Magic: The Gathering is releasing a 30th Anniversary Edition including some of its earliest and most iconic cards. Oh, and it costs a thousand dollars. Surprise!
Announced during Hasbro’s Investor Day stream, Magic: The Gathering’s 30th Anniversary Edition is based on Limited Edition Beta, the card game’s second-ever print run released in October 1993.
The Beta card list includes many of Magic: The Gathering’s most iconic cards, including the Power Nine - a set of nine cards notorious for their in-game power and subsequent rarity and value. That includes Black Lotus, considered to be MTG’s Holy Grail card. Although less rare that a copy from MTG's first Alpha set, a Beta Black Lotus typically fetches tens of thousands of dollars at auction.
The 30th Anniversary Edition box will include four booster packs said to be “reimagined” for a modern re-release. Each pack will include 15 cards, with 13 of those using the frame seen on modern cards and two - a basic land and one other - featuring a “retro” frame, matching last year’s throwback set Time Spiral Remastered. The cards will comprise one rare card, three uncommons, seven commons and two basic lands, plus a token.
Wizards of the Coast added that roughly three in ten packs will include a “rare retro frame card” in the retro frame slot, meaning there’s a chance that two Power Nine cards - including Black Lotus - could appear in a single booster. Regardless of frame, dual lands will appear twice as often as non-dual land rares.
The reprints in the 30th Anniversary Edition will match the in-game rarity of the original cards in 1993 - meaning no mythic rares - apart from Sol Ring, which gains an additional unique anniversary edition. The Anniversary Edition of the popular artifact, which can be tapped for two colourless mana, will appear in a common rarity, alongside the original Sol Ring at uncommon.
The reprinted cards are described as being collectibles, rather than designed for use in matches, with all of the cards being non-legal in tournaments. Each card will feature its original artwork on the front - with Wizards saying some visuals have been touched up for a “clear, modern look” - and the older white mana symbol, along with a new unique card back to mark them out from playable cards. Outside of their art, the cards will also include “modern wording and modern corners” to bring them closer in line with today’s MTG releases.
Wizards said it had removed six Beta cards - Contract from Below, Darkpact, Demonic Attorney, Earthbind, Weakness and Crusade - from the set due to failing to meet “modern standards”, as well as changing flavour text. Crusade was previously among cards banned in 2020 as the result of being racist and “culturally offensive”.
30th Anniversary Edition’s collectible and limited-edition status apparently means it also comes with a collectible price. That price? $999 - that’s right, almost a thousand dollars, no decimal point - when it releases on November 28th.
The anniversary set is due to release in the US later this year, and around the world in early 2023.