Magic: The Gathering’s latest set features reprints from throughout its 25-year history
To celebrate 25 years of Magic: The Gathering, Wizards of the Coast is launching Masters 25. The set features a reprinted card from every black-bordered set ever produced. Polygon spoke with the developers last week to learn more about the new set, and even solicited some answers to specific questions sent in by fans. We’ve also been given access to three exclusive cards to reveal in the feature story below.
Masters 25 was fully explained just last week by Gavin Verhey, a former professional Magicplayer and now a member of the research and development team at Wizards. That feature-length article is recommended reading for die-hard players, but if you’re returning to the game after some time away, like I am, here’s the gist of it: Masters 25 isn’t focused on one particular format like Modern or Commander. There’s a little something in there for everyone, which will make the set particularly fun to play in a draft format, where players sit around the table and open fresh packs together, taking turns building decks on the fly.
“To clarify the theme,” Verhey wrote in his post, “what you’re going to see in this set, precisely, is a theme of nostalgia and history. We picked many cards, especially at common and uncommon, that should conjure up memories. I know playing with some of these cards again simultaneously gave me flashbacks to sitting on my carpet at home casting unsleeved spells with my brother, building decks for my first Friday Night Magic events, all the way through competing on the Pro Tour. No matter how long you’ve been playing Magic, you’ll find cards to remember here.”
“We wanted to design a drafting experience that was more about choosing individual cards you like, and synergies between those cards, than overarching archetypes for each color combination,” Yoni Skolnik, lead developer of Masters 25, told Polygon via email. “The main keyword mechanics in this set, Morph and Cycling, can be found across multiple blocks in Magic’s history. So, no matter when you played Magic the most in the past 25 years, you’ll be familiar with the types of cards in the set.”
Where can you find Masters 25? Wizards told Polygon that cards will be available wherever Magic cards are sold, including at your friendly local game store and big-box retailers. Like previous Masters sets (such as Iconic Masters and Modern Masters 2017) there will be no land cards. Instead, you’ll find a foil version of one of the cards from the set in every pack.
Another thing you won’t find inside packs of Masters 25 is anything on the Reserved Cards list. That’s a laundry list of highly sought-after and/or game-breaking cards that Wizards has vowed not to publish ever again. The reserved list was last revised in 2016, and the design team told Polygon that they didn’t even consider refreshing it this time around.
However, some cards have been removed from the banned list, including a planeswalker card called Jace The Mind Sculptor, which will be reprinted as part of Masters 25.
More than anything, Masters 25 is designed as a supplemental set for existing players and collectors. If you are looking to get back into the hobby and starting from scratch you might be better served looking into the most recent set, Rivals of Ixalan.
“People choose to play Magic in so many different ways,” Skolnik said. “Masters 25 is primarily designed to be a fun and deep draft environment, containing many cards that see play in many different formats, like Modern, Legacy, Vintage, Commander, and Pauper. Masters 25 is a toolset of cards that gives players the chance to draft memorable cards from the game’s history, have some fun Limited games, and then try them out in a lot of different formats. There are more than 20 different formats of play, and cards from this set complement nearly all of them in some way.”
WHITE | BLUE | BLACK | RED | GREEN
MULTICOLORED | ARTIFACT | LAND | ALL CARDS
Act of Heroism
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Darien, King of Kjeldor
Decree of Justice
Geist of the Moors
Knight of the Skyward Eye
Kongming, “Sleeping Dragon”
Ordeal of Heliod
Path of Peace
Promise of Bunrei
Rest in Peace
Swords to Plowshares
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Valor in Akros
Bident of Thassa
Blue Elemental Blast
Blue Sun’s Zenith
Borrowing 100,000 Arrows
Dragon’s Eye Savants
Freed from the Real
Genju of the Falls
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Jalira, Master Polymorphist
Murder of Crows
Mystic of the Hidden Way
Pact of Negation
Dirge of Dread
Dusk Legion Zealot
Horror of the Broken Lands
Act of Treason
Akroma, Angel of Fury
Eidolon of the Great Revel
Genju of the Spires
Goblin War Drums
Magus of the Wheel
Red Elemental Blast
Simian Spirit Guide
Zada, Hedron Grinder
Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Courser of Kruphix
Iwamori of the Open Fist
Master of the Wild Hunt
Presence of Gond
Tree of Redemption
Vessel of Nascency
Animar, Soul of Elements
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
Grenzo, Dungeon Warden
Hanna, Ship’s Navigator
Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
Pillory of the Sleepless
Prossh, Skyraider of Kher
Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
Chalice of the Void
Sai of the Shinobi
Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
WHITE | BLUE | BLACK | RED | GREEN
MULTICOLORED | ARTIFACT | LAND | ALL CARDS
With Masters 25, Magic's 25th Anniversary set finally spoiled, it is time to take a look at how the new reprints affect your cube. Whether you are going to crack some packs or sit back and watch single prices drop, the set should have something to offer your cube both in the department of new cards and when it comes to pimping it out with foils and new illustrations. Welcome to Cubes For Squares' A25 Top 10.
