Counterspell | Secret Lair
21, Jul, 23

MTG Players Suspect Wizards Is Reprinting Reserved List Cards!

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Are Wizards actually reprinting Reserved List cards as proxies again? Signs point to maybe...
Article at a Glance

Alongside being the oldest trading card game in the world, Magic: the Gathering has another, less appealing, claim to fame. Like it or not, MTG is widely known for being tremendously expensive. Regardless of whether you’re playing or collecting, MTG cards and decks can cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. As if that wasn’t bad there’s also the Reserved List to contend with in MTG.

Ever since being introduced in 1994, the Reserved List has been a deeply controversial component of MTG. For better or worse, the Reserved List ensures that some of the game’s oldest, most powerful, and now rarest cards ever get reprinted. Unfortunately for many players, this keeps prices incredibly high. A Black Lotus for instance, typically sells for around $12,000 according to TCGplayer. 

Unsurprisingly, due to these perilous prices, many MTG players want the Reserved List to be removed. Previously, this had seemed like an impossibility, as Wizards vowed it would never happen. Recently, however, 30th Anniversary Edition pushed the boundaries of what Wizards could get away with. Now, eight months later, Wizard might just be doing the same again. That’s right, there might be more Reserved List reprints on the way. 

A Truly Bizzare Announcement

Counterspell | Playtest Cards
Counterspell | Playtest Cards

Earlier this week, on Thursday, Wizards of the Coast made a rather unusual announcement. Made without any teasing or fanfare, Wizards simply released an article titled “A Tale of a Non-Tournament Legal Counterspell.” Throughout this short 180-word article, writer Blake Rasmussen revealed a brand new type of MTG card. 

As you can see above, and as Rasmussen explains, these new cards are vaguely similar to Playtest cards. Used predominantly by Wizards for playtesting, as you might expect, these cards typically aren’t released in masse to the public. The only times that they have been are during Gavin Verhey’s special Draft Events and Mystery Boosters. 

Due to these cards not really being available anywhere, upon reading this article, many MTG players were understandably rather perplexed. After all, what was the point of being shown this “something cool,” in an official announcement from Wizards? Just to tease us? Thankfully, Wizards of the Coast isn’t just showing off one of their Playtest cards.

Throughout the short article, alongside debuting a new Playtest card, Rasmussen also hinted at plans for the future. Stating the card above is “the first one of these things you might see in the wild that represents an actual, real, pre-existing card,” Rasmussen efficiently confirmed we’ll be seeing these cards soon. When? Sadly we don’t know for now as Rasmussen ended the article stating “That’s all. For now. Carry on.” 

While the future of these new Playtest cards is rather mysterious, Rasmussen did make one thing crystal clear. These Playtest cards are not tournament legal. They might look like actual cards, however, you can’t play them in tournaments, so don’t even try it. 

“Play it against your friends, keep it in a binder, or tape it to a mirror for your morning motivation. You do you. You just can’t do you with this card in tournaments.”

Blake Rasmussen

Reserved List Reprints Incoming?!?!

Black Lotus | 30th Anniversary Edition

After spending a short while being baffled by this announcement and simply asking “what,” many MTG players quickly started to theorize what this all might mean. The leading suggestion from most players on social media is that these cards are new, potentially occasional, Bonus Cards. This is thanks to the Secret Lair set symbol seen on the unique Counterspell

While this suggestion seems sensible, many MTG players suspect there’s much more to this story. Specifically, thanks to how much Rasmussen stressed these cards aren’t tournament-legal, Wizards may be printing more unplayable Reserved List cards. If this is true, these cards could be exceptionally valuable, as 30th Anniversary Edition has proved. 

“Calling it now. SL bonus cards in the style of 30A or these play test cards. A chance at power proxy without reprinting them. Turns all SL into value hunts.”


Currently, it’s important to note that this has not been confirmed by Wizards of the Coast. Instead, all we can do is sit tight and wait for more information. After all, it’s possible Wizards may just reprint old cards in this new playtest style that aren’t on the Reserved List. If this is true, it would make sense why Wizards is showing off this classic Counterspell artwork. 

Ultimately, despite this important caveat, MTG players have been going wild with the speculation about what might be to come. The question remains, however, why would Wizards do this? If the cards aren’t tournament playable, there’s no reason they should be desirable outside of being collectible, right? For better or worse, not really. 

As Rasmussen stressed in their article, MTG players are free to do with these cards as they wish outside of a tournament setting. This includes playing it against your friends in casual games. Thanks to Rule 0, this makes these Playtest cards useable in Commander. As a result of this, Wizards may be able to skirt around the Reserved List’s rules, providing official, and hopefully affordable, proxies to players.

“I think the strange tone is intentional, to make it clear that you’re supposed to read between the lines a little here. Obviously nobody actually thinks a proxy Counterspell is supercool, but it strongly implies that we’ll see more non-tournament-legal versions of cards that people DO care about in secret lairs very soon.”


That’s all. For now.

All That Glitters | Throne of Eldraine
All That Glitters | Throne of Eldraine

At the end of the day, we’re just going to have to wait and see to learn more about these Playtest cards. Yes, it looks like they’re Secret Lair bonus cards and yes it looks like we’re getting Reserved List reprints, but there’s no official confirmation thus far. Ultimately, we’re stuck waiting patiently until these cards actually arrive in players’ hands. Chances are this will happen once Summer Superdrop Secret Lairs ship, or potentially at MagicCon: Barcelona. 

Whatever happens, if Wizards is actually trying to skirt around the Reserved List, we can only hope they do it properly. Unlike 30th Anniversary Edition, these Playtest cards need to be printed in incredible volume to actually keep prices down. Should that not happen, Wizards will have just released another batch of ultra-rare nigh-unobtainable collectibles.

Read More: New Doctor Who MTG Cards Debut Insane Removal Spell!

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