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This is That: Battle for Zendikar


How many times have you seen a new Magic card and been reminded of another card just like it?

How many original Magic cards are actually created in a given set?

As the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun. Today, I have a brand new article entitled "This is That." We will look at the new set and evaluate how well Wizard's design team did at giving us a new take on this classic game. Based on feedback I may extend this to future sets.

Inside this article I look at every single one of the 249 cards in Battle for Zendikar and classify each according to how original it is. Rather than show you 500 card images of each card and its companion, you'll have several options to expand each group of cards.

Reprints

Mark Rosewater, head designer for Magic, stated in an article recently about the core sets going away:

For most of its life, the core set was all reprints...We talked about the impact of this change and we realized that if we want reprints in the game, we're going to have to be a little more liberal with using reprints in normal expansions...When the core sets were around, we repeated very few rares or mythic rares. Under the new system, we're being more conscious about bringing things back.

I'm not sure how I feel about this yet, but I'm more scared than excited. I'd rather have all original cards and no reprints than too many repeat cards taking up the Rare slot in a booster I open. Then again, reprints in moderation could be interesting. In this set we have 16 reprints, of which Dragonmaster Outcast is Mythic and Felidar Sovereign is a Mythic turned Rare. This feels about right, but if I start seeing many Rare slots (especially Mythic Rare slots) being eaten up by reprints, I may grow less enthusiastic of this new policy.

There are 16 reprints in the set:

Altar's Reap [CNS]Altar's Reap [BFZ]
Anticipate [DTK]Anticipate [BFZ]

 

Click to show 14 more reprints ...

Bone Splinters [MM2]Bone Splinters [BFZ]
Dispel [RTR]Dispel [BFZ]
Dragonmaster Outcast [WWK]Dragonmaster Outcast [BFZ]
Dutiful Return [KTK]Dutiful Return [BFZ]
Evolving Wilds [ORI]Evolving Wilds [BFZ]
Felidar Sovereign [ZEN]Felidar Sovereign [BFZ]
Giant Mantis [VMA]Giant Mantis [BFZ]
Goblin War Paint [MM2]Goblin War Paint [BFZ]
Inspired Charge [M15]Inspired Charge [BFZ]
Pilgrim's Eye [WWK]Pilgrim's Eye [BFZ]
Plummet [ORI]Plummet [BFZ]
Rolling Thunder [TPR]Rolling Thunder [BFZ]
Smite the Monstrous [KTK]Smite the Monstrous [BFZ]
Sylvan Scrying [MRD]Sylvan Scrying [BFZ]

We got some new artwork and flavor text, which is about the minimum we should expect when the only effort required was to choose to reprint these cards. Interestingly, the only two cards that kept their original art were the two reprinted Mythics. I'm not sure why this is the case, but I'd love to see another artist's interpretation of these cards, even with Raymond Swanland's Dragonmaster Outcast being as incredible as it is.

Functional Reprints and Subtype/Color Shifts

Sometimes there exist cards which are not reprints but might as well be. There are spells with exactly the same text, and creatures who change nothing but their creature subtypes or colors. These types of cards are about as close to reprints as you can come by without being the same card.

There are 7 subtype shifts, 2 color shifts, and 1 functional reprint in the set:

Order of the Sacred Bell [9ED]Nettle Swine [AVR]Golden Bear [PO2]Broodhunter Wurm [BFZ]
Talas Air Ship [PO2]Snapping Drake [M10]Moon Heron [ISD]Cloud Manta [BFZ]

Click to show 8 more functional reprints ...

Elite Vanguard [M12]Savannah Lions [9ED]Expedition Envoy [BFZ]
Kami of Ancient Law [CHK]Keening Apparition [RTR]Ronom Unicorn [CSP]Felidar Cub [BFZ]
Wall of Earth [LEG]Fortified Rampart [BFZ]
Angel of Light [S99]Ghostly Sentinel [BFZ]
Aven Skirmisher [FRF]Lantern Kami [CHK]Suntail Hawk [M14]Kitesail Scout [BFZ]
Creeping Mold [MRD]Reclaiming Vines [BFZ]
Unruly Mob [ISD]Rot Shambler [BFZ]
Wild Griffin [M11]Shadow Glider [BFZ]

Strictly Better

You'll note that although I use the word "strictly," I'm not overly strict with these classifications — I'm just using a popular Magic term. Bellows Lizard is better than Lavastep Raider when you only have two-mana available and need a two-power creature. Lavastep Raider has better starting stats and a better rate of return on power pump. For all intents Lavastep Raider is better. I'm also aware that Culling Drone dies to Doom Blade, while Mist Intruder can't be pitched to Force of Will.

