A complete guide to the MTG Reserved List

The MTG Reserved List makes it hard to obtain powerful Magic cards like Black Lotus and Timetwister. Here’s what the Reserved List is and why it exists.

Magic: The Gathering Reserved List - a group of humans and humanoid animals perched smugly around a desk with a piece of paper on it.

If you hang around in any Magic: The Gathering community for long enough, you’ll probably catch talk about the MTG Reserved List, either grumblings of discontent about how it’s ruining the game, or a stalwart defence explaining how vital it is. You might hear the names ‘Black Lotus’ or ‘Dual Lands’ popping up.

Ever since the MTG Reserved List was created in 1996, it’s been a constant talking point among Magic fans, and one that gets a lot of people hot under the collar. Despite this, the Reserved List has absolutely zero impact on the vast majority of MTG players. So what exactly is it? Why does it exist? And how has it caused so much friction? Most pressing of all, is the MTG Reserved List doomed?

The MTG Reserved List is the name given to a group of 572 of the oldest cards in Magic, which Wizards of the Coast has promised it will never, ever reprint. This has naturally made those cards extremely hard to get hold of, and now these are among the rarest and most expensive MTG cards in existence. And that’s intended.

To put it simply, the MTG Reserved List exists for the benefit of those dabbling in Magic: The Gathering’s secondary market, buying and selling cards to turn a profit, and holding onto certain products in the hope they’ll accumulate value.

The Reserved List makes sure this will happen. Since Wizards assures that Reserved List MTG cards will never be reprinted, these cards will always be rare and will always be super pricey. So the MTG Reserved List was created for this reason: to protect collectors’ investment in the game.

Magic the Gathering Reserved List: An elf playing a guitar to animals

WHY DOES THE MTG RESERVED LIST EXIST?

Now, it might seem strange to invest in a square of fragile cardboard, or at least it may have done in the good old days before NFTs reared their horrible heads. And it might seem doubly strange that Wizards caters to these investors, deliberately creating scarcity and driving up prices in the secondary market, which the company itself cannot benefit from. It’s certainly not Wizards’ usual modus operandi.

To really have a hope of understanding why the Reserved List exists, it’s necessary to take a stroll down memory lane. See, the Reserved List has been around for most of Magic: The Gathering history. It was created in 1996, just three short years after the game was launched, and way before it became the juggernaut it is today.

Timelines: All of the MTG sets in order

Essentially, back when Magic: The Gathering was still small fry, reprints were not the everyday occurrence they are now. So when Wizards of the Coast released Chronicles in 1995, with 116 cards that were all reprints, there was furore among collectors and many players, who suddenly saw their hard-earned, expensive cards become cheap as chips.

There was such outrage that Wizards felt it had to respond and promise fewer reprints to stop fans jumping ship, and thus the MTG Reserved List was born.

Magic the Gathering Reserved List: Artwork of a topless man reclining in shade.

WHAT CARDS ARE ON THE MTG RESERVED LIST?

The Magic: The Gathering Reserved List contains 572 cards from the earliest sets in the game. It includes all cards from Alpha and Beta, all rares and uncommons from Arabian Nights and Antiquities, and all rares from Legends and The Dark that hadn’t already seen reprints by 1996.

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Most of the cards on the MTG Reserved List are pretty useless – no one will be crying over the loss of Pixie Queen, for instance. Power creep means most creatures from back in the day can’t stand up to modern cards…

However, there are a few of the most powerful MTG cards of all time on the Reserved List including Black Lotus, Gaea’s Cradle, and a bunch of Mox – all the cards in the infamous ‘Power Nine’, and unsurprisingly, all the cards you’ll find in our most expensive Magic cards guide. Skip ahead if you’re really keen to see every card on the MTG Reserved List.

Magic the Gathering Reserved List: Wizards performing colourful red and blue spells.

WHY IS THE MTG RESERVED LIST CONTROVERSIAL?

It’s pretty easy to understand why some people, namely MTG collectors, want the Reserved List to stick around. If you’ve spent thousands of dollars on a trading card, safe in the knowledge that it’ll always cost at least as much as you spent on it, it’s going to really hurt if, overnight, a reprint sends your card value plummeting.

But it’s equally understandable why many want to be rid of it, because the Magic: The Gathering Reserved List has a wholly negative effect on the small group of players that want to actually use the cards that are on it in their games.

