10th edition is out and I was thinking about what are the characteristics of a good core set? One way to gauge the popularity of each core set is to look at the market value of each set. If you divide the cost of the whole set by the number of cards in the set, you will get the average cost for a single card.
4th edition is 0.45
5th edition is 0.36
6th edition is 0.60
7th edition is 0.63
8th edition is 0.71
9th edition is 0.72
On average, each card from the 6th to 9th edition has each increased in value over the previous set. The average cost of a card in the 6th edition was 60 cents while for 9th edition it is 72 cents. 5th Edition is the runt of the family. Each card is only worth 36 cents. It weighed in at 434 cards, and apparently none of those cards were very interesting to players. Thankfully, every core set after that had only a lean 350 cards.
Core sets tend to be composed of average cards when compared to an expert set like Time Spiral. For some reason and marketing is the only one that would know, core sets are labeled “advanced” while regular sets are marked “expert.” Core sets have many plain creatures as well the normal abilities of that color i.e. blue draws cards and red burns things.
Core sets have a lasting impact on constructed. The pain lands like Adarkar Wastes from 9th Edition have influenced almost every deck in the constructed format. The pain lands increased the power level of 9th Edition over its predecessor, although you may remember that they were included in the preceding three core sets. Core sets are also designed to be easier for beginners to learn and I agree with that. I started learning Magic during Mirrodin and all of those artifact cards were confusing. I played with the 8th Edition theme decks until I really understood the game.