There are 18 cards in the Strictly Better category:

Tukatongue Thallid [CON]Blisterpod [BFZ]
Vulshok Berserker [M11]Chasm Guide [BFZ]

 

Click to show 16 more strictly better cards ...

Walking Corpse [ISD]Culling Drone [BFZ]
Crash of Rhinos [MI]Eldrazi Devastator [BFZ]
Harmless Assault [ROE]Encircling Fissure [BFZ]
Ivy Elemental [OD]Shifting Wall [ST]Chimeric Mass [MM2]Endless One [BFZ]
Arrows of Justice [GTC]Gideon's Reproach [BFZ]
Heavy Infantry [ORI]Kor Entanglers [BFZ]
Bellows Lizard [ORI]Lavastep Raider [BFZ]
Searchlight Geist [AVR]Malakir Familiar [BFZ]
Storm Crow [9ED]Mist Intruder [BFZ]
Stonewood Invoker [LGN]Oran-Rief Invoker [BFZ]
Gaea's Skyfolk [AP]Skyrider Elf [BFZ]
Convolute [RAV]Spell Shrivel [BFZ]
Rise to the Challenge [BNG]Thunder Strike [M14]Slaughter Cry [ZEN]Sure Strike [BFZ]
Desperate Charge [ME3]Swarm Surge [BFZ]
Pin to the Earth [JOU]Tightening Coils [BFZ]
Cosi's Ravager [WWK]Tunneling Geopede [BFZ]

Strictly Worse

There are only two card pairs in this category this time around. As much as Wizards works to prevent power creep, they still prefer to not provide us with bad versions of already existing cards when possible.

There are 2 cards in the "Strictly" worse category:

Yamabushi's Flame [CHK]Touch of the Void [BFZ]
Flesh Carver [C14]Voracious Null [BFZ]

Strictly Bigger

Cards in this section cost more than their counterparts and grant a bigger effect (along the same axis) than the original card. Sometimes the added cost is not mana. For example, Ulamog's Reclaimer requires processing an opponent's exiled card compared to Mnemonic Wall. However, Ulamog’s Reclaimer gets an additional +2/+0 and loses defender as a payoff.

There are 20 cards in the Strictly Bigger category:

Frost Breath [M14]Adverse Conditions [BFZ]
Taunting Elf [ONS]Prized Unicorn [M11]Elvish Bard [9ED]Breaker of Armies [BFZ]

 

Click to show 18 more strictly bigger cards ...

Armada Wurm [RTR]Broodmate Dragon [ALA]Kalonian Twingrove [M15]Desolation Twin [BFZ]
Deadshot [TPR]Gruesome Slaughter [BFZ]
Eldrazi Skyspawner [BFZ]Incubator Drone [BFZ]
Palladium Myr [C14]Kozilek's Channeler [BFZ]
Talrand, Sky Summoner [M13]Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper [BFZ]
Plated Geopede [ZEN]Ondu Greathorn [BFZ]
Vinelasher Kudzu [RAV]Oran-Rief Hydra [BFZ]
Viridian Longbow [MRD]Pathway Arrows [BFZ]
Kodama of the North Tree [CHK]Plated Crusher [BFZ]
Infest [C13]Rising Miasma [BFZ]
Dreadbore [RTR]Ruinous Path [BFZ]
Frost Lynx [M15]Rush of Ice [BFZ]
Utter End [KTK]Scour from Existence [BFZ]
Cone of Flame [M15]Serpentine Spike [BFZ]
Mystic Snake [MM2]Ulamog's Nullifier [BFZ]
Mnemonic Wall [ROE]Ulamog's Reclaimer [BFZ]
Vinelasher Kudzu [RAV]Undergrowth Champion [BFZ]
Pit Fight [GTC]Unnatural Aggression [BFZ]

Strictly Smaller

Cards in this section cost less than their counterparts and grant a smaller effect (along the same axis) than the original card.

