Time Spiral

Time Spiral

Infobox mtgset
Expansion Name = "Time Spiral"
Expansion Symbol =
Symbol Description = An hourglass
Release Date = October 6 2006
Size = 301 cards + 121 timeshifted
Keywords = Buyback, Echo, Flanking, Flash, Flashback, Kicker, Madness, Morph, Shadow, Split Second, Storm, Suspend, Threshold
Mechanics = Timeshifted cards, Slivers, Thallids, Spellshapers, Rebels
Designers = Brian Tinsman (lead), Aaron Forsythe, Devin Low, Mark Rosewater
Developers = Brian Schneider (lead), Michael Donais, Aaron Forsythe, Devin Low, Matt Place
Development Code = Snap
Expansion Code = TSP
Last Set = "Coldsnap"
Next Set = "Planar Chaos"
Block Name = Time Spiral
Set Position = First
First Set = "Time Spiral"
Second Set = "Planar Chaos"
Third Set = "Future Sight"

"Time Spiral" is a expansion set, released October 6, 2006. [http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/arcana/1031 Announcing Time Spiral] by Magic Arcana, "MTG.com", March 9, 2006 (accessed June 6, 2007)] The set is laden with references to previous Magic: the Gathering sets and is the first to take place in Dominaria since the May 2003 set "". The references are reflected in the card design, which incorporates special rules from older sets, and in the "Timeshifted" cards, which are cards reprinted from older sets using the older card design (abandoned three years previous with the 2003 release of .) The "Time Spiral" expansion symbol is an hourglass.

Time Spiral is the first set in the block of the same name. (A "block" consists of three theme-related expansion sets released over a period of a year.) It is followed by Planar Chaos, which deals with alternate timelines and includes many cards reprinted from previous sets but changed in some fundamental way, and Future Sight, which is forward-looking, both in that it includes cards from settings not previously explored in previous sets and in that it includes many different new rules.

As with all Magic: the Gathering sets in recent years, Time Spiral is accompanied by a tie-in novel of the same name. "Time Spiral", written by Scott McGough, focuses on the efforts of Teferi to deal with the consequences of phasing out Shiv and Zhalfir during the Phyrexian Invasion. This novel was published in September 2006. [ [http://ww2.wizards.com/Company/Products/Default.aspx?doc=954707400 Products ] ]

Conception and design

Time Spiral was codenamed "Snap" during development.

In his preview articles, Mark Rosewater described "Time Spiral" as an expansion focused on the past, with its successors "Planar Chaos" and "Future Sight" to be centered around the present and future, respectively. This design was achieved through keywords and mechanics that interact with time, as well as cards based on those in previous sets, to promote a sense of nostalgia.

The size of the set had been in dispute prior to release, as Wizards issued two different sizes for the set, 301 and 422. Retailers were initially told that the set would include 422 cards, Wizards of the Coast sent a retraction email explaining that the set would in fact be 301 cards in size. The set size was then confirmed to be 301 cards, with 121 commons, 80 uncommons, 80 rares and 20 basic land. [ [http://wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/askwizards/0806 Ask Wizards - August, 2006 ] ] . The confusion came about because "Time Spiral" was released with a 'sub-set', 121 timeshifted cards in addition to the 301-card basic set. After the set officially went public, Rosewater said that Wizards of the Coast had released the apparently conflicting figures by accident, but ended up just as happy to have done so after seeing the speculation they fueled. [ [http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/mr248 Timeshifting into Gear] , Mark Rosewater, October 2, 2006.]

"Time Spiral" booster packs marked Wizards of the Coast’s new premium card distribution method, where premium cards replace commons, as opposed to replacing a card of the premium's standard rarity.


