Limited Edition Beta Collation

Limited Edition Beta is the second printing of the original Limited Edition set. For historical reasons and because there are more than the usual differences between printings, Alpha and Beta are often regarded as different sets. Beta is a core set with 75 commons, 95 uncommons, 117 rares, and three variations of each standard basic land. The printing was done in Belgium.

Beta was sold in 15 card booster packs and 60 card starter decks. Booster boxes had 36 packs and deck boxes had 10 decks.[1]

Pack Anatomy

Beta uses striped collation with 11 × 11 sheets. The rarity ordering and orientation of packs and starters for old products can be inconsistent. Observed booster packs are back-facing with common-uncommon-rare ordering. Basic lands appear on all the print sheets, so they can take the place of a common, uncommon, or rare card.

11 Commons3 Uncommons1 Rare

Observed starter decks have uncommon-rare-common ordering. They have 60 cards with 2 rares, 13 uncommons, and 45 commons. The cards may be back-facing or front-facing, and may be upside down. Starter decks also contained a rulebook which would be inserted either between the uncommons and rares, or between the rares and commons. Decks will have both an outer seal and an inner seal. Some starter decks contained Alpha rares instead of Beta rares. These are actually leftover rares from the original Alpha print run, not simply Alpha-cut Beta cards. [2]

13 Uncommons2 RaresRulebook45 Commons
13 UncommonsRulebook2 Rares45 Commons

Pictures of all three Beta sheet layouts exist (although it is sometimes unclear whether the sheets are artist proofs or from the Collector's Edition as these layouts are expected to be the same). [3] There are also uncut Beta sheets on display in the Wizards offices. [4]

The common sheet has 8 Plains, 10 Islands, 9 Swamps, 10 Mountains, and 9 Forests. The uncommon sheet has 6 Plains, 2 Islands, 6 Swamps, 6 Mountains, and 6 Forests. The rare sheet just has 4 Islands. This means that Islands are slightly overprinted compared to Swamps and Forests. However, Plains are significantly underprinted and Mountains are significantly overprinted. If we look at the Alpha common sheet in comparison, it looks like a Plains was accidentally changed to a Swamp when adding the third land variations. If that Plains had stayed as a Plains, the lands would be very well balanced.

Common Sheet

There is a single sheet that prints each common card once. The remaining spaces are filled by basic lands. The print sheet is almost the same as Alpha's common sheet.

Swamp (A)Howl from BeyondMountain (A)Lightning BoltForest (C)Giant SpiderPlains (C)Death WardUnsummonIsland (C)Sea Serpent
SinkholeSwamp (B)Frozen ShadeSwamp (A)Mountain (B)ShatterHill GiantWar MammothWall of WoodForest (B)Giant Growth
Mountain (C)Circle of Protection: BlackBenalish HeroPlains (B)Island (A)TwiddlePower SinkFearSwamp (C)Plague RatsDark Ritual
False OrdersMountain (A)Red Elemental BlastIronclaw OrcsLlanowar ElvesScryb SpritesForest (A)Plains (B)Guardian AngelCircle of Protection: BluePlains (C)
Power LeakProdigal SorcererIsland (B)JumpUnholy StrengthDrudge SkeletonsSwamp (A)Mountain (B)Mons's Goblin RaidersFireballMountain (C)
TranquilityIronroot TreefolkForest (B)Wild GrowthPlains (C)Healing SalveCircle of Protection: RedInvisibilityIsland (B)Island (A)Creature Bond
ParalyzeTerrorSwamp (B)Scathe ZombiesFirebreathingDwarven WarriorsMountain (B)Forest (A)Stream of LifeGrizzly BearsForest (C)
Holy ArmorPlains (A)Mesa PegasusCircle of Protection: WhiteSpell BlastIsland (B)Merfolk of the Pearl TridentSwamp (C)PestilenceSwamp (B)Raise Dead
Mountain (C)Hurloon MinotaurDisintegrateMountain (A)RegenerationForest (A)Shanodin DryadsPearled UnicornPlains (B)DisenchantHoly Strength
Island (B)Phantasmal TerrainBlue Elemental BlastIsland (A)Drain LifeSwamp (C)WeaknessEarthbindMountain (A)Gray OgreStone Rain
FogForest (C)Craw WurmForest (B)Samite HealerPlains (A)Circle of Protection: GreenIsland (C)Psychic VenomFlightIsland (C)

Uncommon Sheet

There is a single sheet that prints each uncommon card once. The remaining spaces are filled by basic lands.

