WIZARDS OF THE COAST ANNOUNCES ‘MAGIC: THE GATHERING’ BRAND COLLABORATION WITH POST MALONE

Source: https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/50033/wizards-coast-announces-magic-the-gathering-brand-collaboration-post-malone

Wizards of the Coast announced a Magic: The Gathering brand collaboration with singer Post Malone to promote the Friday Night Magic program.
The return of OP to gaming stores in 2021(see “U.S. In-Store Play Suspension for ‘Magic: The Gathering’ Will End Soon”) will be followed up by a year-long celebration of Magic’s return to stores involving a partnership with Magic celebrity super fan Post Malone. Although the full nature of the partnership has not been disclosed, it will involve promoting the FNM program as more stores return to OP as the pandemic winds down.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger fan of Magic: The Gathering than Post Malone,” said Nathan Stewart, Head of Franchise Marketing for WotC. “As a fan for years, he knows just how much Friday Night Magic means to players. We’re thrilled to collaborate with Posty in ways that will allow his signature style, talent and love of the game to combine in ways fans will never forget.”

Malone’s relationship with Magic, to this point, has been as a player, a collector, and a social influencer. Earlier this year, Malone was reported to have spent thousands of dollars at a Frank & Son Collectible Show (see “Post Malone Spends Thousands on ‘Magic: The Gathering’ Singles”). With this announcement, WotC now appears to be looking to leverage Malone’s star influence in a more official capacity to promote the Magic: The Gathering brand.

SQUARE ENIX ANNOUNCES ‘FINAL FANTASY TCG: REBELLION’S CALL’

Source: https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/50071/square-enix-announces-final-fantasy-tcg-rebellions-call

Square Enix announced Final Fantasy TCG: Rebellion’s Call, a new booster expansion, which will release in August 2022.
This new expansion introduces characters from Final Fantasy VII: Before Crisis into the game. Also, the Crystal game mechanic that first appeared in Crystal Dominion (see “‘Final Fantasy TCG’ Booster Expansion”) is back again in this expansion. There will be more Legacy cards in this set, which include Firion [6-019L], Veritas of the Dark [8-136L], and Y’shtola [12-119L]. The set will feature artwork by Ryoma Ito, Akira Oguro, Yukihiro Kajimoto, Gen Kobayashi, Toshitaka Matsuda, Fumio Minagawa, and Miki Yamashita.

Alongside this set, Square Enix will release Two-Player Starter Set: Golbez vs. Cecil. It comes with two preconstructed decks to play with, and there will be 10 new starter exclusive cards in the decks. Each starter exclusive card will have three parallels.

WIZARDS OF THE COAST UNVEILS ‘KAMIGAWA: NEON DYNASTY’ BUY-A-BOX PROMO

Source: https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/50073/wizards-coast-unveils-kamigawa-neon-dynasty-buy-box-promo

Wizards of the Coast unveiled the Buy-a-Box promo for Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty.
The foil Buy-a-Box promo is Satoru Umezawa, a legendary human ninja creature card. The card’s text is as follows:

Sarou Umezawa (Casting Cost: 1UB)

Legendary Creature – Human Ninja

Whenever you activate a ninjutsu ability, look at the top three cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order. This ability triggers only once each turn.

Each creature in your hand has ninjutsu 2UB. 2/4

This card offers card draw as well as an expedient way of putting Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or Griselbrand into play in Modern matches. It will likely be a surefire hit with customers, and can be given with the purchase of a Set, Draft, or Collector Display or if they buy 6 Prerelease Packs.

‘MAGIC: THE GATHERING’ REACHES FOR THE STARS

Source: https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/50095/magic-the-gathering-reaches-stars

Wizards of the Coast announced Secret Lair: The Astrology Lands, a new series of Magic: The Gathering drop sets, which will be released on April 29, 2022 with a preorder date staring January 4, 2022.
The new drop sets will feature a basic land type coupled with art alluding to an astrological sign. Each month, WotC will offer a different land type for a different sign, which will be available till the end of 2022. This product is not a print-to-demand item, it will only be available while the printed stock lasts.

