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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Magic: the Gathering Set

Magic: the Gathering in a galaxy far, far away

By Steve BrewerPublished 3 months ago 14 min read

I absolutely adore Rogue One. I remember when I saw it in theaters and the entire range of emotions I felt as the plot unfolded. I rooted for Jyn as fate called her to take a stand, I was thrilled to see series main stays cameo throughout the movie, I was awed by the battle and fight sequences and saddened when I realized the end that was coming for the heroes.

A few years ago after I had rewatched Rogue One for the millionth time I began developing Magic: the Gathering cards based around the movie. It has been a slow process over the course of the last few years, but I have finally completed the mini set and am ready to publish them online.

Before we get to the cards let’s go through the disclaimers:

First, not every named character will be legendary. With the utmost respect to Mon Mothma, Bail Organa, and (spoilers) Princess Leia, the story of Rogue One isn’t about them.

Second, these cards are meant to be flavorful over competitive. I build my cards to reflect the story that’s unfolding. I don’t claim they’re going to be winning tournaments or top tier matches.

Third, each card will have a watermark. I spent a long time developing this mini set so I will do what I can to assure I get credit for my work. I tried not to be obnoxious with the watermark but it is still clearly visible on every card.

Finally, I am not a professional Magic: the Gathering card developer. These cards were made for fun and may not be perfect. I ask that you do keep this in mind if you have any critiques.

Quick shameless plug, I previously made a set of cards dedicated to HBO’s Game of Thrones. Follow the link below to check it out:

Game of Thrones’s Magic: the Gathering 200+ Card Set

Rogue One Squadron

There can’t be Rogue One without Rogue One, the main protagonists of the movie were my first and only choice as the protagonists of this mini-set.

For their keyword, I wanted something to show both the squad’s formation and their ability to work together to accomplish their objective. This inspired me to create the keyword Squadron which triggers when at least a certain number of other legendary creatures on the battlefield.

To add an extra layer of depth, I also arranged the characters’ Squadron keyword to trigger in the order they joined forces, first comes K2SO and Cassian Andor who I see as the original squad members. They are tied with the lowest Squadron requirement of just one other legendary creature for the keyword to activate.

While people could debate whether or not Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus joined the squad together I do see it as Chirrut joining first after he sensed where Jyn’s path was leading her and Malbus joined immediately after Chirrut. This is why Chirrut requires two other legendary creatures while Baze requires three.

Next, there is Bodhi Rook who joined technically last, but I gave this honor to Jyn whose ability is what the Rogue One Squadron hopes to achieve. This is why Bodhi requires four and Jyn requires five, which, with herself accounted for as she is also on the battlefield, would complete the squad.

Imperial Command

There always had to be a foil to the good guys, the yin to their yang, and the choices were fairly obvious.

Each of the Imperials has a plot armor effect, one that helps them survive until the end of the movie. They are divided into two groups, those who stand behind their subordinates and those who lead them from the frontlines.

For the Imperial keyword I wanted something that showed how ruthless and competitive they can be. This is how I came up with Ambitious, an ability that activates when a creature with higher converted mana cost enters the battlefield.

Krennic is the main antagonist of Rogue One and was my first choice for the primary antagonist of this mini set. Galen, on the other hand, I’m ashamed to say I almost omitted him completely. That was before I realized it was his actions that set the events of the movie in motion.

Krennic’s plot armor ability shields him from harm while he has a subordinate in play. He hid behind his Deathtroopers for most of the movie and finally fell to a board wipe (the Death Star destroying Scarif) so I felt this hexproof was good for him. Galen’s on the other hand enables him to slip through and get his mission done (escaping/evading the Empire and dispatching Bodhi to find Saw) so unblockable was my choice for him.

For Krennic’s Ambitious I knew I wanted him to interact with his favorite toy, which is featured below, so I gave him the ability to pull it from the deck. Galen never had much luck when it came to his fellow Imperials showing up which is what made me give him the ability to untap all of your creatures and artifacts when another legendary enters play.

While Tarkin and Vader played integral roles in A New Hope, Rogue One isn’t their story. I did decide to include them as I needed more Imperial legendaries and they did play their parts in the fall of Rogue One Squad.

I was split on Tarkin’s plot armor, I wanted to give him hexproof but felt it was off color for his Orzhov colors and felt it better suited Krennic. So I gave him indestructible instead, after all he was killed after Vader and all the other Imperial defenses were overcome by Luke and Han in A New Hope. Vader was more straightforward as I knew he would be on the front lines instilling the fear of God into his enemies, so menace was my first choice for him.

Tarkin gets the Imperial Ambitious which allows him to destroy a permanent. I felt it was fitting given the number of things he’s blown up. RIP Scarif, Alderaan. Vader being at the top of the pecking order left him little to be ambitious for, but his presence does cause his subordinates to push themselves to get the job done.

The Death Star, the Maltese Falcon for the Imperials and what ultimately drives the plot of the movie forward. It is the primary target for Krennic’s Ambitious and helped by Galen’s Ambitious.

