Godzilla and his Kaiju pals being included in Magic’s newest set could have some weird and funny implications for the game’s universe.
Magic the Gathering‘s upcoming set, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, features a surprising addition to the popular TCG’s magical menagerie: Godzilla, King of the Monsters. Plenty of creatures in the set are reminiscent of Kaiju, including monstrous moths and denizens of the deep, but there is something different about Godzilla making an appearance in an official Magic Expansion.
First, Godzilla, Ghidora, and Mothra will only be available as box toppers, meaning that they won’t be found in any of the set’s booster packs. All of the famous Kaiju are alternate versions of original creatures created by Wizards of the Coast, meaning that, within the actual set, there will be cards that have the same stats and text but different names and art. While they are, as of now, all-tournament legal, the inclusion of Godzilla and company raises another question: is Godzilla canon in the Magic multiverse?
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Magic: The Gathering takes place in a vast multiverse, meaning there is no real limit to what is possible. The sets usually revolve around specific planes, and those planes enable designers and lore writers to go in a myriad of genre directions with the franchise. Magic‘s roots lie in traditional high fantasy with wizards, goblins, dragons, and elves. While there’s no shortage of these creatures, over the years, the game has visited more technological planes (such as the Mirrodin block), gothic horror inspired worlds (like the beloved original Innistrad) and swashbuckling, Jurassic Park-style weirdness (like the Ixalan block). But Godzilla throws a radioactive spanner into the works.
Godzilla is a difficult character to separate from Earth, and its particular geopolitical and military history. It’s no secret that Godzilla is a narrative expression of the anxiety of nuclear weapons and mass destruction. Not only does this make him very much a product of Earth, but specifically an expression of Japanese national anxiety after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Godzilla, in terms of lore, is the direct result of atomic weapons testing carried out by the United States military in the Pacific Ocean. He’s an ancient creature that was somehow preserved deep in the ocean who was awoken by the blasts. The radiation mutated him enough to allow him to do things like stomp on buildings, swat planes out of the air, and shoot a scream laser out of his mouth at yet more buildings.
In Magic, players are Planeswalkers facing off in epic showdowns of magic and summoning beasts from throughout the multiverse to come to their aid. This suggests that, if a player were to summon Godzilla, Mothra or Ghidorah, the plane they’d be summoning them from would be Earth. Perhaps it wouldn’t be our Earth, but it would have to be a world that bears a striking resemblance to ours, just where nuclear explosions yielded giant lizards. The implications can be hilarious, as Earth’s existence in the Magic multiverse suggests that, along with Mirrodin, Kaladesh, and Dominaria, there is also Reno, Boise, and Jacksonville, as well as hundreds of H&R Blocks and Staples.
As cool and bizarre as Godzilla joining Magic the Gathering is, it’s also a surprising move from Wizards of the Coast. Normally, it seems to keep its properties to itself. But with the company’s key properties, Magic and Dungeons & Dragons, growing in popularity over the years, it seems like Wizards (or their parent company, Hasbro) could be interested in more crossovers in the future.
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About The Author
Carter Burrowes is a comic reading, game playing, show watching, opinion having, writer based out of Brooklyn New York. He has never been to Disneyland and he has no plans of going unless someone else wants to pay for his ticket and his lightsaber. Much like those of The Batman, the details of his life are shrouded in mystery. One known fact is that he graduated from the University of Vermont, another is that he will not rest until Sucker Punch releases Sly Cooper 4. That day may never come but nonetheless he remains ever vigilant, a silent guardian, a watchful protector, a dork knight.