A genuine thank you to Wizards of the Coast for providing us with these terrible preview cards free of charge, and also for making this dope-as-hell set.

As a context nerd, Time Spiral was made for me. I loved it. I was 14 when 8th Edition dropped, making me just old enough to dislike the new card frames, so Time Spiral's timeshifted rarity sheet held a lot of appeal.

A brief refresher: A card from the purple timeshifted rarity appeared in the back of every pack behind the rare. They were all reprints from sets that used the pre-8th Edition card frame and they all featured the old card frame, which made them look neat against the rest of the cards in the pack. Timeshifted cards varied wildly in quality; there were plenty of great cards and plenty of clunkers.

Magic is a wildly unsafe game by the standards of modern game design. Mana screw and mana flood are relics of a period in time we can't get back. No one in their right mind would design a game in 2021 where not getting to participate in the game ~15% of the time is a feature and not a bug. With that in mind, get a load of this card.

An important thing about rares, and later on, mythics, is that they ensure that each pack has something someone wants. There is a baseline in quality sitting there in the back of the pack that's relatively high compared to the rest of the cards in the pack and that players can depend on. Timeshifted cards had no such baseline, in keeping with the tradition of old school Magic.

Check out the rares in Legends, Magic's fourth expansion. The swings were pretty wild—you could open a card where, if all goes to plan, the game draws (Divine Intervention), or you could open The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. Timeshifted cards offered this experience, but insulated by the presence of a Time Spiral rare in the pack as well. Opening a Consecrate Land or a Merfolk Assassin certainly wasn't pleasant, but the rare meant it wasn't the end of the world.

Which brings us to our first preview card:

There's a lot going on here to like. I have a strong personal affinity for the phrase "T: add X" on basic lands; I started with Starter 2000, and by then, basic lands had just the color symbol in the text box. Before 6th Edition, though, basic lands had the text "T: add X" in the textbox. I traded for a bunch of them from classmates under the assumption that they tapped for XX and showed them off to my friends after school, won all my games easily with my deck full of copies of Ancient Tomb, and then went to a tournament at my LGS and got corrected and subsequently stomped.

These days, Wizards of the Coast plays much more fast and loose with the frames than they used to. If you're an old head like me, full-art basics used to mean something, but post-Zendikar they're far too ubiquitous to matter. So I like the old frame a lot. The nixing of the basic land subtype—a subtype that never appeared on basic lands in the old card frame—is a nice touch.

This all bears mentioning because Wastes is likely the worst card on Time Spiral Remastered's timeshifted sheet, and by a wide margin. The only reason to play this card in any format is so that an opposing Path to Exile can yield a land that produces colorless mana. Any format, even Standard, at any given time will have nonbasic lands that produce colorless and provide enough marginal utility to render Wastes completely pointless. It's a card no one ever has to play. In other words, it's the Squire of Time Spiral Remastered.

Our second preview card has more defined history but is no less, uh, I don't even know. Here it is:

Back in the day, the Magic Invitational was a yearly tournament where the winner got to take a role in designing a Standard-legal card to bear their likeness. As part of the content push around the Invitational, we were treated to the card that each Invitational competitor would submit if they got the chance. In 2005, Tsuyoshi Fujita submitted Unluckyman's Paradise:

Land

If Unluckyman's Paradise is in your opening hand and you're not playing first, you may begin the game with it in play. If you do, Unluckyman's Paradise comes into play with a luck counter on it.

TAP: Add 1 to your mana pool.

TAP: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Play this ability only if Unluckyman's Paradise has a luck counter on it.

The card generated so much buzz that although he didn't win the tournament, it was printed anyway (albeit without Fujita's likeness) in the form of Gemstone Caverns.

Even with all its nerfs to the original submission—it's a legendary land, it requires you to exile another card in your hand to put it on the battlefield in the beginning of the game—Gemstone Caverns is rarely involved in doing something fair and balanced. It literally only shows up when there's nonsense afoot. Most recently, it appeared here:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Five-Color Tibalt by Do0mSwitch

'Five-Color Tibalt' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Do0mSwitch

Event: MTGO Modern Challenge

Rank: 1st

Modern

Market Price: $1368.46

Cards

Flooded Strand

Market Price: $29.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/92828_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Flooded Strand: Search your library for a Plains or Island card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/khans-of-tarkir/flooded-strand

Scalding Tarn

Market Price: $70.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128282_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Scalding Tarn: Search your library for an Island or Mountain card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Gemstone Caverns

Market Price: $25.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/234032_200w.jpg

If Gemstone Caverns is in your opening hand and you're not the starting player, you may begin the game with Gemstone Caverns on the battlefield with a luck counter on it. If you do, exile a card from your hand.
{T}: Add {C}. If Gemstone Caverns has a luck counter on it, instead add one mana of any color.

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Kor Firewalker

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161435_200w.jpg

Protection from red
Whenever a player casts a red spell, you may gain 1 life.

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Firespout

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $0.81

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/47371_200w.jpg

Firespout deals 3 damage to each creature without flying if {R} was spent to cast this spell and 3 damage to each creature with flying if {G} was spent to cast this spell. (Do both if {R}{G} was spent.)

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Hallowed Fountain

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $8.44

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182831_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W} or {U}.)
As Hallowed Fountain enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Steam Vents

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $11.93

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175202_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U} or {R}.)
As Steam Vents enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Ravenous Trap

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218864_200w.jpg

If an opponent had three or more cards put into their graveyard from anywhere this turn, you may pay {0} rather than pay this spell's mana cost.
Exile all cards from target player's graveyard.