Planets & Lands

We can’t visit a galaxy far, far away without visiting Planets. The creation of the new land supertype was something I knew I wanted to do early in this mini set’s development, the inclusion of the legendary lands did come later on but I am pleased with how each came out.

Yavin 4 was my first choice for the planets. It is the primary location of the Alliance in the movie and at this point in the series. Their clandestine operations on the planet inspired me to grant any Alliance spell cast with mana from the planet immunity from being countered.

The Great Temple was the obvious choice when it came to locations on Yavin 4 to use for the corresponding land and it too helps you cast your Alliance spells.

When I was designing the planets I knew I wanted Scarif to be among them. The setting for the third act and the final battle of the movie had to be included. Scarif being the data vault of the Empire made me give it a scry effect.

The Citadel Tower was the only option for the land from Scarif. Besides the numerous lackluster landing pads and beaches there wasn’t any other competition there.

I’ll be honest, when I was conceptualizing the planets I was going to design I did not want to do Mustafar. I did change my mind when I expanded the planets to be a complete cycle and needed a black and red aligned world. It’s unpredictable nature puts all of its visitors on guard, causing them to enter the battlefield ready for any of its volatile eruptions giving creatures cast with mana from it haste until end of turn.

I wanted to include locations featured in Rogue One so I opted away from the foundry where the end of Revenge of the Sith took place and chose Vader’s Fortress instead. The Fortress helps you cast Imperial and Sith spells alike given Vader’s status as both.

Jedha was the first planet I began to design, with it being the setting of several pivotal scenes I knew it had to be included. It’s status at the beginning of the movie as a notorious war zone led me to give it the effect that any Alliance creature you cast with it fights another creature.

For Jedha’s land I was split evenly between The Protector, Saw’s hideout and The Holy City, and ultimately went down to favorites to decide giving it to The Protector. It’s current role as a way post for Saw’s Partisans and it’s history with the Jedi makes it helpful to cast either.

Lah’mu, like Mustafar, was a planet I did not originally intend to adapt. It was only when I found I needed a neutral planet, one that could embody green and white that I decided to include it. It’s remote status leaves it largely devoid of people, making its resources plentiful. This inspired me to have it untap when you cast a legendary creature with mana from it.

The only places on Lah’mu we see are the Erso’s Homestead and the hideout that Jyn waits in until Saw arrives, so I decided to make the Erso Homestead into Lah’mu’s land card.

Plot Beats

Towards the end of my development of the Rogue One Mini Set I came up with the idea to develop various plot moments into cards. To add more depth to them I decided to arrange them according to when they happened in the movie and give equal representation to Alliance moments and Imperial moments.

For each plot beat’s allegiance I decided to give it to whatever faction organized or caused it to happen. An example being the Battle of Scarif being caused by the Alliance fleet amassing at the gate or Rogue One Squad going to Eadu to bring Galen back to the Alliance.

Like the scene that inspired it Rendezvous on Kafrene gives you insight and intelligence on what another player is up to before you get to kill a creature.

Incursion on Eadu was tricky at first as I had a few different ideas for it, but I then decided to keep it close to the movie scene with an important choice being made, shots being fired, and the zeal of the protagonists being ignited.

The Battle of Scarif ends with most of the parties involved in the direct fighting being killed, so I gave the card the same effect with a bit of a stinger to boot.

The defining moment for the Alliance and closing plot beat for them in the movie, I knew the moment the Alliance got their hands on the Death Star Plans had to be included. Like the scene itself the card pulls a major cameo before ending the movie!

Like in the movie, Conscription on Lah’mu requires sending one of your creatures off on a long journey to capture another creature you don’t control who eventually breaks free again.

Imprison on Wobani does what it implies, it makes a player unable to cast spells or attack until their imprisonment ends.

Occupation of Jedha was a moment I knew I wanted to include, it allows you to capture an enemy land until you sacrifice it for the good of the Empire. For those wondering why I didn’t include Jedha’s destruction… spoilers… it’s coming.

The final Imperial moment of Rogue One and the set up for the opening of A New Hope is The Pursuit of the Tantive IV which pulls a legendary creature from you deck to deal a decisive blow to your opponent.

Quote Cycle

Like the movie moments above Rogue One is full of quotes that I knew I wanted to make into cards.

I remember when I watched Rogue One in theaters and first heard “Rebellions are built on hope”, it gave goosebumps and still does to this day. It is the quintessential Rogue One quote and I knew it had to be the white card in the quote cycle. Rebellions are Built on Hope inspires and uplifts your creatures.

There are quotes that have become running jokes and series staples, and I knew I had to include them in the cycle. “I have a bad feeling about this” is one example, and I knew it had to be included. Have A Bad Feeling gets your creatures ready for whatever they may face.

While Rogue One largely focuses on its new characters it does have several regular series mainstays, of all the cameos and mentions I am glad Darth Vader was more featured. His taunt to Krennic “be careful not to choke on your aspirations” leaves your opponent choking on their words and unable to cast spells while their creatures lose all abilities.

Tarkin didn’t get much screen time in Rogue One, the actor had passed years ago and was brought back to life with CGI, but that didn’t stop him from delivering one of the coldest lines in the movie. Fire When Ready, like it’s movie source “You may fire when ready”, destroys an opponent’s land and annihilates their board.

