Magic: The Gathering


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Wizards of the Coast releases Magic cards in base/core sets and in expansion sets. The different editions of the base set each contain 302-449 cards, which have all been printed before, with the exception of Limited Edition, which was the game's first set. Expansion sets expand the game by adding new cards. Expansion sets beginning with Ice Age have come in sets of three which form a "cycle" or "block" consisting of one large "stand-alone" expansion set of more than 300 cards, followed by two small expansion sets of less than 200 cards, which continue the themes introduced in the large set. Like the base set, stand-alone expansion sets contain basic land cards; other expansion sets do not.

Traditionally, the large set of each cycle has been released every October, with the small expansion sets associated with it being released the following February and June; this practice began with Alliances in June 1996. The block, Lorwyn, broke this pattern. Wizards announced that Lorwyn will consist of one large set and one small set, released in October and February respectively. It was be followed by another "mini block," Shadowmoor, which also consist of one large and one small set.

All expansion sets, and all editions of the base set from 6th Edition onward, are identified by an expansion symbol printed on the right side of cards, below the art and above the text box. Wizards of the Coast also assigns a three-character expansion code to each expansion. In the table below, expansion symbols and expansion codes are listed in parentheses following the name.

Base/core set editions

Beginning with Alliances in June 1996, expansion sets were released in a regular pattern: the base sets were released in October with the small expansion sets being released in February and June. Thus, beginning with Alliances, only year, not month, of release is given for expansion sets in the table below. Also beginning with Alliances, expansion sets were given codenames while in development; the code names of the three expansions of a cycle usually fit together to form a phrase or common theme. The only block set to break the pattern of months after Ice Age Block is Dissension, which was released a month early, in May instead of June, because of the July release of Coldsnap. Future Sight followed the trend created by the release of Dissension by being released in May 2007.

Set Set Symbol Abbreviation Release Date
Limited Edition Alpha Limited Edition Alpha Common LEA August 1993
Limited Edition Beta Limited Edition Beta Common LEB October 1993
Unlimited Unlimited Edition Common 2ED December 1993
Revised Revised Edition Common 3ED April 1994
4th Edition Fourth Edition Common 4ED May 1995
5th Edition Fifth Edition Common 5ED March 1997
6th Edition Exp sym 6th 6ED April 1999
7th Edition Exp sym 7th 7ED April 2001
8th Edition Exp sym 8th 8ED July 2003
9th Edition Exp sym 9th 9ED July 2005
10th Edition Exp sym 10th 10E July 2007
Magic 2010 Magic 2010 Common M10 July 2009
Magic 2011 Magic2011 common M11 July 2010
Magic 2012 Magic2012 common M12 July 2011
Magic 2013 Magic 2013 Common M13 July 2012
Magic 2014 Magic 2014 Common M14 July 2013
Magic 2015 M15 symbol M15 July 2014

