Magic: The Gathering - The Controversy Behind the Reserved List

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By Elazje Carillo | More Articles Managing Editor
December 12, 2020  01:11 PM


Magic: The Gathering continues its strong tenure since its inception in August 1993. The game has stabilized itself and become the framework of how most trading card games function in terms of collectible value, gameplay, artwork, pre-made decks, and so much more. One of the main uniqueness of the game is its widely known ‘Reserved List.’

On March 4, 1996, the first kind of the Reserved List was published. The Reserved List is an original and unique list of cards that have the unsaid forbidden rule of never being reprinted again in paper Magic. Some MTG players dislike their existence. 

Magic: The Gathering was not only a playable game but also a collector’s item. In 1996, Wizards released the Chronicles and 4th Edition sets which contained many cards. This was intended to make the game much accessible for players and make it a lower financial barrier of entry.

Wizards of the Coast made very crucial mistakes when the 4th Edition and Chronicles was released as they reprinted many rare valuable cards and printed so much in just a short amount of time. Passionate players became outraged over the prices of what they considered as their high-value cards. The uniqueness of the items is threatened by many reprints. They protested and Wizards heard their complaints. To avoid this from happening again, Wizards created the Reserved List which will no longer be reprinted. This move was made to make the collectors enjoy the rarity and stable value of their collections.

The Reserved List is mainly applicable to paper Magic cards. Compared to the digital versions, it has retained its value on gameplay rarity and utility. The Reserved List has affected Tournament cards which is why some players resent it.  Some of the other old cards are irrelevant to the current game now, but it still remains in demand for the Vintage and Legacy formats. However, due to the Reserved List, they cannot be reprinted on paper, keeping their prices extremely high. 

As an example, the Underground Sea can easily reach $300 for one copy. This creates a very high barrier for entry into Legacy and Vintage which is why players dislike the Reserved List. Wizards used a method to somehow quench this resentment. They cautiously reprinted some nerfed versions of the best cards which were included in the Reserved List.

Players continue to hope that Wizards will compromise on keeping the Reserved List but reprint fairer versions of the cards to allow everyone to experience a piece of the Magic: The Gathering history.

Also Read: Guardians of The Galaxy Become Magic: The Gathering Legendary Creatures in New Alters
Author Name
Elazje Carillo Elazje spent her childhood with DC cartoons and her teenage years with Marvel movies. She has loved the fantasy and sci-fi genres ever since she started reading books. Her love for reading and fiction has led her to take on Literature as a college degree. She pursued a career doing what she loves since she was a child. By the way, her love for movies makes her aspire to become a filmmaker.
@Elazje Carillo | [email protected]