We’re heading into the 25th anniversary of Magic: The Gathering, and Wizards of the Coast are kicking off the celebrations in style with Unstable, one of the strangest expansions Magic has seen in years. We’ve got an exclusive look at some of the craziness within.
Unstable is an homage to the legendary Unhinged and Unglued “unofficial” expansions to Magic, sets full of cards that were loopy and often gamebreaking—literally, they were banned from tournaments so fans couldn’t abuse the mechanics—and asked players to adapt to weird and wonderful rules. “Unstable has been an idea percolating in the innards of WOTC for several years now,” Wizards of the Coast’s Senior Director of Global Brand Strategy & Marketing, Mark Purvis, told io9 over email. “There was a string of panels that we would do at various conventions around the country where literally every Q&A would have a fan asking about another ‘Un’ set, and this happened for a couple of years, so we knew there was a very devoted group within the Magic community that really wanted to see another silver-bordered set. As we head in to the year where we’re celebrating our 25th anniversary, it felt like the perfect time to unveil Unstable to help kick off the festivities.”
Unstable carries on the tradition of delightful insanity the past “Un” sets established, with over 200 cards based on everything from groups of spyfi knockoffs to goofy cyborgs, from idiotic goblins (it wouldn’t be Magic without them, really) to... squirrels. Squirrels, like the ones you’ll encounter in three brand new cards io9 is proud to debut below. But they were at first a controversial inclusion in the set, according to Purvis. “Squirrel cards are polarizing within Magic—people either love them, or have a black, mirthless heart,” he continued. “There is a fairly ridiculous amount of debate internally about whether a squirrel would be able to take down a human-sized opponent within the game, but I think recent well-publicized real-life squirrel attacks help illustrate how intimidating they can be when they are riled. Plus, Unstable is a world populated by factions of mad scientists, and it’s not unusual for squirrels on this plane to be enhanced with humanlike intelligence and/or augmented strength and cuteness.” Check out just three of the amazing squirrel cards of Unstable below!
Magic: The Gathering’s Unstable set is available from December 8.