Emotions on the Internet have been running high since Wizards of the Coast released the full set list for the eagerly awaited Masters 25 (A25) a few days ago. While it is still a bit early to say what the legacy of the set will be, one thing A25 at the very least will be remembered for is the watermarks that decorate the textboxes on 248 out of the 249 cards (i.e. all of the set’s non-planeswalker cards).
Watermarks are nothing new but these ones with the set symbols look particularly great. If you're like me, some of the singles you will be picking up from Masters 25 will only differ from the cards they replace in your cube by having the watermark. Examples of this in my cube are Man-o-War, Pacifism and Dark Legion Zealot. The A25 Brainstorm I will get for the watermark as well as for the most awesome illustration for that card, which has finally made the leap into print from Magic Online.
Other cards just do not make the cut for me, when it comes to the purely visual side. Wizards has yet to print a version of Counterspell with an illustration to my liking, so I will stick with the Tempest version for now. And the set's version of Disenchant also cannot compete with the old Ice Age one I currently use. Finally, at the risk of offending the general opinion I still prefer the Ice Age Swords to Plowshares to Terese Nielsen's – beautiful as it may be.
Since this Top 10 already has its share of useful all-rounders, none of the cards mentioned above made it to the final ten. Of course, you should still have most of them in your cube, unless you have a good thematic reason to leave them out.
Now, let's look at the Top 10:
10) Grenzo, Dungeon Warden
This cheery guy was originally printed in Conspiracy. Grenzo, Dungeon Warden has power and toughness equal to his CMC when cast, which is generally a good thing in limited. Cast him for however much mana you have available at the time – and should your deck be packed with cheap Goblins you can cast him early on and use him later as a mana sink, digging out his fellow tribe members from your library and putting them into play.
Some evil refuses to stay dead, and with this card you can Unearth any evil you please from your graveyard. Well, at least as long as it's not too expensive. Unearth is no Reanimate but it does have cycling and a cool new illustration and flavor text. It also brings some nice low cost redundancy to your cube's reanimation archetype.
8) Eladamri's Call
While a lot of people had hoped for other tutors to be included in Masters 25 (not least the Demonic Tutor that gave the effect its name) a couple of tutors did make it into the set. Eladamri's Call tutors for a creature at instant speed. It may not have the lowest upfront mana cost for creature tutors in this set, on the other hand its competitor for this spot, Summoner's Pact, also comes at a steep price.
With Flash you can activate ETB (Enter the Battlefield) abilities for the price of two mana and the extra card. But this versatile instant (which, in A25, finally gets an illustration, that does not hurt the eye) is capable of much more mischievousness. You can put your big targets for reanimation in your graveyard early on, and it can even give you value when used for its intended purpose – to flash in a surprise blocker or to cast a creature at the end of your opponents turn and avoid sorcery speed removal.
6) Boros Charm
Even if Minotaurs can be bullies, they do have that certain Boros Charm, which, like other charms, is a modal spell giving you different effects to choose from when casting it. Choice is good and more so in a limited environment. On top of that, this one strengthens a color pair, which at times ends up as a wallflower during cube drafts despite its... charm.
Between them, white and black can already destroy any type of permanent. Vindicate takes the destructive capabilities of the two colors a step further and combines them into a single card. Of course, this is at sorcery speed, but Vindicate is truly a classic. It even gave name to the Vindicate Verdict – a test which determines how resilient a permanent is by asking whether it can be removed by Vindicate.
4) Vendilion Clique
The Vendilion Clique is part of the in-crowd. They get invited to all the parties, or at least to a lot of Masters sets – A25 is their third time around the block. And for a good reason. Not only can they flash onto the battlefield to snub at an attacker with their 3/1 flying body, they also have a nice ETB ability that you can target at your opponent or yourself. The Clique is an obvious pick for any self-respecting cube with a flicker/blink archetype.
