Five Bold Predictions For Magic In 2022

What’s in store for MTG in the rest of 2022? Ben Bleiweiss unveils five predictions, from cards in upcoming sets to champions of the reborn Pro Tour.

Urza’s Tower, illustrated by Brian Snoddy

When I was growing up, I’d love reading sports prediction articles at the beginning of each season. Baseball was foremost on my mind, and I’d devour every columnist’s take on potential division winners, farm league grades, and early MVP award winners.

Magic: The Gathering is the same. Each new set release is like a condensed cylinder of liquid hope, up to the reveal of all cards. Which card will be the best? Which will be the most overrated? It’s a hullabaloo of picks, predictions, and potential value.

I want to look further than that! This will be the first in a new annual tradition of my bold predictions for the upcoming year in Magic. Next year you’ll see a recap of how these predictions did, alongside a fresh new set of predictions for 2023!

Please note that I have no advance knowledge of anything I’m writing about in this article.

Prediction #1: The Urzatron will be in The Brothers’ War.

Urza’s Mine, Urza’s Power Plant, and Urza’s Tower might be menaces in Modern, but they have almost never made a significant dent in Standard.

Urza's Mine Urza's Power Plant Urza's Tower

These three cards were legal twice before in Standard. The first time was back when Standard was first established, with the Urzatron appearing from Chronicles through 5th Edition. The second time was from the beginning of 8th Edition rotation until the end of the 9th Edition rotation.

In both of these instances, these lands were not regarded as any sort of threat other than an existential one. The third time’s a charm – give the Standard deck brewer a chance to make the Urzatron work one last time.

Plus, wouldn’t we all love to see these cards in Pioneer?

Prediction #2: Unfinity will be further delayed until 2023.

It’s no secret that Magic is getting more and more popular. Waves of the more popular sets are selling out faster than Wizards of the Coast (WotC) can print them, leading to strange periods of a release being evergreen (meaning it will be reprinted to demand), but also having no printing plants available to sneak in a much-needed reprint. This happened with Jumpstart, Commander Legends, and Modern Horizons 2.
My guess is that the original delay on Unfinity was to allow other upcoming sets to hit their release dates without major print run shortages.

At this point, I think WotC would rather slide Unfinity further and further back on the schedule if it means keeping other products at full initial print runs. I know it’d be a year later than originally intended, but I’d probably slot it in for April 1st, 2023 at this point. Hurray for Saturday release parties!

Prediction #3: The Netflix show will be warmly regarded.

Personally, I have been looking forward to the Netflix MTG show! I believe that having a successful media version of Magic (on Netflix) will finally be the push that Magic needs for the mainstream to understand it. I also believe that both Hasbro and Netflix are very good at developing properties into animated series.

On the other hand, I don’t think that the Magic series will eclipse the quality of Arcane for League of Legends. I think Arcane set the bar really high and its development was so singular that it was outside the mainstream animation you’d see from Hasbro/Netflix. I do think that it’ll be on par with shows like She-Ra and Castlevania, both of which charted extremely high for Netflix at various times.

In short – the show will be good, but not groundbreaking. It will serve as a huge on-ramp to Magic for people who weren’t aware / didn’t closely follow the game as a pop phenomenon. Most of all, though, I think Magic players will view it as something they can recommend other non-Magic people watch without embarrassment.

Prediction #4: Box toppers will appear in Dominaria United.

July 2022 will mark the start of Magic: The Gathering’s 30th anniversary year! I believe WotC will mark the occasion in the Dominaria United set with some sort of box topper that celebrates that milestone. I’m not sure if these will be special versions of cards in the set, like Ikoria and Innistrad: Crimson Vow, or more like the Expeditions from Zendikar Rising.

My gut is telling me that it’ll be more like the Zendikar Rising Expeditions, so I’d expect to see some subset of cards that celebrate fan-favorites from Dominaria-based settings.

Prediction #5: Pro Tour Winners for 2023!

Everyone’s excited about the announcement of the Pro Tour in 2023! The first round of Regional Championships (and the first new Pro Tour) will feature Pioneer. The other two Pro Tour events in 2023 are TBD on the formats – but I’ll go ahead and make these predictions about the winners now!

Pro Tour 1: Will be taken down by an American player. The main base for testing and play in Pioneer has been largely stateside compared to other places. My guess is that one of the household names from a large testing group in the USA will take this one down.

Pro Tours 2 and 3: I’m going to say that one of these will be Modern and one will be Standard. My belief is that someone from Japan specifically will win a Standard Pro Tour. The Standard format is immensely popular in that country, and it may be the only major play territory that organically embraces Standard. I think the extra practice and time spent familiarizing with the format will push the winner’s cup to a Japanese player.

If the last event is Modern, I’m specifically choosing PVDDR to be the winner.

So those are my five predictions for Magic in the upcoming year (or technically, four for 2022, and one for 2023!). I’d love to hear if you think these will happen or if I’m off base. Join the conversation about this article on Twitter @StarCityBen – I’ll have it stickied to my profile!