Books, comics, video games… even a card game?
Magic lore: where to even begin?
Magic: The Gathering has one of gaming’s richest and longest-running universes and the sheer amount of characters, places, and storylines can be overwhelming, to say the least. How can you even begin your path as a Loremage? Follow these steps!
If you follow our Worlds of MTG series, you already know that Magic’s story is amazing. Seriously.
Somewhere in the early 90s, back when the game was still on the drawing board, creator Richard Garfield wanted to design a Dungeons & Dragons-style game where players are wizards in a fantastical world, but he also wanted the games to be quick and never require anything more than a deck of cards. That’s why the first-ever set, now known as Alpha, was made. Back then, the cards didn’t need to be anything more than generic monsters and vague magical artifacts for the game to work. But Garfield left just the hint of a larger world and an epic story, and thus gave birth to one of gaming’s most beloved universes. A multiverse, actually.
Almost three decades later, this vast setting has been explored by talented storytellers across a myriad of mediums such as novels, comic books, video games, and beyond. This guide will help you pick the ones you’ll love, so you can sink your teeth in the juicy lore of MTG.
Probably the best way to get started is the official web page dedicated to Magic Story. It features tons of short stories written by renowned authors and illustrated with the game’s trademark amazing art. Pretty much every new set comes with a collection of these, so the page is frequently updated.
Starting with Kaladesh a few years back, and continuing to this day with the latest Theros Beyond Death, a few cards from every expansion are printed with a special Story Spotlight mark. These depict key moments from the set’s story arch and if you look in the lower right corner, you’ll see a little address to visit - the Magic Story website.
Proper books. Paper and all.
Ever since the 90s Wizards has been printing proper books detailing the worlds of MTG. These would sometimes follow the Legendary Creatures and Planeswalkers from the cards as main characters, and other times would invent their own, original heroes.
For the longest time, Magic was coming out in sets of three, called Blocks. Usually, every Block came with its own trilogy of books. For example, the original Ravnica Block featured sets Ravnica, Guildpact, and Dissension, complemented by a cycle of books bearing the same titles.
In recent times, Wizards shifted their book publishing practice a few times. They first went digital-only with Magic Story, and then settled for a combination of paper and digital - hey, that’s just what they did with the card game, too!
The most recent books you can buy are the paper and digital editions of not-so-well received War of the Spark: Forsaken by Greg Weisman, and the excellent, if digital-only, Throne of Eldraine: The Wildered Quest by Kate Eliott.
Video Games & Comic books
MTG has tons of video game adaptations, but many of them focus on translating the paper game to digital and care little about the story. The old 90s RPG “Magic: The Gathering”, better known as “Shandalar” due to the plane on which it takes place, was an attempt to create a story campaign using the lore. The same goes for MTG: Balltegrounds and the Duels of the Planeswalkers series, to very mediocre results. We have our hopes high for an upcoming MMO that will explore the Multiverse like never before. Or so we’re told.
If you want your story-telling visualized, you’re better off picking up an old comic book by publisher IDW.
Videos and movies
YouTube is full of MTG channels, and there are a few that extensively cover the game’s story. We recommend the recaps of The Mana Source, the Aether Hub, and especially the channel Rhystic Studies for its critique and analysis of the deeper meaning of Magic’s art and story.
How about a blockbuster movie? Believe it or not, despite the many tries of Hollywood directors, no such thing has ever been made. Not yet, anyway. However, a Netflix animated series is in the works, ran by none other than Joe and Anthony Russo of Avengers fame. We are looking forward to that one!
Duh! If you’re interested in the rich lore of Magic, you’re already in the right place! Our ongoing “Worlds of MTG” series is meant to bring you the vast Magic universe into small, delicious chinks. Pay attention to EarlyGame’s MTGA section for the next entry in the series!