I’d sell my soul for a Magic: The Gathering ACOTAR set

Manifesting a MTG set themed after Sarah J. Maas' A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR) series.
ACOTAR magic the gathering wizards of the coast

Have you ever mentioned the word ‘ACOTAR‘ in the presence of someone who loves reading? And I mean really, really loves reading?

Though everyone’s TikTok algorithm is different, it would be a modern-day miracle if you’ve somehow dodged any knowledge of BookTok’s existence. From meticulously curated bookshelves to ice hockey romance novel scandals, the reading community is mightier than you’d expect.

It’s almost cult-like – I say this as a self aware, card-carrying BookTok devotee – and, like most cults, they do have some sacred texts. Sarah J. Maas’ A Court Of Thorns And Roses (ACOTAR) series has a vice-grip hold on the BookTok universe, with legions of devoted fans all lusting after the “bat boys” – a group of winged dudes with brooding personalities and perfect bone structure.

And I mean legions. Book signings and midnight releases for Maas’ books bear a startling resemblance to contact sports, and the red string plotline conspiracy theories that pop up on TikTok and Reddit alike demonstrate how deep the thought is around this particular author’s books.

Now, I’ve been playing an awful lot of Magic: The Gathering lately.

While at first glance this may seem like it treads a completely different road, I do believe there’s a serious opportunity for convergence here. Could I simply make a vaguely ACOTAR-inspired deck with any one of the thousands of cards already in existence? Sure. But would that scratch the itch? Not sufficiently, no.

So I’m manifesting, and making it everyone else’s problem.

Read: Getting into Magic: The Gathering as an adult has reshaped my brain

I cast… Bat Boys

ACOTAR tells the tale of Feyre, a nineteen-year-old huntress who kills what she thinks is a wolf in the woods, only to find herself brought into the dangerous home of the Fae: Prythian, ruled by seven Seasonal Courts and their respective Fae High Lords. Chaos ensues, love abounds and an undercurrent of political intrigue threatens to evolve into a war that could level both Prythian and the human world.

Now, all this to say: there’s a lot of truly fantastical elements in ACOTAR that would translate excellently into Magic: The Gathering cards. From the characters and their powers through to the way the seasonal courts align with the various MTG colours, there’s certainly room to cook.

Not convinced? Here are two examples of ACOTAR characters that I personally think would make sick MTG cards:

1. The fandom’s beloved Bat Boys

This nickname refers to three of the series’ most adored characters: Rhysand, Cassian and Azriel. These are incredibly attractive, dark-winged Illyrians (a warrior race of Fae) who could easily definitely rival Sorin Markov for the title of “broodiest dude”. Obviously they’d have Flying, but as leaders in the Night Court army, it would also make sense for them to have a triggering ability like: “Whenever a Bat Boy you control deals combat damage to a player, create a 1/1 Illyrian warrior token”.

2. The Suriel

An ominous, malevolent and elusive being. The Suriel is a veiled, corpse-like creature who, when captured, must answer every one of its captor’s questions truthfully. This lends itself brilliantly to a creature card that has a triggered ability for something like Scry or Surveil, provided you pay the additional mana cost (ie. capture the card = capture the Suriel).

magic the gathering lost caverns of ixalan sanguine evangelist ACOTAR
>I don’t mean LITERAL bat boys… Image: Wizards of the Coast

Harnessing the power of the ACOTAR fandom

I don’t need to tell you that buying into the power of fandom can be an effective strategy for brands that dip their toes in the pop culture sphere. MultiVersus, Super Smash Bros., Fortnite – these all capitalise on the cultural capital of iconic characters and existing IP. In fact, Wizards of the Coast do it well already. The recent Fallout set, for instance, felt like the perfect blend of the two audiences – and showed up at the ideal time, just before the wave of the TV adaptation crested.

Read: Fallout 76’s Mothman is a chaotic MTG Commander

Legalities and permissions aside, with an entity as significant as ACOTAR – and an accompanying fandom that is frankly terrifying in their devoutness – there’s a real opportunity to lean in to the wave.

It’s also an opportunity to corner a growing market. We know that Magic: The Gathering‘s demographic skews male, but there’s still a significant portion of players who identify otherwise – players who might relish the opportunity to blend their favourite properties.

For years, anything designated “women’s interest” wasn’t considered commercially viable outside certain niches. Despite the fact that fantasy fiction arguably should not be gendered regardless (and we at GamesHub will die on this hill), many people do still feel that this type of novel falls into that “women’s interest” category.

But dip one toe into the depths of Booktok’s vortex and you’ll find thousands upon thousands of ACOTAR fans of all genders, all begging for content.

I know this is a pipe dream. Chances of an ACOTAR set are slim to none – at least not unless the TV series goes buck wild, and breaks a bunch of records. But it’s a fun thought to imagine nonetheless. Until then, I’ll just keep re-reading the series, building more unhinged decks, and daydreaming about the Bat Boys.

Steph Panecasio is the Managing Editor of GamesHub. An award-winning culture and games journalist with an interest in all things spooky, she knows a lot about death but not enough about keeping her plants alive. Find her on all platforms as @StephPanecasio for ramblings about Lord of the Rings and her current WIP novel.