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Formats that make use of Reserved List MTG cards, which fortunately only includes Legacy and Vintage (and Commander, but to a far lesser degree) are already prohibitively expensive. A Legacy deck will set you back thousands of dollars, and you could buy a pretty great used car instead of a Vintage deck.

Thanks to the MTG Reserved List, there just aren’t enough of these cards to go around, and the number only dwindles as more cards get lost or damaged.

Magic the Gathering Reserved List: A robed woman reaching for a star.

WILL THE MTG RESERVED LIST DIE OUT?

Some believe the MTG Reserved List is on the way out. It’s clear that eventually things will come to a head and either The Reserved List or the Legacy and Vintage formats will give up the ghost. And the Reserved List is kind of a handshake deal. There’s no formal contract upholding it, so it’s not clear that the promise Wizards made to fans in the 90s could ever be a legally binding one. It probably could be scrapped, and today, the proportion of the player base who would be upset by the move is far smaller than it would’ve been in the 90s.

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Wizards has experimented to try and find a solution to the problem posed by the Reserved List in the past. It’s tried out loopholes such as printing foil variants of Reserved List cards or creating very similar cards that fill the same functional role as those on the list. Once, it even removed a handful of cards from the Reserved List when it was certain there was strong backing from fans to do so.

Therefore it seems likely that, before killing the Reserved List off outright, Wizards will look for another new compromise.

 

Magic the Gathering MTG Reserved list: Artwork for the mtg card altar of the lost

The Full MTG Reserved List

Okay, you asked for it. Here’s every single card that’s on the MTG Reserved List. Happy scrolling!

Limited Edition

  • Limited Edition
  • Ancestral Recall
  • Badlands
  • Bayou
  • Black Lotus
  • Blaze of Glory
  • Braingeyser
  • Chaos Orb
  • Contract from Below
  • Copy Artifact
  • Cyclopean Tomb
  • Darkpact
  • Demonic Attorney
  • Demonic Hordes
  • Farmstead
  • Fastbond
  • Forcefield
  • Fork
  • Gauntlet of Might
  • Granite Gargoyle
  • Illusionary Mask
  • Kudzu
  • Lich
  • Mox Emerald
  • Mox Jet
  • Mox Pearl
  • Mox Ruby
  • Mox Sapphire
  • Natural Selection
  • Plateau
  • Raging River
  • Roc of Kher Ridges
  • Rock Hydra
  • Savannah
  • Scrubland
  • Sedge Troll
  • Taiga
  • Time Vault
  • Time Walk
  • Timetwister
  • Tropical Island
  • Tundra
  • Two-Headed Giant of Foriys
  • Underground Sea
  • Vesuvan Doppelganger
  • Veteran Bodyguard
  • Volcanic Island
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • Word of Command

Arabian Nights

  • Ali from Cairo
  • Bazaar of Baghdad
  • City in a Bottle
  • Diamond Valley
  • Drop of Honey
  • Elephant Graveyard
  • Guardian Beast
  • Ifh-Bíff Efreet
  • Island of Wak-Wak
  • Jihad
  • Juzám Djinn
  • Khabál Ghoul
  • King Suleiman
  • Library of Alexandria
  • Merchant Ship
  • Old Man of the Sea
  • Pyramids
  • Ring of Ma’rûf
  • Sandals of Abdallah
  • Serendib Djinn
  • Shahrazad
  • Singing Tree

Antiquities

  • Argivian Archaeologist
  • Candelabra of Tawnos
  • Citanul Druid
  • Damping Field
  • Gaea’s Avenger
  • Gate to Phyrexia
  • Golgothian Sylex
  • Haunting Wind
  • Martyrs of Korlis
  • Mightstone
  • Mishra’s Workshop
  • Power Artifact
  • Powerleech
  • Su-Chi
  • Tawnos’s Coffin
  • Transmute Artifact
  • Urza’s Miter
  • Weakstone