Swamp (C)Nettling ImpDemonic TutorMountain (A)Stone GiantOrcish OriflammeRod of RuinBerserkLibrary of LengWhite KnightBlack Ward
Control MagicFeedbackThrone of BoneAnimate DeadWall of BoneSwamp (A)DeathgripBurrowingLiving WallMountain (A)Keldon Warlord
Instill EnergyThicket BasiliskForest (C)CastleIvory CupPlains (B)Swords to PlowsharesLifetapIsland (C)Steal ArtifactCounterspell
Swamp (C)Sengir VampireEvil PresenceEarth ElementalMountain (B)Iron StarWall of StoneCopper TabletHurricaneTsunamiForest (B)
LureObsianus GolemWhite WardConversionPlains (C)Icy ManipulatorCloneAnimate ArtifactSwamp (B)Bog WraithSimulacrum
Orcish ArtilleryFlashfiresBasalt MonolithForest (A)Wall of IceIce StormConservatorSerra AngelPlains (A)Consecrate LandSol Ring
Air ElementalIsland (B)Wall of AirSwamp (B)GloomScavenging GhoulSacrificeSoul NetWall of FireFire ElementalMountain (C)
Forest (B)Ley DruidRegrowthBlue WardJade StatuePlains (B)LanceWater ElementalWall of WaterGlasses of UrzaUthden Troll
TunnelMountain (C)Dragon WhelpWooden SphereForest (A)LifeforceWanderlustPlains (A)Celestial PrismWall of SwordsResurrection
Red WardSiren's CallPhantom MonsterBlack ViseCursed LandBlack KnightSwamp (A)Hypnotic SpecterDwarven Demolition TeamMountain (B)Goblin Balloon Brigade
CamouflageChannelForest (C)Wall of BramblesJuggernautKarmaPlains (C)Green WardCrystal RodPhantasmal ForcesPsionic Blast

Rare Sheet

There is a single sheet that prints each rare card once. The remaining spaces are filled by Islands.

Winter OrbNightmareJade MonolithManabarbsMox EmeraldElvish ArchersSunglasses of UrzaAnimate WallTundraSleight of MindChaos Orb
LifelaceSavannahRighteousnessAncestral RecallBlack LotusBad MoonMox SapphireRaging RiverFungusaurNorthern PaladinMagical Hack
CockatriceMox RubyBlaze of GloryDisrupting ScepterLord of the PitMana FlareTaigaNatural SelectionCrusadeMana ShortBirds of Paradise
Cyclopean TombContract from BelowBadlandsGranite GargoyleMox PearlTimber WolvesMeekstoneSavannah LionsVesuvan DoppelgangerWord of CommandForcefield
ChaoslaceThe HiveLord of AtlantisWarp ArtifactRoc of Kher RidgesForce of NatureFarmsteadMahamoti DjinnVolcanic IslandVolcanic EruptionIsland (B)
LichZombie MasterAnkh of MishraTropical IslandDeathlaceSmokeGaea's LiegeIsland (B)BalancePirate ShipIsland Sanctuary
Gauntlet of MightDemonic AttorneyHowling MineBayouForkGoblin KingIllusionary MaskLiving LandsPersonal IncarnationThoughtlaceMox Jet
Mana VaultDemonic HordesScrublandEarthquakeHelm of ChatzukVerduran EnchantressPurelaceKormus BellCopy ArtifactClockwork BeastSedge Troll
Jayemdae TomeIsland (A)Nevinyrral's DiskRoyal AssassinTwo-Headed Giant of ForiysPlateauLiving ArtifactTime VaultReverse DamageDrain PowerIsland (A)
Will-o'-the-WispShivan DragonKudzuBlessingTime WalkNether ShadowRock HydraFastbondVeteran BodyguardBraingeyserStasis
Mind TwistPower SurgeWebWrath of GodUnderground SeaDingus EggDarkpactWheel of FortuneAspect of WolfArmageddonTimetwister

[1] These box sizes are reported by Crystal Keep. I haven't seen boxes of Alpha product, but these numbers match up with later products.

[2] There are numerous references to the phenomenon of Alpha rares in Beta starters. On the Magic Librarities Forum, user berkumps relays a story about such packs originally attributed to Jesper Myrfors (the original art director of Magic). User cataclysm80 also gives an explanation here. YouTube user openboosters has opened several of these packs on his channel including this one.

[3] The "Compilation of Uncut Sheets" thread on the Magic Librarities Forum has pictures of the Collector's Edition sheets which I have transcribed here.

[4] Mark Rosewater has mentioned the Beta sheets in R&D on multiple occassions including in his "Resonate Days a Week" column which includes (rather low-resolution) pictures.