Expansion symbol

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Comprehensive Rules
Game Concepts
Parts of a Card
200. General
201. Name
202. Mana Cost and Color
203. Illustration
204. Color Indicator
205. Type Line
206. Expansion Symbol
207. Text Box
208. Power/Toughness
209. Loyalty
210. Hand Modifier
211. Life Modifier
212. Information Below the Text Box
Card Types
Turn Structure
Spells, Abilities, and Effects
Additional Rules
Multiplayer Rules
Casual Variants
The expansion symbol is a small icon found on the right side of the middle line or type line on a Magic: The Gathering card and is a characteristic of that card. If a card is copied, the copy will therefore have the same expansion symbol. [1]


Each expansion symbol is unique to a particular expansions, identifying a card as belonging to that set. Every expansion and all Core Sets since Sixth Edition have used expansion symbols.

Expansion symbols were black-and-white through the Stronghold expansion. Since the Exodus expansion, expansion symbols have incorporated colors to identify the rarity of each card: common cards have black symbols, uncommon cards have silver or black-to-white fade symbols, and rare cards have gold symbols. A fourth expansion symbol color, purple, was introduced in Time Spiral to represent the 121 bonus Timeshifted cards in the set. Mythic Rare was added with Shards of Alara, its symbol is red-orange.

The Chronicles expansion consists entirely of white-bordered reprints. It is unusual because it does not have its own expansion symbol and instead uses the expansion symbols of the cards' home expansions.


From the Comprehensive Rules (Fate Reforged)

  • 206. Expansion Symbol
    • 206.1. The expansion symbol indicates which Magic set a card is from. It's normally printed below the right edge of the illustration. It has no effect on game play.
    • 206.2. The color of the expansion symbol indicates the rarity of the card within its set. A red-orange symbol indicates the card is mythic rare. A gold symbol indicates the card is rare. A silver expansion symbol indicates the card is uncommon. A black or white expansion symbol indicates the card is common or is a basic land. A purple expansion symbol signifies a special rarity; to date, only the Time Spiral® "timeshifted" cards, which were rarer than that set's rare cards, have had purple expansion symbols. (Prior to the Exodus™ set, all expansion symbols were black, regardless of rarity. Also, prior to the Sixth Edition core set, Magic core sets didn't have expansion symbols at all.)
    • 206.3. Previously, a spell or ability that affected cards from a particular set checked for that set's expansion symbol. These cards have recieved errata in the Oracle card reference to say they affect cards "originally printed" in a particular set. See rule 700.6 for details.
    • 206.4. Players may include cards from any printing in their constructed decks if those cards appear in sets allowed in that format (or those cards are specifically allowed by the Magic Tournament Rules). See the Magic Tournament Rules for the current definitions of the constructed formats (
    • 206.5. The full list of expansions and expansion symbols can be found in the Card Set Archive section of the Magic website (


A designer must infuse recognizable fantasy flavor into an expansion symbol while also fulfilling these tough requirements:[2]

  • Hold up at about 4 millimeters high and 8 millimeters wide.
  • Can't look too much like any other expansion or game symbol.
  • Has to work in solid black, as well as in silver, gold, and orange-red.
  • Has to be a scalable, vector-based design (because sometimes it will also be seen really big).

Expansion symbols matter[edit]

There are three expansion hosers:

There are three cards from Unhinged that mention expansion symbols:


  1. Monty Ashley. (December 01, 2010.) "The Status of the Symbol", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Matt Cavotta. (December 12, 2011.) "Before, During, and After", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit]