Description[edit | edit source]
The oversized (3" × 5") Vanguard cards aren't played like regular cards. Instead, each player chooses one of the character cards before the match begins and plays under the conditions set by that card.
A Vanguard card modifies your starting (and maximum) hand size, as well as your starting life total. It also contains one or more abilities. Sometimes they're abilities that you can play; sometimes they're abilities that just change aspects of the game. Any abilities printed on a Vanguard card work exactly like those of an in-play Magic card. Note, however, that Vanguard cards are colorless, aren't permanents, aren't in play, and aren't even really cards — so they can't be affected by spells or abilities.
History[edit | edit source]
The result of a cooperative effort between Wizards of the Coast's R&D and Events departments, Vanguard was designed specifically for casual play. The cards were released in four 8-card sets, the first two were designed together. Series 1 could also be obtained in the Vanguard Gift Box. The intent was to use the Arena League as a test market for the concept of supplemental products. As it turned out, Vanguard was a huge success. Nearly 5,000 joined Arena during the first season, the biggest increase in league history, yet. From there, the decision to release the second group of eight cards in early 1998 (Winter Season) was simple. The third set appeared in late 1998 (Autumn Season), and the fourth in the Spring Season of 1999.
List of Vanguards by Series[edit | edit source]
Cards from the first three sets picture a character from the Weatherlight Saga. While the two first sets featured the central characters, the latter set depicted characters from the periphery of the tale. The fourth set depicted characters from Urza's Saga.
|Series 1||Series 2||Series 3||Series 4|
|Squee||Starke||Sliver Queen, Brood Mother||Urza|
Duelist Magazine[edit | edit source]
Four cards were bagged together with The Duelist magazine:
- Duelist #19 - Series 1 Gerrard
- Duelist #33 - Series 3 Multani
- Duelist #37 - Series 4 Urza
- Duelist #47 - Series 4 Mishra
Magic Online[edit | edit source]
Since May 2005, Vanguard avatars have also been used in casual games for Magic Online. You would add one of them to your deck before playing, and at the start of the game, the avatar card from your deck would start in play for you and applied the modifications listed on it. Starting with Zendikar, rules text and starting hand size/life total modifiers for Vanguard avatars have been discontinued. Nowadays, you may continue to play the vanguard format with previously released avatars. Both old and new avatars can still be used to represent you in-game.
Rules[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Magic Arcana. (September 23, 2002.) “Vanguard Series 1”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana. (October 9, 2002.) “Vanguard Series 2”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Andy Collens, 1998. New Year, New Vanguard, the Duelist # 22, 1998
- Mark Rosewater. (August 30, 2010.) “Thank You Sir, May I Have Another”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Jesse Decker, 1999. Third Vanguard Set Charges into Arena's Autum Season, the Duelist # 33
- Editorial Staff, 1999. Get ready for Vanguard, the Duelist # 37
- Magic Arcana. (October 14, 2008.) “Vanguard Portraits”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Online Vanguard