Arabian Nights was the very first expansion set for magic. They were available in the Winter of 1993. It came out in the Spring of 1994 and the flavor text of many of the cards focused on the wizards Urza and Mishra.
Cards in set: 78 (92 including alt art)
Cards per booster pack: 8 (2 Rare/Uncommon, 6 Common)
Packs per booster box: 60
Color Breakdown: 15 Black, 13 Blue, 13 Green, 13 Red, 15 White, 14 Artifacts, 9 Land
Rarity Breakdown: 52 Uncommon (32 U2, 19 U3, 1 C1), 25 Common (9 C5, 16 C4), 1 Common Land (C11)
Memories from Arabian Nights
I remember by Summer of 1994 they were already selling the formerly $1.45 packs for $5.00. I know a friend who bought a few and I thought he was getting ripped off at the time!
Notable Cards from Arabian Nights
Juzam Djinn: Would you believe that in the beginning when I first started to play, there were a large number of people who refused to play this card because it damaged you 1 point per turn!? I kid you not. It doesn’t take a mathematics major to figure out that if you are getting pinged for 1 per turn, you’ll last 20 turns while your opponent has to deal with a 5/5 creature which will kill them in 4. This in itself wasn’t the main reason that this card was so overpowered. It was because it was black and it cost only BB22. That smells like 2 swamps and Dark Ritual to me… for a second turn 5/5 creature. Yikes.
Diamond Valley: Some of the best cards in this expansion were lands. Diamond Valley was an unbelievably powerful land card for use in creature heavy decks. It didn’t give you any mana, but it let you tap it to sack a creature in order to gain life equal to it’s toughness. The new text simplifies the wording, but the original made sure to let you know that, yes “this ability may be used after blocking has been declared”. So block with a creature that’s going to die and then sac it to gain life. Also, tons of fun with walls…
Library of Alexandria: At first glance, it’s not apparent this is a superior land card. Sure it can give you one colorless mana in addition to the possibility of drawing an extra card. But you’ve gotta have 7 cards and that seems difficult to maintain. With a Library of Leng along with careful card management, and a way to get extra cards like Howling Mine, it was possible to tunnel through your deck like never before. Most importantly, the Library did not have a restriction on WHEN it could be used… many cards like it stipulated that you could only draw the card at the beginning of an upkeep or something. And if you could untap the Library of Alexandria multiple times, which is what people often found a way to do… egad!
Articles on cards originally from the Arabian Nights set