|Limited Edition Beta|
|The letter “B”|
Themes and mechanics
Keywords and/or ability words
(15 basic lands, 75 commons, 95 uncommons, 117 rares)
|Limited Edition Alpha||Limited Edition Beta||Unlimited Edition|
|Magic: The Gathering chronology|
|Limited Edition Alpha||Limited Edition Beta||Unlimited Edition|
Limited Edition Beta, commonly known as Beta, is the second printing of the first edition of Magic, includes 302 black-bordered cards. It was released shortly after Alpha, the first printing of the first edition, sold out.
Set details[edit | edit source]
Beta included a few changes from Alpha:
- Its cards use a less rounded corner than Alpha cards. A new 4mm corner diecut was purchased by Carta Mundi to facilitate the increase in demand of millions of cards. Due to this there is a difference from the standard 1/2" corner found on playing cards. This allowed future sets to have larger artwork and smaller borders.
- Circle of Protection: Black and Volcanic Island, which were accidentally left out of Alpha, were added.
- the misprinted Cyclopean Tomb, Demonic Hordes, Elvish Archers, Orcish Artillery, Orcish Oriflamme, Phantasmal Forces, Red Elemental Blast, and Rock Hydra were fixed.
- A third version of each basic land with new artwork was added.
Among Alpha, Beta, and Unlimited, cards from Beta are considered to be the most valuable because of the black border and the use of the 4mm rounded corner (Alpha cards were originally shunned as marked cards in early tournament decks, which had to appear unmarked without sleeves under early tournament rules).
Due to the printing process, it is possible to get land cards in a rare (Islands, 4 are on the rare print sheet), uncommon, or common card slot. The chance is approximately 3.31% for rares, 21.5% for uncommons and 38.02% for commons. This is because they put lands on all three printed sheets.
Marketing[edit | edit source]
Beta was released on October 4, 1993. Limited Edition was advertised as having “more than 300 cards,” so a third version of each basic land was added in the Beta release in order to validate this claim. The print run was announced by Wizards to be 7.3 million cards. Cards were evenly divided over 60-card starter decks and 15-card boosters. UPC codes were now printed on the bottom of each starter deck (Alpha had none).
Collectors' Editions[edit | edit source]
The Collectors' Edition was a special commemorative edition of Beta cards released on December 10, 1993. Wizards of the Coast produced 13,500 copies of this set. These cards have square corners and a gold border on the back and, thus, are not legal in DCI-sanctioned tournaments.
The similar International Edition was also released in December 1993. Wizards of the Coast produced 3 500 copies of this set. The difference between the international and domestic versions is that the international edition says “International Edition” on the back of the card. These cards are not legal in any DCI-sanctioned tournaments.
Cycles[edit | edit source]
- Basic lands: The five basic lands were introduced in Limited Edition — Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest.
- Boons: Each of these common instants has a mana cost of M and an effect involving the number 3 — Healing Salve, Ancestral Recall, Dark Ritual, Lightning Bolt, and Giant Growth.
- Circles of protection: Each of these common white enchantments has a mana cost of and the ability to prevent the all damage from a source of a given color for — Circle of Protection: White, Circle of Protection: Blue, Circle of Protection: Black, Circle of Protection: Red, and Circle of Protection: Green.
- Dual lands:
- Allied colors: Rare lands with two basic land types that each produce mana of an allied pair of colors — Tundra, Underground Sea, Badlands, Taiga, and Savannah.
- Enemy colors: Rare lands with two basic land types that each produce mana of an enemy pair of colors — Scrubland, Volcanic Island, Bayou, Plateau, and Tropical Island.
- Laces: Each of these rare instants permanently changes the color of a permanent — Purelace, Thoughtlace, Deathlace, Chaoslace, and Lifelace.
- Lucky charms: Each of these uncommon artifacts has a triggered ability that allows the controller pay to gain 1 life when a spell of a given color is being cast — Ivory Cup, Crystal Rod, Throne of Bone, Iron Star, and Wooden Sphere.
- Moxen: Each of these rare artifacts has a mana cost of and “: Add M to your mana pool” — Mox Pearl, Mox Sapphire, Mox Jet, Mox Ruby, and Mox Emerald.
- Top-down cycle: Each of these rare cards was designed at the last minute before the release of Alpha. They were never playtested and were designed to fit pieces of unused artwork — Island Sanctuary, Stasis, Word of Command, Sedge Troll, and Birds of Paradise.
- Wards: Each of these uncommon white Auras with enchant creature grants protection from a given color — White Ward, Blue Ward, Black Ward, Red Ward, and Green Ward.
Vertical cycles[edit | edit source]
- Goblins: Each of these red Goblin creatures exists at a different level of rarity — Mons's Goblin Raiders, Goblin Balloon Brigade, Goblin King.
- Red three-drop humanoids: Each of these 2/2 red creatures has a mana cost of and increasingly powerful abilities — Gray Ogre, Uthden Troll, and Sedge Troll. Granite Gargoyle might also be considered part of this group, though it doesn't fit the theme of monstrous human-like creatures.
- Pingers — Each of these permanents has “: [This] deals 1 damage to target creature or player” — Prodigal Sorcerer, Rod of Ruin, and Pirate Ship.
Cards added to Beta[edit | edit source]
The following cards from Beta were not printed in Alpha.
Misprints[edit | edit source]
- Almost every instance of the artist Douglas Shuler's name was misspelled as “Schuler”. (These include: Animate Artifact, Benalish Hero, Circle of Protection: White, Contract from Below, Demonic Tutor, Drain Life, Drain Power, Dwarven Warriors, Force of Nature, Frozen Shade, Glasses of Urza, Hypnotic Specter, Mountain (the two original versions), Northern Paladin, Power Surge, Prodigal Sorcerer, Psionic Blast, Righteousness, Serra Angel, Tranquility, Unholy Strength, Unsummon, Uthden Troll, Veteran Bodyguard, Volcanic Explosion, and Weakness.) The only two cards in Beta that have Douglas Shuler's name spelled correctly are Icy Manipulator and the third (new) version of Mountain.
- Goblin Balloon Brigade — the wording for the activated ability could be interpreted to give all Goblins Flying instead of only itself, which was the original intent. The wording was changed to reflect the original intent beginning with Revised Edition.
- Goblin King — the wording gave all Goblins +1/+1 and mountainwalk, but the original intent was that this would not apply to the Goblin King itself. Beginning with Revised Edition this problem was solved by listing the Goblin King's type as “Lord”; beginning with Ninth Edition the word “Goblin” returned to the type and the wording for the ability was changed to “Other Goblins get +1/+1 and have mountainwalk.”
References[edit | edit source]
- Wizards of the Coast. (August 02, 2004.) “Ask Wizards - August, 2004”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (April 10, 2002.) “Alpha "Oops…" III”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (July 12, 2002.) “Alpha "Oops…" V”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (June 20, 2016.) “25 More Random Things About Magic”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (November 08, 2002.) “Land latecomers”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- John Carter. (December 25, 2004.) “The Original Magic Rulebook”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast. (June 20, 2003.) “Collectors' Edition”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Brian Wagner and Victor K. Werz, Magic a collecting History, Pocket Players' Guide (Fourth Edition)
- Magic Arcana. (September 22, 2009.) “Alpha Typos”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
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