Last night, images of 32 cards were leaked on reddit from Theros: Beyond Death, Magic: the Gathering’s next expansion set. Theros: Beyond Death is scheduled to be release on January 24, 2020.

Reddit user BlakedaWerewolf posted the images after midnight Eastern. They said that “a friend of mine found 5 booster packs of Theros: Beyond Death at a Walgreens tonight,” adding that the Walgreens was in Morrisville, NC and that their friend “bought all that [Walgreens] had.” But many in the Magic community doubt the veracity of BlakedaWerewolf’s story. Evan Erwin, the Marketing Manager for CoolStuffInc, said on Twitter that, “While I appreciate the Walgreens scapegoat nonsense, more than likely Theros Beyond Death showed up at Distributor warehouses and an employee took advantage.”

UPDATE: There are reports that the leaks originated from a regular at Game Theory, an LGS in Raleigh, NC. This lends some credence to Walgreens as the source of the cards.

Of the 32 cards, five are basic lands and 27 are non-land cards. The non-land cards include some of the main mechanics from Theros: Beyond Death as well as the set’s main character, Elspeth Tirel, who appears in the set’s key art. Elspeth was the protagonist in the previous Theros block in 2013-14, where she killed Xenagos, God of Revels with Godsend and then was struck down by Heliod, God of the Sun, after which she entered Theros’s Underworld.

Theros: Beyond Death key art

UPDATE: A few hours after publication, more images leaked on reddit showing cards, tokens, and packaging from Theros: Beyond Death.

Leaks Aren’t New to Magic

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first—and won’t be the last—leak to happen to an upcoming Magic set. Theros: Beyond Death joins sets like New Phyrexia, Ixalan, and Dominaria in suffering massive leaks before their release dates.

The most infamous leak in Magic’s history was the publication of New Phyrexia’s so-called “god book” in 2011, which included every single card in the set. More recently, the rare and mythic rare sheet from Ixalan was leaked in June 2017, five months before the set’s release. The next year, the Chinese language FAQ for Dominaria was leaked in early March 2018, a month and a half before its release, revealing the outline of Dominaria’s story, plus the set’s mechanics, many of the rares, and Planeswalkers. A few months later, all four commanders from Commander 2018 were leaked a month ahead of their release date.

Will Wizards of the Coast Respond?

While it’s unlikely that Wizards of the Coast to make any official acknowledgement of the leaked cards, they have a track record of taking these situations very seriously. In the past, people who have been identified as being involved in the distribution of proprietary information have been suspended from the DCI while one incident warranted police involvement. Additionally, Wizards has made several changes to how preview season is handled, most notably moving up the reveal of certain cards that get distributed early to stores such as tokens and promos.

Recently, Wizards made the decision to begin selling cards through large retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target as well as through online retailers like Amazon. It is unknown what effect this may have had on the distribution flow for product but it isn’t hard to imagine that having more people involved in the process creates an increased risk of leaked information.

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