All sets

Set Sym. Abrv. Date
Unlimited Unlimited Edition Common 2ED December 1993
Arabian Nights Arabian Nights symbol ARN December 1993
Antiquities Antiquities symbol ATQ March 1994
Revised Revised Edition Common 3ED April 1994
Legends Exp sym legends LEG June 1994
The Dark Exp sym dark DRK August 1994
Fallen Empires Exp sym fallenempires FEM November 1994
4th Edition Fourth Edition Common 4ED May 1995
Ice Age Exp sym iceage ICE June 1995
Chronicles Chronicles Common CHR July 1995
Homelands Exp sym homelands HML October 1995
Alliances Exp sym alliances ALL June 1996
Mirage Exp sym mirage MIR October 1996
Visions Exp sym visions VIS February 1997
5th Edition Fifth Edition Common 5ED March 1997
Portal Symbol-portal POR May 1997
Weatherlight Exp sym weatherlight WTH June 1997
Tempest Exp sym tempest TMP October 1997
Stronghold Exp sym stronghold STH March 1998
Portal The Second Age PortalSecondAge Expansion Symbol PO2 June 1998
Exodus Exp sym exodus EXO June 1998
Urza's Saga Exp sym urzassaga USG October 1998
Urza's Legacy Exp sym urzaslegacy ULG February 1999
6th Edition Exp sym 6th 6ED April 1999
Urza's Destiny Exp sym urzasdestiny UDS June 1999
Starter 1999 Exp sym starter1999 S99 July 1999
Mercadian Masques Exp sym masques MMQ September 1999
Nemesis Exp sym nemesis NMS February 2000
Prophecy Prophecy Common PCY June 2000
Invasion Invasion Common INV September 2000
Beatdown Beatdown Box Set Common BTD October 2000
Planeshift Planeshift Common PLS February 2001
7th Edition Exp sym 7th 7ED April 2001
Apocalypse Apocalypse Common APC June 2001
Odyssey Exp sym odyssey ODY September 2001
Deckmasters 2001 Exp sym deckmasters DKM December 2001
Torment Exp sym torment TOR February 2002
Judgment Exp sym judgment JUD May 2002
Onslaught Exp sym onslaught ONS October 2002
Legions Exp sym legions LGN January 2003
Scourge Exp sym scourge SCG May 2003
8th Edition Exp sym 8th 8ED July 2003
Mirrodin Mirrodin Common MRD October 2003
Darksteel Darksteel Common DST February 2004
Fifth Dawn Fifth Dawn Common 5DN May 2004
Champions of Kamigawa Exp sym champions CHK October 2004
Betrayers of Kamigawa Exp sym betrayers BOK February 2005
Saviors of Kamigawa Exp sym saviors SOK June 2005
9th Edition Exp sym 9th 9ED July 2005
Ravnica: City of Guilds Exp sym ravnica RAV October 2005
Guildpact Exp sym guildpact GPT February 2006
Dissension Exp sym dissension DIS May 2006
Coldsnap Exp sym coldsnap CLD July 2006
Time Spiral Exp sym timespiral TSP October 2006
Planar Chaos Exp sym planarchaos PLC February 2007
Future Sight Exp sym futuresight FST May 2007
10th Edition Exp sym 10th 10E July 2007
Lorwyn Exp sym lorwyn LRW October 2007
Morningtide Morningtide Common MOR February 2008
Shadowmoor Shadowmoor Common SHM May 2008
Eventide Eventide Common EVE July 2008
Shards of Alara Shards of Alara Common ALA October 2008
Conflux Conflux Common CON February 2009
Duel Decks: Divine vs. Demonic Duel Decks Divine vs. Demonic Common DDC April 2009
Alara Reborn Alara Reborn Common ARB April 2009
Magic 2010 Magic 2010 Common M10 July 2009
Zendikar Zendikar Common ZEN October 2009
Premium Deck Series: Slivers Premium Deck Series Slivers Common H09 November 2009
Worldwake Worldwake Common WWK February 2010
Duel Decks: Phyrexia vs. the Coalition Duel Decks Phyrexia vs. the Coalition Common DDE March 2010
Rise of the Eldrazi Rise of the Eldrazi Common ROE April 2010
Magic 2011 Magic 2011 Common M11 July 2010
Duel Decks: Elspeth vs. Tezzeret Duel Decks Elspeth vs. Tezzeret Common DDF September 2010
Scars of Mirrodin Scars of Mirrodin Common SOM October 2010
Mirrodin Besieged Mirrodin Besieged Common MBS February 2011
Duel Decks: Knights vs. Dragons Duel Decks Knights vs. Dragons Common DDG April 2011
New Phyrexia New Phyrexia Common NPH May 2011
Commander Commander Common CMD June, 2011
Magic 2012 Magic 2012 Common M12 July 2011
Duel Decks: Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas Duel Decks Ajani vs. Nicol Bolas Common DDH September 2011
Innistrad Innistrad Common ISD September 2011
Dark Ascension Dark Ascension Common DKA February 2012
Duel Decks: Venser vs. Koth Duel Decks Venser vs. Koth Common DDI March 2012
Avacyn Restored Avacyn Restored Common AVR May 2012
Magic 2013 Magic 2013 Common M13 July 2012
Duel Decks: Izzet Vs. Golgari Duel Decks Izzet vs. Golgari Common DDJ September 2012
Return to Ravnica Return to Ravnica Common RTR October 2012
Gatecrash Gatecrash Common GTC January 2013
Duel Decks: Sorin vs. Tibalt Duel Decks Sorin vs. Tibalt Common DDK March 2013
Dragon's Maze Dragon's Maze Common DGM May 2013
Modern Masters Modern Masters Common MMA June 2013
Magic 2014 Magic 2014 Common M14 July 2013
Theros Theros Common THS September 2013
Commander 2013 Commander 2013 Common C13 November 2013
Born of the Gods Born of the Gods Common BNG February 2014
Journey into Nyx Journey into Nyx Common JOU May 2014
Conspiracy Symbol Conspiracy CNS June, 2014
Magic 2015 M15 symbol M15 July 2014
Khans of Tarkir Khans of Tarkir Common KTK September 2014
Fate Reforged Fate Reforged-80x80 FRF January 2015
Dragons of Tarkir
DTK March 2015
Magic Origins
ORI ExpansionSymbol
ORI July 2015
Battle for Zendikar
BFZ October 2015
Oath of the Gatewatch OTG January 2016

