From M10 to M15 (or possibly Maqic Origins, depending on your point of view), Magic experimented with a yearly core set. Before this model, core sets were printed once every two years, had ugly white borders, and consisted entirely of reprints. All this changed with M10, when Wizards stated that: 1) Core sets would be printed every year, 2) Would feature the beautiful black borders we have grown to love, and 3) Would be about half reprints, half new cards.
These years of core sets led to an interesting finance landscape. Since these sets were filled with reprints, cards like Scavenging Ooze and Mutavault were printed, crashing their values in the process. On the other hand, since these sets didn’t sell particularly well, newly printed cards tended to be expensive, like Thundermaw Hellkite and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy.
So in the spirit of the block reviews I’ve written in the past few months, let’s go through some of (not all—we’d be here all day) the financially relevant cards from these years of core sets. As always, I’m coming at this from the standpoint of someone who wants the best cube possible for the least money possible, but who is always happy to buy in to a card if it seems poised for an increase. Given this bias, I might not be touching on every card pertinent to your format of choice, but there’s enough overlap that I trust there will be something for everyone.