Alpha was designed by Richard Garfield and the Limited Edition design and development team (Charlie Cateeno, Skaff Elias, Don Felice, Tom Fontaine, Jim Lin, Joel Mick, Chris Page, Dave Pettey, Barry Reich, Bill Rose, and Elliott Segal).
Alpha cards can easily be distinguished from Beta and all other cards by their more rounded corners. Early tournament rules required that all cards must appear unmarked without the use of protective sleeves, and the unique corners of Alpha cards originally made them marked cards in a deck not entirely comprised of Alpha cards. This initially made them less desirable and thus less valuable than Beta and even Unlimited cards.
Due to the printing process, it is possible to get land cards in a rare, uncommon, or common card slot. The chance is approximately 3.31% for rares, 21.5% for uncommons and 38.02% for commons. This is because they put lands on all three print sheets. However, as part of the idea to keep players from guessing rarities, the only lands on the rare sheet were four copies of Island.
Alpha contained a number of errors that were fixed in the second, or Beta release: Circle of Protection: Black and Volcanic Island were accidentally left out of the set entirely. Additionally, only two versions of each basic land with unique artwork were included.
Alpha was released at Origins in July/August 1993 with a small run of 2.6 million cards. Cards were sold in 60-card starter decks and 15-card boosters. The set did not receive much exposure beyond the west coast of the United States.
The 32-page rulebook (added to the starter decks) had Bog Wraith on the cover and contained "Worzel's Story" by Richard Garfield.Languages: English