All 2023 MTG Promo Cards

2023 is set to be a great year for fans of Magic: the Gathering. We have a bunch of exciting new sets coming our way. And each one of those sets will feature special promo cards as a part of Magic’s 30 Year Anniversary celebration.

In this article I’ll go over every promo card for every set coming out in 2023. Stay tuned!

Table of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Phyrexia: All Will Be One
  3. March of the Machine
  4. The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth
  5. Wilds of Eldraine
  6. The Lost Caverns of Ixalan
  7. End Step

Magic 30 Year Anniversary Promos

Wizards of the Coast have revealed the prerelease promo cards for each upcoming set until the end of 2023. This includes Dominaria United, Phyrexia: All Will Be One, March of the Machines, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, Wilds of Eldraine, Lost Caverns of Ixalan, and one unnamed set. All of these promos will be a special card from a particular year of MTG’s history.

Let’s look at the promos for the first set scheduled for 2023: Phyrexia: All Will Be One.

Phyrexia: All Will Be One

Phyrexia: All Will Be One will have four promo cards. They are Kor HavenVindicateExalted Angel, and Temple of the False God. These promos represent the years 2000, 2001 and 2003.

Having a card for each year of Magic is a very exciting way to do promos. Each one is a glimpse back into a particular year of Magic’s past. With that said, in addition to the cards themselves, we’ll be looking at a bit of history too. Including what set the card was originally printed in, what impact they’ve had on the game and what other good cards came out that year that Wizard’s could have chosen instead.

Related: MTG 2023 Release Schedule

Kor Haven

kor haven

Kor Haven was originally printed in Nemesis in February of 2000. That set also revolved around the Phyrexian invasion of Dominaria. It focuses on the Phyrexians’ effort to choose an adequate replacement leader for Rath, after Volrath abandoned his post.

The prerelease card for Nemesis way back in 2000 was a foil Rathi Assassin. However, Kor Haven and Rathi Assassin aren’t what the top players in 2000 were sleeving up. What cards were dominating the tournament scene back then? Well, let us have a look into the past.

Best Decks Of The Year 2000

You can find a full list for each deck here.

Vindicate

Don’t mourn for me. This is my destiny.

Gerrald—Original Vindicate Flavor Text
vindicate promo

Vindicate is an excellent card that comes from 2001’s Apocolypse. Like Nemesis before it, Apocolypse focuses on the Phyrexian conflict in Dominaria. It’s no surprise that cards from this era landed as Phyrexia: All Will Be One promo cards.

In Apocolypse, the Weatherlight has made its way to the heart of Phyrexia. Once there, Gerrad (a member of the crew who was made an orphan by the Phyrexians) is made to fight to the death against Urza. With Urza stripped of his powers by Yawgmoth, Gerrad defeats and decapitates him.

Then, Gerrad takes the powerstones from Urza’s eyes and places them into Karn’s chest; completing the Legacy weapon and wiping Yawgmoth away. However, Urza, Gerrald, and the Weatherlight are also taken out in the blast. The last of the ship’s planeswalking power moves into Karn; He then becomes a planeswalker himself.

vindicate

You can see the card as it appeared in 01 (and in English) here. It depicts the Weatherlight about to be in an explosion with the flavor text from above. With its reprinting in Modern Horizon’s two, it became Modern legal and sees play in a variety of formats.

When I need removal for a permanent at a cheap rate Vindicate is my go-to. I expect this to be the most popular of the Phyrexia: All Will Be One promos.

Related: Dominaria United: Promo Cards

Best Decks Of The Year 2001:

What were the top decks from 2001? Well, some of the world championship decks were:

  • A Grixis (blue, black, red) control deck that closed games with Nether Spirit.
  • A mono-blue merfolk deck that locked opponents out of untapping their permanents with Static Orb and Opposition.
  • A Rakdos (Black, Red) aggro deck that used creatures like Flametongue Kavu as threats and removal.
  • A Jund (Black, Red, Green) deck that ramped its way into Fires of Yavimaya and Spiritmonger to beat opponents down.

Sounds like a pretty healthy meta to me. You can find the full decklists here.