Wizards generally likes to do things big — not small — so there are a measly three cards in this category:

Massive Raid [GTC]Outnumber [BFZ]
Scout the Borders [KTK]Seek the Wilds [BFZ]
Vine Kami [CHK]Shatterskull Recruit [BFZ]

Barely Tweaked

The cards in this section are quite similar to one or more existing cards. Maybe it's two different creatures with the same rules text, such as Ajani's Pridemate and Bloodbond Vampire. Maybe it's two six-mana Time Warps with upside when you have infinite mana, such as Walk the Aeons and Part the Waterveil. Or maybe it's an instant speed version of an sorcery speed effect, as is the case with Journey to Nowhere and Stasis Snare.

There are a whopping 75 cards, almost a third of the set, in this category:

Goldnight Redeemer [AVR]Angel of Renewal [BFZ]
Kavu Mauler [AP]Angelic Captain [BFZ]

 

Click to show 73 more barely tweaked cards ...

Stratus Walk [ORI]Angelic Gift [BFZ]
Ulamog's Crusher [ROE]Bane of Bala Ged [BFZ]
Emrakul's Hatcher [ROE]Brood Monitor [BFZ]Blight Herder [BFZ]
Ajani's Pridemate [M15]Bloodbond Vampire [BFZ]
Barrage of Boulders [KTK]Scouring Sands [BNG]Boiling Earth [BFZ]
Careful Study [OD]Mystic Meditation [DTK]Careful Consideration [MMA]Brilliant Spectrum [BFZ]
Sosuke's Summons [BOK]Hive Stirrings [M14]Brood Birthing [ROE]Call the Scions [BFZ]
Sunblade Elf [M15]Gerrard's Battle Cry [TPR]Cliffside Lookout [BFZ]
Aethersnipe [MM2]Clutch of Currents [BFZ]
Mulldrifter [MM2]Coastal Discovery [BFZ]
Amphin Pathmage [M15]Coralhelm Guide [BFZ]
Kemba's Skyguard [SOM]Angel of Mercy [10E]Courier Griffin [BFZ]
Sowing Salt [BOK]Crumble to Dust [BFZ]
Cumber Stone [CON]Dampening Pulse [BFZ]
Sanguine Bond [M14]Defiant Bloodlord [BFZ]
Dismember [MM2]Pull Under [CHK]Demon's Grasp [BFZ]
Kingpin's Pet [GTC]Drana's Emissary [BFZ]
Ghirapur Gearcrafter [ORI]Eldrazi Skyspawner [BFZ]
Kozilek's Predator [ROE]Eyeless Watcher [BFZ]
Rage Weaver [10E]Forerunner of Slaughter [BFZ]
Awakening Zone [ROE]From Beyond [BFZ]
Territorial Baloth [BFZ]Grove Rumbler [BFZ]Valakut Predator [BFZ]Geyserfield Stalker [BFZ]
Restock [M15]Greenwarden of Murasa [BFZ]
Spiteful Blow [JOU]Grip of Desolation [BFZ]
Myrsmith [MM2]Grovetender Druids [BFZ]