LEGENDS

  • Acid Rain
  • Adun Oakenshield
  • Al-abara’s Carpet
  • Alchor’s Tomb
  • All Hallow’s Eve
  • Angus Mackenzie
  • Bartel Runeaxe
  • Boris Devilboon
  • Caverns of Despair
  • Chains of Mephistopheles
  • Cleanse
  • Disharmony
  • Divine Intervention
  • Elder Spawn
  • Eureka
  • Falling Star
  • Field of Dreams
  • Firestorm Phoenix
  • Forethought Amulet
  • Gosta Dirk
  • Gravity Sphere
  • Gwendlyn Di Corci
  • Halfdane
  • Hazezon Tamar
  • Hellfire
  • Imprison
  • In the Eye of Chaos
  • Infinite Authority
  • Invoke Prejudice
  • Jacques le Vert
  • Jovial Evil
  • Knowledge Vault
  • Kobold Overlord
  • Lady Caleria
  • Lady Evangela
  • Land Equilibrium
  • Life Matrix
  • Lifeblood
  • Living Plane
  • Livonya Silone
  • Mana Matrix
  • Master of the Hunt
  • Mirror Universe
  • Moat
  • Mold Demon
  • Nether Void
  • North Star
  • Nova Pentacle
  • Pixie Queen
  • Planar Gate
  • Quarum Trench Gnomes
  • Ragnar
  • Ramses Overdark
  • Rapid Fire
  • Rasputin Dreamweaver
  • Reverberation
  • Ring of Immortals
  • Rohgahh of Kher Keep
  • Spinal Villain
  • Spiritual Sanctuary
  • Storm World
  • Sword of the Ages
  • Telekinesis
  • Tetsuo Umezawa
  • The Abyss
  • The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
  • Thunder Spirit
  • Tuknir Deathlock
  • Typhoon
  • Ur-Drago
  • Willow Satyr
  • Wood Elemental

The Dark

  • City of Shadows
  • Cleansing
  • Eternal Flame
  • Exorcist
  • Frankenstein’s Monster
  • Goblin Wizard
  • Grave Robbers
  • Hidden Path
  • Knights of Thorn
  • Lurker
  • Mana Vortex
  • Martyr’s Cry
  • Nameless Race
  • Niall Silvain
  • Preacher
  • Psychic Allergy
  • Scarwood Bandits
  • Season of the Witch
  • Sorrow’s Path
  • Stone Calendar
  • Tracker
  • Worms of the Earth
  • Wormwood Treefolk

Fallen Empires

  • Aeolipile
  • Balm of Restoration
  • Conch Horn
  • Delif’s Cube
  • Draconian Cylix
  • Dwarven Armorer
  • Ebon Praetor
  • Elven Lyre
  • Elvish Farmer
  • Fungal Bloom
  • Goblin Flotilla
  • Hand of Justice
  • Homarid Shaman
  • Icatian Lieutenant
  • Icatian Skirmishers
  • Implements of Sacrifice
  • Rainbow Vale
  • Ring of Renewal
  • River Merfolk
  • Spirit Shield
  • Thelon’s Curse
  • Thelonite Monk
  • Thrull Champion
  • Tourach’s Gate
  • Vodalian Knights
  • Vodalian War Machine
  • Zelyon Sword

Ice Age

  • Aegis of the Meek
  • Altar of Bone
  • Amulet of Quoz
  • Balduvian Hydra
  • Blizzard
  • Brand of Ill Omen
  • Call to Arms
  • Chromatic Armor
  • Earthlink
  • Energy Storm
  • Flow of Maggots
  • Formation
  • Fyndhorn Pollen
  • General Jarkeld
  • Glacial Crevasses
  • Gravebind
  • Halls of Mist
  • Hot Springs
  • Ice Cauldron
  • Illusionary Presence
  • Illusions of Grandeur
  • Infernal Denizen
  • Jester’s Mask
  • Kjeldoran Knight
  • Kjeldoran Phalanx
  • Land Cap
  • Lava Tubes
  • Lightning Blow
  • Márton Stromgald
  • Mercenaries
  • Mesmeric Trance
  • Minion of Tevesh Szat
  • Mountain Titan
  • Mudslide
  • Musician
  • Mystic Might
  • Polar Kraken
  • Reality Twist
  • River Delta
  • Ritual of Subdual
  • Skeleton Ship
  • Snowblind
  • Soldevi Golem
  • Spoils of Evil
  • Spoils of War
  • Storm Spirit
  • Timberline Ridge
  • Trailblazer
  • Veldt
  • Winter’s Chill

