Wizards of the Coast has pushed back the release of its next Magic: The Gathering set due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The move follows Wizards' decision to suspend all in-store Magic play. Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths was expected to release on April 24th. Wizards has pushed the release back to May 17th in North America, Europe, Latin America, and Australia/New Zealand. In Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, the date is now set to April 17th. Also, these dates will be for a combined pre-release/release weekend. The dates apply only to the set's tabletop release. Ikoria will launch on the Magic: The Gathering Online and Magic: The Gathering Arena digital platforms on April 16th.
The buildup to the release will begin on April 2nd, with the debut of the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths trailer and the set's first official spoilers. Previews will continue through April 10th.
"For areas outside of Asia, it's apparent that many, if not most, places will not be open for business, and our ability to ship to those locations is equally affected," says a statement from Wizards of the Coast on the Magic: The Gathering website. "While we're doing everything we can to minimize the disruptions and make it possible to enjoy Magic, we're putting the safety of everyone who works to get Magic from Wizards and into your hands first, including distributors, retailers, and more."0comments
Here's the full schedule of Ikoria events from Wizards:
- April 2 – Ikoria Debut, trailer launch, (7 a.m. PT/10 a.m. ET/2 p.m. UTC) and the start of previews
- April 10 – Last day of previews
- April 16 – Ikoria released on Magic: The Gathering Arena and Magic Online
- April 17 – Prerelease/release in Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong
- May 15 – Prerelease/release in North America, Europe, Latin America, and Australia/New Zealand
The post on the Magic website also details some relief efforts that are being put into place for game stores. These efforts include allowing stores to organize and run tournaments through MTG Arena with an entry fee of up to $10. Last week, Wizards of the Coast announced a three-week series of Friday Night Magic at Home events running on MTG Arena. Players can take part in these events to get codes for cosmetic rewards from their local game store. Wizards of the Coast says more information about ways players can help support their local game stores is coming next week.