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Magic - The Gathering®

A word about these lists

These lists are all based on the lists published by Wizard's themselves in 1998. All I did to them was to rearrange and rewrite them in some ways I felt would improve them, mainly with respect to all those collectors out there.
For a complete list of editions you cen see Wizard's own page on editions, Wizard's Card Database or good ol' Wikipedia.

Limited Sets

Every year a few new limited sets are published. They are only available for a limited period of time - hence the name.

NamePublishedNumber of cardsNumber of cards
(including versions)
Arabian NightsDecember 19938092Cards reflecting the themes from "A thousand and one night".
AntiquitiesMarch 199487100More than halv of all cards are artifacts.
LegendsJune 1994310310Introduces multi-colored cards as well as the concept of "legend" cards.
The DarkAugust 1994119119A festical of sacrifice, self-inflictment and unexpected alliances.
Fallen EmpiresNovember 1994102187As introduced in The Dark, many creatures belong to tribes, with spells affecting whole tribes.
Ice AgeJune 1995373383Fancy "Snow" cards? Ice Age is for you - including lands. Also new: Cumulative upkeep.
HomelandsNovember 1995115140... was later officially removed from the Ice Age block in favor of "Coldsnap".
AlliancesJune 10th, 1996144199Discard other cards to pay casting costs.
MirageOctober 8th, 1996335350New block, new mechanics: charms, flanking, phasing, instant enchantments,
VisionsFebruary 3rd 1997167167Poison counters are leaving Magic for a long time with this set.
WeatherlightJune 9th, 1997167167Like banding? Say goodbye to it.
TempestOctober 14th, 1997335350Buyback and Shadow are new.
StrongholdMarch 2nd, 1998143143More from the like of Tempest
ExodusJune 15, 1998143143From now on, the card will tell you its rarity (and look generally different, too).
Urza's SagaOctober 5th, 1998335350New: Cycling and Echo.

Continuous Sets

Continuous sets gather cards, that are usually available for many years. However, there are still changes from time to time, may it be the artwork, the general card design or adding or removing some cards.

NamePublishedNumber of cardsNumber of cards
(including versions)
AlphaAugust 1993290295Missing cards: Circle of Protection: Black, Forest (ver. 3), Island (ver. 3), Mountain (ver. 3), Plains (ver. 3), Swamp (ver. 3), Volcanic Island
Beta/UnlimitedOctober 1993, Unlimited released December 1993292302Text changes for Force of Nature, Island Sanctuary, Karma, Mana Short and Twiddle. Increased cost for Orcish Artillery and Orcish Oriflamme. Red Elemental Blast now interrupt. Elvish Archers with switched pwr/tgh.
Revised (3rd Edition)April 1994296306From now on, effects resolve "last in, first out". Also, the "Tap"-symbol starts here.
4th EditionApril 1995368378Reintroduces some cards from Legends and The Dark
5th EditionMarch 24th, 1997434449Reintroduces some cards from Fallen Empires, Ice Age and Homelands, but misses Lightning Bolt, Swords to Plowshares and Serra Angel. New artwork saves WotC some money on royalties.

Other Sets

There are some extra sets that don't fit that scheme:

NamePublishedNumber of cardsNumber of cards
(including versions)
Portal SpoilerMay 1st, 1997222222Magic for Beginners with simplified rules and concepts
ChroniclesSeptember 1995116125Reprints of some cards from Arabian Nights, Legends, Antiquities and The Dark, with white borders