News Brief: Battlebond, Theme Packs, Concepts and Legends, GP Vegas Promos and Code of Conduct Updates

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Some weeks there’s a pair of Grand Prix to cover. Some weeks there’s enough news to make your editor do a double take. We’ll let you decide where the first week of May fell on that spectrum.


The week started off with a news drop from Blake Rasmussen. The quick-hit post let readers in on a few important points of information:

  • Dominaria had the largest prerelease ever. Not only did more people participate in Dominaria prerelease events, but more new DCI numbers were issued than during any other previous prerelease.
  • Starting in June there will be a weekly show on twitch.tv/magic: WeeklyMTG. This program will air Thursdays between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Pacific time (9-10 p.m. UTC). The first few episodes will feature an interview with Mark Rosewater, discussion of the Core 2019 backstory, and have visits from Bill Rose and Charlie Cantino.

Rasmussen’s abstract also touched on some updates to the rules for Two-Headed Giant as it relates to Battlebond (more on this below). He also discussed the Planeswalker Decks for Core 2019.

The next iteration of the Core Set will have five associated Planeswalker Decks instead of the usual two. Each of these decks will be aligned with one of the five colors of Magic. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price will drop from $14.99 to $10.99. These Planeswalker Decks will come with one booster pack designed to be easier to use in concert with Welcome Decks. For Core 2019, the Planeswalker Decks will go on sale in local game stores during Open House—a week before the prerelease.


Rasmussen also briefly discussed a change to the rules for Two-Headed Giant with regards to Battlebond. The set is based entirely around Two-Headed Giant Limited play (with previews starting on May 21st). For Battlebond, Sealed will use six packs per team and Draft will use four packs per team.

More information about the set was spoiled on Twitter.

Theme Packs

While players will be able to get the Core 2019 Planeswalker Decks early at their friendly Local Game Store, big box retailers will be getting their own special product. Detailed in an article from Gavin Verhey, Theme Packs take advantage of new printing technology to help new players build their collection and enhance their decks.

Initially available at select Walmart retailers, Theme Packs will contain 35 cards of the specified color (and artifacts). These cards will synergize with each other in a way to suggest possible themes for new decks.

Concepts and Legends 

VIZ Media, the company that releases the art books associated with set releases has something special in store for Magic’s 25th anniversary. In conjunction with Wizards of the Coast, VIZ Media will be releasing Magic: The Gathering – Concepts and Legends. This compendium will focus on the entire history of the game and include iconic art, as well as hints as to what will come next. The book, written by James Wyatt, will also come with double-sided art prints.

Magic Online Code of Conduct Updates

On May 7th Magic Online will be updating its Code of Conduct. The goal of this change is to help cut back on toxic behavior. Previously, accounts that were reported were tracked. Given sufficient time and severity, action would be taken. The new Code of Conduct will lower the tolerance threshold for actions that could warrant a ban. This shift is designed to remove the offending player from the platform as quickly as possible. Players who believe action has been taken against their account incorrectly will be allowed to appeal the decision.

The article also announces that players will be able to opt out of chat. Opting out of chat in the Magic Online client will not prevent you from viewing the game log. Historically, the chat feature has long been a venue for offensive remarks and toxic behavior. Allowing players to toggle the chat on and off may cut back on these actions.

Grand Prix Las Vegas Promos 

ChannelFireball has revealed promo Basic Lands for Grand Prix Las Vegas. These foil cards, featuring art by Donato Giancola, will be handed out during side events. Each side event will award one land, while Double Up events will hand out two to each participant.

Dominaria Grand Prix 

The Grand Prix circuit got its first taste of heads-up Dominaria Limited. While the set was on display at the team tournaments in Bologna and Columbus, the weekend of May 4th gave the Magic world the chance to see the latest format on display in Beijing and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Grand Prix Beijing featured familiar faces like Ken Yukuhiro making the the Top 8. Zhang Ziyang—a World Team champion and native of Beijing—took home another trophy. Using an aggressive white-green deck, he was able to claim his first Grand Prix title in his fifth trip the the elimination rounds.

Grand Prix Dallas-Fort Worth was also taken down by a hometown hero. Robert Brown, a professor from Abilene, Texas, decided to attend the tournament. In his first Grand Prix he maneuvered his way to victory with an aggressive white-red build. By sticking to two colors, Brown was able to run 16 lands and capitalize on the Knight tribal synergy of History of Benalia.

Next week, Magic finds itself in Birmingham, England for a double Grand Prix. Legacy and Standard will be on the menu as we get our first taste of Constructed with Dominaria.


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