From MTG Salvation Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Vanguard is a supplement for Magic that debuted in Arena's Summer Season of 1997. The oversized (3" x 5") Vanguard cards aren't played like regular cards. Instead, each player chooses one of the character cards before the match begins and plays under the conditions set by that card. [1] [2]

Vanguard is also the card type associated with the format.


The result of a cooperative effort between Wizards of the Coast's R&D and Events departments, Vanguard was designed specifically for casual play. The cards were released in four 8-card sets, the first two were designed together. Series 1 could also be obtained in the Vanguard Gift Box. The intent was to use the Arena League as a test market for the concept of supplemental products. [3] As it turned out, Vanguard was a huge success. Nearly 5,000 joined Arena during the first season, the biggest increase in league history, yet. From there, the decision to release the second group of eight cards in early 1998 (Winter Season) was simple. The third set appeared in late 1998 (Autumn Season), and the fourth in the Spring Season of 1999. [4] [5] [6]


Vanguard cards Ertai and Gerrard from Series 1

The oversized Vanguard cards all had the same layout: adjustments to the starting and maximum hand size in the lower left, adjustments to the starting life total in the lower right, and any other effects of having the card in play described in the text box. Cards from the first three sets picture a character from the Weatherlight Saga. While the two first sets featured the central characters, the latter set depicted charachters from the periphery of the tale. The fourth set depicted characters from Urza's Saga

Series 1: Series 2: Series 3: Series 4:

Duelist Magazine[edit]

Four cards were bagged together with The Duelist magazine:

  • Duelist #19 - Series 1 Gerrard
  • Duelist #33 - Series 3 Multani
  • Duelist #37 - Series 4 Urza
  • Duelist #47 - Series 4 Mishra

Comprehensive rules[edit]

Comprehensive Rules
Game Concepts
Parts of a Card
Card Types
300. General
301. Artifacts
302. Creatures
303. Enchantments
304. Instants
305. Lands
306. Planeswalkers
307. Sorceries
308. Tribals
309. Planes
310. Phenomena
311. Vanguards
312. Schemes
313. Conspiracies
Turn Structure
Spells, Abilities, and Effects
Additional Rules
Multiplayer Rules
Casual Variants

From the Comprehensive Rules (Born of the Gods)

  • 311. Vanguards
    • 311.1. Vanguard is a card type seen only on nontraditional Magic cards. Only the Vanguard casual variant uses vanguard cards. See rule 902, "Vanguard."
    • 311.2. Vanguard cards remain in the command zone throughout the game. They're not permanents. They can't be cast. If a vanguard card would leave the command zone, it remains in the command zone.
    • 311.3. Vanguard cards have no subtypes.
    • 311.4. A vanguard card may have any number of static, triggered, and/or activated abilities. As long as a vanguard card is in the command zone, its static abilities affect the game, its triggered abilities may trigger, and its activated abilities may be activated.
    • 311.5. The owner of a vanguard card is the player who started the game with it in the command zone. The controller of a face-up vanguard card is its owner.
    • 311.6. Each vanguard card has a hand modifier printed in its lower left corner. This is a number preceded by a plus sign, a number preceded by a minus sign, or a zero. This modifier is applied to the starting hand size and maximum hand size of the vanguard card’s owner (normally seven). The resulting number is both how many cards that player draws at the beginning of the game and his or her maximum hand size.
    • 311.7. Each vanguard card has a life modifier printed in its lower right corner. This is a number preceded by a plus sign, a number preceded by a minus sign, or a zero. This modifier is applied as the starting life total of the vanguard card’s owner (normally 20) to is determined. See rule 103.3.


  • Each player has one Vanguard card in effect for the duration of each duel.
  • Each event will have its own specific rules for the method and frequency of selecting the card(s) to be used.
  • Each player's Vanguard card is in effect throughout the duel; Vanguard cards may not be targeted, removed from play, or otherwise affected during play.
  • Unless specifically stated otherwise, the Vanguard card's effect extend only to the controller of the card (and his or her permanents, if applicable).
  • The Vanguard card being used by each player must be visible at all times to all players.
Card types
Groups Supertypes Card types Subtypes
Instant FUT Instant symbol.png Trap Arcane
Sorcery FUT Sorcery symbol.png
Permanent Basic,
Artifact FUT Artifact symbol.png Equipment, Fortification, Contraption
Creature FUT Creature symbol.png (…)
Enchantment FUT Enchantment symbol.png Aura, Curse, Shrine
Land FUT Land symbol.png (…)
Planeswalker FUT Planeswalker symbol.png (…)
Miscellaneous Tribal (…)
Plane (…)
Ongoing Scheme
Obsolete Mono,
Mana Source,


  1. Magic Arcana. (September 23, 2002.) "Vanguard Series 1", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Magic Arcana. (October 09, 2002.) "Vanguard Series 2", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Andy Collens, 1998. New Year, New Vanguard, the Duelist # 22, 1998
  4. Mark Rosewater. (August 30, 2010.) "Thank You Sir, May I Have Another", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Jesse Decker, 1999. Third Vanguard Set Charges into Arena's Autum Season, the Duelist # 33
  6. Editorial Staff, 1999. Get ready for Vanguard, the Duelist # 37

External links[edit]