Magic: The Gathering core sets, 2009–2015

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Seven Magic: The Gathering core sets have been released since 2009: Magic 2010, Magic 2011, Magic 2012, Magic 2013, Magic 2014, Magic 2015, and Magic Origins. Unlike 10th Edition and previous core sets, roughly half of each core set was entirely new cards. Beginning with Magic 2010, Wizards decided to introduce new cards into the Core Set so that they could be relevant for both new players as well as veterans. Starting with Magic 2011, core sets have included "returning mechanics", or non-evergreen keywords with cards printed in just one core set. All of these core sets were released in the summer of the year prior to the year in the title - for example, Magic 2010 was released in 2009.

After Magic Origins, Wizards of the Coast stopped production of core sets, opting for a new model where two blocks with two sets each are made each year, rather than one block of three sets and a core set. Magic head designer Mark Rosewater wrote that the Core Set's dual identity of needing to interest established players while being simple enough for new players leading to "odd compromises", and cited the potential and upsides of doing two blocks per year, such as visiting new settings and revisiting old ones faster.[1] Later in 2017, Wizards of the Coast announced that core sets would be returning under a different name, starting with Core Set 2019, released on July 13, 2018.

Magic 2010[edit]

Magic 2010
common expansion symbol
ReleasedJuly 17, 2009
Size249 cards (15 Mythic Rare, 53 Rare, 60 Uncommon, 101 Common, 20 Basic Lands)
DesignersAaron Forsythe (lead), Bill Rose, Mark Rosewater, Brady Dommermuth, Brian Tinsman, Devin Low
DevelopersErik Lauer (lead), Mike Turian, Tom LaPille, Greg Marques
Expansion codeM10
Alara Reborn Masters Edition III

Magic 2010 was released on July 17, 2009. It is the eleventh core set for Magic: The Gathering. It is the first Core Set since Limited Edition Beta (which included two cards accidentally left out of the original Limited Edition Alpha) to feature new cards; every core set between Beta and Magic 2010 had contained only reprints from previous sets.[2] About half the cards were new, the rest being reprints.

Magic 2010 (also known as M10) marked a major shift in the way Wizards of the Coast produces and markets the "Core" set of their marquee trading card game, Magic: The Gathering. M10 was the first core set since Revised (the third edition) to not be labeled with an ordinal number. Another important marketing change starting with M10 was Wizards of the Coast's decision to release a new core set every year, instead of every two years, as they did since 1995. Previous policy regarding which cards to reprint in the core sets led to the Core set product drifting away from its intended function. There were 112 new cards printed in M10, the remainder being reprints.[3]

M10 was the first core set to use the "mythic rare" rarity as well as the first core set to include planeswalkers, a relatively new card type which was first introduced in 2007. All five of the initial set of planeswalkers from Lorwyn were reprinted in M10 as mythic rares.[2]

Rule changes[edit]

Wizards of the Coast has also overhauled the core rules of the game with the introduction of Magic 2010. The changes included the renaming of several zones and actions of the game, eliminate the 'mana burn' rule of the game, and more relevant for gameplay, an alteration to the way combat damage is assigned. This was the first major alteration of the game rules since the introduction of 6th Edition rules in 1999, and was instituted to make the game more streamlined and intuitive; previous damage-assignment rules, for instance, would allow a creature to, in the words of Magic Rules Manager Mark Gottlieb, "swing its fist to punch, vanish from the battlefield, and [still] have that punch land."[4] The rule changes, as with most rules changes, raised some controversy.[5][6]

Magic 2011[edit]

Magic 2011
ReleasedJuly 16, 2010[7]
Size249 cards(101 Commons plus 20 lands, 60 Uncommons, 53 Rares, 15 Mythic Rares)[7]
DesignersAaron Forsythe (lead), Doug Beyer, Mark Globus, Tom LaPille, Gregory Marques[7]
DevelopersErik Lauer (lead), Dave Guskin, Tom LaPille, Kenneth Nagle[7]
Expansion codeM11[7]
Rise of the Eldrazi Scars of Mirrodin

Magic 2011 was released on July 16, 2010. It was the twelfth core set for Magic: The Gathering. The set contained 110 new cards and 139 reprints.

Magic 2011 contains the keyword scry. This marks the first time that a mechanic from an expert level set has been printed in a core set, without making that mechanic evergreen, or permanently available for use in all future sets.[8] Also, this set introduced the concept of "planeswalker signature cards": cards of lesser rarities that are tied directly to the central planeswalker characters of the set (ex. "Ajani's Pridemate" and "Ajani's Mantra" were included as a reference to the planeswalker "Ajani Goldmane"). These cards were made to make the identity of the planeswalkers more accessible to players, as the planeswalker cards themselves are only available in mythic rarities.

A notable cycle first printed in M11 was the "Titan cycle" of Sun Titan, Frost Titan, Grave Titan, Inferno Titan, Primeval Titan.

Magic 2012[edit]

Magic 2012
ReleasedJuly 15, 2011
Size249 cards
DesignersMark Globus (lead), Doug Beyer, Aaron Forsythe, Ken Nagle
DevelopersTom LaPille (lead), Kelly Digges, Peter Schaefer, Mike Turian, Steve Warner, Dave Humpherys
Expansion codeM12
New Phyrexia Innistrad

Magic 2012 was released on July 15, 2011. It is the thirteenth core set for Magic: The Gathering.[9] This set has 97 new cards in it.

Magic 2012 was the first set to use "dies" to mean a creature being put into a graveyard from the battlefield.[10] It is the first core set to use the keyword "Hexproof", a keyword ability replacing the text "cannot be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control" (cards with this ability had been printed in previous sets, but the ability was not given a keyword).[10] The returning mechanic in Magic 2012 was Bloodthirst. When creatures with Bloodthirst are played, they gain a boost to their power and toughness if an opponent was already dealt damage that turn. For example, a 2/3 creature with Bloodthirst 3 could enter the battlefield as a 5/6. Bloodthirst was previously seen in Guildpact and Future Sight.[10]

Magic 2013[edit]

Magic 2013
ReleasedJuly 13, 2012
Size249 cards
DesignersDoug Beyer (lead), Aaron Forsythe, Graeme Hopkins, Ryan Miller, Mark Purvis
DevelopersZac Hill (lead), Ethan Fleischer, Mark L. Gottlieb, Tom LaPille, Max McCall, Ryan Miller
Avacyn Restored Return to Ravnica

Magic 2013 was released on July 13, 2012.[11] The tagline for the set is "Face a Greater Challenge." There were 108 new magic cards printed in this set.

Magic 2013 is the first core set to have a multicolored card, Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker (Bolas is also referenced on a number of other cards). It is the second Magic Core set (Tenth Edition was the first) to feature legendary cards; one legendary creature of each color plus the artifact Akroma's Memorial.[12] Magic 2013 contains the Exalted mechanic which first appeared in the Shards of Alara block. It is featured as the "returning mechanic" in Magic 2013, as both reprinted Alara cards and new cards with Exalted are in Magic 2013. The Exalted ability gives a creature you control +1/+1 when it is the only creature attacking that combat, and multiple instances of Exalted are cumulative (e.g. 3 sources of Exalted will give a lone attacking creature +3/+3).

Magic 2014[edit]

Magic 2014
ReleasedJuly 19, 2013
Size249 cards
DesignersMark Globus (lead), Tom LaPille, Adam Lee, Shawn Main, Ken Troop
DevelopersDave Guskin (lead), Kelly Digges, Aaron Forsythe, James Hata, Zac Hill, Max McCall, and with contributions from Matt Tabak
Modern Masters Theros

Magic 2014 was released on July 19, 2013.[13] The tagline for the set is "Ignite your Spark." As Bolas was the mascot of M13, Chandra was the mascot of M14. The returning mechanic of Magic 2014 is Slivers, a series of creatures of which each grants an ability to each Sliver.[14][15]

Magic 2014 marked a change to the Legend rule. It made the "Indestructible" effect a keyword, and changed the phrasing for unblockable creatures to "can't be blocked."[16] Slivers in Magic 2014 also worked subtly differently from Slivers in earlier Magic; they now only affected Slivers owned by the same controller, rather than all Slivers in the game.[17] Slivers also received an art redesign that de-emphasized their original beak-headed, one-clawed, one-tailed insect-like appearance, and instead became monstrous humanoids whose appearance varied heavily by card, but had "normal" features such as faces and eyes.[18] This redesign proved controversial; one reviewer noted "slivers are one of the most iconic designs in all of Magic: The Gathering. To essentially muddle them down into just another humanoid monster thing is really disappointing."[19][20] Wizards of the Coast acknowledged the negative feedback, noting that some players disliked the new art style, and included a card in Magic 2015 that used the original Sliver appearance in Sliver Hive.[21]

Magic 2015[edit]

Magic 2015
ReleasedJuly 18, 2014
Size269 cards
DesignersAaron Forsythe, Max McCall, Shawn Main, Jenna Helland, Mike Gills[22]
Conspiracy Khans of Tarkir

