Five cards in Alpha were never playtested. They were designed "top-down" in pretty much the last minute of development in order to make use of some otherwise unused artwork. One rare card of each color were added this way, and some of them have among the strangest art in the set. Word of Command, with arguably the least artistic art in Magic, was the black one. Fay Jones's Stasis, with arguably the most artistic art in Magic, was the blue one. The green card turned out to be one of the most important green creatures of all time; the inconspicuous Birds of Paradise. I do not know why the Alpha version of the Birds have the very odd '//' in the textbox, as other cards with multiple abilities lack the slashes (like Lord of The Pit or Sedge Troll). I do however know that the Alpha version is the coolest version there is.
|Alpha to the right.|
|Alpha version to the right. I guess it's still reasonably pimp with Beta Tropicals though.|
7 cards were left out of Alpha, and are known to first have appeared in Beta. These cards are one version of each basic land, CoP: Black and Volcanic Island. These cards are pretty easy to spot in Beta, due to the "solid black" of their borders, and the fact that they lack the white dots in the corner that are seen on most Beta cards. I'm not really sure how or when in the printing process, but there were some Alpha cards that got mixed into Beta packs (probably the last printings of Alpha, to fill up the first Beta batch). The card on the picture below is quite possibly the single most pimp dual land ever.
|Alpha to the right(!). Note the dotted borders.|
|WW going big.|