Of only two cards on this list from Alpha (the first Magic set) a quarter of a century ago this one is may be the least famous. Yet Regrowth used to be considered quite a powerful card. It was banned in Legacy until 2004 and restricted in Vintage for nearly 20 years. Returning any card from your graveyard to your hand is not bad at all, and at just two mana it is definitely worth it. If you're not picky about having white borders in your cube, the Revised version can be purchased for only 10 cent. But since this newly sprouted version is still an uncommon, you will probably be able to find it for cheap – if you don't happen to open one yourself.
2) Jace, The Mind Sculptor
Jace. Jace. Jace. Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Loved by some, hated by others and respected by all as the most powerful planeswalker card ever. Banned in Modern since the format was first introduced and until ... well until the card was spoiled as the top chase mythic in Masters 25. Should you put Jace in your cube? If your cube has any way to produce blue mana, I would say yes. At least if you are willing to shell out for one or happen to crack a pack with a Jace without selling him right away to the highest bidder.
1) Lightning Bolt
What better way to celebrate 25 years of Magic than by doing 3 damage at instant speed for only one red mana? Not least if the damage ends up clearing Jace off the board. Lightning Bolt is probably already in your cube, since it is probably the most iconic Magic card ever printed. But, unless you own a classic black border Bolt with the old Christopher Rush illustration, or you are looking to part with € 100 - 200 (the price for an English Beta or Judge Promo version at Near Mint), the watermarked version of Masters 25 is an excellent choice for your cube. At the moment of writing, foiled versions are offered for presale at just under € 5.
That wraps it up the Cubes for Squares Top 10 cards from Masters 25. Feel free to leave a comment about which cards from the set you look forward to add to your cube, and which new illustrations will replace old ones to pimp up your own limited environment.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.
|Symbol description||25 superimposed on the planeswalker symbol|
|Design||Adam Prosak (lead)|
|Development|| Yoni Skolnik (lead)|
|Art direction||Mark Winters|
|Release date||March 16, 2018|
|Themes and mechanics||Enchantment creatures, Flickering, Tapping and Untapping|
|Keywords/ability words||Cycling and Landcycling, Morph and Megamorph|
|Set size|| 249 cards |
(101 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares)
|Physical Masters series|
|Magic: The GatheringChronology|
Masters 25 is a booster-based compilation set that was released on March 16, 2018. It is designed to be drafted and celebrates twenty-five years of Magic: The Gathering.
|“||25 Years in the Making!||”|
Masters 25 contains 249 cards (101 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares) and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. The product contains cards from across Magic 's entire history, a concept earlier seen in Eighth Edition. Cards from un-sets and the Reserved List are excluded. The expansion symbol for this set is the planeswalker symbol with a 25 in front of it, slightly different from the symbol used for the 25th anniversary. Nearly every card in Masters 25 features a watermark, representing its original expansion symbol. This treatment is even used for cards first printed in Limited Edition (Alpha), using a Magic M as the watermark. Un-watermarkable cards like planeswalkers are excluded from this treatment. The set features over 30 pieces of new Magic art and many pieces of new flavor text.
Like Iconic Masters, the release of this set forms part of the celebration of Magic's 25th anniversary. Like for earlier Masters series sets, the MSRP of one booster was set to $9.99. Unlike Modern Masters or Eternal Masters, this product is not geared to any specific format. Every booster box of Masters 25 contains 24 booster packs — each with fifteen randomly inserted game cards, including one premium card in every pack. The 16-card boosters (the sixteenth card is a marketing card) feature artwork from Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Azusa, Lost but Seeking and Sundering Titan.
Masters 25 will be available on Magic Online starting December 7 for $6.99 per pack. It will not be redeemable.
Themes and mechanics
Masters 25 covers all of Magic's 25 years, with at least one card from all black borderedreleases in those 25 years. Rather than focus on mechanics or archetypes as most Masters series products do, the set is focused on famous combos and iconic cards from the past to make the gameplay as high on nostalgia as possible.
The table below organizes every card from Masters 25 according to the black border set in which they were originally printed. While each set got at least one reprint, some sets (and blocks) were clearly prioritized over others in card selection due to a variety of factors (limited concerns, raising availability for non-rotating formats, overall financial value).