Smokespew Invoker [LGN]Hagra Sharpshooter [BFZ]
Mind Stone [10E]Dreamstone Hedron [ROE]Hedron Archive [BFZ]
Bladed Bracers [AVR]Runed Stalactite [MMA]Hedron Blade [BFZ]
Goblin Electromancer [RTR]Etherium Sculptor [MMA]Herald of Kozilek [BFZ]
Lifegift [BOK]Jaddi Offshoot [BFZ]
Highland Berserker [ZEN]Kor Bladewhirl [BFZ]
Dromoka Warrior [DTK]Vindictive Mob [RAV]Kor Castigator [BFZ]
Alloy Myr [MM2]Utopia Tree [9ED]Lifespring Druid [BFZ]
Joraga Bard [ZEN]Makindi Patrol [BFZ]
Scythe Leopard [BFZ]Hedron Scrabbler [ZEN]Snapping Gnarlid [BFZ]Makindi Sliderunner [BFZ]
Mournwhelk [LRW]Mire's Malice [BFZ]
Pyroconvergence [RTR]Molten Nursery [BFZ]
Goblin Ringleader [VMA]Munda, Ambush Leader [BFZ]
Rampant Growth [MM2]Untamed Wilds [7E]Natural Connection [BFZ]
Cinder Pyromancer [EVE]Lobber Crew [RTR]Nettle Drone [BFZ]
Sign in Blood [MM2]Ancient Craving [DDK]Painful Truths [BFZ]
Walk the Aeons [TSP]Part the Waterveil [BFZ]
Magma Rift [ZEN]Acceptable Losses [OD]Processor Assault [BFZ]
Marauding Maulhorn [M14]Reckless Cohort [BFZ]
Aethersnipe [MM2]Vedalken Dismisser [MMA]Roil Spout [BFZ]
Hydrolash [ORI]Blinding Spray [KTK]Roilmage's Trick [BFZ]
Arrow Volley Trap [ZEN]Fire at Will [EVE]Roil's Retribution [BFZ]
Pelakka Wurm [ROE]Enatu Golem [ROE]Ruin Processor [BFZ]
Swift Reckoning [ORI]Vengeance [9ED]Sheer Drop [BFZ]
Eldrazi Temple [ROE]Temple of the False God [C14]Shrine of the Forsaken Gods [BFZ]
Villainous Ogre [CHK]Skitterskin [BFZ]
Journey to Nowhere [ZEN]Stasis Snare [BFZ]
Ground Assault [GTC]Stonefury [BFZ]
Suntouched Myr [5DN]Tajuru Stalwart [BFZ]
Appetite for Brains [AVR]Transgress the Mind [BFZ]
Act of Aggression [NPH]Turn Against [BFZ]
Foresee [M11]Interpret the Signs [JOU]Ugin's Insight [BFZ]
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre [ROE]Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger [BFZ]
Join the Ranks [WWK]Unified Front [BFZ]
Flamewave Invoker [10E]Valakut Invoker [BFZ]
Tangle Mantis [MBS]Vestige of Emrakul [BFZ]
Craterize [M13]Volcanic Upheaval [BFZ]
Silumgar Butcher [DTK]Skinrender [SOM]Wasteland Strangler [BFZ]
Windrider Eel [ZEN]Wave-Wing Elemental [BFZ]
Horizon Scholar [THS]Windrider Patrol [BFZ]
Lunar Avenger [5DN]Woodland Wanderer [BFZ]

