21 Magic Facts and Stats from 2021

2021 has been quite the year for Magic. In this article, I wanted to look back on the year via 21 interesting Magic facts and tidbits, most of which were derived by analyzing Scryfall’s “Default Cards” JSON dataset on December 14. A quick overview of the topics I’ll cover is as follows:

  • Numbers 1-3 deal with the massive amount of card objects released in 2021.
  • Numbers 4-10 dive into the art and text on Magic cards in 2021.
  • Numbers 11-16 provide various creature-related statistics from 2021.
  • Numbers 17-21 deal with the metagame and competitive aspects in 2021.

Let’s run the numbers!



Header - Card Objects

1. A record-setting 7565 card objects from 76 sets were released this year

In recent years, the number of set releases and card variations has been ramping up. In 2021, new records were set: according to Scryfall’s definitions, 7,565 card objects were released in 2021 to date, belonging to 76 different sets. This even beat last year’s record of 6,750 card objects from 68 sets.

A card object can be an alternate art or promo version of another card. For example, there are five card objects named Kaya the Inexorable – the variations include the regular frame, an alternate art version, a promo version, the prerelease card, a special Magic Online version and the Pro Tour promo. Note that a printing in another language or a foil is not counted as a variation.

A set can range from a tiny collection to a major release. The largest 2021 releases, all with 360 distinct card objects each, were Modern Horizons 2, Innistrad: Crimson Vow, Time Spiral Remastered, Kaldheim, Commander 2021, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, Jumpstart: Historic Horizons and Strixhaven: School of Mages. In total, these nine major releases combined featured 3701 different card objects, but that’s only 49.0 percent of the total.

The remaining 67 sets are generally much smaller, and they don’t necessarily correspond to what you might think of as a ‘set’. For example, Kaldheim Promos, Kaldheim Art Series, Kaldheim Tokens, Kaldheim Minigames and Kaldheim Commander are all treated as a separate set. The list of sets with releases in 2021 also includes such things as Secret Lairs, Historic Anthology 5, the Pioneer Challenge Decks 2021, The List, Alchemy: Innistrad and so on.

No matter how you slice it, if you’re an Magic vendor or collector, then it keeps getting more complicated to keep up with all the new product releases. If you’re a fanatic competitor and have been getting fatigued, then that’s supported by the data as well. 

Wizards has been ramping up the speed at which new cards get released, and I would like to quote something Mark Rosewater wrote in 2008:

“As we examined the barriers for entry to the game, we realized that the speed of release of new cards was front and center. If new players quickly get overwhelmed they tend to walk away, never to return… We were just printing too many cards.”

That  quote was from 2008, where the number of new card objects and sets was less than half of what it was this year. Rosewater’s statement applies all the more today.

In fact, 50 percent of all card objects were released in the 22 years from 1993 to 2014, and the other 50 percent was released in the seven years from 2015 to 2021. That’s a pretty absurd imbalance to consider.


Learn MoreRegister Now

CFBPro Members: Please note that as of 2022/01/31, we have merged CFBPro logins with the ChannelFireball Marketplace. Before you login for the first time, please see this article for more information, and contact us if you have any questions, or if your login is no longer accessing CFBPro articles.
Login Page

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top