Vanguard is a supplement for Magic that debuted in Arena's Summer Season of 1997. The oversized (3" x 5") Vanguard cards aren't played like regular cards. Instead, each player chooses one of the character cards before the match begins and plays under the conditions set by that card. 
Vanguard is also the card type associated with the format.
The result of a cooperative effort between Wizards of the Coast's R&D and Events departments, Vanguard was designed specifically for casual play. The cards were released in four 8-card sets, the first two were designed together. Series 1 could also be obtained in the Vanguard Gift Box. The intent was to use the Arena League as a test market for the concept of supplemental products.  As it turned out, Vanguard was a huge success. Nearly 5,000 joined Arena during the first season, the biggest increase in league history, yet. From there, the decision to release the second group of eight cards in early 1998 (Winter Season) was simple. The third set appeared in late 1998 (Autumn Season), and the fourth in the Spring Season of 1999.   
The oversized Vanguard cards all had the same layout: adjustments to the starting and maximum hand size in the lower left, adjustments to the starting life total in the lower right, and any other effects of having the card in play described in the text box. Cards from the first three sets picture a character from the Weatherlight Saga. While the two first sets featured the central characters, the latter set depicted charachters from the periphery of the tale. The fourth set depicted characters from Urza's Saga
|Series 1:||Series 2:||Series 3:||Series 4:|
Four cards were bagged together with The Duelist magazine:
- Duelist #19 - Series 1 Gerrard
- Duelist #33 - Series 3 Multani
- Duelist #37 - Series 4 Urza
- Duelist #47 - Series 4 Mishra
|Parts of a Card|
|Spells, Abilities, and Effects|
- Each player has one Vanguard card in effect for the duration of each duel.
- Each event will have its own specific rules for the method and frequency of selecting the card(s) to be used.
- Each player's Vanguard card is in effect throughout the duel; Vanguard cards may not be targeted, removed from play, or otherwise affected during play.
- Unless specifically stated otherwise, the Vanguard card's effect extend only to the controller of the card (and his or her permanents, if applicable).
- The Vanguard card being used by each player must be visible at all times to all players.
|Artifact||Equipment, Fortification, Contraption|
|Enchantment||Aura, Curse, Shrine|
- ↑ Magic Arcana. (September 23, 2002.) "Vanguard Series 1", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- ↑ Andy Collens, 1998. New Year, New Vanguard, the Duelist # 22, 1998
- ↑ Mark Rosewater. (August 30, 2010.) "Thank You Sir, May I Have Another", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- ↑ Jesse Decker, 1999. Third Vanguard Set Charges into Arena's Autum Season, the Duelist # 33
- ↑ Editorial Staff, 1999. Get ready for Vanguard, the Duelist # 37