Last updated on April 1, 2024

Clue token (30th Anniversary Edition) - Illustration by Mark Tedin.jpg

Clue token (30th Anniversary Edition) | Illustration by Mark Tedin.jpg

Greetings planeswalkers! Are you excited for Magic’s 30th Anniversary Edition? More interesting than the product itself has been that the reaction to it on social media. It's been the single most negative reaction I’ve seen in my decade of playing Magic.

But is 30th Anniversary Edition really that bad? Let’s investigate!

30th Anniversary Edition Basic Information

Sunglasses of Urza (Limited (Alpha)) - Illustration by Dan Frazier

Sunglasses of Urza (Beta) | Illustration by Dan Frazier

Set Details

Set Symbol30th Anniversary Edition set symbol
Set Code30A
Number of Cards594
Cards per Pack15 cards: 13 modern frame (1 rare, 3 uncommons, 7 commons, 2 basic lands), 1 basic land in retro frame, 1 retro frame card, 1 token

Important Dates

Available on Draftsim's draft simulatorOctober 31, 2022
Release dateNovember 28, 2022

What Is 30th Anniversary Edition?

30th Anniversary Edition is inspired by Limited Edition Beta and is more or less a modern reprinting of that set, albeit with a small handful of missing cards.

As far as WotC's marketing spiel goes, though, it's a “commemorative, collectible, non-tournament legal” product that was intended to be “jaw-dropping” and “mind-blowing.” A product that would “cement itself into our collective memories.”

What’s Inside a Booster?

30th Anniversary Edition Pack

30th Anniversary Edition boosters contain:

  • 1 rare
  • 3 uncommons
  • 7 commons
  • 2 basic lands
  • 1 basic land with a retro frame
  • 1 additional retro frame card (of any rarity)
  • 1 token

How Many Boosters Are Inside a Display/Box?

30th Anniversary Edition Display

Each box of 30th Anniversary Edition comes with four 15-card boosters.

What’s the Price of 30th Anniversary Edition?

Four packs of 30th Anniversary Edition cost $999. Yes, you read that right: $999. And you can’t even play these cards in any sanctioned format!

“Jaw-dropping,” they said. “Mind-blowing,” they teased. This product would “cement itself into our collective memories” as we “look toward the next 30 years of Magic.” Well, I think they certainly reached that goal.

Why Is This Set Controversial?

I’m sure you’ll have no problem guessing the first reason that 30th Anniversary Edition is controversial, but there are three main reasons why players have reacted angrily.

The Price

$999 isn’t a small amount of money for a Magic player. $999 buys a tier 1 Modern deck. It could almost buy two tier 1 Pioneer or Standard decks. It could get you most of the way towards Death & Taxes in Legacy.

WotC expects you, the consummate consumer, to spend $999 on glorified proxies. Yeah, sure.


While it may be necessary for these cards to be illegal, the news didn’t go down smoothly for Twitter. There were all sorts of angry condemnations, stale tirades against capitalism, and heartfelt promises to quit Magic (only to stream a Commander pod the next day).

Some players were so beside themselves with rage that they couldn’t even form sentences, just tweeting images of printers over and over. The printer pics were a symbol of resistance against an evil Greedy corporation that was depriving the people of their right to cheap and affordable proxies.


If you were watching the 30th Anniversary stream where this set was revealed, you may have felt whiplash starting at 54:19. The WotC employees present were trying to distinguish what they were doing from “most announcements.”

Indeed they did, by announcing this $999 proxy collection. Plenty of Twitter users howled in anguish as though they were watching their childhood get hit with Defenestrate.

Is 30th Anniversary Edition Tournament Legal?

Nope, you can’t play the 30th Anniversary Edition cards in any sanctioned format.

What About in Commander?

This includes Commander, but you might be able to Rule 0 the 30th Anniversary Edition cards into Commander pods with permission. As always, ask the players you’re playing with in advance if you want to use anything that’s illegal, silver-bordered, or acorn stamped.

Is It Worth It?

Jokes aside, it could be worth it to you! “Useful” is a subjective term on any entertainment purchase, but especially high-end collectibles. People spend their money in all sorts of ways that others might not agree with, but it’s their money at the end of the day. If you think a slim chance of cracking an (unplayable) Black Lotus is worth $999, go for it!

The target audience for this product is likely well-enfranchised players with extra cash and deep nostalgia for the game. This is the closest you can get to Black Lotus without breaking the bank if you mostly play casually and don’t want to use unofficial proxies. Money is a bit tight right now all around, so count your blessings if you have enough to feel comfortable blowing $999 on official proxies!

I won’t be buying anything from this set because tournament legality is everything for me in cardboard. This includes Commander play, because most of the pods I’ve seen don’t allow banned cards or anything from Un-sets.

You could also try to go full NFT bro and speculate on 30th Anniversary Edition, cornering the fake Power 9 market like an especially bored ape. This isn’t financial advice, because if it would probably be terrible advice. Probably…

Are These Just Proxies?

As far as tournaments are concerned, yes, the 30th Anniversary Edition cards are just proxies. They're just as legal in those as an Idyllic Beachfront that I Sharpie’d into Tundra. And that certainly wouldn’t cost me $999…

For collectors, they might not be. Given the mediocre odds of opening power from this set (math below), it’s quite possible that the good cards in this set will end up being very expensive, even if you can’t play them anywhere sanctioned. People just love Black Lotus, what can I say!