Exalted Angel

exalted angel

Exalted Angel comes from the 2002 set Onslaught. The events of Onslaught occur on the continent of Otaria on the Plane of Dominaria and happen 100 years after the events of Apocolypse. The story here revolves around magic that is growing the residents and creatures of the forest to gigantic proportions.

Here we get a glimpse of how the events of the previous sets affected the plane of Dominaria as a whole. Looking at Exalted Angel in particular, it may not be powerful by today’s expectations but it was a star in the Standard of its time.

What was the prerelease promo for Onslaught back in the day? It was a foil Silent Specter, which was a disruptive threat that, like Exalted Angel, had the Morph ability. As mentioned, Exalted Angel did see quite a bit of play… But it wasn’t in many top decks. Let’s have a look at what was at the top of the pack in 2002.

Best Decks Of The Year 2002

The world championships of 2002 were dominated by two decks. The top eight consisted of:

You can find the full lists for the decks here if you want to check them out.

Temple of the False God

temple of the false god

Temple of the False Gods comes from the Scourge set, which came out in March 2003. We’re once again in Otaria on Dominaria for this set. The continent is still untouched for the most part by the destruction the rest of the plane has seen. However, the mutations that are occurring there are worsening.

Soldiers become more beasts than men. The inhabitants of the forest become nearly melded with their environments. Last, but certainly not least, there is the walking dead who seem to have even more limbs than they died with. Having said that, Tribal themes were a prominent part of the set. Some of the tribes to get cards in Scourge were:

  • Beasts
  • Clerics
  • Dragons
  • Elves
  • Soldiers
  • Slivers
  • Wizards
  • Zombies

Despite Vampires not being amongst the Tribes that had support in Scourge, the prerelease promo for the set was a Vampire. In fact, it is the only Vampire in the entire set. The card was a special foil version of Soul Collector.

Temple of the False God didn’t see a ton of play upon release. However, in the years to come it would prove a popular card in Commander. So much so, that the card gets a printing in Commander Precons very often.

As a result, there are an astonishing twenty different printings of the card. This is another of the Phyrexia: All Will Be One promos I expect players will be happy to get.

Best Decks Of The Year 2003

Continuing our theme here, let’s take a look at the best decks around in this year of MTG’s history. Here are the top eight decks from 2003:

You can find a full list for each of these decks here.

Buy-a-box Promo

We don’t know what the buy-a-box promo will be just let. Whenever it is revealed though, you’ll find it here.

March of the Machines Promo Cards

The March of the Machines promo cards are Eternal Witness, Chord of Calling and Niv Mizzet, the Firemind. They come from 2004, 2005, and 2006. So, in addition to each of the cards, we’ll look at that year in Magic’s history as well. Let’s keep our history lesson going.

Eternal Witness

eternal witness

The iconic Eternal Witness was first printed in 2004’s Fifth Dawn. Fifth Dawn takes us away from Dominaria and onto the plane of Argentum, better known as Mirrodin. Argentum was created by Karn and was left under the supervision of one of his creations, a Golem named Memnarch, while Karn explored the Multiverse after becoming a Planeswalker.

When Memnarch gets into the Phyrexian Oil that Karn has stored on the plain he becomes corrupted. In this contaminated state, he is obsessed with becoming a Planeswalker like his creator. It is now that he transforms Argentum into Mirrodin, which has been described as a giant greenhouse designed to produce and nurture life forms that could possess sparks for Memnarch to steal.

Eternal Witness is the first promo so far to be featured heavily in the top decks the year of its release. It has also continued to see play in several formats since then. It’s heavily played in Commander, where it is part of a lot of combos. A combo I like to run with it is Eternal WitnessPhyrexian Altar, and Kaya’s Ghostform.

With all three cards you can cast Kaya’s Ghostform targeting Eternal Witness. Then sacrifice Eternal Witness to Phyrexian Altar. When you do, Eternal Witness returns to the battlefield thanks to Kaya’s Ghostform and you can use the mana from Phyrexian Altar to recast Kaya’s Ghostform. This can be repeated over and over and is just one example of how Eternal Witness can be used and abused.

I suspect this will be the most coveted of the March of the Machines promo cards. I expect it to turn up quite a bit in flashy EDH decks.