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Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

Color Identity:G,U

Market Price: $18.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206836_200w.jpg

When Uro enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless it escaped.
Whenever Uro enters the battlefield or attacks, you gain 3 life and draw a card, then you may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield.
Escape—{G}{G}{U}{U}, Exile five other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

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Timely Reinforcements

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $1.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/47650_200w.jpg

If you have less life than an opponent, you gain 6 life. If you control fewer creatures than an opponent, create three 1/1 white Soldier creature tokens.

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Snow-Covered Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.70

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230146_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Cryptic Command

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $21.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145338_200w.jpg

Choose two —
• Counter target spell.
• Return target permanent to its owner's hand.
• Tap all creatures your opponents control.
• Draw a card.

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Raugrin Triome

Color Identity:R,U,W

Market Price: $10.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212695_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}, {R}, or {W}.)
Raugrin Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Simian Spirit Guide

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/233914_200w.jpg

Exile Simian Spirit Guide from your hand: Add {R}.

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Valki, God of Lies

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $16.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230113_200w.jpg

When Valki enters the battlefield, each opponent reveals their hand. For each opponent, exile a creature card they revealed this way until Valki leaves the battlefield.
{X}: Choose a creature card exiled with Valki with mana value X. Valki becomes a copy of that card.

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Breeding Pool

Color Identity:G,U

Market Price: $23.70

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/182842_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G} or {U}.)
As Breeding Pool enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Dismember

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.50

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/98390_200w.jpg

({B/P} can be paid with either {B} or 2 life.)
Target creature gets -5/-5 until end of turn.

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Brazen Borrower // Petty Theft

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $12.82

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199387_200w.jpg

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Force of Negation

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $75.93

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190647_200w.jpg

If it's not your turn, you may exile a blue card from your hand rather than pay this spell's mana cost.
Counter target noncreature spell. If that spell is countered this way, exile it instead of putting it into its owner's graveyard.

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Teferi, Time Raveler

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $13.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187194_200w.jpg

Each opponent can cast spells only any time they could cast a sorcery.
+1: Until your next turn, you may cast sorcery spells as though they had flash.
−3: Return up to one target artifact, creature, or enchantment to its owner's hand. Draw a card.

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Snow-Covered Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230148_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Misty Rainforest

Market Price: $71.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128281_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Misty Rainforest: Search your library for a Forest or Island card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle.

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Ardent Plea

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $1.49

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/31697_200w.jpg

Exalted (Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, that creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn.)
Cascade (When you cast this spell, exile cards from the top of your library until you exile a nonland card that costs less. You may cast it without paying its mana cost. Put the exiled cards on the bottom of your library in a random order.)

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Temple Garden

Color Identity:G,W

Market Price: $12.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175203_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G} or {W}.)
As Temple Garden enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Mystical Dispute

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198683_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast if it targets a blue spell.
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Watery Grave

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $12.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175205_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U} or {B}.)
As Watery Grave enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Field of the Dead

Market Price: $17.75

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192562_200w.jpg

Field of the Dead enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {C}.
Whenever Field of the Dead or another land enters the battlefield under your control, if you control seven or more lands with different names, create a 2/2 black Zombie creature token.

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Ketria Triome

Color Identity:G,R,U

Market Price: $10.99

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212697_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}, {U}, or {R}.)
Ketria Triome enters the battlefield tapped.
Cycling {3} ({3}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Violent Outburst

Color Identity:G,R

Market Price: $0.83

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/31833_200w.jpg

Cascade (When you cast this spell, exile cards from the top of your library until you exile a nonland card that costs less. You may cast it without paying its mana cost. Put the exiled cards on the bottom of your library in a random order.)
Creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/alara-reborn/violent-outburst

Omnath, Locus of Creation

Color Identity:G,R,U,W

Market Price: $4.38

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/221779_200w.jpg

When Omnath, Locus of Creation enters the battlefield, draw a card.
Landfall — Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you gain 4 life if this is the first time this ability has resolved this turn. If it's the second time, add {R}{G}{W}{U}. If it's the third time, Omnath deals 4 damage to each opponent and each planeswalker you don't control.

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Supreme Verdict

Color Identity:U,W

Market Price: $6.66

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145308_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Destroy all creatures.

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Snow-Covered Plains

Color Identity:W

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230147_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {W}.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaldheim/snow-covered-plains-276

Mystic Sanctuary

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.63

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199417_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)
Mystic Sanctuary enters the battlefield tapped unless you control three or more other Islands.
When Mystic Sanctuary enters the battlefield untapped, you may put target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard on top of your library.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/throne-of-eldraine/mystic-sanctuary

Gemstone Caverns is a very cool idea that can really only show up in decks that do completely unreasonable things. Gemstone Caverns is the marker that your deck is going to get banned. Soon.

As much as I would have loved to receive cards that weren't so contextually dubious, I have to admit that I dig what these cards represent: the best aspects of Magic: The Gathering and the ones that make it stand out against any other game I could use to occupy my spare time with. It is bizarre and weird and flawed and carries nearly three decades' worth of decision making that is sometimes questionable, mostly brilliant, and often both. The decision to release a set like Time Spiral Remastered is a decision to celebrate that history, warts and all. It would be so easy (and likely an easier sell to stakeholders) to present a glossed-over version of the past.

The decision to put Wastes in that Timeshifted slot, like Squire before it, is a deliberate, gentle troll. The choices made in Wastes' presentation demonstrate a love and care that makes the troll gentle. I'm willing to believe that I'm projecting here.

I'm so excited to play with this set.