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(I clearly didn't format my prior question appropriately so I'll rephrase things).

Do MTG Core sets contain new (never before seen) cards? Or is it just cards for the prior year's expansion set?

Assuming that there are new cards, how does this compare with the ratio of old to new cards available in expansion sets?

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    Are you wanting to play specific formats, such as Standard? This is necessary info, because the formats you are interested in will affect the sets of cards you'll need to buy. – GendoIkari Jun 22 '14 at 3:20
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    It's not clear what you mean here. Presumably, you don't want an answer of: "find the cheapest card and order one thousand of them." Do you just want a broad variety of newly-introduced cards? Do you want to buy just the effective ones, or do you just want all of them? – doppelgreener Jun 22 '14 at 5:02
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    I'd recommend asking friends who have large collections to help you out by giving you cards. That's the cheapest way to get more cards, but I don't think it really answers your question. – Captain Phoenix Jun 22 '14 at 13:45
  • Sorry for the confusion guys. I've revised the question to (hopefully) be more clear. – Mike B Jun 22 '14 at 18:51
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    I answered your question, but I'm not sure it addresses what you actually want to know. Given the previous iteration of your question, I don't think you're just curious about the ratio of reprints, or want to collect every card with a different name. For instance, if you're just starting out, the fact that core sets contain many reprints of older cards is irrelevant, since you won't have the older versions anyway. – Hao Ye Jun 22 '14 at 20:25
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In response to your specific need, there will be very few cards in Magic 2015 that existed in any set since Magic 2014 and even then it'll be a limited overlap. This is simple pragmatism on Wizard's part; if half the cards in the new set are already in even the new players' hands, then people aren't as interested in the set. So if you're looking for cards that don't exist in your collection, you should be fine.

A lot of the "reprints" will actually be from old sets like Mirrodin (for example, Darksteel Citadel is back, and we can expect to see a lot of the old Convoke cards from original Ravnica: City of Guilds), and you will never have seen them before. So you should get a good sample of new blood for your collection.

On the other hand, if you want definite new blood, getting a booster box of Theros or another "Fall set" would be a more reliable way to go.

Hope that helps.


Some Background Detail on Core Sets and new Cards:

Historically, there was a shift in 2009, when the set Magic 2010 was released.

Up to that point, core sets were basically "Standard enablers". Their job was to provide a set of cards to allow players to build basic decks for the main 2-year rotating format, which would then be "powered" by the main mechanics of the "Expert" sets. They also acted as an intro product to the game, but this was fundamentally a secondary role. The main evidence of this focus was the fact that Core Sets didn't provide any new cards, and little to no new art, which meant that they were generally a hodge-podge of cards with no unifying theme, a poor limited environment and (generally) a lower power level.

Magic 2010 changed this by saying "Look, this is the product that lays out what Magic is", not just what it's doing this year. We're going to have the Magic rings, the Necromancers, the wacky Goblin hijinks, the Fireballs, and if a card we want for it doesn't exist, we will make it exist. Note that this is the inverse to the expert set's dictum "If an existing card will fit with our theme, we should put it in".

As Hao shows, this leads to the Core Set having a limited number of new cards. But it's also meant that the reprints they pull in are better chosen, and generally chosen with an eye to new players seeing new cards.

The set is also far more "draftable", which I would argue is the best way of gaining value from your booster packs. I've been regularly drafting newbie 2014 on Magic Online, and it's a blast.

  • You might want to reword your opening statements. It's very confusing, and makes it sound like there won't be many reprints when there are. Also, your statements are geared towards "current standard cards won't be reprinted as much" but that isn't want the OP appears to be asking about. – corsiKa Jun 24 '14 at 21:57
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Core sets do contain new cards, but at a lower ratio than typical expansions. This article indicates that about half (112/249) the cards in Magic 2014 were new, while the rest were reprints. I would guess that the ratio will be about the same for Magic 2015.

By comparison, in Theros, out of 249 cards, there were 12 reprints, and 5 functional reprints (nearly identical functionality, but a different card name).

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    ~1/2 reprints has been true of the core sets since M10. – Brian S Jun 30 '14 at 13:44

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