What in the world is Battlebond?
This is Gavin Verhey, senior game designer, product architect, and, most importantly for today, lead set designer of Battlebond! Battlebond is a set I'm incredibly proud of and excited by. I've had to keep this one a secret for years, and I'm thrilled to finally reveal it!
Battlebond is this year's "Draft innovation" set. You've seen Draft innovation sets in years past with Conspiracy, Conspiracy: Take the Crown, and Unstable. For 2018, we're doing something brand new: Battlebond!
So, what exactly is the new twist behind the drafting format this time?
Battlebond is the first set in Magic's history designed specifically for Two-Headed Giant play! Some sets, like Oath of the Gatewatch, have dabbled with this in the past, but Battlebond takes that to the next level. The new mechanics in Battlebond are unlike anything we've ever done in Magic, and they really elevate the promise of Two-Headed Giant to its full potential!
Little in Magic is better than playing with a friend. And whether you and your best friend have been playing for ages and want to team up together (paging Paul Cheon and Luis Scott-Vargas to the Draft queue!) or you're looking for the perfect chance to bring someone who is hoping to get their foot in the Magic door (perhaps a child, significant other, family member, or even just lapsed Magic player), Battlebond is the ideal set.
The set highlights so well what our 25th anniversary is about. It gives players who have stuck with Magic for a long time and made it a huge part of their lives a chance to play together, while simultaneously being a great chance to invite newer players in.
For Limited, you can play Battlebond in either Sealed Deck or Booster Draft. Like Conspiracy, it's a mix of reprint cards and new cards. There are 254 unique cards in total, and 85 of those cards are brand new, all of which will immediately be legal in Commander, Legacy, and Vintage! The rest are all reprints, some of which even have spiffy new artwork. (And many of them I think you'll be quite excited for.)
What kind of cool new cards are in the set? While I can't say much yet, I can say this: although the Limited gameplay experience is Two-Headed Giant, we knew that the cards needed to have a life outside of that format. As a result, many of the cards in the set are designed specifically with formats like Commander, Cube, and Legacy in mind!
Okay, so that's some of the gameplay details. But how about the flavor?
Conspiracy took place on Fiora. Unstable took place on Bablovia. Battlebond, too, has a new world to explore!
In Battlebond, we're going to Kylem, a never-before-seen plane in the Multiverse! On this world, beings flock from all over the plane to the arena of Valor's Reach, where two-on-two combat is the pinnacle of sport. The goal of the combatants isn't to kill their opponents outright, but to defeat them with style and flair. It's not really a win unless your spells and spectacles cause the crowd to go wild in the process!
What kind of flavor can you expect? After all, our worlds are normally built with flavorful creative underpinnings and tropes. Theros, for example, was Greek mythology. Innistrad was Victorian horror. Battlebond goes to a rich well of flavor Magic has never touched before: sports and games! Battlebond is our love letter to sports and e-sports alike.
I really wish I could tell you more—and now that the lid has been popped on this set, it's going to take all my restraint to keep quiet for a few more months. So for now, circle June 8 on your calendars to mark when Battlebond releases, and I'll be back in the weeks leading up to the release to tell you more about how we made the set.
Here's to a great 25th anniversary year of Magic!