The first of these sets to market is The Astrology Lands: Capricorn drop, which comes with full-art Swamps by Jeanne D’Angelo. It is available in foil for $39.99 and non-foil for $29.99. There are also two bundles, a foil bundle for $159.99 and non-foil for $119.99, that come with five of these sets each.

Yu-gi-oh! Structure deck: Albaz Strike

https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/49543/yu-gi-oh-tcg-structure-deck-albaz-strike

Konami Digital Entertainment will release the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG – Structure Deck: Albaz Strike on March 11.

Albaz Strike centers on Fallen Albaz, which originally appearing in Rise of the Duelist. The monster uses Fusion Summoning effects that allows duelists to absorb enemy monsters and transform it into new forms. The structure deck includes new Tri-Brigade and Springan monsters as well as reprints from Phantom Rage and Blazing Vortex sets. The deck includes five Tokens that feature new art that tell the stories of ‘Fallen of Albaz’. Cards that offer additional support for the deck can be found in Burst of Destiny and the recently announced Battle of Chaos (see “Konami Announces First Core ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ TCG’ Set of 2022”).

Albaz Strike will contain 46 cards (a 40-card Main Deck and 6-card Extra Deck), including 5 Ultra Rares, 3 Super Rares, and 38 Commons; 5 special Token cards; and a double-sided deluxe game mat/dueling guide.

Wizards of the Coast unveils Secret Lair Extra Life

https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/49569/wizards-coast-unveils-secret-lair-extra-life-2021

Wizards of the Coast unveiled Secret Lair: Extra Life 2021, a drop series set that benefits Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which will be on preorder November 5-8.

WotC continues their Extra Life annual fundraising event (see “‘Secret Lair: Extra Life 2020’“) where gamers come together to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals with a new Secret Lair set. This year, the set features two different copies of the three cards offered: one copy with art rendered by young artists from Seattle’s Children’s Autism Center and one copy with artwork that is a professional artist’s interpretation of the rendered card. The set includes the following cards: 1 Mulldrifter by Aliya, age 5 and a half;1 Mulldrifter by Magali Villeneuve, age 41; 1 Craterhoof Behemoth by Kira, age 5 and a half; 1 Craterhoof Behemoth by Lars Grant-West, age 52, 1 Metalwork Colossus by Hyan Tran, age 6; and 1 Metalwork Colossus by Chris Rahn, age 36.

These sets can be purchased in foil for $49.99 or non-foil for $39.99. 50% of the sales proceeds go towards the Extra Life fundraising event.

‘MAGIC’S’ COMMANDER RC BANS ONE CARD AND UNBANS ANOTHER

The Commander Rules Committee (RC) updated their banned list for Magic: The Gathering’s Commander/EDH format on September 13.

In the update, the Commander RC banned Golos, Tireless Pilgrim from the Commander/EDH format. Golos was released in Core Set 2020 in 2019, and had actually previously been a problem card for the Standard format alongside Field of the Dead (see “Announcement’ Date Moved Up“). The RC gave the following reason for finally banning Golos in EDH:

Its presence crushes the kind of diversity in commander choice which we want to promote.  You can drop in Golos and a few 5-color lands into a random deck and get all the ramp and card advantage you would ever want from a commander, with no worries about your mana base.  Golos’ ability effectively reduces the commander tax to one and once you hit seven mana…

The Commander RC also made a decision to unban Worldfire, a mythic rare from Magic Core Set 2013. This card was previously banned because of problems it created an unfair advantage for the caster who could float mana and cast their commander after Worldfire resolved. It was unbanned because the 2021 Commander environment features cheaper ways, mana-wise, of producing a similar effects.   