Creature types from previous block sets, such as , , and , have returned, in addition to new incarnations of old cards. Eight from past sets also returned in "Time Spiral", with some keywords not having appeared since 1997: Buyback, Echo, Flanking, Flashback, Madness, Morph, Shadow and Storm. Old non-keyword mechanics like rebels, spellshapers, and nightmares also appear on new cards. There are also several cards which directly allude to older, well-known cards, such as the Magus cycle: creatures that are functional reprints of the cards mtgcard|Cursed Scroll, mtgcard|Nevinyrral's Disk, mtgcard|Memory Jar, mtgcard|Mirror Universe, and mtgcard|Candelabra of Tawnos; and a cycle of slivers.

Timeshifted cards

To further represent the temporal chaos afflicting Dominaria, "Time Spiral" was released with an additional sub-set of 121 "Timeshifted" cards; reprints of certain cards taken from every set prior to "Mirrodin". These cards have all been updated to meet the current rules and keywording. To differentiate them from normal cards, Timeshifted cards are printed in the pre-"" card frame, with a purple "Time Spiral" expansion symbol. The Timeshifted cards are distributed one per booster pack and three per tournament pack (replacing a common card), and appear in the preconstructed decks. According to DCI-distributed tournament primers, Timeshifted cards are tournament legal wherever the main set is. [ [http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/mr247 Purple Reign] , by Mark Rosewater, "MTG.com", September 25, 2006]

Timeshifted cards also appear in "Planar Chaos" and "Future Sight", but are not direct reprints of older cards.

Temporal keywords

Three keyword mechanics based on the theme of time were introduced in "Time Spiral": Flash, Split Second, and Suspend.
* Flash allows a card to be played as though it were an Instant, regardless of its card type. Older cards with this ability have been updated with this keyword.
* Split second prevents spells or abilities from being played after a spell with that keyword is on the stack. Each colour has two cards with Split Second - one uncommon and one rare. Common cards were not given the ability because they are traditionally designed to avoid making reference to Magic: the Gathering's more complex rules, such as the stack.Fact|date=June 2007 All cards with Split Second are instants, except Celestial Crusader, a creature that also has Flash, and Quagnoth.
* Suspend echoes the "" card Ertai's Meddling and is written on a card as “Suspend X – Cost”. The player can pay the cheaper suspend cost instead of the mana cost and put X counters on the card. Every turn, during its controller's upkeep, a counter is removed. The card remains removed from the game and will only come into play only when all the counters are removed from it. [ [http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/arcana/1148 A Special Time Spiral Preview] , by 'Magic Arcana', MTG.com, August 23, 2006] Creatures played via Suspend gain .


The novel "Time Spiral", written by Scott McGough, tells the story of Teferi's return to Dominaria . It expands the setting and events depicted on the cards of Time Spiral into a full story. Teferi returns to Dominaria three hundred years after the Phyrexian invasion, to prepare for the return of Shiv and Zhalfir, the lands he phased out during the Phyrexian invasion. The stress of constant warfare and apocalypse (the Brothers' War, the Phyrexian invasion, Karona's War), combined with mana-draining rifts created by the overlaying of and Skyshroud (among other events across the multiverse, such as the near-destruction of Ulgrotha), have set off a chain reaction that has created ripples in the temporal fabric of the planes. The unphasing of Shiv threatens to destroy the plane of Dominaria, and in turn the entire multiverse. [cite book|title=Time Spiral|first=Scott|last=McGough|year=2006|edition=1st Edition|publisher=Wizards of the Coast|location=U.S.A.|id=ISBN 0-7869-3988-5]

After the defeat of Karona, the rifts in the planar fabric began to act as mana sinks, draining the lands of mana. Life on the plane became harsh and the temporal rifts made people and objects from Dominaria's past to be "dropped" into the present, leaving people stranded in unrecognizable lands that are thousands of years from their time.

