|Release date||April 1995|
|Magic: The Gathering|
|Fallen Empires||Fourth Edition||Ice Age|
The Fourth Edition of Magic: The Gathering was the tenth set released for the game, and the fourth base set (or "core set"). The set was released in April 1995 and contained 378 cards. It was the first set to reprint cards from the expansions Legends and The Dark with white borders.
Fourth Edition was also the first Magic set to be printed in Asian languages, including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, as well as Portuguese, which was printed primarily for the Brazilian market. The Japanese edition was particularly successful and contributed to the burgeoning of Magic's popularity in Japan.
Fourth Edition included the bevelled border missing from the previous core set, Revised. The colors were also much brighter and crisper than Revised, in contrast to that set's wash-out appearance. This set was also the first core set to include a Wizards of the Coast copyright notice at the bottom of the card, in addition to the standard illustration credit.
Booster packs, for the first time in a core set, came in packs with cropped card art on the packaging. Up to this point, Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, and Revised all had a common-looking booster pack packaging. The cards Brass Man, Hurloon Minotaur, Mana Vault, Mesa Pegasus, and Spirit Link were shown on the booster packs. Starter packs were also improved, with mana symbols replacing the simple pentagram pattern present on the card back. Finally, an overall red theme was given to the packaging, which would persist for Fifth Edition before changing to green in Sixth.
Fourth Edition was the first set to offload its land printings to a dedicated land sheet. This freed up room on the other card sheets to include more spells. As a result, booster packs could now be produced without any lands, which Wizards decided to do. Fourth Edition lands were only available in starter decks. The change was mostly seen as a positive, since by this time lands were ubiquitous and players were unhappy to find a land in place of a "real" card.
Starter decks in this set included an additional rare, bringing the total to three. However, the starter decks contained fewer uncommons, going down to 9 from the previous 13.
Fourth Edition introduced the modern turned arrow tapped symbol, replacing the rotated "T" that had been introduced in Revised. This symbol was first used in an expansion with Ice Age, which was released in the previous month. Current cards still use the turned arrow, albeit with a slightly different illustration.
Like the previous core set and all core sets since, several cards were removed and new ones were added from Fourth Edition.
Among those cards removed were those that had attracted controversy from those outside the game. Most of the cards whose art depicted nude or near-nude humanoid forms (including Earthbind and Guardian Angel) were excised, as were many that had overtly religious themes (including Resurrection and Demonic Hordes), though one demon, Lord of the Pit, remained. One card, Unholy Strength had its artwork altered to remove a flaming inverted pentagram in the background.
Also removed were the original ten "dual lands" (one for each pair of Magic's five colors). With the ability to tap for one mana of either of two colors, they were deemed too powerful. Other cards pruned from the set for being too potent included Fork, Regrowth, and Sol Ring, while a few, such as Vesuvan Doppelganger or Kudzu, were considered too complicated (and the cause of too many headaches) to warrant their inclusion. One card dropped for being too complex, Clone, would return to Magic in the tribally themed Onslaught and to the core set in Ninth Edition after the rules dealing with cards of its kind had been streamlined.
Alternate Fourth Edition
Wizards has used Cartamundi as their card printer since Alpha. For some undocumented reason, during the production of Fourth Edition, the company experimented with using other vendors. It is possible that this was because the company was looking for a way to lower costs and gain more control over printing as Magic's playerbase grew larger and more international. Some cards were printed by the United States Playing Card Corporation, and had a thicker stock along with a glossy overcoat on the back. While these cards were not intended to be released, some starter packs were leaked out into public circulation. The cards do not glow under blacklight, unlike normal cards, and did not have the normal dot design on the back.