Last updated on November 28, 2023
Silver Raven | Illustration by Joe Slucher
Now is a time like no other for Magic players. More and more sets, design concepts, and products are released per year than ever, and that’s (usually) something to celebrate.
We’ve gotten format-specific sets, a bigger focus on Commander, more than enough Secret Lair content, and a new Un-set to check out more recently. But Unfinity isn’t like any other as it opts out of the infamous silver-bordered card frames.
How does this impact eternal formats? Are these new Un-set cards legal now? Let’s find out!
What Is an Acorn Card?
Urza's Fun House | Illustration by Dmitry Burmak
An “acorn card” is a Magic card with an acorn symbol in place of the conventional oval stamp on the base of the card frame. Where silver-bordered cards were marked as illegal in Constructed and tournament play by their obvious altered border, these new Un-set cards are printed with a black border and are noted as illegal through their acorn stamp.
What Are Silver-Bordered Cards?
Silver-bordered cards are Magic cards from Un-sets, supplemental joke set, which were originally printed in 1998 with the release of Unglued. Their altered border is meant to denote their illegality in tournament play-acting as an unmistakable mark of others.
The History of Un-Cards in MTG
Silver-bordered cards were first printed in Unglued, Magic’s first supplemental joke set. It was an experiment back then and quickly became an irregular addition to the game in the years after.
WotC wanted to break the regularity of Magic’s set releases with these completely casual cards, which have fun and ridiculous effects that could never be seriously used in tournament play. This includes effects like forcing you to read flavor text, two-card spells, half-mana and half-combat-stats, and more.
Why Were Silver-Bordered Cards Discontinued?
These silver-bordered cards were originally meant to be illegal in just Vintage, Legacy, and Standard (the other formats weren’t official, yet), but they were legal in every other format, especially casual Magic.
Unfortunately, these Un-set cards were quickly denoted as “not real” Magic cards and acted as a subset of the game that wasn’t really interacted with. Most players didn’t understand they could be played in kitchen table Magic, which completely defeated the purpose of the set after release events. In an attempt to correct this error Wizards opted to swap to the acorn logo, which they believe will help correct this original mistake.
Types of Acorn Cards
Acorn cards can be of any rarity and come specifically from Un-sets. While some Un-set cards are actually legal in eternal formats, a vast majority of them aren’t and are denoted by their acorn holo stamp. This lets the R&D department develop the Un-set while simultaneously taking practical concepts and allowing them to be eternal-legal, all in the same release.
Are Acorn Cards Legal in Tournaments?
No, acorn cards aren’t legal in any tournament play. These cards can only be played in casual kitchen-table Magic where rules can be customized.
Are Silver-Bordered Cards Legal in Tournaments?
No, silver-bordered cards of any kind aren’t legal in Magic tournaments whatsoever.
Are Silver-Bordered Cards Legal in Casual Play?
Casual play is, well, casual! That means that players have the ability to pick and choose what rules they want to follow. It’s a wonderful thing that allows for a level of fun, accessibility, and uniqueness that the otherwise rigorous rules of the game don’t naturally allow. That’s the whole point of the Un-sets in the first place.
Are Acorn Cards Legal in Commander?
No, acorn cards aren’t legal in Commander or any other Constructed format.
Are Silver-Bordered Cards Legal in Commander?
No, silver-bordered cards aren’t legal in Commander. As a general rule of thumb, “eternal formats” (i.e., Legacy, Vintage, and Commander) include every black-bordered card minus acorn cards. This naturally excludes those with silver borders.
Are Acorn Cards Legal in Pauper?
No, acorn cards aren’t legal in Pauper.
Photo Op | Illustration by Setor Fiadzigbey
That wraps up everything there is to know about acorn cards, where they came from, what they’re producing, and where you can actually play them! Not as complicated as it seemed at first, is it?
How do you feel about this design decision from Wizards? Will the upcoming Legacy-legal cards have that much of an impact, or will they be completely skipped over and forgotten within a month? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or come chat about it in the official Draftsim Discord.
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