- See also: Cycle.
A vertical cycle is a cycle of cards which ranges among the different raritites. It is usually made of three cards in a single set that share the same color or colors and are most of times composed of a rare, an uncommon and a common. Since the fourth rarity level has been introduced, there are vertical cycles made of three cards, in which one of the rarities (normally uncommon or rare) is missing. Vertical cycles are much less common than horizontal cycles with cards in all colors, and unlike horizontal cycles, which are made of one card per color (combination), more than one card per rarity is allowed (see the "ramosian cycle" in Mercadian Masques as an example).
These cycles are usually creatures that usually share an ability that can become more powerful with rarity. Power and toughness also usually increase with rarity, as does the converted mana cost. Early vertical cycles, such as those found in Alpha, usually are creatures that are simply better with rarity, often with the same mana cost and/or power/toughness.
Examples of Vertical Cycles
- Bloodfire Dwarf, Bloodfire Kavu and Bloodfire Colossus are each red creatures; are a common, an uncommon and a rare; have similar abilities that increase in power with rarity; and have increasing power/toughness and converted mana cost with rarity.
- Gray Ogre, Uthden Troll and Sedge Troll are each red creatures; are a common, an uncommon and a rare; and have abilities that become more powerful with rarity. This is an early vertical cycle.
- Black Dreams: In Torment black got a vertical cycle of Instants and sorceries which require cards to be discarded in addition to the spell being played. — Restless Dreams, Sickening Dreams, and Insidious Dreams.