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Released in March of 1997, Fifth Edition was by far the largest version of the Magic: The Gathering; basic set. Fifth Edition contains a total of 429 cards, not including the basic lands.
Wizards has used Cartamundi as their card printer since Alpha. For some undocumented reason, during the production of Fourth Edition, the company experimented with using other vendors. It is possible that this was because the company was looking for a way to lower costs and gain more control over printing as Magic's playerbase grew larger and more international. Some cards were printed by the United States Playing Card Corporation, and had a thicker stock along with a glossy overcoat on the back. While these cards were not intended to be released, some starter packs were leaked out into public circulation. The cards do not glow under blacklight, unlike normal cards, and did not have the normal dot design on the back.
Released in April 1995, Fourth Edition was a new version of the Magic: The Gathering; basic set. In a continuing attempt to balance and add new flavor to the game, fifty-one cards were removed from the Revised Edition and 122 cards from previous expansions were added, bringing the total cards to 378.
The Revised Edition of the basic set was released in April 1994 with 306 cards. The white-bordered set "cleaned up" several rules and graphical oversights from the previous Unlimited basic set.
These first 10 million cards sold out quickly, and in December 1993, the Unlimited Edition was released. This white-bordered set consisted of the same 302 cards as the Beta print run.
After the Alpha print run of 2.6 million cards, some corrections were made and the remaining 7.3 million cards were released as the "Beta" set (302 cards).
Premiered at Origins '93 in July of that year, Magic: The Gathering; was first released to the general public on August 5, 1993. The "Alpha" set consisted of 295 cards.