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MTG Reserved List

Magic the Gathering has a lot of different concepts. The Reserved List is one of those. We’ll take a look at what Reserved List is, why it was made and why it matters.

What is the MTG Reserved List?

The MTG Reserved List is a list of cards that will never be reprinted again.

That’s the short definition. A bit longer is the following:

  • Reserved cards will never be printed again in a functionally identical form.
  • Two cards are considered functionally identical to one another if they have the same card type, subtypes, abilities, mana cost, power, and toughness.
  • If a card isn’t on the reserved list that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be reprinted.
  • This applies to all cards regardless of language. So to both English and non-English cards.
  • The policy applies only to tournament-legal Magic cards in printed form. Wizards may still print cards that are not the usual size, such as oversized cards. This also means that cards from Reserved List can be added to MTG Arena or Magic Online.

Here’s an example of an oversized card, although Griselbrand isn’t on the list.

MTG Reserved List Oversized Card

Here’s a link to the official Reprint Policy.

Why Was Reserved List Created?

Magic the Gathering was three years old in 1996. It was on the brink of disaster.

Wizards of the Coast had made two crucial mistakes with the release of Fourth Edition and Chronicles:

  1. They reprinted a bunch of rare valuable cards.
  2. They printed too much product in a short time.

One or the other, it would probably be okay. But both at the same time proved to be too much for players and collectors. Collectability was a big selling point of Magic. With so many reprints players felt like the collectible part didn’t matter.

As an answer Wizards created The Reserved List on March 4, 1996. Wizards made a promise to never reprint the cards on this list.

It worked! Today Magic is stronger than ever. The reason for this is the Reserved List.

Which Cards are on the MTG Reserved List?

The original (yes, it has changed since then) Reserved List included the following cards:

  • All cards from Alpha and Beta that weren’t printed in Fourth Edition or Ice Age.
  • All uncommons and rares from Arabian Nights and Antiquities that weren’t printed in Revised, Fourth Edition or Chronicles.
  • All rares from Legends and The Dark that weren’t printed in Revised, Fourth Edition or Chronicles.

How Many Cards are on the Reserved List?

There are 572 cards on the Reserved List. It’s quite long, so it’s listed at the bottom of the article, sorted by edition.

The most known cards from these are the original dual lands and the Power Nine.

Original Dual Lands

The first dual lands are also the strongest. They always enter the battlefield untapped without any downsides. Each of them has two of the five land types (Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, Forest). You can search for them with fetch lands, such as Flooded Strand.

There are 10 of them, one for each color pair:

Power Nine

The Power Nine are 9 rare cards printed in Alpha, Beta and Unlimited. They are considered the most powerful cards in Magic the Gathering. All of them are on the Reserved List.

MTG Reserved List Power Nine Black Lotus

Black Lotus is also the most expensive MTG card. It will cost you more than a very good sports car. It also helps if the card is form Alpha and in a mint condition. An unknown collector bought a Black Lotus for over $166,000 in March 2019.

The Power Nine also includes powerful Moxes, the most insane draw spell Ancestral Recall, cheapest extra turn Time Walk and the ugly child Timetwister. Some people argue that the Power Nine should be called Power Eight – with Timetwister being significantly weaker than the other cards.

Reserved No More

Something unusual happened in March 2010. Wizards removed some of the cards from the Reserved List. They declared that cards from Mercadian Masques and later editions won’t be on the list. As a result commons and uncommons from Limited Edition were removed from the list. There were 22 such cards:

One card actually shouldn’t be on the list in the first place. That was Feroz’s Ban. It was already reprinted in Fifth Edition, which means it was mistakenly on the Reserved List. It was removed as well.

Players were happy about the changes, but the same thing didn’t happen again. Wizards stated that this cards will be the only ones removed from the Reserved List. This was technically true, but in 2010 some cards were still reprinted.

Reserved List Breaks

As always with all the contracts, there was a loophole. The policy only applied to non-premium cards. Wizards could theoretically reprint cards on the Reserved List in foil versions.

Wizards used this loophole when they printed foil Phyrexian Negator in Phyrexia vs The Coalition Duel Deck in March, 2010.

They also printed four cards from the Reserved List in From the Vault: Relics in August 2010:

The player base was mostly disappointed with the decision. Therefore Wizards closed the loophole in 2011. They stated that no cards on the Reserved List will ever be printed – in foil or non-foil.

MTG Reserved List Mox Diamond
Mox Diamond by Volkan Baga

Conclusion

As we’ve seen the Reserved List had done some serious work for the well being of Magic. It’s here to stay. With its upsides and downsides. So if you ever invent time travel, don’t forget to pick up some Black Lotuses.

The Current Complete List

Limited Edition

Arabian Nights

Antiquities

Legends

The Dark

Fallen Empires

Ice Age

Homelands

Allianaces

Mirage

Visions

Weatherlight

Tempest

Stronghold

Exodus

Urza’s Sage

Urza’s Legacy

Urza’s Destiny

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