While we wait for the Godzilla vs King Kong showdown to hit theatres, there’s another crossover involving the iconic Toho monster that fans can experience soon. At least in card form.
The upcoming Magic: The Gathering expansion, Ikoria: Lair of the Monsters, is set on the world of Ikoria, where massive creatures reside. Humans either hide behind walls in fear of them, or think the beasts are misunderstood.
While I wouldn’t immediately think Godzilla when I think of giant creatures, the team at Wizards of the Coast had a spark of creativity. “When the team started work on this world, we set out to create our own take on the giant monster genre–what would Godzilla-sized action look like through the Magic lens?” Mark Heggen, Product Architect for Magic The Gathering, told GameSpot. “Then one day the team at Wizards of the Coast who oversees our Japanese business came to us with a pitch: let’s find a way to put the actual Godzilla in the set.”
“It sounded amazing, but at first, we just didn’t think it could be pulled off, to be totally honest,” he added. “But the Japanese team got on a plane, flew out to Tokyo to introduce themselves to the Toho Company, and before long, we’d forged this great relationship with the absolute legends of giant monster action.”
The Toho monsters will be featured as alternate art for Legendary Creatures rather than as canonical additions, however. As an example, the Snapdex, Apex of the Hunt card has another version that depicts the kaiju King Caesar.
The Ikoria: Lair of the Monsters page also teases new Planeswalker cards, Mothra, and a new mechanic called Mutate. It “allows you to combine multiple creatures into one supersized smashing machine,” Higgens said.
The Illuna, Apex of the Wishes card states that when its mutate spell is cast, it can be placed above or under a non-Human creature owned by the player. They then mutate into the creature on top “plus all abilities from under it”. Essentially it becomes one giant-as-heck ability-filled monster that will make Timmy players dance with glee.
Creatures also unleash abilities when they mutate, with Illuna causing players to exile cards from their library’s top until they get a nonland permanent, which can be placed on the battlefield or into the player’s hand. Meanwhile Snapdex/King Caesar does four damage to an enemy creature or planeswalker and provides the owner with four life when it mutates. No doubt, there will be room for creative and devastating player combos.
The expansion will be out on MTG: Arena on 16 April, while the physical version will launch in Malaysia on 15 May.