How to tell if your Magic: The Gathering cards are Unlimited or Revised

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Daniel Clarke

2 minute read

Should you get your card graded? Know the difference between Unlimited and Revised... or Summer Magic Cards.

As prices of vintage cards continue to climb, knowing the differences between Magic's third and fourth core sets has become critical knowledge to the avid collector. This guide will inform you of the nuances of Unlimited and Revised and where to look for them.  

The first thing to check is the border. Unlimted has a double/beveled outer frame, where revised has a single line frame. Telling the difference can be a little tricky since sometimes it's on the left or the right (depending on the card's color). If you don't have a card from the same color to compare, do a quick search online to find an example (use an official source). 

Artifact cards have a beveled frame on the left side

Artifact cards have a beveled frame on the left side

The Unlimited Sol Ring has a beveled frame on its left side.

Green cards, like this Fastbond, have a beveled frame on the right side

Green cards, like this Fastbond, have a beveled frame on the right side

On green cards, the right side is thicker, as seen on Fastbond. 

While the border is the surest way to identify Unlimited cards, you also should look for deeper/more saturated colors, Alpha or Beta wording, and usually larger, but not always, text.

On cards that need to tap to use their ability, Unlimited cards will have the word Tap, Tapping, etc., and it could appear anywhere in the textbox, where revised cards will have a tap symbol before the text starts.

Look for the word Tap[ping] or a Tap Symbol to distinguish between the two.  The symbol appears on Revised and forward but never on Alpha/Beta/Unlimited cards.

Look for the word Tap[ping] or a Tap Symbol to distinguish between the two. The symbol appears on Revised and forward but never on Alpha/Beta/Unlimited cards.


Revised and Summer Magic are the only versions without the end of turn clause

Revised and Summer Magic are the only versions without the end of turn clause

Some cards, like Shivan Dragon, have features unique to Revised/Summer Magic. WotC forgot to add words that end its ability (until end of turn)- an error only found on the Revised and Summer Magic printings. As of this writing, an Unlimited Shivan dragon is worth $160 more than its Revised counterpart. If you plan to pick one up, you should know the nuances of each edition.

Any serious collector of Magic: the Gathering knows of the infamous Summer Magic set. A botched release of, what would be, Fourth Edition. Before its mass dispersal, the set was recalled and destroyed- except for a few boxes that slipped away. Despite having a white border, Summer Magic cards have become some of the most elusive in the MTG collectors universe. 

Summer Magic, also called Edgar, differs very little from revised. To an untrained onlooker, a Summer Magic card wouldn't warrant any special attention.  

So how will you know if you have one of these spectacularly rare cards?

Other than a saturated color when compared to Revised, Summer Magic cards have a 1994 date on the bottom line before the artist's name. 

Look for 1994 in the artist line

Look for 1994 in the artist line

Values of even the lowest-end Summer Magic cards can be in the hundreds of dollars if you can find one.  Summer Magic versions of dual lands and other highly sought-after cards can be ten times more than their revised versions.

If you like this article, please check out our site! Ambr Grading is an independent authentication and grading company dedicated to serving the TCG community. We are experts in everything from Magic to Pokemon and more! When you want your cards to be authenticated and graded by people who know card games best, you'll want to go with Ambr Grading!