jump to navigation

Power 9 Cards That Didn’t Make It Into Alpha (Updated 9/10/10) August 18, 2010

Posted by James in : all, fake cards, speculation , trackback

black lotusSome cards were good enough to be in the power 9, but they lacked the rarity to be worth hundreds of dollars, such as Demonic Tutor, Balance, Sol Ring, and Wheel of Fortune. However, Wizards of the Coast ended up favoring Blue in the end. Ancestral Recall and Timewalk were far beyond the power level of any other card, so the four other colors got the short end of the stick. That’s not to say that ultra powerful cards weren’t considered in other colors while playtesting Alpha. Here are some of the cards that could have been playtested and rejected by research and development:

Divine Justice

divine justice

Balance only did half of what it could have done. Divine Justice finishes the job that Balance started. Why didn’t Divine Justice make it? It would have been great against Moxes. No answer here.



Faith would be a lot of help, but R&D might have rejected it because “enchantments and artifacts” only referred to permanents in play. Cards in your library were not yet referred to as “enchantment cards” or “artifact cards.” It could have been decided that “Faith” would cause too much confusion — “Could anyone understand that an enchantment could be a card in your library?”

Witches’ Sabbath

witches sabbathAncestral Recall was pretty much as powerful as a card could ever get, and Witches’ Sabbath is like a black Ancestral Recall. Why didn’t it make it into Alpha? Was it just too good?

Darker Ritual

darker ritualBlack Lotus is leagues better than Dark Ritual, but Darker Ritual is almost as good. Darker Ritual might have been rejected in favor of Dark Ritual when they decided it would be a common, and powerful commons can be disruptive to the game.


strategyStrategy was eventually made as a much weaker card in Ravnica (Master Warcraft). Wizards of the Coast might have preferred “False Orders” to “Strategy” because it became a “mere uncommon.”



Plunder would have been a good reason to stay away from Moxes and dual lands, but the idea might have been scrapped due to the worry that people would be confused about what “nonbasic lands” are.

African Elephants

african elephants

Green was incredibly weak in Alpha and somehow its best cards were removed from the set by R&D. African Elephants would have been great, but it could have been removed based on the worry that people would be confused by an “instant creature.”

Dust Storm

dust stormIt wasn’t entirely clear what role Green would play in Magic and it was eventually determined to be a “creature color” after it’s removal spells were found to be too powerful and removed from Alpha. Dust Storm was remade in Arabian Nights, but it was ruined (only dealt 1 damage).


Years after Alpha has come out people want to play with the power 9, but these cards are unfair to everything not blue. This is especially problematic for Cube drafts that use the power 9. (Cubes are piles of cards lying around that people use for drafting.) It might help these cubes to create some original powerful cards in colors other than blue to help even things out a bit.

Update (9/10/10): I added Witches’ Sabbath and Divine Justice.

Update (10/12/10): All of the cards now use the actual Alpha/Beta template.

Related: The Other Power 9.


1. 神の一手 - August 18, 2010

People wouldn’t have the confusion about Faith since the terminology of “enchantment card” and “artifact card” wasn’t developed yet…look at Transmute Artifact.

2. James - August 18, 2010

Transmute Artifact is from Antiquities. They also had Mishra’s Workshop by then that helped you cast artifact spells only (rather than artifacts as permanents in play).

3. 神の一手 - August 18, 2010

The point is that the rules were not as strict about these things then and people would figure it out. Complexity creep for the win.

4. James - August 18, 2010

I agree that this sort of thing should have existed in Alpha, but Wizards of the Coast could have worried that it would be too complected at first.

5. Mike - September 23, 2010

Source on these?

6. James - September 23, 2010


Notice my subtle choice of words. “Here are some of the cards that could have been playtested and rejected by research and development.”

7. Billy - August 1, 2011

where did you get the images or where did you get your source regarding the existence of this cards?

8. Billy - August 1, 2011

I mean… “These” cards….xxx

9. James - August 3, 2011

The images are all in the public domain under the artist names I wrote down. Except “Divine Justice” is technically altered to have Bill Gates as God. I did the altering.

10. Billy - August 12, 2011

These cards should have been printed to level the plain field between blue and non blue decks. I think Vintage would be more exciting if these card are around.

11. Billy - August 15, 2011

Where can i get an alpha or beta template?

12. Billy - August 15, 2011

I mean, a template as good as these…

13. James - August 16, 2011

The templates can be found here: http://forums.mtgsalvation.com/showthread.php?t=236172

Look for pre-8th templates.

14. James - August 16, 2011

Other info about making Magic cards: http://www.recoculous.com/2008/09/09/fakecards/