Magic: The Gathering’s upcoming Unfinity expansion will be the trading card game’s first un-set to feature black-bordered cards, making them legal to play in ‘eternal’ MTG formats, including Commander, Legacy, and Pauper. Not every card in the set will be tournament legal, however, with the legaliy of some marked by a new ‘acorn stamp’ in place of a silver border.
While this means every Unfinity card will feature a black border, they will not all be usable in competitive formats. Writing in a MTG blog post yesterday, head designer Mark Rosewater said a new holographic security stamp will be introduced to designate which cards should only be used in casual play. The new stamp is shaped like an acorn, and will be printed at the very bottom of the card.
These ‘acorn cards’ function exactly like silver-bordered cards from previous un-sets. They cannot be legally used in any MTG format because they will imbalance the game, but can be used in casual play. In comparison, those Unfinity cards that don’t feature the new stamp are called ‘eternal cards’, and can be used in any format. The distinction allows Wizards of the Coast to release a fully black-bordered un-set that includes cards usable in Commander, while limiting what cards are added to competitive formats.
Rosewater said silver borders weren’t appropriate for Unfinity’s cards because, unlike previous un-sets, many of them complimented existing cards, rather than upsetting the game’s balance, leading the team to develop the acorn security stamp designation.
“It seemed odd to print a set where half the cards would be perfectly fine to play in casual formats (in other words, ones that didn’t allow silver-border cards) but make it so they couldn’t,” Rosewater wrote on the blog. “That then led us to our big idea: what if there was a way to express ‘silver border-ness’ that didn’t require a silver border?”
Elsewhere in the blog post, a handful of Unfinity spoilers were revealed. Assembled Ensemble and Killer Cosplay are two of the upcoming ‘acorn cards’, so will feature the new security stamp but will be illegal in all non-casual formats. Rosewater said Assembled Ensemble has been designated so because it mechanically references the artworks of other cards, while Killer Cosplay has been made illegal because its ability was too difficult to balance for competitive play.
On the ‘eternal cards’ side, Saw in Half and legendary creature The Space Family Golinson were previewed. Rosewater said these cards weren’t given the acorn stamp because they do nothing that can’t be done in a black border.