The most represented sets/block are Onslaught block (with 20 reprints), Time Spiral block (with 14 reprints), then Alpha (with 12 reprints). Check the "N° of cards" column for the full detail.
|Set||Watermark||N° of cards||Reprints|
|Alpha||12||Armageddon - Disenchant - Savannah Lions - Swords to Plowshares - Blue Elemental Blast - Counterspell - Dark Ritual - Will-o'-the-Wisp - Lightning Bolt - Red Elemental Blast - Giant Growth - Regrowth|
|Arabian Nights||1||Erg Raiders|
|Antiquities||2||Primal Clay - Mishra's Factory|
|Legends||5||Fallen Angel - Hell's Caretaker - Nicol Bolas - Stangg - Pendelhaven|
|The Dark||3||Ghost Ship - Ball Lightning - Blood Moon|
|Fallen Empires||1||Goblin War Drums|
|Ice Age||2||Brainstorm - Pyroclasm|
|Alliances||3||Arcane Denial - Balduvian Horde - Pillage|
|Mirage||2||Pacifism - Flash|
|Visions||2||Man-o'-War - Quicksand|
|Portal||1||Path of Peace|
|Tempest||4||Diabolic Edict - Living Death - Jackal Pup - Kindle|
|Stronghold||3||Sift - Mogg Flunkies - Ensnaring Bridge|
|Exodus||2||Curiosity - Merfolk Looter|
|Portal Second Age||1||Ancient Craving|
|Urza's Saga||5||Angelic Page - Congregate - Horseshoe Crab - Phyrexian Ghoul - Lull|
|Urza's Legacy||2||Unearth - Rancor|
|Urza's Destiny||2||Trumpet Blast - Elvish Piper|
|Portal Three Kingdoms||3||Kongming, "Sleeping Dragon" - Borrowing 100,000 Arrows - Imperial Recruiter|
|Starter 1999||2||Loyal Sentry - Cinder Storm|
|Mercadian Masques||2||Invigorate - Rishadan Port|
|Nemesis||2||Accumulated Knowledge - Stampede Driver|
|Invasion||4||Exclude - Kavu Climber - Hanna, Ship's Navigator|
|Apocalypse||4||Mystic Snake - Pernicious Deed - Quicksilver Dagger - Vindicate|
|Odyssey||4||Auramancer - Caustic Tar - Zombify - Shadowmage Infiltrator|
|Torment||2||Laquatus's Champion - Mesmeric Fiend|
|Judgment||2||Browbeat - Living Wish|
|Onslaught||9||Akroma's Vengeance - Renewed Faith - Choking Tethers - Dirge of Dread - Undead Gladiator - Skirk Commando - Broodhatch Nantuko - Krosan Colossus - Krosan Tusker|
|Legions||2||Akroma, Angel of Wrath - Willbender|
|Scourge||9||Decree of Justice - Karona's Zealot - Noble Templar - Shoreline Ranger - Death's-Head Buzzard - Twisted Abomination - Chartooth Cougar - Elvish Aberration - Fierce Empath|
|Mirrodin||2||Spikeshot Goblin - Chalice of the Void|
|Darksteel||2||Echoing Courage - Sundering Titan|
|Fifth Dawn||1||Relentless Rats|
|Champions of Kamigawa||2||Nezumi Cutthroat - Azusa, Lost but Seeking|
|Betrayers of Kamigawa||3||Genju of the Falls - Genju of the Spires - Iwamori of the Open Fist|
|Saviors of Kamigawa||3||Promise of Bunrei - Freed from the Real - Mikokoro, Center of the Sea|
|Ravnica: City of Guilds||2||Frenzied Goblin - Watchwolf|
|Guildpact||2||Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind - Pillory of the Sleepless|
|Dissension||4||Court Hussar - Ratcatcher - Protean Hulk - Utopia Sprawl|
|Coldsnap||1||Darien, King of Kjeldor|
|Time Spiral||5||Brine Elemental - Fathom Seer - Vesuvan Shapeshifter - Fortune Thief - Assembly-Worker|
|Planar Chaos||4||Whitemane Lion - Akroma, Angel of Fury - Simian Spirit Guide - Kavu Predator|
|Future Sight||5||Pact of Negation - Street Wraith - Summoner's Pact - Coalition Relic - Zoetic Cavern|
|Lorwyn||2||Soulbright Flamekin - Brion Stoutarm|
