Wizards of the Coast revealed today that they had originally planned to publish a full story for Theros Beyond Death, Magic: the Gathering’s newest set, but made the previously unannounced decision to delay its release last year.

The decision came after the poor reception of Greg Weisman’s War of the Spark novels, Ravnica and Forsaken. “The blowback from Forsaken illuminated that we needed a better validation strategy not only for issues of representation, but for narrative content in general,” said Franchise Creative Director Jeremy Jarvis. “[S]o we made the hard call to delay Theros Beyond Death fiction until we could create a new vetting process.”

“That unfortunately meant that we would miss our intended release window,” he continued. “We did our best to leverage our preview plans and marketing support to deliver the broad strokes of the story so people weren’t left completely in the lurch, but we know you are disappointed and we are too.”

Wizards will “find the correct time and channel to release the Theros Beyond Death fiction. Maybe it will be part of an anthology, or direct to Audible, or as a graphic novel,” Jarvis concluded. “Magic fandom deserves a publishing program as robust and enjoyable as the TCG, and Magic’s Franchise Team is committed to delivering exactly that.”

Last December’s announcement that there wouldn’t be either an ebook or web fiction for Theros Beyond Death caught many fans off guard. After 2019 featured three novels (one delivered via newsletter), an ebook, and web fiction, the fact that first set of 2020 wouldn’t have any non-card story telling came as quite a surprise. Head Designer Mark Rosewater said over a week ago that Magic’s next expansion set, Ikoria Lair of Behemoths, would feature a story and Jarvis confirmed today that that story would be told through an ebook (or similar medium). The first hints of what Ikoria’s story might have in store can be seen in the ads included in packs of Theros Beyond Death.

Jarvis also revealed that The Wildered Quest ebook by Kate Elliott “was more successful than anticipated and was well received.” The book set the scene for last Fall’s Throne of Eldraine expansion, introducing the brand new plane and the set’s main characters, Will and Rowan Kenrith.

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