2023 Magic Set Symbols In Review

ALK Alters
6 min readDec 31, 2023

It’s time again for our annual set review post! 2023 introduced 21 new set symbols, one greater than in 2022! That’s year-to-year growth, which I like because I’m a CEO. Between the continuation of set-specific Commander and Alchemy releases, Universes Beyond releases with in-universe symbols, and more and more ancillary products we have an absolute deluge of symbols to review, so let’s go!

21: Alchemy 2024

We start with the 2024 Alchemy expansion set symbol. Like the rest of the Alchemy expansions, it’s the Arena “A” and the old core set box year. These consistently show up near the end of my list each year and this one is no exception. Next!

20: Shadows Over Innistrad Remastered

Another Arena release, this is the Remastered block set that combines Shadows Over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon. Like other Remastered releases, they try to combine the two sets’ symbols and to poor effect: this just looks like the Shadows Over Innistrad symbol with some extra little greeblies.

19: Special Guests

STOP DOING PENTAGONS. Sad to think that for the next several years we’re gonna have to get awesome versions of cards in our new Play Boosters messed up with such a basic pentagon symbol.

18: Commander Masters

And here we enter the Uncanny Commander Valley of Commander set symbols. Commander set symbols follow a similar design language: there is a shield. Commander Masters’ shield does convey a sense of imposing power, which makes sense for a Masters set, but they are really running out of ways to make just the shield work.

17: Phyrexia: All Will Be One Commander

One thing that helps the set-adjacent Commander releases this year is the strong symbolism from the sets themselves. From Phyrexia: All Will Be One, this means the iconic phi symbol on a shield. It works!

16: March of the Machine Commander

Instead of the main set symbol’s logo, the MOC symbol is Elesh Norn’s face mask. It’s neatly balanced but doesn’t really do much for me, especially after the deluge of Nornism from the two Phyrexia sets.

15: Tales of Middle-earth Commander

It’s the ring. On a shield. YA GET IT?

14: Dominaria Remastered

Dominaria Remastered features the prow of the Weatherlight. It’s a nice visual and makes for a nice little symbol, but I never felt the front view of the Weatherlight was all that special or memorable. Also, when are we getting the Weatherlight back?

13: Wilds of Eldraine: Enchanting Tales

The Enchanting Tales sheet features the diamond from all Wilds of Eldraine symbols. It’s a little weak otherwise, doing little to break out from the bunch.

12: The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth

Oh boy. It’s time to talk the triangle. Other Universes Beyond releases feature an iconic symbol or logo from their franchise (you’ll also note they are ranked much better on this list). The Tales of Middle-Earth symbol has this with the One Ring, but for some reason feels obligated to stick the Universes Beyond triangle behind it. I don’t know if this was for licensing reasons or something else but it really ruins how clean the symbol could look.

11: Phyrexia: All Will Be One

This symbol be THICC. Representing the world of New Phyrexia with the phi symbol, the global nature of this symbol makes it take a little to much space in the wrong places. It’s rare to get a Standard symbol this high on the listing but I really did not care for it.

10: March of the Machine: The Aftermath

This miniset’s symbol pretty well represents the inciting event of which we are Aftermathing. Concerns about the set aside, the symbol works pretty well.

9: Multiverse Legends

I like it when symbols take elements from the physical cards. Here, the Multiverse Legends symbol features the legendary crown and breaks it up with one of Realmbreaker’s invasion portals.

8: Doctor Who

It’s the TARDIS! This is what I mean when I saw Universes Beyond feature iconic symbols from their franchise, nothing is more iconic to Doctor Who than the TARDIS. The only reason this isn’t higher is how squished it feels to fit vertically on the typeline, like it’s bending in on itself.

7: March of the Machine

March of the Machine’s symbol features Elspeth’s sword crashing into New Phyrexia, in a twist on the phi symbol and fitting for the end of the Phyrexian arc.

6: Shadows of the Past

Shadows of the Past, a special Arena sheet for Shadows Over Innistrad Remastered, brings back cards from the original Innistrad block with this great new set symbol, featuring Avacyn’s Moonsilver Spear flanking the moon! It looks great and easily eclipses its main set’s symbol.

5: The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

A Commander set? This high!?!?! It’s a New Years Miracle! Lost Caverns of Ixalan Commander’s symbol nicely combines a compass rose and Mezoamerican symbols. The big issue here is the large amount of white space within the symbol.

4: Wilds of Eldraine Commander

A Commander set? This high plus one!?!?! It’s ANOTHER New Years Miracle! Here the standard shield comes off more as a book fitting the fairytale themes of the set. Here they limit white space and get the book feeling so perfectly.

3: Jurassic World Collection

The image of a fossilized t-rex skeleton became iconic almost instantly on the release of the original Jurassic Park, an image so strong that its creators plastered it all over the movie itself. It only makes sense to include it as the set symbol here, and it works great in the borderless full-art cards, with the black working nicely as negative space for the symbol.

2: The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

I have long expressed my love for wide expansion symbols, and this one certainly passes the mark. It’s also intricate- almost too intricate. I was really worried about how this one would read at card size because it DOESN’T read at internet image size, there are so many lines and detailing that the color different is lost. And while I think the symbol is still a little small, it certainly stands out, fits its theme, and is memorable.

1: Wilds of Eldraine

Once again, we open the fairy tale world of Eldraine… with great use of negative space and a nice width, the Wilds of Eldraine set symbol welcomes us back into the story as the official best set symbol of 2023.



ALK Alters

ALK Alters makes pretty Magic: the Gathering card alters on Twitter (@altersalk) and writes pretty good words about Magic: the Gathering he hopes. He/him.