|Morningtide||2||Vendilion Clique - Ambassador Oak|
|Shadowmoor||2||Cursecatcher - Presence of Gond|
|Eventide||6||Nettle Sentinel - Cascade Bluffs - Fetid Heath - Flooded Grove - Rugged Prairie - Twilight Mire|
|Shards of Alara||3||Knight of the Skyward Eye - Skeletonize - Blightning|
|Conflux||2||Ember Weaver - Conflux|
|Alara Reborn||1||Lorescale Coatl|
|Magic 2010||2||Act of Treason - Master of the Wild Hunt|
|Zendikar||3||Luminarch Ascension - Disfigure - Vampire Lacerator|
|Worldwake||3||Kor Firewalker - Jace, the Mind Sculptor - Arbor Elf|
|Rise of the Eldrazi||3||Ancient Stirrings - Wildheart Invoker - Prophetic Prism|
|Magic 2011||4||Squadron Hawk - Chandra's Outrage - Cultivate - Plummet|
|Scars of Mirrodin||4||Twisted Image - Heavy Arbalest - Nihil Spellbomb - Perilous Myr|
|Mirrodin Besieged||1||Blue Sun's Zenith|
|New Phyrexia||1||Phyrexian Obliterator|
|Commander||1||Animar, Soul of Elements|
|Magic 2012||3||Phantasmal Bear - Crimson Mage - Swiftfoot Boots|
|Innistrad||3||Fiend Hunter - Murder of Crows - Tree of Redemption|
|Dark Ascension||2||Thalia, Guardian of Thraben - Haunted Fengraf|
|Avacyn Restored||2||Cloudshift - Gisela, Blade of Goldnight|
|Planechase 2012||1||Sai of the Shinobi|
|Magic 2013||4||Griffin Protector - Bloodhunter Bat - Murder - Timberpack Wolf|
|Return to Ravnica||2||Fencing Ace - Rest in Peace|
|Gatecrash||3||Urbis Protector - Totally Lost - Boros Charm|
|Dragon's Maze||2||Notion Thief - Ruric Thar, the Unbowed|
|Magic 2014||1||Strionic Resonator|
|Theros||4||Gods Willing - Ordeal of Heliod - Bident of Thassa - Returned Phalanx|
|Commander 2013||1||Prossh, Skyraider of Kher|
|Born of the Gods||2||Retraction Helix - Courser of Kruphix|
|Journey into Nyx||2||Nyx-Fleece Ram - Eidolon of the Great Revel|
|Conspiracy||1||Grenzo, Dungeon Warden|
|Magic 2015||2||Geist of the Moors - Jalira, Master Polymorphist|
|Khans of Tarkir||5||Dragon's Eye Savants - Mystic of the Hidden Way - Ruthless Ripper - Hordeling Outburst - Woolly Loxodon|
|Commander 2014||2||Reef Worm - Myriad Landscape|
|Fate Reforged||1||Humble Defector|
|Dragons of Tarkir||3||Ire Shaman - Ainok Survivalist - Epic Confrontation|
|Magic Origins||2||Valor in Akros - Enthralling Victor|
|Battle for Zendikar||3||Coralhelm Guide - Zulaport Cutthroat - Zada, Hedron Grinder|
|Commander 2015||1||Magus of the Wheel|
|Oath of the Gatewatch||1||Baloth Null|
|Shadows over Innistrad||5||Dauntless Cathar - Triskaidekaphobia - Pyre Hound - Uncaged Fury - Vessel of Nascency|
|Eldritch Moon||1||Lunarch Mantle|
|Conspiracy: Take the Crown||1||Deadly Designs|
|Kaladesh||2||Cloudblazer - Self-Assembler|
|Commander 2016||1||Ash Barrens|
|Aether Revolt||1||Treasure Keeper|
|Amonkhet||3||Horror of the Broken Lands - Supernatural Stamina - Thresher Lizard|
|Hour of Devastation||1||Act of Heroism|
|Commander 2017||1||Izzet Chemister|
|Rivals of Ixalan||2||Dusk Legion Zealot - Ravenous Chupacabra|
Changes in rarity
Common to Uncommon
Uncommon to Common
Uncommon to Rare
Uncommon to Mythic Rare
Rare to Common
Rare to Uncommon
Rare to Mythic Rare
Mythic Rare to Rare
Masters 25 has five horizontal cycles.
25 set masters
.Incredible Masters 25 Opening! - I STILL LOVE THIS SET!
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