ICV2 INTERVIEW: COVID SAFETY AT GEN CON

https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/49282/icv2-interview-covid-safety-gen-con

Given the rapidly changing pandemic situation nationally and in Indianapolis, we reached out to Gen Con with questions about how Covid safety is being handled at Gen Con Indy, which opens Thursday.  For context, Marion County, where Gen Indy is being held, has high rates of Covid transmission (522 new weekly cases per 100,000 population) and a high positivity rate (11.67%), according to the state of Indiana’s website.  Around 47% of county residents are vaccinated, below the national average of 55%.

Although there is no mask mandate in Marion County, Gen Con has instituted a mask requirement for the convention center, (see “Gen Con Reverses Course on Maskless Attendance“), and also plans a number of other safety measures (see “Gen Con Announces Updated On-Site Health Safety Protocols“).  A Gen Con spokesperson provided answers to our questions.

Why didn’t Gen Con institute a vaccination requirement, or a vaccination or negative test requirement, for attendees?
Throughout the pandemic we have been working closely with public-health officials in Indianapolis and following their guidance.  Due to the nature of our production schedule and sales cycle we had to make a decision on a proof of vaccination or negative test requirement very early in the summer.  At the time, there were very few precedents for proof of vaccination at large public events.  We are very supportive of vaccination and our internal polling indicates that over 90% of our attendees are vaccinated.

Who is responsible for enforcing Gen Con’s mask rule and other special precautions at the show, and how many of those people will there be?
Gen Con convention staff will enforce our mask rules, as they enforce all other rules of the convention.

How will those responsible handle people who refuse to properly mask?
We will take all necessary action to assure compliance with our rules, including removing non-compliant individuals from the convention center.

What safety measures will be taken to ensure social distancing while waiting in line at ticket windows, to get into the exhibit hall (especially at opening on the first day), and at booths at the show?
We are taking steps to mitigate crowding where possible, including moving opening ceremonies away from the exhibit hall opening, extra spacing at gaming tables in event areas, and other steps.  We have signs throughout the convention center encouraging social distancing.

At one point, Gen Con was going to offer wristbands to attendees with proof of vaccination.  Is that still the case (even though there’s no impact on masking, it could help attendees identify those with whom they want to game)?
We have chosen universal masking as the most effective safety measure we can implement at this time.

Will masks be required on the bridges to the convention center?
No.  We recommend attendees use street entrances to the convention center.

Has Gen Con negotiated with their hotel partners to require masks in common areas such as lobbies and elevators?
We are working closely with Visit Indy and our hotel partners to encourage mask wearing in all hotel common areas; however, each hotel will implement their own policies.  Gen Con rules will be enforced in all Gen Con-controlled hotel spaces.

What support has the City of Indianapolis offered Gen Con to help with COVID-19 safety protocols?
The city has been very proactive in connecting us with Marion County Public Health and other resources to ensure that Gen Con is operated as safely as possible under the circumstances, and to encourage safety policies in those areas of the city outside of our direct control.

THE POKEMON COMPANY INT’L AND CREATURES INC. ANNOUNCE AN ILLUSTRATION CONTEST

Source: https://icv2.com/articles/news/view/49284/the-pokemon-company-intl-creatures-inc-announce-illustration-contest

Winner’s Art will be Featured on an Upcoming ‘Pokemon TCG’ Promo Card

The Pokemon Company International and Creatures Inc. announced the Pokemon Trading Card Game Illustration Contest 2022. This is the first time this contest has been offered in the U.S.

The Pokemon Trading Card Game Illustration Contest 2022 is a fan artwork contest that gives Trainers from the U.S. and Japan a chance to have their talents featured in an upcoming promo card for Pokemon TCG. Trainers’ submissions will feature a “the daily life of Pokemon” theme and include a rendition of one of the following Pokemon as focal point: Bulbasaur, Charizard, Pikachu, Arcanine, Galarian Rapidash, Scizor, Greninja, or Cramorant. The Grand Prize winner gets $5000 in addition to their illustration showcased on a promo card.

Entries will be accepted starting October 13, 2021 and end January 31, 2022. Winners will be announced over the summer. For full details, see the Pokemon TCG or Creatures Inc. websites.