Somewhat Changed

The cards in this section are just similar enough to an existing card to not make it into the "Original" section below. I'll openly admit the difference between "Barely Tweaked" and "Somewhat Changed" is somewhat subjective — they’re quite close.

There are 61 cards in this category. Not pictured, but included in the tally, are the Rare slowlands and their unfetchable cousins, the Innistrad checklands.

Flamewake Phoenix [FRF]Akoum Firebird [BFZ]
Sparkspitter [FUT]Akoum Stonewaker [BFZ]

 

Click to show 59 more somewhat changed cards ...

Haven of the Spirit Dragon [DTK]Sliver Hive [M15]Ally Encampment [BFZ]
Bosh, Iron Golem [MRD]Barrage Tyrant [BFZ]
War-Spike Changeling [MMA]Sabertooth Outrider [DTK]Belligerent Whiptail [BFZ]
Dimir Infiltrator [RAV]Benthic Infiltrator [BFZ]
Barbarian Ring [OD]Blighted Gorge [BFZ]
Cabal Patriarch [OD]Drooling Groodion [MM2]Brood Butcher [BFZ]
Pawn of Ulamog [ROE]Carrier Thrall [BFZ]
Reave Soul [ORI]Complete Disregard [BFZ]
Parasitic Strix [CON]Dominator Drone [BFZ]
Pitiless Horde [DTK]Sprinting Warbrute [DTK]Dust Stalker [BFZ]
Pyreheart Wolf [DKA]Firemantle Mage [BFZ]
Cremate [RTR]Grave Birthing [BFZ]
Icefall Regent [DTK]Guardian of Tazeem [BFZ]
Frontline Medic [GTC]Hero of Goma Fada [BFZ]
Remove Soul [10E]Thoughtbind [CHK]Dissipate [M15]Horribly Awry [BFZ]
Sunbringer's Touch [DTK]Infuse with the Elements [BFZ]
Hagra Diabolist [ZEN]Kalastria Healer [BFZ]
Shadowcloak Vampire [M15]Kalastria Nightwatch [BFZ]
Jace, Architect of Thought [RTR]Kiora, Master of the Depths [BFZ]
Talus Paladin [WWK]Lantern Scout [BFZ]
Enshrouding Mist [ORI]Lithomancer's Focus [BFZ]
Teetering Peaks [ZEN]Turntimber Grove [ZEN]Sandstone Bridge [BFZ]Looming Spires [BFZ]
Simic Keyrune [GTC]Raging Ravine [WWK]Lumbering Falls [BFZ]
Patriarch's Bidding [ONS]March from the Tomb [BFZ]
Cackling Fiend [UZ]Mind Raker [BFZ]
Volrath's Stronghold [ST]Mortuary Mire [BFZ]
Vinelasher Kudzu [RAV]Murasa Ranger [BFZ]
Lumengrid Drake [SOM]Murk Strider [BFZ]
Explosive Vegetation [DTK]Boundless Realms [M13]Nissa's Renewal [BFZ]
Liliana of the Veil [ISD]Ob Nixilis Reignited [BFZ]
Lord of the Void [GTC]Thought Dissector [DST]Oblivion Sower [BFZ]
Crowned Ceratok [GTC]Humbler of Mortals [JOU]Ondu Champion [BFZ]
Crux of Fate [FRF]Extinguish All Hope [JOU]Mass Calcify [M15]Planar Outburst [BFZ]
Highland Berserker [ZEN]Resolute Blademaster [BFZ]
Battleground Geist [ISD]Ruination Guide [BFZ]
Owl Familiar [VMA]Salvage Drone [BFZ]
Dissolve [THS]Dissipate [M15]Stoic Rebuttal [MM2]Scatter to the Winds [BFZ]
Cradle of Vitality [C13]Serene Steward [BFZ]
Orzhov Keyrune [GTC]Shambling Vent [BFZ]
Guiltfeeder [JUD]Silent Skimmer [BFZ]
Polluted Bonds [SHM]Sire of Stagnation [BFZ]
Avaricious Dragon [ORI]Vulturous Aven [DTK]Smothering Abomination [BFZ]
Foundry of the Consuls [ORI]Spawning Bed [BFZ]
Shu Farmer [PTK]Soulmender [M15]Stone Haven Medic [BFZ]
Mutagenic Growth [MM2]Atarka's Command [DTK]Swell of Growth [BFZ]
Akoum Battlesinger [WWK]Tajuru Beastmaster [BFZ]Tajuru Warcaller [BFZ]
Gallows Warden [ISD]Sprite Noble [TSP]Murmuring Phantasm [DGM]Tide Drifter [BFZ]
Induce Despair [ROE]Titan's Presence [BFZ]
Phyrexian Vault [10E]Vampiric Rites [BFZ]
Wayfaring Temple [RTR]Veteran Warleader [BFZ]
Kolaghan Forerunners [DTK]Vile Aggregate [BFZ]
Blood Artist [AVR]Zulaport Cutthroat [BFZ]

Original

The cards in this section are unique enough to be given the esteemed title of "Original." These cards provide a brand new effect for the game in one way or another. If you see a Battle for Zendikar card compared to another card in this section and think, "But those aren't similar at all!” then you're absolutely correct. You've identified why the card made it into the Original section.

There are 45 cards in this category:

Cosi's Ravager [WWK]Akoum Hellkite [BFZ]
Quarantine Field [BFZ]Aligned Hedron Network [BFZ]

 

Click to show 43 more original cards ...