Best Decks Of The Year 2004

Continuing with our theme from the Phyrexia: All will be One Promos, let’s take a look at what the game of Magic looked like back in 2004. Let’s look at some of the very top decks from that year That is, after all, the point of having a promo for each year. So, here are the top eight decks of 04:

If you’re interested in seeing the full lists for each of these decks, you can find them here.

Chord of Calling

chord of calling

Chord of Calling was first printed in Ravnica: City of Guilds in 2005. It was a cornerstone of a few Modern creature-based combo decks like Elves and “Kikki Chord.” It seen an uptick in play in such decks after the banning of Birthing Pod from Modern. Furthermore, Chord sees quite a bit of play in go-wide strategies in Commander.

Having said that, there will be quite a lot of Elves players that are going to love getting their hands on the March of the Machines promo version of this iconic card. As mentioned, the card was originally printed in 2005 in Ravnica: City of Guilds. So, let’s take a look at the set and that year in MTG’s history.

Starting with Ravnica, the set introduced hybrid mana symbols. It was also the first time that four of the ten dual-colored guilds would make an appearance. Ravnica was also unique from a storyline prospective. The city of Ravnica itself covers the entire plane on which it exists and is home to 10 (one for each of the two color-combinations) guilds.

Until the signing of the Guildpact the 10 guilds fought for political control of the city. With the signing, came about 1000-years of relative peace. That however comes to an end as tensions escalate once again. This renewed conflict was at the heart of the next few sets.

Ravnica is also note worthy for being the set in which the “Shock Lands” were first printed. Additionally, the very powerful “Dredge” mechanic and many of its best cards come from the set. Here is a list of some of the best cards:

Related: MTG Dual Lands: All Your Questions Answered

Best Decks Of The Year 2005

Most of the decks from 2005 were playing some number of Umezawa’s Jitte and Pithing Needle. And playsets of Meloku the Clouded Mirror showed up in several decks as well. Below you’ll find a rundown of each deck, but if you want a full list for each deck you can find it here. The top eight decks of the year were as follows:

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind

niv mizzet the firemind

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind is a very powerful card that comes from the 2006 set, Guildpact.

There are a plethora of near-infinite game-winning combos that his abilities enable. As a result, he sees quite a bit of play in the 99 of Izzet decks. The combo potential here has nearly limitless variations, so I’ll just show my personal favorite way to combo with him.

With simply a Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind out with a Curiosity attached to him, you get infinite card draw, and near-infinite damage. This is just a single combo, and there are tons more. But did Niv see play back in 2006? We’ll let’s take a look at the best decks of that year and find out.

Best Decks Of The Year 2006

Some of the top eight decks from 2006 featured big mana and explosive ramp spells. Let’s take a look at the decks:

A full deck list for each of the decks above is here.

Buy-A-Box Promo

We don’t know what the buy-a-box promo will be just let. Whenever it is known though, you’ll find it here.

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth Promo Cards will be: Tarmogoyf (Japanese language), Glen Elendra Archmage, Acidic Slime, and Terrastodon. These four cards represent the years 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Tarmagoyf

Tarmagoyf

Tarmagoyf was printed in the Future Sight set in 2007 and was an instant success. Its cheap casting cost and powerful static ability made it one of the best creatures in the game for a very long time.

Though Tarmagoyf doesn’t see as much play nowadays, it’s still a sought after card. I suspect that most players will be thrilled to get a promo copy of this iconic creature.

Best Decks of the Year 2007

Tarmagoyf was a huge part of the Standard Meta in 2007. Out of the top 8 decks, five of them played at least three copies of Goyf. Let’s take a look at the top 8 decks of the year.

  • The winner of the top 8 was a “Doran Aggro” deck that used Doran, the Siege Tower to allow lots of low-mana high-toughness creatures deal lots of damage. The deck also used a lot of the popular black/green midrange shell of the time.
  • There were also a few black/green midrange decks that relied heavily on hand-disruption like Thoughtsieze and Liliana Vess as well as strong removal.
  • The rest of the top 8 was filled out by Elves tribal decks using mana-dorks and Tarmagoyf, and a pair of spicy Dragonstorm decks. These latter used a combination of Rite of Flame, Lotus Bloom, and Spinerock Knoll in addition to a burn package, to cast Dragonstorm and put multiple copies of Bogardan Hellkite into play.

You can find a full list for each deck here.

