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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 15, 2001
Volume 2 covers Mirage, Visions, 5th Edition, Weatherlight, Portal, and Arena League (only 1 page for this last). As always, this volume covers ONLY those expansions released between the publication of the 1st and 3rd volumes of the encyclopedia, and ends with a "Deckbuilder's Indexes" section. This last is the only reference to other expansions of Magic, so it actually isn't useful anymore; the deckbuilder information for the most current volume should be used instead. Frankly, this volume should not have been released until a few more expansions were out; it's skimpy, but if you want complete coverage of all Magic expansions, you're pretty much trapped; the 2 stars are for the material not available in other volumes.
The introductory material (i.e., the section before the expansions are presented) is a bare minimum in this volume: "How to Use this Guide" and "A Visual Guide to Magic Cards". The book isn't intended to teach a newcomer to play the game, or to explain much of Magic strategy; seek elsewhere for that sort of thing. On the other hand, each expansion covered in Volume 2, as usual, is provided with its own introduction, describing any new twists added for that set (including new types of decks that came about as a result), any noteworthy cards in that set, and a very brief description of the storylines affected by the expansion). Consequently, the entertainment value of the introductions is in inverse proportion to the number of broken cards in the expansion and the severity of the flaws, so the introductions in this volume are much more bland than those of Volume 1.
For example, Mirage's introduction, the longest in the book, covers the introduction of "instant enchantment" and "Charm" cards, and two special abilities introduced with this expansion, "flanking" and "phasing". The descriptions of these characteristics compare them with pre-existing (i.e., volume 1) spells and game mechanics, so you need to be familiar with Magic to get anything out of this. Similarly, new cards introduced as toned-down versions of old spoiler cards don't come with a detailed description of the old card (e.g. Final Fortune vs. old Time Walk). The story line description is given in 4 paragraphs, padded with lots of white space, followed by two equally padded pages of details of famous Mirage cards: Grinning Totem, Celestial Dawn, Hammer of Bogardan, Maro, Tombstone Stairwell, and Political Trickery.
After each expansion's introduction, all its individual cards are listed in alphabetical order, shown at about 3/4 actual size. The versions of Magic that included those cards (at the time of printing) are specified, as well as any errata. The artwork came out fairly well, but the flavor text for red cards is hard to read. My copy suffers from other printing problems as well (the non-flavor text came out blurred for some Mirage cards). Each card's name is printed separately below the card, but it's annoying to pay money for this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2001
The collectable card game Magic: The Gathering was first released in 1993. Since then, dozens of expansion editions have been created and discontinued. This first Encyclopedia (made in 1996) shows every card from the first 8 editions - from Arabian Nights to Alliances (made in 1996) - as well as the whole 4th Edition (the Basic set at the time). Most interestingly of all the cards that were Discontinued before the 4th Edition are also displayed. All of the cards pictured in the book have been out of print for at least half a decade, so this is most likely the only place where you will be able to see them. The guide is well made, all in colour, official looking, and excellently laid out by the people who created the game. The card images have been shrunk by about 25% so that 12 of them can be fitted onto a side, however, the artwork and text are still clear. The rarity of each card is also detailed. As well as the encyclopedia images, there is a foreward by the game's creator, an introduction to each set (with each sets best cards highlited), deckbuilder's indexes, images of promotional cards, misprinted cards and oddities, a history of the game, and a visual guide to Magic cards (teaching how to identify ones from different sets, e.g. cards in the Alpha set have more rounded edges). I have owned this book for three years and I still refer to it regularly....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 1999
Definitely worth the money you pay for it! If you are looking for a good card encyclopedia, get this, you won't regret it! This includes: Fourth Edition, Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends, The Dark, Fallen Empires, Ice Age, Homelands, Alliances, Chronicles, Discontinued, and even Rare Promotional Cards! A must buy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2000
Among all 4 volume published, this is the most comprehensive, it contains every cards in magic during that time and this is the first - First Official Guide. Before having this guide, collectors have to keep track with Duelist or Inquest for a full list (in text). This book is not only a good book with all coloured pictures, it is also the best reference for any Magic Collectors. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 1997
This book has pictures of every card up to Alliances, and with its sequel is the ultimate guide to Magic. Always having the exact orginal
text at hand is cool, and it lets you look at
entire sets at once. It's great for persual and
finding what's rare and what's uncommon.

However... the book's missing everything after
Alliances, much of the errata has been changed,
sometimes because the Encyclopedia was blantantly
wrong, and the indexs can't even compare to a
computer based database, of which there is several on the Internet for free.

Unless you are in the several thousand card range dedicated player like I am, this book is probably not the best buy. On the other hand, the dedicated Magic player can find this book very enjoyable.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2000
This is a very good encyclopedia, with up to date cards, and even a discontinued & misprint section, both of which are interesting. The only problem with this book is that it is an encyclopedia. Nothing much else, besides an introduction to the book and each section, which should be expected. It gives no tips on, forsay, how to use the cards, or something to that effect. Overall it's a good book, if you're looking for an encyclopedia.
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on June 29, 1998
I am currently organizing the hundreds of Magic cards I have in a box by common, uncommon, rare, lands, and discontinued cards so I can put them in a card binder, and the Magic encyclopedia has been a very big help. It shows me the common, uncommon, etc. cards, and I cannot find anything else that tells that info. You can also see what cards you don't have so you can look for them. If you are a Magic Card Collector, please buy this book if you don't have it. It is great. Also, buy Volume 2 of the Magic encyclopedia.
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on September 15, 1998
I purchased this book in my second year of playing Magic the Gathering and it has been a great resource to me. Not only does it show every card in print up to a point but it has a great deckbuilders index. Even when im not using it as a resource it is very fun to look through. An excellent purchase.
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on December 29, 1998
This encyclopedia is an invaluable resource for any Magic player. No matter how many cards you have or how many times you've played the game, chances are you haven't seen every card. That's where this book comes in. Even dealers I spoke with said they learned about a few cards from this book.
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on June 27, 1998
When making a Magic site, or just looking through a book, this book and it's sequel by BethMo, make a very good Magic guide. I am waiting for the third volume to come out. I hope some day WotC decides to make one that has every Magic card to that date and a revised copy every year afterwords.
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