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Three out-there top-down blocks we may see someday

Just picture Gideon and Ashiok in those dapper outfits.
Just picture Gideon and Ashiok in those dapper outfits.

As the design and history of Magic progresses and old settings start to run out of steam, R&D is eager to come up with resonant new planes to build sets and blocks in. One way to do this is top-down - coming up with the flavor first and then making a mechanical framework for it. As top-down blocks Innistrad and Theros have been successes, we will see more of these in the future. But what happens when the familiar real-world mythologies have been exhausted? Here are three possibilities:

  • Noir detective plane: Stories of hard-boiled detectives, beautiful and deadly mystery women, and corrupt, crime-ridden cities have become a much-riffed-on cliche in the lexicon of American fiction. The genre and its tropes may come off as too "recent," but removing all references to 20th-century technology is enough to date the feel. Magic's fantasy take on a Sam Spade-like tale could work as a third Ravnica block with a Wojek investigator as the lead character.
  • Steampunk plane: The science fiction genre that reinvents the Victorian era with fantastical technologies that run on coal and ridiculous fashions rubs off on Magic from time to time. It can be seen in Ravnica's Izzet guild and in parts of Innistrad - indeed, a steampunk-horror block would work well as an Innistrad sequel.
  • Zoo world. The infamous idea of a plane with no native species, and creatures cobbled together from disparate worlds, has been proposed by many a custom designer, and Mark Rosewater once said that it was almost a set in what became Mirrodin block. Years from now the Zoo may have its day in the sun.