Last updated on January 18, 2023

Warhammer 40k promo art by Slawomir Maniak

Art by Slawomir Maniak

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Magic’s Universes Beyond products are here to stay. With two more slated for release in 2022, we can expect to see WotC expand Magic’s setting and mechanics to all sorts of properties in the coming years. I can’t wait for the day I equip my Batman commander with Luke’s Lightsaber so it can easily destroy your Master Chief planeswalker.

One of 2022’s Universes Beyond will be set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, the far-flung future where there is only war. 40k, as it’s colloquially known, has been a staple in hobby shops since time immemorial (read: 1987).

While my gut tells me a consolidation of every IP I love might be bad for my wallet, I’m still very excited to dive right into the 40K set!

Set Details

Warhammer 40k promo image
Set SymbolWarhammer 40K Secret Lair Set Symbol
Set Code40K
Number of CardsFour 100-card decks
MechanicsSquad, Mark of Chaos Ascendant

Important Dates

Previews BeginSeptember 12
Secret Lair DropOctober 7, 2022
Worldwide ReleaseOctober 7, 2022

About the Set: the Story

Warhammer 40k #New40k promo art

Warhammer 40k #New40k promo art

Warhammer 40k is an epic miniatures wargame that you’ve probably seen around your local game store. It combines classic elements of fantasy with a violent, pessimistic future where heroic Space Marines defend the Imperium of Man against horrific Daemons, enigmatic and ancient aliens, and their own fallen Battle-brothers. It touches on a lot of classic fantasy tropes with allegories for elves (the Aeldari), orcs (“Orks”), and wizards (known as psykers). And, of course, there’s an abundance of swords.

Warhammer 40k is often cited as the origin of the “grimdark” genre. Its setting is a violent, cynical, and uncaring place where untold billions die each day and even more live in squalor or worse. It’s typically understood that there aren’t any “good guys” in 40k, just factions waging war on each other on a staggering scale. The heroes in the setting aren’t fighting for a better future, they’re fighting in spite of their enemies.

Most Warhammer 40k lore is set around the turn of the 42nd millennium, 38,000 years in the future. The Imperium of Man is on the verge of collapse. It wages war on its enemies with the heroic Space Marine chapters and never-ending regiments of the Astra Militarum, or Imperial Guard. Their enemies include the forces of Chaos including cultists, daemons, and fallen Space Marines in service to the Chaos Gods, as well as various alien factions like the enigmatic Aeldari, the bestial Orks, the expansionist T’au Empire, and the devouring Tyranid swarms. I expect to see nearly all these factions represented in one way or another.

Set Mechanics

Mark of Chaos Ascendant

Abaddon the Despoiler

One of the revealed mechanics is “Mark of Chaos Ascendant”, which gives spells that you cast from your hand during your turn cascade, so long as they have a mana value equal to or less than the life your opponents lost this turn. I see this having tremendous power potential in Commander, as getting plenty of damage on demand is super achievable with cards like Thermo-Alchemist.


Vanguard Supressor

Another revealed mechanic is the “squad” mechanic, which allows you to pay a cost any number of times in addition to paying the creature’s mana cost, making that many tokens of the creature you’re casting. This mechanic is as close to kicker as you can possibly get, which makes it very simple to understand and quite powerful



Ravenous is a new mechanic in Magic released in the Warhammer 40k secret lair. It’s an enter-the-battlefield (ETB) ability that has a creature enter with +1/+1 counters where is paid in the mana cost. Then, if it is 5 or more, you draw a card.

Miracle, Unearth, and Cascade

Returning mechanics include miracle, unearth, and cascade.

Unearth is an activated ability which essentially reanimates a creature in the graveyard for one turn with haste, exiling it when it would leave the battlefield or at the end step.

Miracle is an alternative casting cost for a card if it’s the first card you drew that turn. This allows for a “miracle” effect when you cast an expensive card for often a third of the original cost or less.

Lastly, cascade is another returning mechanic that allows you to exile the top cards of your library until you exile one that costs less. You can then play that card for free, and put the previously exiled cards on the bottom of your library in a random order.

Complete Card List

The Ruinous Powers

Official Teasers/Spoilers

Warhammer 40k art by Örn Enok Brynjólfsson

Warhammer 40k art by Örn Enok Brynjólfsson

The Magic 2021 Showcase gave us our first glimpse at the Warhammer 40k Commander decks. Product Architect Mark Heggen confirmed that the product would be four “ready-to-go” 100-card EDH decks with entirely 40k art. The decks will feature “new art, new cards, and powerful reprints.” He also mentioned that there’s going to be “a few Secret Lair bonuses coming along for the ride.”

Two pieces of art were also showcased. They both feature different Space Marines from the Warhammer 40k universe. Heggen describes them as “classic 40k art, with a dash of Magic.” Ultramarines fans would recognize the first as Marneus Calgar, Chapter Master of the Ultramarines, wielding his paired power fists the Gauntlets of Ultramar. The second showed a squad of Primaris Suppressors, vanguard Space Marines that make use of jump packs to deploy in advantageous positions before laying down a withering salvo of fire.

May 12, 2022

Unofficial Spoilers/Leaks

None yet!

Available Products

4 Commander Deck Bundle

40K Commander Decks

There are four pre-constructed 100-card Commander decks. The decks have entirely new art, new cards, and “powerful reprints.”

The four deck’s names and colors are also now available, and we’re looking at a Temur () deck called “Tyranid Swarm”, an Esper () list titled “Forces of the Imperium, a Mono-Black named “Necron Dynasties”, and Grixis () deck called “Ruinous Powers”. Each deck also has a collector’s edition available which come fully foiled in a “never-before-seen special surge foil”.

Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond Warhammer 40,000 Commander Deck Bundle – Includes 1 The Ruinous Powers, 1 Necron Dynasties, 1 Forces of the Imperium, and 1 Tyranid Swarm
  • Bundle of all 4 Warhammer 40,000 Commander Decks—The Ruinous Powers, Necron Dynasties, Forces of the Imperium, and Tyranid Swarm
  • All 4 ready-to-play MTG decks contain 100 Magic cards (2 traditional foil + 98 nonfoil)
  • Every card features Warhammer-themed art—including 42 cards that are new to Magic
  • Each deck comes with 1 Foil-Etched Display Commander, 10 tokens, 1 life tracker + 1 deck box
  • Command a new battlefield with epic multiplayer Magic games set in the world of the popular tabletop miniatures game, Warhammer 40,000

Tyranid Swarm Deck

The Swarmlord

The first deck revealed to players was the Tyranid Swarm deck, a classic Temur () creatures deck that generates plenty of +1/+1 counters and card advantage.

The Ruinous Powers

Abaddon the Despoiler

Necron Dynasties

Szarekh, the Silent King

Forces of the Imperium

Inquisitor Greyfax

Wrap Up

Warhammer 40k promo art by Fajareka Setiawan

Art by Fajareka Setiawan

The Universes Beyond product have been divisive to say the least. Whether they’ll endure as a regular part of casual and competitive Magic remains to be seen. WotC has definitely abandoned other product ideas in the past (see: Planechase, Vanguard, paper Brawl, etc.). But I’ll reserve judgment until their release. It’s only fair!

I’m interested to hear what you think, though! Whether you’re familiar with both products or not, will you be playing with these Universes Beyond cards? Does this encourage Magic players to try out 40k, and vice versa? Let me know what you think in the comments down below.

Thanks for reading, and remember: in the grim darkness of the 42nd millennium, there is only war!

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