Magic 2015 was released on July 18, 2014.[23] Magic 2015 made the second major change to the card frame in Magic's history (the first being in Eighth Edition). Changes include a slight font change (Starting with Magic 2015, an in-house font known as Beleren will be used rather than the Matrix Bold font), the addition of a holofoil stamp in the bottom center of all rare and mythic rare cards, a slightly narrower black border, and a redesign of the collector's info at the bottom of each card.[24] The new border will make it easier for machines to read the cards, helping to prevent mispackaging.[24] Advertising for the set featured the planeswalker Garruk Wildspeaker, with a tagline of "Hunt Bigger Game."[25]

Magic 2015 includes the mechanic "Convoke", which originally appeared in Ravnica: City of Guilds. This mechanic allows a player to use their creatures to help cast spells with Convoke. It also includes 15 cards designed by notable non-employee Magic fans, such as Richard Garriott, George Fan, and Notch, some of which also appear in Duels of the Planeswalkers 2015.[26][27]

Magic Origins[edit]

Magic Origins
ReleasedJuly 17, 2015
Size272 cards
MechanicsScry, Prowess, Renown, Spell Mastery, Menace
DesignersShawn Main (lead), Mark Gottlieb, Ari Levitch, Nik Davidson, Ian Duke[28]
DevelopersSam Stoddard (lead), Dave Humpherys, Ian Duke, Dan Emmons, Ethan Fleischer, Ari Levitch, with contributions from Matt Tabak[29]
Dragons of Tarkir (standard-legal) / Modern Masters (chronological) Battle for Zendikar

Magic Origins was released on July 17, 2015. Magic Origins told the origin stories for 5 planeswalkers who are featured in sets after Origins. It featured a cycle of double-faced cards (originally used in Innistrad) that have a legendary creature on one side representing the character before their transformation, and a planeswalker on the reverse face that represents them after gaining their new power.

The set introduced the mechanics of renown, spell mastery, and menace.[30] It also features cards with the prowess mechanic, which was introduced in Khans of Tarkir block, and the scry mechanic, which was introduced in Mirrodin block.[31]

In February 2015, Wizards of the Coast said that it would be an introductory product "like a core set",[32] and it was published in the time period that a core set would have taken up during the pattern established by Magic 2010. After Origins, Magic switched to a new schedule where each year contained 2 blocks, and each block contained 2 sets. With the new schedule, there are no announced plans for a major "standalone" set like Origins that is not part of a block.


  1. ^ Metamorphosis
  2. ^ a b Forsythe, Aaron (23 February 2009). "Recapturing the Magic with Magic 2010". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Magic 2010 Core Spoiler". Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  4. ^ Forsythe, Aaron; Gottlieb, Mark (10 June 2009). "Magic 2010 Rules Changes". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 14 June 2009.
  5. ^ Rosewater, Mark (5 August 2013). "Twenty Things That Were Going To Kill Magic". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  6. ^ Mowshowitz, Zvi (10 June 2009). "RUINED forever: The Magic 2010 Rules Changes". Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Announcing Magic 2011". Wizards of the Coast. 6 January 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  8. ^ Rosewater, Mark (28 June 2010). "Magic Goes To Eleven". Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  9. ^ "Announcing Magic 2012". Wizards of the Coast. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  10. ^ a b c "The Mechanics of Magic 2012". Wizards of the Coast. May 23, 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2011.
  11. ^ " - Magic 2013 Announced". Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  12. ^ Morgan, Matt (2012-06-12), Magic 2013 Core Set to Launch July 13th, retrieved 2013-10-06
  13. ^ Monty Ashley. "Announcing the Magic 2014 Core Set". Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  14. ^ "M14 Spoiler". MagicSpoiler. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  15. ^ Daniel Tack. "Magic 2014: Slivers Return". Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  16. ^ Magic 2014 Core Set Rules Preview
  18. ^ Beyer, Doug. Slivers Evolved (Beyer is senior creative designer at Wizards.)
  19. ^ First Spoilers for Magic 2014: Slivers are Back!
  20. ^ Slivers In M14: What The Fuck Is This Fucking Shit?
  22. ^ Days of Core, Part 1
  23. ^ "Magic 2015 Spoilers". LLC. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  24. ^ a b Jeff McAleer. "Wizards of the Coast Unveils New Look for 'Magic: The Gathering' 2015 Core Set". The Gaming Gang. Retrieved February 9, 2014.
  25. ^ Hunt Bigger Game
  26. ^ Dyar, Amanda (5 July 2014). "New Details Revealed For Wizard of the Coast's Magic 2015 – Core Set". BioGamer Girl. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  27. ^ Clouse, Justin (27 June 2014). "So Which of the Designer Cards are the Coolest?". Defy Media, LLC. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ Magic Origins Prerelease Primer
  31. ^ Magic Origins Release Notes

External links[edit]