The MTG Reserved List: What Is It? What’s On It?

Learn all about the Reserved List for Magic: The Gathering and explore the MTG cards Wizards of the Coast has promised never to reprint.

Black Lotus
Black Lotus, illustrated by Christopher Rush

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Not sure what that is? Read on!

What Is the Magic: The Gathering Reserved List?

The Reserved List is a list of Magic: The Gathering cards that Wizards of the Coast (WotC), publisher of the game, has promised publicly not to reprint. WotC describes these as “Reserved Cards” in the Official Reprint Policy.

How Many Cards Are on the Reserved List?

There are a total of 571 cards on the Reserved List. The Official Reprint Policy has 572 entries, but this includes two versions of the card Plateau with different art.

Will WotC Change or Abolish the Reserved List?

It is highly unlikely that WotC changes or abolishes the Reserved List. The Reserved List last changed over a decade ago. Magic Head Designer Mark Rosewater has stated publicly about the Reserved List and those who would like to see it abolished, “I can’t go into details, but I think you all will be mentally happier if you accept that it’s not going to change.”

What Types of Cards Are on the Reserved List?

The Reserved List consists of some (but not all) rare cards printed in the 1990s, from Magic’s first set Limited Edition (1993) through Urza’s Destiny (1999). No cards printed in sets from Mercadian Masques (1999) forward are on the Reserved List. The Reserved List used to include common and uncommon cards from Limited Edition, but they were removed from the Reserved List in 2002.

Are All Cards on the Reserved List Powerful?

While many of the cards on the Reserved List are among Magic’s most powerful, such as Black Lotus, others have narrow uses or seem ordinary by current Magic standards. For example, Didgeridoo works only with Minotaurs, and Thunder Spirit is simply a 2/2 creature with flying and first strike for three mana, which would not look out of place in a draft at Friday Night Magic.

Black Lotus Didgeridoo Thunder Spirit

Reserved List Cards Can’t Be Reprinted. What Counts as a Reprint?

The “Functionally Identical” Rule

From WotC’s Official Reprint Policy:

Reserved cards will never be printed again in a functionally identical form. A card is considered functionally identical to another card if it has the same card type, subtypes, abilities, mana cost, power, and toughness.

This policy avoids the possibility of simply reprinting a card under another name, but it does allow for closely related cards as long as something substantial changes. For example, Drop of Honey is on the Reserved List. Merely renaming Drop of Honey would count as a reprint, because the card name is not a listed part of being “functionally identical.” Changing its mana cost from one green mana to one white mana, however, allowed the printing of Porphyry Nodes, as mana cost is on the list of attributes.

Drop of Honey Porphyry Nodes

Physical Cards Only

The Reserved List only applies to physical, printed cards. Digital cards, such as on Magic: The Gathering Online (MTGO) or Magic: The Gathering Arena, are exempt. A card may also create a copy of a card on the Reserved List, such as Garth One-Eye creating a copy of Braingeyser or Black Lotus.

Garth One-Eye Braingeyser

The Reserved List applies to only tournament-legal cards. Oversized promotional cards, for example, are not affected by the Reserved List.

Still Covered by the Reserved List

Factors not affecting Reserved List status:

What’s the Full List of Reserved List Cards?

Here are two ways to see the full Reserved List: sorted by set and then alphabetically, followed by purely alphabetically.

The Reserved List, Sorted by Set

Limited Edition

Arabian Nights



The Dark

Fallen Empires

Ice Age









Urza’s Saga

Urza’s Legacy

Urza’s Destiny

The Reserved List, Sorted Alphabetically