there’s also some clear potential for more boxed-set board game crossovers in the 2024 schedule. Just imagine a Duskmourn-edition of Betrayal at House on the Hill, or Bloomburrow crossing over with Root (though Hasbro would need to work to get the license for that one). 


There you have it, a very broad overview of where the game of Magic might go over the course of 2024. It’s hard to draw really strong conclusions just from a release schedule and some promotional images, but based on the trends of the past few years we can at least project some plausible scenarios.

This next year or two will be very important for defining Magic’s identity for the future. We’re well past the tipping point with changes like Secret Lair, Universes Beyond and Project Booster Fun, which continue to have a major impact on the aesthetics, game balance and even market value of new sets. 

What I hope is that at least some of the experimentation and envelope-pushing settles down so that players can build some expectations for this new normal and get comfortable with the new paradigm. Only time will tell, however. Perhaps by this time next year all new sets will be designed by an AI? We’ll just have to take things in 2024 one week (and one blog post) at a time.