Example cards

* Totem cycle: a five-card cycle of artifacts that can temporarily become artifact creature versions of powerful creatures from previous sets: mtgcard|Chronatog Totem (mtgcard|Chronatog), mtgcard|Phyrexian Totem (mtgcard|Phyrexian Negator), mtgcard|Thunder Totem (mtgcard|Thunder Spirit), mtgcard|Weatherseed Totem (mtgcard|Weatherseed Treefolk), mtgcard|Foriysian Totem (mtgcard|Two-Headed Giant of Foriys). [cite web|url=http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/arcana/1220|title=Totem Art|publisher=magicthegathering.com|date=2006-12-06|accessdate=2007-03-18]
* Legendary characters: a number of characters made famous by flavor text or card names have been created as cards. Most of these characters became far too powerful to be represented within the game, with many of them having a great impact on Dominarian history, and several discovering the power of the planeswalker. To permit them as cards, while fitting the 'broken time' theme of the set, the printed versions of the characters are taken from a point in their life before the character reached the peak of his or her power:
** mtgcard|Jaya Ballard, Task Mage: the first Spellshaper to have three abilities related to cards from previous sets (see: Jaya Ballard) [cite-web|url=http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/mc55|title=Jaya Ballard, Task Mage|first=Matt|last=Cavotta|date=2006-09-07|accessdate=2007-02-02]
** mtgcard|Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir: while Teferi is in play, opponents of Teferi's controller cannot play spells except when they could play a sorcery. [cite web|url=http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/feature/357|title=Time (Spiral) Is On My Side|first=Rei|last=Nakazawa|publisher=magicthegathering.com|date=2006-09-04|accessdate=2007-02-02]
*: This card is the finished version of the card designed by Tsuyoshi Fujita, 2005 Invitational finalist who lost to Terry Soh (who gave the design for mtgcard|Rakdos Augermage, which was put into the Dissension set). [cite web|url=http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/bd223|title=Inviting Design|first=Brian|last=David-Marshall|publisher=magicthegathering.com|date=2006-04-14] [cite web|url=http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/bd238|title=Inside U.S. Nationals|first=Brian|last=David-Marshall|publisher=magicthegathering.com|date=2006-07-26]
*: During the early days of Time Spiral, this card was unique in that it could remove a creature token from the game and then put that token back into the game due to a rules loophole. [cite web|url=http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/cotd/1006|title=Card of the Day - Monday, October 23, 2006] This special feature has since been scrapped.
*: This card is the first that restricts the turn on which it can be played. [cite-web|url=http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/mf110|title=Introducing Serra Avenger|first=Mike|last=Flores|publisher=magicthegathering.com|date=2006-09-07|accessdate=2007-02-02]
*: The "split second" mechanic means this card has made a significant impact in the Extended tournament format, thanks to its ability to kill creatures which have been notoriously difficult to remove in the past, in particular mtgcard|Psychatog. [cite web|url=http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/mf137|title=Thank You, Sudden Shock: The Second-to-Last-Page|first=Mike|last=Flores|publisher=magicthegathering.com|date=2007-03-15|accessdate=2007-03-18] . Another card with the same capability as Sudden Shock is mtgcard|Sudden Death.

Critical reception

The set was received with amazing response from older players. Many rejoined the game, surprised at the quality of the new expansion. The set allowed for diverse game play and a very fun environment. Despite drawing back many old players, the set was not as well received by the larger number of newer players. In Mark Rosewater's "State of Design 2007" article he goes on to explain reasons why the set was not as successful as they had hoped. The most important reason was that the nostalgic theme left newer players feeling "out of the loop".


External links

* [http://forums.mtgsalvation.com/showthread.php?t=30070 Confirmation and source of name]
* [http://wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/arcana/1031 Official announcement]
* [http://wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/feature/325 "You Decided!"]
* [http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=products/magicnovel/954707400 Official novel page]
* [http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/arcana/1138 Official booster pack designs]
* [http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/arcana/1165 Official display box and fat pack designs]
* Card lists
** [http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=magic/cardlist/timespiral Time Spiral Card List]
** [http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=magic/cardlist/timespiral-timeshifted 'Timeshifted' Cards]

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