Homelands

  • An-Zerrin Ruins
  • Anaba Ancestor
  • Anaba Spirit Crafter
  • Apocalypse Chime
  • Autumn Willow
  • Aysen Crusader
  • Aysen Highway
  • Baki’s Curse
  • Baron Sengir
  • Beast Walkers
  • Black Carriage
  • Chain Stasis
  • Daughter of Autumn
  • Didgeridoo
  • Dwarven Pony
  • Dwarven Sea Clan
  • Faerie Noble
  • Grandmother Sengir
  • Hazduhr the Abbot
  • Heart Wolf
  • Koskun Falls
  • Leeches
  • Mammoth Harness
  • Marjhan
  • Mystic Decree
  • Narwhal
  • Reveka, Wizard Savant
  • Rysorian Badger
  • Serra Aviary
  • Soraya the Falconer
  • Timmerian Fiends
  • Veldrane of Sengir
  • Wall of Kelp
  • Willow Priestess
  • Winter Sky

Alliances

  • Ashnod’s Cylix
  • Balduvian Trading Post
  • Chaos Harlequin
  • Dystopia
  • Fatal Lore
  • Floodwater Dam
  • Gargantuan Gorilla
  • Gustha’s Scepter
  • Heart of Yavimaya
  • Helm of Obedience
  • Ivory Gargoyle
  • Kaysa
  • Keeper of Tresserhorn
  • Kjeldoran Outpost
  • Krovikan Horror
  • Lake of the Dead
  • Lodestone Bauble
  • Lord of Tresserhorn
  • Misfortune
  • Nature’s Wrath
  • Omen of Fire
  • Phantasmal Sphere
  • Phelddagrif
  • Phyrexian Devourer
  • Phyrexian Portal
  • Ritual of the Machine
  • Rogue Skycaptain
  • Royal Decree
  • Sheltered Valley
  • Soldevi Digger
  • Soldevi Excavations
  • Splintering Wind
  • Sustaining Spirit
  • Sworn Defender
  • Thawing Glaciers
  • Thought Lash
  • Tidal Control
  • Tornado
  • Varchild’s War-Riders
  • Wandering Mage
  • Winter’s Night

Mirage

  • Acidic Dagger
  • Afiya Grove
  • Amulet of Unmaking
  • Asmira, Holy Avenger
  • Auspicious Ancestor
  • Barreling Attack
  • Bazaar of Wonders
  • Benthic Djinn
  • Bone Mask
  • Brushwagg
  • Cadaverous Bloom
  • Canopy Dragon
  • Carrion
  • Catacomb Dragon
  • Chaosphere
  • Circle of Despair
  • Cycle of Life
  • Discordant Spirit
  • Divine Retribution
  • Emberwilde Caliph
  • Emberwilde Djinn
  • Energy Bolt
  • Energy Vortex
  • Forsaken Wastes
  • Frenetic Efreet
  • Grim Feast
  • Hakim, Loreweaver
  • Hall of Gemstone
  • Harbinger of Night
  • Hivis of the Scale
  • Jabari’s Influence
  • Jungle Patrol
  • Kukemssa Pirates
  • Leering Gargoyle
  • Lion’s Eye Diamond
  • Lure of Prey
  • Malignant Growth
  • Mangara’s Tome
  • Mindbender Spores
  • Misers’ Cage
  • Mist Dragon
  • Natural Balance
  • Null Chamber
  • Paupers’ Cage
  • Phyrexian Dreadnought
  • Phyrexian Purge
  • Phyrexian Tribute
  • Political Trickery
  • Preferred Selection
  • Prismatic Lace
  • Purgatory
  • Purraj of Urborg
  • Rashida Scalebane
  • Razor Pendulum
  • Reflect Damage
  • Reparations
  • Rock Basilisk
  • Sawback Manticore
  • Seeds of Innocence
  • Shallow Grave
  • Shauku, Endbringer
  • Shimmer
  • Sidar Jabari
  • Soul Echo
  • Spectral Guardian
  • Spirit of the Night
  • Subterranean Spirit
  • Tainted Specter
  • Taniwha
  • Teeka’s Dragon
  • Teferi’s Imp
  • Teferi’s Isle
  • Telim’Tor
  • Telim’Tor’s Edict
  • Tombstone Stairwell
  • Torrent of Lava
  • Unfulfilled Desires
  • Ventifact Bottle
  • Warping Wurm
  • Wellspring
  • Yare
  • Zirilan of the Claw
  • Zuberi, Golden Feather

