Wizards of the Coast has delayed the tabletop release of Magic: the Gathering’s next expansion set, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, until May 15, 2020. The delay lines up with Wizards’ recent suspension of in-store play until at least May 10 due to the lasting effects of COVID-19. Ikoria‘s online release will remain April 16 while the tabletop release in Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong will be moved up a week to April 17.

“As parts of the world recover from COVID-19 while others are still dealing with rising numbers of cases, we’ve come to accept that we cannot celebrate the release of a set in the uniform way to which we’ve become accustomed,” Wizards said. Therefore, they are delaying Ikoria‘s tabletop release in most of the world “[f]or the safety of those working in our distribution and shipping centers as well as in acknowledgement that some places simply cannot open their doors.”

“While we’re doing everything we can to minimize the disruptions and make it possible to enjoy Magic,” they continued, “we’re putting the safety of everyone who works to get Magic from Wizards and into your hands first, including distributors, retailers, and more.”

As a part of the delays, Ikoria‘s prerelease and release events will be combined into a single event, even for those places whose events weren’t delayed.

Don’t miss our coverage of Ikoria’s ebook, Sundered Bond, which was also announced today.

Local Game Store Relief Initiatives

Wizards also acknowledged the negative impact both COVID-19 and the delay of Ikoria‘s tabletop release will have on local games stores.

“While we do encourage players to preorder from their local store wherever and whenever they can, we also recognize that timing and world events may not make that logistically possible, so we’re making a few additional moves that we hope will help,” they said.

First, Wizards will reprint the extremely popular Mystery Booster product and “will be allocating these boosters to WPN member stores—at no charge.” That means “when you purchase one of the reprinted Mystery Boosters from your local game store…every single dollar you spend on it will be going straight to them.”

Second, Wizards is “allowing local game stores to take admission fees—up to $10—for tournaments they run on MTG Arena,” similar to the new FNM At Home program. Stores will be able to charge fees for these events on MTG Arena at until at least June 1.

COVID-19’s Continuing Impact

The delay of Ikora: Lair of Behemoths’ tabletop release is just another unprecedented delay in a time full of unprecedented delays and cancellations. Over the last few weeks, Wizards also cancelled Players Tour Finals Houston and Mythic Invitational Ikoria and rescheduled all three Players Tour Series 2 events, ChannelFireball cancelled all MagicFests through mid-May last week, and Star City Games similarly cancelled its SCG Tour events until mid-May.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.