Glen Elendra Archmage

Glen Elendra Archmage

Glen Elendra Archmage is an amazing commander card. She’s basically two negates in one since she recurs herself. And since your opponents can see her the entire time, they’re way less likely to use their spells to target you.

With that said, however, Glen Elendra Archmage wasn’t too crazy powerful back in the 2008 Standard Meta. Faerie decks ran wild in the 2008 top 8 and Glen Elendra appeared in most of the sideboards as an extra piece of counter-magic. She didn’t make the cut in any mainboards, however.

Best Decks of the Year 2008

  • Of the eight best decks in 2008, five of them were Faerie decks. These took advantage of the powerful Bitterblossom enchantment, versatile creatures such as Vendilion Clique and counter-magic like Cryptic Command.
  • There was also mono-white Kithkins, red/black aggro deck, and five-color control.

Acidic Slime

Acidic Slime

Acidic Slime is a versatile removal piece on a 2/2 deathtouching body. Getting a two-for-one is pretty easy with Acidic Slime, making it a great commander card. It is a bit too pricey, however, at five mana, to shine in other formats.

As such, it wasn’t the best cards back in 2009 Standard. That honor has to go to none other than Bloodbraid Elf which dominated the format.

Best Decks of the Year 2009

  • Five of the Top 8 decks from 2009 revolved around Bloodbraid Elf, although the specifics of the decks varied. The most popular was varieties were Jund or Naya.
  • Boros Aggro and mono-White Tokens were also both strong decks in the format.

Terastodon

Terastodon

Terastadon did have a small impact back in 2010 Standard, making an appearance in Eldrazi decks. It’s selection as a promo card, however, probably has more to do with its popularity in the commander format. Getting a 9/9 body and destroying three different permanents is pretty insane, regardless of casting cost.

If we were simply choosing the most memorable card of 2010, we would probably have to go with Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Jace absolutely ruled the 2010 Standard format. Six of the top eight decks in 2010 used a full playset of Jace in the mainboard. JTMS was so powerful that it went on to be banned in both Standard and Modern.

Best Decks of the Year 2010

  • Five of the top 8 decks were blue/black control builds using Jace, the Mind Sculptor, counterspells, hand disruption and boardwipes. A blue/white variation also managed to crack the top 8.
  • There was also a terrifying green Eldrazi deck that used a combination of Primeval Titan, cards like Explore and Growth Spasms, and Summoning Trap to cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre. Summoning Trap was the perfect answer for the control heavy decks that dominated the format.
  • The only other deck to make a top 8 finish was a black/red Vampire deck that used aggressive creatures like Vampire Lacerator, Bloodghast and Pulse Tracker. This deck also had discard synergy with Viscera Seer. Looking back on it, it’s kind of crazy there were so many powerful cards in one standard format at the same time.

Wilds of Eldraine

The Wilds of Eldraine promo cards will be Hornet Queen (French Language), Harvester of Souls, Kalonian Hydra and Goblin Rabblemaster. These four cards represent the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Hornet Queen

Hornet Queen

Hornet Queen gives you five creatures all at once! Five deathtouch creatures, no less. The mana cost, however, makes this promo mostly for commander players. Hornet Quuen never managed to make a huge impact in 2011 Standard, even despite green ramp being a big part of the format. There were simply much more powerful spells to ramp into than Hornet Queen, such as Primeval Titan, Inferno Titan and Green Sun’s Zenith.

Best Decks of the Year 2011:

Harvester of Souls

Harvester of Souls

Harvester of Souls is, in my opinion, an underwhelming choice for 2012’s promo card. The card is okay for commander decks that want to sacrifice a lot of creatures. I used to really enjoy pairing him with Razaketh, the Foulblooded back in the day. Nowadays, however, there are other cards like Midnight Reaper, that can do the same thing for a lot cheaper.

Best Decks of 2012:

  • Most of the top 8 of 2012 was made up of Zombie tribal and Azorius Delver of Secrets decks. Zombies ended up winning it all. Blood Artist and Falkenrath Aristocrat paired with Gravecrawler proved to be a brutal combination.
  • There were also mono-green Infect and an Esper Control deck that did well.

