Eldraine V. Ardendale: A Royal Name Change


In 2019, a Magic: The Gathering expansion had to quickly change their name for a rather unusual reason.

The year is, well was, 2019.

As we all know, the Texas Rangers will never win a World Series, Marvel movies will always do well at the box office, and there will never, ever be a debilitating worldwide virus that will shut down the planet for several years in the near future.

As for Magic: The Gathering, Wizards of the Coast is about to release their 82nd expansion. However, there is a problem with its name.

In sort, they can't use it.

So, what was the issue?

To answer that, we need to go back to the late 2000s. Around this time, Mark Rosewater and others at WotC began looking into more themes for the game. Specifically, anything public domain or something they can make generic enough to get around a lawsuit. At the time, two ideas were favored but just never really gelled.

One is using Grimm's fairytales for an expansion, and the other is using the King Arthur legend. Throughout the 2010s, they keep trying, but can just never seem to get them to work.

But, by the late 2010s, they had an idea. They decided to combine the two and make it an expansion. Amazingly, it works and European fairy tales finally have a real dedicated expansion coming in 2019.

The name of this expansion? Throne of Ardenvale, directly tying into that whole Camelot angle.

However, there is a big problem.

A lot of planning has come forward and they are set to unveil the expansion at Comic-Con in San Diego in July for the early October release. But senior executives at the company have a problem with the name of the expansion.

Specifically, Ardenvale.

Why? According to Rosewater an executive simply didn't like the name. Usually a name change is made by the legal department or creatives - never on a whim. But, he had to acquiesce.

So, Throne of Ardenvale became Throne of Eldraine. But, as a bit of a comeback, creative opted to name the caste and land in the game to Castle Ardenvale, as well as many creature cards. 

In the end, when the set was published, it came out as Throne of Eldraine. However, so much was named Ardenvale that it kind of took a life of it's own.

Today, the set is still fondly remembered by many, with many cards still remaining very much legal. But few realize just how close the name change really came and what it could have really been known as.

Evan Symon

Evan Symon is a graduate of The University of Akron and has been a working journalist ever since with works published by Cracked, GeekNifty, the Pasadena Independent, California Globe, and, of course, Magic Untapped.