Sunday, September 26, 2010

Magic: The Gathering in the 1990s

When I began my endeavors into Magic: The Gathering I was about 11 years old and the set at the time was Mirage. I didn't know much about the mechanics of the game or really how to play. A few kids in honors 6th Grade English had used their allotted "activity time" playing Magic. I remember asking the fellows -- "How do you play this game?" And they had replied in a frank demeanor -- "It's too complicated. It would take a week or so for you to learn."

It was then that I didn't play until Urza's Saga / Urza's Legacy came out, which I was several years later. Only until M11 Core and October's Scars of Mirrodin have I played MtG.

This article will focus on a set I have a few cards from that was printed as the first expansion to the original game. The theme was the 1001 Arabian Nights and the cards reflected it offering unique abilities. I often wish that I had a full set of Arabian Nights cards just to see how their "Desert" land worked out and how its counter -- the "Oasis" functioned.

Here's a few cards from the Arabian Nights set that I find amusing.

To begin, I want to introduce City in a Bottle. As far as I am aware it's the only card that exiles cards of its own set excluding itself. It costs 2 colorless which if you were playing Magic in 1994, would offer a good sideboard response to people running the Arabian Nights cards. I shouldn't say exile, it was discarded from play... so even destroying City in a Bottle wouldn't bring back your Arabian Nights cards. I wish I had a copy of this card.

As far as I am aware, the only representation of the leper community in Magic: The Gathering. He offers nice removal and stays attacks. Costs 1 white and can destroy any creature. I imagine this card even gets First Strikers because the key word is "all creatures Abu is blocking or being blocked by are also killed". While First Strike trumps the damage, the card text explicitly states that ALL CREATURES BEING BLOCKED... So that effectively means if he had flying and all of the other effects just to say he could block it, he could kill it.

This card sells for hundreds of dollars because of the opportunity to siphon through your library at a blazing pace. Match this with Library of Leng and I'd have to ask a DCI judge whether or not Leng cancels it out giving you free reign to your library.

I played a friend recently who had a Fortune Thief in their deck. The elf deck couldn't kill me because of Fortune Thief. Fortune Thief looks like a reprint of this card, Ali from Cairo. He goes for about 80USD and keeps you in play as long as he is in play. A nice card.

Finally we have Diamond Valley which can convert any defending creature into life. It has potential for some sick lifegain.

As stated earlier, it's unfortunate that if you want to play with these cards it will cost you a thousand dollars or more total. I guess for every night you dream of playing this set, you can stash away 1$ so that when 1001 Nights have passed, you can play Arabian Nights with your $1000 USD.

20 comments:

  1. I still have my old Pokemon cards. I wonder if they'd sell like these. Probably not.

    ReplyDelete
  2. No, unfortunately your Charizard is not worth what it was in 2000. Your Beta Black Lotus signed by Richard Garfield however is worth $2500USD.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've been trying to learn magic, its tricky to get good but it's fun.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I totally have a Mirage deck somewhere. I vaguely knew how to play enough to know my deck sucked, but at least they looked cool

    ReplyDelete
  5. I wish I learned how to play this. It looks fun.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks for creating a worth while blog that is actualy relivant to my intrests. i shall return.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So much nostalgia, I remember this game.

    ReplyDelete
  8. ah I remember loving the artwork on the Magic cards

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nice post - keep up the good work! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have an Abu Ja far, somewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Nice post!
    Followin n supportin :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. lol nice man i like your style op

    ReplyDelete
  13. never did get into magic, but I did have pokemon, yugioh, and even dragonball z cards

    ReplyDelete
  14. magic is fun....Magic is real!
    May The FORCE be With You!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Reading this makes me even more upset that someone stole all of my husband's old magic cards from the 90s.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I hate the wording on all these old cards, im glad the game has gotten better since this set Arabian Nights sucked.

    ReplyDelete