The inclusion of a Force quote should come as no surprise seeing as it’s mentioned in almost every movie in the saga. May The Force Be With Us allows your creatures to be guided by the Force, evading enemies and receiving insight into the future.

Underling Cycle

There can’t be a set without non-legendary creatures, and while yes I know most of these characters are named in the lore I couldn’t make a set of legendary creatures. I did still want to include them as cards and felt this is the way to best do so.

Beginning the cycle is Rebel Commando, the leader of the rest of squad while Cassian and Jyn were inside the Citadel Tower on Scarif. Rebel Commando boosts one of your Alliance creatures with lifelink and also gives that creature +1/+2 if it’s legendary.

Next is the Shoretrooper, the trooper we saw many of during the Battle of Scarif. Shoretrooper covers one of your Imperial creatures by giving it hexproof and boosts that creatures stats if it is legendary.

For the black card in the cycle I chose the Death Troopers who served as Krennic’s deadly bodyguards throughout the film. Death Troopers gives an Imperial creature deathtouch and further strengthens it if it’s legendary.

There couldn’t be a Star Wars mini set without Stormtroopers, and I have selected them to represent the red card in the underlings cycle. Stormtroopers give an Imperial creature first strike and reinforces them with a stat boost if it’s legendary.

While I wanted to include Saw’s partisans in the set I did want to try to balance this cycle between Imperials and the Rebels the best I could. Saw and his partisans had been cast out by the Alliance at this point so I didn’t feel I could put them as Alliance, so I gave this spot to the Pathfinders who buffs another Alliance creature when they enter the battlefield.

Cameo Cycle

One of the best aspects of Rogue One is the fact that while it is a standalone Star Wars movie with its own original main characters and plot, it does find ways to tie into the canon. One such way is having its plot cross paths with characters from other Star Wars films.

The cameos are brief but powerful, and this is what inspired the cameo cycle.

Rogue One comes with many surprise cameos from characters many never thought would be seen in a live action again, chief among them is the Princess herself. Leia’s cameo opens the door to the events of A New Hope and gives the Rebellion the hope they need to continue the fight, which is what Give Hope is designed to do too.

Where there is Leia there is C-3PO and R2-D2 both cameo as the Alliance leaves to join the Battle of Scarif. And where there is C-3PO there is always a quip, so I made Incredulous Remark to honor this aspect of his personality. Incredulous Remark will leave any creature feeling defeated and demasculated.

The most blink and you’ll miss it cameo of the movie comes on Jedha when Jyn bumps into two familiar faces as her and Cassian wander the city. These are the same two Luke inadvertently bumps into in the cantina in A New Hope. Unsavory Run In deals with a creature who sticks its nose in your business and makes it so their controller can’t gain life for the rest of the turn if the destroyed creature is legendary.

Okay, I’ll admit I cheated with Fervent Rampage. Vader was more a side character than cameo, but the rampage scene was so amazing I felt it had to be represented in a card. The rampage is so brutal and perfect it leaves the audience in awe and so does Fervent Rampage.

Poor Bail, never knew what fate awaited for him as he left for Alderaan at the end of the movie. To pay our respects ye who are about to die we salute you, with Council Orders. Council Orders emboldens a creature by giving it a mission to complete, making it stronger and driven to do what needs to be done.

Support Cycle

The last cycle I’m going to feature actually includes some of the first cards I designed for the mini set. The cards in this cycle provide support for the rest of the set with each effect being based on the color they represent.

The white card for the cycle, Urgent Plea was one of the first cards I designed for the set, a color shifted version of Time of Need from the original Kamigawa set that helps Jyn & co. win you the game by tutoring them from your library to your hand.

For the blue card in this cycle I designed Military Inquiry, a card that gives you intel on what’s coming ahead. Like the rest of the cards it revolves around legendary creatures giving you the ability to effectively draw three cards if you control a legendary creature.

The Alliance walks a fine line of morality, while there are Rebels like Leia who try to stay within the light during their fight with the Empire there are some who fall into shady dealings. Cassian’s orders before the group departs Yavin 4 inspired Secret Orders which allows you to get what you need but at a cost.

The fighting on Jedha was definitely brutal, we saw it firsthand in much of the second act. The partisans tactics inspired me to make Guerrilla Warfare, a new twist on Battle Hymn while tying into the cycle by giving you red mana for each non-legendary creature you control and two red mana for each legendary creature.

Another card I designed early in the development of the mini set, Moment of Need showcases my favorite scene in the movie. Jyn saving the little girl while putting herself in great peril but emerging unscathed inspired the card to reenact the scene the same way.

The first card I designed in the entire mini set, Hyperspace Jump pulls a Rampant Growth by allowing you to a planet card from your library and place it onto the battlefield. What better way to support the planet cards I designed than tapping into something so iconic in the Star Wars mythos?


About the Creator

Steve Brewer

Certified movie nerd with concentrations in Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Marvel, fantasy, horror, and sci-fi.

Also an avid hiker, camper, racquetball player, cat dad, and loving uncle/godfather.

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