Kalonian Hydra

Kalonian Hydra

Kalonian Hydra is another great commander card. Wizards really seemed to target players of Magic’s most popular format with these promos. Not only does Kalonian Hydra double it’s counters every time it attacks, it also doubles the counters for all the creatures on your side. Like a lot of the cards on this list, however, it’s high mana cost keeps it from being super impactful in any format other than commander. Despite it being a chase-rare, the hydra didn’t make much of an impact at the competitive level back in 2013 Standard.

So what did the best decks of 2013 look like? Let’s take a look.

Best Decks of the Year 2013:

  • The 2013 top 8 was dominated by Midrange/ Control decks. Four of the decks were Jeskai Control using Snapcaster Mage to recast powerful instants and sorceries like Supreme Verdict and Sphinx’s Revelation. There were also two Jund Midrange decks that did well.
  • Competing against all of the midrange were Humans tribal and Gruul Aggro.

Goblin Rabblemaster

Goblin Rabblemaster

Goblin Rabblemaster is a solid choice for 2014’s promo card. After all, it was a big part of 2014 and 2015 Standard, and even made it’s way into the Modern format a few years after it rotated.

Best Decks of the Year 2014:

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan promo cards will be Dragonlord Atarka, Dramatic Reversal, Path of Ancestry and Beast Whisperer. These three cards represent the years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Dragonlord Atarka

Dragonlord Atarka

Dragonlord Atarka is a powerful Dragon that still sees lots of play in commander to this day. Dragonlord Atarka didn’t make much noise in the competitive Standard scene back in 2015, despite the format being filled with Dragon decks. But still, I personally think this was a solid choice for 2015’s Promo card.

As I mentioned above, Dragonlord Atarka wasn’t a huge part of 2015 Standard, so what exactly were the best decks of that year? Let’s take a look.

Best Decks of the Year 2015:

  • The top 8 of 2015 was dominated by Abzan Midrange. These decks relied heavily on hand disruption (Thoughtseize), Abzan Charm and high-value creatures like Siege Rhino and Courser of Kruphix.
  • Dragon Tribal was also a dominant force in 2015 Standard, though these decks usually ran relatively few actual dragon cards. Instead, they loaded up on boardwipes and counterspells, and relied on the dragons to finish the opponent off once they had full control.

Dramatic Reversal

dramatic Reversal

Dramatic Reversal is a cool card that facilitates a lot of combos. It wouldn’t have been my first choice for 2016’s promo card, however.

Best Decks of the Year 2016:

  • The top 8 in 2016 was dominated by Collected Company decks. The powerful sorcery spell put creature based builds way over the edge. Creatures with interaction like Spell Queller and Reflector Mage were perfect beneficiaries of Collected Company.
  • There was also a Human Tribal version of the Company build that used Thalia’s Lieutenant to take the aggro to another level. This is the deck that ended up winning it all.

Path of Ancestry

path of ancestry

Here we come to the first and only 2023 promo card that wasn’t printed in a standard MTG set. Path of Ancestry was printed in Commander 2017, and ever since then it’s been an EDH staple. I personally love including this card in my multicolored EDH decks since it can basically tap for any colour, and it lets you scry if you have any tribal stuff going on.

Overall, I think Path of Ancestry is a solid choice for 2017’s Promo, even though the card doesn’t have the nostalgic value some of the other cards on this list have.

Best Decks of the Year 2017:

Beast Whisperer

beast whisperer

Beast Whisperer is an awesome card and I’m super happy to have it as a promo. You can’t beat Beast Whisperer for creature based decks. I love it in my Doran, the Siege Tower EDH deck. Really, any commander deck that uses lots of creatures can benefit from Beast Whisperer.

Best Decks of 2018

End Step

Well that does it for the 2023 Magic promo cards. I hope you’ve enjoyed the trip down memory lane. And I hope you’re as excited as I am to get your hands on some of these cards. Nothing brings back memories like getting a card that you used to play with back in the day.

Until next time, I wish you the best of luck in all of your Magic adventures!

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Joe Doak

I started playing Magic in 2015 after impulsively buying a fat-pack of Khans of Tarkir. It didn't take long for me to fall in love with the game, and it's been a big part of my life ever since. Nowadays, I play moslty Modern, Commander, and Limited, but also enjoy keeping up with Standard. Whatever the format, I always find a way to brew up janky decks, convince myself they're great, get proven wrong, and love every second of it.

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