Compilations/reprint sets

Reprint sets are sets of certain cards from previous sets that were re-released for different reasons. Some reasons include the cards were fan favorites and popular demand brought them back or in some cases, reprints were to commemorate certain events such as widely known matches or anniversary sets. Some reprint sets revolved around a certain theme such as the Beatdown set, its main purpose being to bring back old heavy hitters.

  • Duel Decks
    • Duel Decks: Anthology (December 2014)
    • Duel Decks: Speed vs. Cunning (September 2014)
    • Duel Decks: Jace vs. Vraska (March 2014)
    • Duel Decks: Heroes Vs. Monsters (September 2013)
    • Duel Decks: Sorin Vs. Tibalt (March 2013)
    • Duel Decks: Izzet Vs. Golgari (September 2012)
    • Duel Decks: Venser Vs. Koth (April 2012)
    • Duel Decks: Ajani Vs. Nicol Bolas (September 2011)
    • Duel Decks: Knights Vs. Dragons (April 2011)
    • Duel Decks: Elspeth Vs. Tezzeret (September 2010)
    • Duel Decks: Phyrexia Vs. the Coalition (March 2010)
    • Duel Decks: Garruk Vs. Liliana (November 2009)
    • Duel Decks: Divine vs. Demonic (April 2009)
    • Duel Decks: Jace Vs. Chandra (November 2008)
    • Duel Decks: Elves Vs. Goblins (November 2007)
  • From the Vault
    • From the Vault: Twenty (August 2013)
    • From the Vault: Realms (August 2012)
    • From the Vault: Legends (August 2011)
    • From the Vault: Exiled (August 2009)
    • From the Vault: Dragons (August 2008)
  • Compilation Sets
    • Modern Masters 2015 Edition (May 2015)
    • Modern Masters (June 2013)
    • Commander (June 2011)
    • Master's Edition IV (January 2011)
    • From the Vault: Relics (August 2010)
    • Archenemy (June 2010)
    • Duels of the Planeswalkers (June 2010)
    • Master's Edition III (September 2009)
    • Planechase (September 2009)
    • Master's Edition II (September 2008)
    • Master's Edition (September 2007)
    • Deckmasters 2001 (December 2001)
    • Beatdown Set (October 2000)
    • Battle Royale (November 1999)
  • Reprint sets
    • Anthologies (November 1998)
    • Chronicles

Sets not legal for DCI-sanctioned tournament play

  • Un-sets[1]
    • Unglued (Exp sym unglued cracked-open egg) (UGL) (August 1998)
    • Unhinged (Exp sym unhinged horseshoe or U) (UNH) (November 2004)

Starter sets

  • Portal[2]
  • Starter
    • Starter 1999 (Exp sym starter1999 five-pointed star) (August 1999)
    • Starter 2000 (none) (April 2000)

Notes and references

  1. Unglued and Unhinged are satirical expansion sets published by Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Portal was a series of sets featuring simplified rules intended to introduce novice players of Magic: The Gathering to the game. Since October 2005 onwards they are legal in the Vintage and Legacy Formats [1].


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