Top Ten Best Magic the Gathering Sets

Magic: the Gathering is the premier card game of the modern world. This collectible card game remains one of the most popular in the world for its deep strategy, stunning art, masterful design, and, most importantly, the amazing sets that make up the game! Listed here are 10 of the best Magic: the Gathering sets and some hallmark cards from them.

Number 10: Planar Chaos

Our list starts controversially: Planar Chaos. Planar Chaos was designed to invert what is called the "Color Pie", the philosophies that underlie each of the colors and the abilities they have in the Magic universe. Basically, the set is topsy turvy!

This set is so interesting because it showcases cards that can't normally show up in the average MTG set. Suddenly, Green is drawing cards, Blue has creatures with vigilance, and White can deal damage to creatures! Some iconic Magic cards were even "color-shifted". That is, they were reprinted as the same card, but in a different color. What if Serra Angel was blue? Then you'd have a Serra Sphinx! This set plays around with a lot of interesting ideas, which ultimately makes it unpopular with some. But the seasoned MTG player appreciates the strange, often powerful cards in the set, the most Iconic of which is...

Damnation

Damnation is the premier black Wrath effect, iconic both for its incredible art and (at one time) for its impressive price tag. This Commander staple and Modern role-player represents the best of Planar Chaos: a traditional effect made much more powerful by simply changing its color!

Number 9: Future Sight

Hailing from the same block as our number 10 contestant, Future Sight does some phenomenally strange things with its design. There are all kinds of fiddly, strange cards with odd effects littered throughout the set. Morph makes a return here, adding further complexity to the set, and the appearance of "Futureshifted" cards (or, cards that haven't been printed in another Magic set, but will one day) make the set intriguing. Though its draft format was intricate and often hard to grasp, it is a favorite of veteran players. Also no stranger to veteran players is the infamous...

Tarmogoyf

Maybe you love him. Maybe you hate him. But you've probably heard of him. This cheap beater is an all-star in Modern and Legacy, often becoming a 4/5 or 5/6 for the cheap price of two mana. (though the same cannot be said for its price tag!)

Number 8: Lorwyn

Lorwyn is known both for its storybook art style and its focus on obscure tribes. It has many charming cards with quirky abilities and strange subtypes, but had its fair share of powerful cards as well. Take for instance...

Thoughtseize

If you've played against this card, you know the feeling. Your hand looks great and then your opponent plays "Swamp, Thoughtseize," and you groan. This card is some of the most powerful disruption in Modern and Legacy and is the gold standard for discard spells.

Number 7: Khans of Tarkir

Khans of Tarkir is often remembered for its fun, diverse standard format, but also provided one of the most engaging limited formats of all time. The return of morphs made the set memorable and tricky to master in limited formats and introduced to constructed formats the powerful...

Allied Fetchlands (Polluted Delta, Bloodstained Mire, Windswept Heath, Flooded Strand, and Wooded Foothills)

While technically a group of cards, these powerful duals shook the powerful Modern format by making allied-colored strategies more consistent and offering budget versions of the prohibitively expensive enemy fetchlands. To this day, fetchlands remain the most powerful lands short of the original duals, and it's easy to see why!

Number 6: Worldwake

Ah, Worldwake. This set is infamous for instigating Standard format bans for the first time in years. The middle member of the Zendikar block (we'll see some of its other members later in the list) offered a chilling first glimpse at the terrifying Eldrazi and printed the most notorious Planeswalker of all time...

Jace, the Mindsculptor

Jace is, simply put, the best Planeswalker in Magic: The Gathering. He's iconic and was banned in Standard (and still is in Modern) for being oppressively powerful. If you've heard of a 'Walker, you've probably heard of Jace.

Number 5: Zendikar

The set before Worldwake, Zendikar was a favorite among MTG fans for being a light-spirited, D&D-based adventure plane. There were traps, treasures, quests, and a sense of adventure that set up nicely for Worldwake's reveal of the horrifying Eldrazi. Before they ruined the plane, though, we went on a fun, land-based adventure, featuring...

The Allied Manlands (Creeping Tar Pit, Celestial Collonade, Stirring Wildwood, Raging Ravine, Lavaclaw Reaches)

Technically the Enemy-Colored Fetchlands would be worth mentioning here, but double-dipping on fetchlands seemed unfair. The Allied Manlands are excellent representations of Zendikar because they are powerful, flavorful, and fun to play with! Who doesn't like beating their opponents' faces in with a land?

Number 4: Urza's Saga

Didn't think we'd get this far without delving into Magic's rich history, did you? Basically, Urza's Saga was busted. Bonkers. Bananas. Absolutely batty. There are cards in this set that are so over-the-top powerful that they are banned in every constructed format except Vintage! (And even there, they are restricted.) What kinds of cards? Funny you should ask.

Tolarian Academy

There are so many broken cards to choose from in Urza's Saga, but Academy might just be the worst. It made a combo deck that almost ruined standard and is banned in Legacy to this day for generating so much mana. This card is busted.

Number 3: Rise of the Eldrazi

The third and final member of the original Zendikar block, Rise of the Eldrazi features some of Magic's most iconic monsters as well as one of the most beloved draft formats of all time. The Eldrazi are world-eating abomination hijacked from Lovecraft's nightmares, and drafting the set was deep, interesting, and rewarded players who could be creative. Who represents this set best? All Rise, for the Spaghetti Queen herself...

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Simply reading this creature's title can send shivers down the spine. Emrakul is the perfect fusion of epic flavor (look at that thing!) and constructed playability. She's the biggest, meanest fatty that Magic has ever (and hopefully will ever) see.

Number 2: Ravnica: City of Guilds

Ravnica was popular for its creative worldbuilding of a world made of buildings. Ravnica was a city dominated by squabbling guilds and oozed both with atmospheric flavor and powerful constructed cards. Without a doubt, Ravnica was one of the most interesting, powerful, and unique sets in Magic's history, as evidenced by the powerful...

Shocklands

These lands shape the Modern format because of their dual-types. They enable the powerful manabases that make Modern possible, enable powerful Standard manabases when legal, and feature amazing, iconic art.

Our final set on our list is the powerful, evocative...

Innistrad

Players love this set with a passion. Its dark, gothic themes create a compelling world of darkness and disaster and its interesting cards have forever impacted every Magic format. Its draft format is hailed as the most fun of all time, and the set has set an incredibly high bar for others in its power, its iconicness, and its universal appeal. The most iconic card from Innistrad is trick, but probably has to be...

Liliana of the Veil

Sorry Snapcaster Mage, Lilly has you beat! A powerhouse in multiple formats, Liliana is likely the second most powerful planeswalker in existence and remains a lynchpin of grindy black decks in every format she is legal in. She is iconic, powerful, and an excellent way to wrap up this list.

So what did you think? Did we leave out a favorite? Did we forget your favorite card? Magic: The Gathering is a phenomenal game with many deep, interesting sets, and your favorites might not look like ours. But this list has some of the most powerful, iconic, and fun cards of the Magic: the Gathering world, and will give you an excellent place to start looking for new deck ideas.

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