Monday, 23 March 2020 02:48

The rarest misprints: The story of Summer Magic and the Blue Hurricane

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Some misprints can really rock you like a hurricane. Some misprints can really rock you like a hurricane. WOTC

Like any longstanding card series, Magic: The Gathering has had its share of misprints. There was that time, for example, when they accidentally had a bunch of their cards printed in another game altogether. But by far the most notorious time was when Wizards of the Coast made made a huge error in a series that was (ironically) supposed to correct errors, and then accidentally released just enough of them to make them one of the most valuable cards out there.

For the uninitiated, the card in question has been known for almost 30 years as the “Blue Hurricane”.

You see, all the way back in 1994, Magic had a bit of an issue. A bunch of problematic cards had made themselves known in the first few sets and expansions. Rarity issues also abounded, with land cards being somewhat harder to get than normal thanks to printing run rarity percentages.

So for their third core set, WotC printed a "Revised Edition," essentially making it Magic’s first run of cards to reintroduce older ones (the only real main difference between Magic's Limited and Unlimited set was moving from black to white borders). In April of 1994, Revised was released and everything seemed all hunky dory. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.

While the set itself solved a lot of issues, the printing of it went off the rails. A lot of the coloring was off, some card pictures used the wrong artwork and/or the wrong frame as is the case with Serendib Efreet, and a lot of little details simply threw players in a whirl. WotC went into action and announced an updated summer edition. In-house they code-named the project “Edgar”, but the special reprinted was ultimately known by the name "Summer Magic" as the cards were due out that summer. 

Summer Magic turned out to be even worse though. Instead of the lighter cards in the original Revised run, card colors now ran way too dark. A big 1994 copyright was placed on the cards despite Revised not having it on there (Cards from Revised simply said "Illus. © Artist Name"). Furthermore, many artists' names went either uncredited or miscredited. But perhaps the biggest mistake was, you guessed it, this little guy:

WOTC

Hurricane, a green card, was mistakenly printed with a blue border. In comparison to the world, it’s a tiny mistake. But within Magic, where colors are a huge part, this was huge.  While, per the game's rules, it doesn't change the color of the spell, at a glance this green spell appears blue and can cause quite a bit of confusion.

And this all would have been forgiven if it weren't for a few boxes slipping out. You see, Wizards ordered the Summer Magic cards destroyed as they were so bad. It's a move that actually led to an overall shortage of Revised cards. Regardless, four cases of 40 booster boxes apiece got shipped out before the burn order was given.  As such, these booster boxes wound up in Tennessee,Texas, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. 

Since 1994 and the near-total destruction of the cards, Summer Magic cards have been among some of the more valuable cards out there thanks to their scarcity. While they aren’t as much as a $160k Black Lotus, they can still go for a fair bit. For example, a Summer Magic Birds of Paradise can go for a few thousand on the open market. 

WOTC

The blue Hurricane, though, is the most valuable as the card had far fewer survive. These days, a card in pretty good condition can go for an easy $12k (PSA graded "8," by the way). It’s also so fondly’remembered by fans and WotC that any time any talk of misprints comes up, the blue Hurricane is almost always among the first cards mentioned

It may have been an honest mistake, but for the few who kept or have some of the Summer Magic cards out there, they might just have a pretty decent car or house down payment out there sitting around.

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