The trading card game Magic: The Gathering has released a large number of sets since it was first published by Wizards of the Coast. After the 1993 release of Limited Edition, also known as Alpha and Beta, roughly 3-4 major sets have been released per year, in addition to various spin-off products. Magic has made three types of sets since Alpha and Beta: base/core sets, expansion sets, and compilation sets. Expansion sets are the most numerous and prevalent type of expansion; they primarily consist of new cards, with few or no reprints, and either explore a new setting, or advance the plot in an existing setting. Strixhaven is the most recent expansion set as of April 2021. Base sets, later renamed core sets, are the successors to the original Limited Edition and are meant to provide a baseline Magic experience; they tended to consist either largely or entirely of reprints. Compilation sets also exist entirely of reprints, and tend to be made as either a special themed product, or as a way to increase supply of cards with small printings. Examples of compilation sets with randomized boosters include Chronicles and Modern Masters. There also exist compilation products with a pre-selected and fixed card pool, such as the Duel Decks and From The Vault series. Theme decks serve a similar function; however, they are always attached to a specific set or block, while compilations are free to pick and choose cards from any set.
All expansion sets, and all editions of the base set from Sixth Edition onward, are identified by an expansion symbol printed on the right side of cards, below the art and above the text box. From Exodus onward, the expansion symbols are also color-coded to denote rarity: black for common and basic land cards, silver for uncommon, and gold for rare. Beginning with the Shards of Alara set, a red-orange expansion symbol denotes a new rarity: "Mythic Rare" (the Time Spiral set featured an additional purple coloration for "timeshifted" cards). For the early expansion sets (from Arabian Nights to Alliances), the rarities of cards were often much more complicated than the breakdown into common, uncommon, and rare suggests. Cards in compilations are assigned partially arbitrary rarity by Wizards, with some cards assigned rare status and some assigned mythic rare in a given set.