30th Anniversary Edition’s Implications for the Reserved List

The Reserved List is a controversial chapter in Magic’s history that’s still with us. There’s debate online as to whether 30th Anniversary Edition violates the promise of the original Reserved List. The main argument I’ve seen circulated that this set is a violation of the Reserved List comes from this post on Blogatog by Mark Rosewater:

The community caught Mark Rosewater stating an absolute position (note the lack of “at this time”) that the company apparently no longer holds. Clearly their will has changed. Burn the Witch(Wizards) of the Coast!

But it’s shortsighted, as are most Unruly Mobs you encounter online. Joel Mick was a brand manager for Magic back in the ‘90s who drafted the original Reserved List. He insists that you can conclude it’s “completely clear that this product doesn’t break the promise” if you read the full Reserved List statement.

Joel Mick Quote

I agree with him, and not sarcastically. If you read here, a key line jumps out that should put this argument to rest.

Tournament Legality

All policies described in this document apply only to tournament-legal Magic cards. By making the cards illegal, WotC also made them legal, if you catch my drift. The Reserved List stays alive, and Twitter stays mad.

If you’d like to read an interesting post offering a general defense of the Reserved List (a rare position, to say the least), I encourage you to check out this post where Joel Mick appears in the comments section to state:

As the person responsible for creating the reserve list so many years ago, it’s reassuring to see that at least some wise people like Sig understand why it is and has been so good for Magic. Give the people what they want, even if they don’t know that they want it.

Joel Mick

What’s a Retro Frame Card?

A retro frame card is a card with an old-style frame. Each 30th Anniversary Edition pack contains two retro frame cards: one basic land, and one card that can be anything from Ancestral Recall to Farmstead.

What Cards from Beta Are Missing?

Six Beta cards didn’t meet WotC’s “modern standards” and weren't included in 30th Anniversary Edition. There were also flavor text changes in the set. The cards that won’t be reprinted are:

Why did these cards fail to meet “modern standards?” I’m happy to speculate. Contract from Below, Darkpact, and Demonic Attorney are “ante” cards and belong to a controversial class of cards from Magic’s past. WotC murdered ante with extreme prejudice over two decades ago. You can’t play ante cards in any format other than kitchen table Magic, not even Vintage!

Crusade was banned from all formats back in June 2020 for being “racist or culturally offensive,” so I’m not surprised to see it omitted. Earthbind isn’t a banned card, but that artwork, though. I’d say it looks more like a BDSM sketch than anything from Magic (for players 13 and up!) The art is the obvious culprit for its exclusion because the card itself is just sort of a bad red Plummet.

I can’t confidently say why Weakness was axed. My best guess is that someone at WotC thought that the card’s art was too ableist for print, likely due its depiction of the man’s hands. If you compare the art to something like Crippling Blight, you can see a clear contrast: one depicts magical decay while the other looks more like a case of Parkinson’s disease. If you can think of any other reason why it might’ve been removed, feel free to let me know in the comments!

What Are the Odds of Getting Power 9 in 30th Anniversary Edition?

The Power 9 in this set are all rares. There are 113 rares in this set, of which the Power 9 are, well, nine.

This means you have a 9/113 (or 7.965%) chance of pulling a piece of Power 9 from the rare slot of any given pack of 30th Anniversary Edition. You might also pull one from the retro slot, but your odds are 9/297 (3.03%) there.

For all four packs the odds improve to 28.59% in the rare slot and 11.64% in the retro slot.

What Are the Odds of a Black Lotus in 30th Anniversary Edition?

Your odds of getting a Black Lotus from the rare slot are 1/113 (0.885%).

What Are the Odds of a Retro Black Lotus in 30th Anniversary Edition?

Your odds of opening a retro Black Lotus are 1/297 (0.3367%).

Is 30th Anniversary Edition Draftable?

Yes, 30th Anniversary Edition is draftable in theory! The set isn’t designed to be drafted because it’s a slightly tweaked reprint of Beta. While the 15-card packs are the right size for it, the card and color balance would be absolutely abhorrent. Most of the creatures in Beta were mediocre at best with several embarrassing ones, and the spell quality varies from Time Walk to Farmstead.

Another issue with drafting 30th Anniversary Edition is its price. Each player would need three packs to draft this set, which amounts to a whopping $750 per person. An eight-player pod of this set would set you back $6,000!

How Can You Practice Drafting the Set (for Free)?

The good news is that you can practice drafting the set on this very site for the low, low price of $0! It’s not quite the same as opening a real Black Lotus, but you also won’t have to miss any mortgage payments.

Wrap Up

Swords to Plowshares (Limited (Alpha)) - Illustration by Jeff A. Menges

Swords to Plowshares (Beta) | Illustration by Jeff A. Menges

30th Anniversary Edition is an interesting product that has inflamed lots of emotions in the community, and it could be a sign that WotC has successfully gone whaling. It’s also ultimately an optional tournament-illegal product, so I feel no need to play Mad Prophet despite the hype.

Will you pick up a display of 30th Anniversary Edition? Let me know in the comments below or join the discussion over on Draftsim’s Discord.

And if you can't afford these crazy cards, maybe the 30th Anniversary promos are more your style.

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