Visions

  • Aku Djinn
  • Anvil of Bogardan
  • Bogardan Phoenix
  • Breathstealer’s Crypt
  • Chronatog
  • City of Solitude
  • Corrosion
  • Diamond Kaleidoscope
  • Elkin Lair
  • Equipoise
  • Eye of Singularity
  • Femeref Enchantress
  • Firestorm Hellkite
  • Flooded Shoreline
  • Forbidden Ritual
  • Griffin Canyon
  • Guiding Spirit
  • Kaervek’s Spite
  • Katabatic Winds
  • Kookus
  • Lichenthrope
  • Lightning Cloud
  • Ogre Enforcer
  • Phyrexian Marauder
  • Pillar Tombs of Aku
  • Pygmy Hippo
  • Quirion Druid
  • Rainbow Efreet
  • Retribution of the Meek
  • Righteous War
  • Sands of Time
  • Squandered Resources
  • Suleiman’s Legacy
  • Teferi’s Realm
  • Three Wishes
  • Tithe
  • Triangle of War
  • Undiscovered Paradise
  • Viashivan Dragon
  • Zhalfirin Crusader

Weatherlight

  • Abeyance
  • Aboroth
  • Ancestral Knowledge
  • Avizoa
  • Bone Dancer
  • Bösium Strip
  • Bubble Matrix
  • Debt of Loyalty
  • Dwarven Thaumaturgist
  • Ertai’s Familiar
  • Firestorm
  • Fungus Elemental
  • Gallowbraid
  • Goblin Bomb
  • Heart of Bogardan
  • Heat Stroke
  • Infernal Tribute
  • Inner Sanctum
  • Liege of the Hollows
  • Lotus Vale
  • Mana Web
  • Maraxus of Keld
  • Morinfen
  • Mwonvuli Ooze
  • Null Rod
  • Paradigm Shift
  • Peacekeeper
  • Pendrell Mists
  • Psychic Vortex
  • Scorched Ruins
  • Thran Tome
  • Tolarian Entrancer
  • Tolarian Serpent
  • Urborg Justice
  • Urborg Stalker
  • Wave of Terror
  • Well of Knowledge
  • Winding Canyons
  • Xanthic Statue

Tempest

  • Aluren
  • Apocalypse
  • Avenging Angel
  • Commander Greven il-Vec
  • Corpse Dance
  • Cursed Scroll
  • Earthcraft
  • Eladamri, Lord of Leaves
  • Escaped Shapeshifter
  • Humility
  • Intuition
  • Meditate
  • Orim, Samite Healer
  • Recycle
  • Sarcomancy
  • Selenia, Dark Angel

Stronghold

  • Crovax the Cursed
  • Dream Halls
  • Mox Diamond
  • Silver Wyvern
  • Sliver Queen
  • Volrath’s Shapeshifter
  • Volrath’s Stronghold

Exodus

  • City of Traitors
  • Dominating Licid
  • Ertai, Wizard Adept
  • Exalted Dragon
  • Hatred
  • Mind Over Matter
  • Oath of Ghouls
  • Recurring Nightmare
  • Survival of the Fittest

Urza’s Saga

  • Argothian Wurm
  • Barrin, Master Wizard
  • Citanul Centaurs
  • Gaea’s Cradle
  • Gilded Drake
  • Great Whale
  • Herald of Serra
  • Karn, Silver Golem
  • Lifeline
  • Lightning Dragon
  • Morphling
  • Opal Archangel
  • Serra’s Sanctum
  • Temporal Aperture
  • Time Spiral
  • Tolarian Academy
  • Yawgmoth’s Will
  • Zephid

Urza’s Legacy

  • Deranged Hermit
  • Grim Monolith
  • Memory Jar
  • Multani, Maro-Sorcerer
  • Palinchron
  • Radiant, Archangel
  • Ring of Gix
  • Second Chance
  • Weatherseed Treefolk

Urza’s Destiny

  • Academy Rector
  • Carnival of Souls
  • Covetous Dragon
  • Donate
  • Masticore
  • Metalworker
  • Opalescence
  • Phyrexian Negator
  • Powder Keg
  • Replenish
  • Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
  • Treachery
  • Yavimaya Hollow
  • Yawgmoth’s Bargain