Fifth Edition

Fifth Edition was the seventeenth Magic: The Gathering set, released in March 1997. It contained 449 cards, counting multiple illustrations of the basic lands, making it the largest card set in the game's history. It was the first edition of the core set to reprint cards from Fallen Empires, Ice Age, and Homelands.[4][5][8][18] Like its predecessors, Revised and Fourth Editions, Fifth Edition made numerous changes to the game's rules and card mix. The set's designers stated in The Duelist that they wanted to prune from the base set cards that were too powerful or too weak. Many overpowered cards from Limited and Unlimited Editions had survived the past two rotations were removed from Fifth, but a handful, including Dark Ritual, still survived. Unlike its predecessors, though, Fifth Edition also removed many cards that Magic's Design and Development team saw as just a little bit too good, but not quite so powerful as to heavily disrupt tournaments, including Lightning Bolt, Swords to Plowshares, and Serra Angel. Many of these cards were brought back in later sets after the designers had re-evaluated their impact on play. A few cards that were in Revised but had been cut from Fourth were brought back as well. Fifth Edition also set a new precedent by changing the artwork and/or flavor text on many cards, especially the five basic lands, each of which was given four new illustrations to replace its original three. This was done so that WotC would not have to continue to pay for the use of many arts done for earlier sets, as originally artists were paid royalties for their artwork being used, instead of a flat fee as is done today for new Magic art.[citation needed] Fifth Edition was the first version of the base set to reprint cards from the Fallen Empires and Homelands expansion sets; it also reprinted more cards from those sets than any other version of the base set has. Because those expansion sets were perceived by some players as weak, there was some dissatisfaction with the Fifth Edition card mix. However, many of the reprinted cards were good enough to be used in tournaments, and at least one Ice Age card, Necropotence, was later considered so overpowered as to merit banning from a number of sanctioned tournament formats. Fifth Edition was the first version of the base set to use the cosmetic changes that were introduced in the Mirage expansion (including a slightly expanded text box and bolder, more visible power/toughness numbers) It was also the last version of the base set to use what are sometimes referred to as the "old rules". The rules were drastically changed in Sixth Edition.

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