Somberwald Sage [AVR]Beastcaller Savant [BFZ]
Divination [BNG]Blighted Cataract [BFZ]
Diabolic Edict [TPR]Blighted Fen [BFZ]
Peach Garden Oath [8ED]Blighted Steppe [BFZ]
Explosive Vegetation [DTK]Blighted Woodland [BFZ]
Wargate [ARB]Bring to Light [BFZ]
Magma Spray [JOU]Venser, Shaper Savant [FUT]Brutal Expulsion [BFZ]
Nest Invader [MM2]Reaper of the Wilds [THS]Catacomb Sifter [BFZ]
Fierce Empath [CMD]Conduit of Ruin [BFZ]
Cephalid Retainer [OD]Jolting Merfolk [NE]Cryptic Cruiser [BFZ]
Sun Titan [M12]Tymaret, the Murder King [THS]Deathless Behemoth [BFZ]
Mirri the Cursed [PLC]Borborygmos [GPT]Drana, Liberator of Malakir [BFZ]
Knight-Captain of Eos [ALA]Drowner of Hope [BFZ]
Dragonscale Boon [KTK]Armament Corps [KTK]Earthen Arms [BFZ]
Profound Journey [DTK]Emeria Shepherd [BFZ]
Domestication [ROE]Legacy's Allure [TPR]Exert Influence [BFZ]
Baleful Strix [VMA]Azure Mage [M12]Fathom Feeder [BFZ]
Ainok Guide [FRF]Scouting Trek [IN]Fertile Thicket [BFZ]
Sorin, Solemn Visitor [KTK]Gideon, Ally of Zendikar [BFZ]
Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury [FRF]Chorus of Woe [PO2]Desperate Charge [PTK]Guul Draz Overseer [BFZ]
Seascape Aerialist [ZEN]Halimar Tidecaller [BFZ]
Elusive Spellfist [DTK]Foundry Street Denizen [M15]Kozilek's Sentinel [BFZ]
Felhide Petrifier [JOU]Nirkana Assassin [BFZ]
Rampaging Baloths [ZEN]Omnath, Locus of Rage [BFZ]
Goldnight Redeemer [AVR]Ondu Rising [BFZ]
Sky-Eel School [SOM]Research Assistant [M15]Oracle of Dust [BFZ]
Crystal Ball [M11]Tumble Magnet [MM2]Prism Array [BFZ]
Pyroclasm [M11]Radiant Flames [BFZ]
Tideforce Elemental [WWK]Retreat to Coralhelm [BFZ]
Selesnya Guildmage [MM2]Retreat to Emeria [BFZ]
Lifegift [BOK]Retreat to Hagra [BFZ]
Vinelasher Kudzu [RAV]Grazing Gladehart [ZEN]Retreat to Kazandu [BFZ]
Retreat to Hagra [BFZ]Retreat to Valakut [BFZ]
Conduit of Ruin [BFZ]Sanctum of Ugin [BFZ]
Wall of Frost [M14]Kabira Crossroads [ZEN]Skyline Cascade [BFZ]
Vulshok Morningstar [DST]Living Tsunami [ZEN]Slab Hammer [BFZ]
Bellows Lizard [ORI]Ghostly Changeling [MM2]Sludge Crawler [BFZ]
Cutthroat Maneuver [THS]Moment of Heroism [ISD]Tandem Tactics [BFZ]
Gravetiller Wurm [DKA]Ulamog's Despoiler [BFZ]
Necrogenesis [MM2]Void Attendant [BFZ]
Ashling's Prerogative [LRW]Chaos Moon [ICE]Iona, Shield of Emeria [MM2]Void Winnower [BFZ]
Ink-Treader Nephilim [GPT]Precursor Golem [MM2]Zada, Hedron Grinder [BFZ]

Conclusion and Final Tally

Reprints 16
Functional Reprints and Shifts 10
Better 18
Worse 2
Bigger 20
Smaller 3
Barely Tweaked 74
Somewhat Changed 61
Original 45
Total 249

So what do these numbers mean for the set and Magic's future? What do they say about Magic's design team? While many times a card's Evil Twin will shock you with just how close in form or function it is, I believe it is a necessary part of Magic for the following reasons:

  1. There are a finite number of things a Magic card can do. Truly new territory is very rarely explored because design space is limited. If the Magic design team uses up all their new ideas in the next set, what's going to become of the set after that? Truly new design veins must be mined responsibly to keep Magic interesting every single set.
  2. Complexity is raised too high if you give players too many new things to think about at once. Time Spiral block was a huge offender of this complexity overload. Experienced players could keep up with all the different things happening in the block, but casual players struggled to make sense of the dozens of keywords and mechanics being thrown together in the same pot.
  3. A single card’s originality is not the only measure of a set's originality. Even if a set has a very large proportion of reprints, such as Modern Masters or Modern Masters 2, both entirely reprints, the specific card combinations can lead to new interactions that make sets enjoyable to play. What this article fails to take into account is how the cards all function together.

Writing this article and noting which recycled ideas pop up in new cards is interesting, but not a measure of strength of a design team. Magic designers must deliver fun sets with which to play Magic. They do have the creative license to reuse ideas that worked in the past, and they must also listen to feedback when deciding what failed and shouldn't be repeated. Magic designers also work on card flavor, art, naming, and a bunch of other things of which I'm probably not even aware.

I hope this article has given you an interesting glimpse into how designers utilize old cards as the blueprints for new ones or stumble upon old design space inadvertently.

If you have any comments or want to suggest a card comparison I missed, reach out to me in the comments below or on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG.


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