Arabian Nights

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Arabian Nights
Arabian Nights logo.png
 
Set symbol
Symbol description
Scimitar
Design team
Richard Garfield
Development team
Richard Garfield
Joel Mick
Skaff Elias
Art Director
Jesper Myrfors
Release date
December 17, 1993
Themes and mechanics
Non-mana producing lands,
meta-game effects,
coin flip effects
Keywords and/or ability words
None new
Set size
78 (26 Common 52 Uncommon)
Expansion code
ARN[1]
Standalone sets
Arabian Nights Antiquities Legends
Magic: The Gathering chronology
Unlimited Edition Arabian Nights Antiquities
Arabian Nights booster

Arabian Nights is the very first Magic expansion and was released in December 1993. [2] It is not considered part of any block.

Set details[edit | edit source]

Arabian Nights was printed on sheets of 121 cards. The set's rarity breakdown is: 26 commons (1@C11, 9@C5, 16@C4) and 52 uncommons (1@C1, 1@U4, 17@U3, 33@U2). [3] Due to printing errors, 14 common cards had variants which caused the mana symbol to be discolored. This makes it so collectors view this as as 92 card set, resulting in a count of 41 commons (1@C11, 4@C5, 9@C4, 10@C3, 7@C2, 10@C1) and 51 uncommons (1@U4, 17@U3, 33@U2). The U2 are considered to be the "rares" of the set. [4] Arabian Nights was designed by Richard Garfield [5] and co-developed by Joel Mick and Skaff Elias. [6] Arabian Nights is the first set to use an expansion symbol: a scimitar, meant to evoke the Arabian setting of the expansion. [7]

The Arabian Nights lands have a unique sand-colored text box, which was reprinted in Fourth Edition and Chronicles.

Multiple cards in this set use accent marks, or diacritics, in their names. These accents are not printed in the card title but can be found in the text box because the font for the card title did not support them.

Marketing[edit | edit source]

The rejected card back for Arabian Nights

The print run was announced by Wizards to be 5 million cards. Cards were available from late December 1993 until late January 1994. They were sold in booster packs of eight cards which included six commons and two uncommons. Booster boxes contained 60 booster packs. [8] Arabian Nights booster boxes are now extremely rare and cost tens of thousands of dollars. The summer after the release, while The Dark debuted, Arabian Nights booster packs were allready selling for five dollars compared to the original price of only $1.50.

As the first Magic expansion, Arabian Nights was originally intended to be released as a stand-alone product. As a result, the set was nearly printed with a yellow-on-pink card back, instead of the blue-on-brown used in all cards known today, in order to distinguish it from "The Gathering", which was originally the name of Alpha. [9] In addition, basic lands were to be included. In the first print run of the set, a leftover Mountain was included accidentally [10], and the commons were printed with a smaller, darker circle in the generic mana cost of the card. The corrected print run of the set did not include any basic lands and used the larger, lighter generic mana circle that is used for other sets. As a result of its inclusion in the first print run, Mountain is the most printed card in Magic.

Note that the proposed new card back appeared on the booster box, indication that it was indeed a last-minute decision to print the set using standard Magic backs.[8] In December 2003, an unopened “case” of 10 booster boxes of Arabian Nights was auctioned for $95,000. [11]

Setting and storylines[edit | edit source]

The storyline of Arabian Nights was unique in Magic (up to the release of Portal: Three Kingdoms) in being the only set to be based on a real-world setting instead of one of the planes in the Magic multiverse. Inspired by the comic Sandman #50, titled Ramadan, and based on The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, Richard Garfield created the set with not only an Arabian setting, but also added many characters, locations and events that came directly from the novel. [12] [13] All of the flavor text for Arabian Nights was created in one night, by Beverly Marshall Saling (the original head editor at WotC).[14]

As a result of the real-world references and stark difference from the world of Dominaria, Arabian Nights was to take place in the plane of Rabiah, which once had been ruled by the Djinni. After the Djinni had weakened themselves in the Spirit War known as The Jihad, humans became the main race of Rabiah. Characters like Aladdin, Ali Baba and King Suleiman had lived long ago. After that the plane was reproduced a thousand times in the Thousand-fold Refraction of Rabiah to keep the 1001 Nights parallel going.

Several stories have been released that took place on Rabiah. Foremost is the story of the planeswalker Taysir, chronicled in the comics released by ARMADA. [15] There were also two short stories; one dealing with the history of the City of Brass, the Brass Men and the planeswalker Fatima [16], while the other told the origins of the Serendib Efreets, Bird Maidens and Flying Men. [17]

Themes and Mechanics[edit | edit source]

Arabian Nights introduced and broadened several concepts that would have long lasting effects on the design of Magic: [18]

Creature types[edit | edit source]

Most of the creature types used in Arabian Nights were new, and many are unique. Early expansions had creature types only for flavor reasons, resulting in many unusual types.

The following creature types are introduced in this expansion: Aladdin (later changed to Rogue), Ali Baba (later changed to Rogue), Ali from Cairo (later changed to Human), Ape, Asp (later changed to Snake), Camel, Cavalry (later changed to Knight), Dandân (later changed to Fish), Devil, Efreet, Egg (later changed to Bird), El Hajjâj (later changed to Wizard), Elephant, Flying Men (later changed to Human), Guardian (later changed to Beast), Island Fish (later changed to Fish), Jackal (later changed to Hound), King (later changed to Human), Leper (later changed to Human), Bird Maiden (later changed to Human Bird), Marid (later changed to Djinn), Nomad, Raider (later changed to Warrior), Sindbad (later changed to Human), Singing Tree (later changed to Plant), Smith (later changed to Human), Sorceress (later changed to Wizard), Tortoise (later changed to Turtle), and Witch (later changed to Wizard).

The following creature types are used in this expansion but also appear in previous sets: Djinn, Ghoul (later changed to Zombie), Ogre, Ship (later changed to Human) and Wolf.

Notable cards[edit | edit source]

Cycles[edit | edit source]

Arabian Nights has no true five-color cycles. There are four Efreet and four Djinn cards, however, with one for each color except White. [20] According to Richard Garfield, efreet and djinni "did not seem to belong in White — while not always evil, they were never good."

Strictly better[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Main article: Arabian Nights/Trivia

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wizards of the Coast. (August 02, 2004.) “Ask Wizards - August, 2004”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater. (December 06, 1993.) “What If week: Nights of the Round Table”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Magic Arcana. (August 07, 2002.) “Arabian rarities”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Magic Arcana. (August 8, 2002.) “(a) versus (b)”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Richard Garfield. (August 05, 2002.) “The Making of Arabian Nights”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Skaff Elias. (August 09, 2002.) “Better Late Than Never”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Brady Dommermuth. (October 31, 2006.) “Ask Wizards”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. a b Magic Arcana. (August 06, 2002.) “Arabian Nights product images”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Magic Arcana. (August 05, 2002.) “The almost different back”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater. (February 16, 2009.) “25 Random Things About Magic”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Randy Buehler. (December 19, 2003.) “Classic Developments”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Michael G. Ryan. (August 09, 2002.) “Magic: The Naming -Arabian Nights”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Richard Garfield. (August 17, 2009.) “The Expanding Worlds of Magic”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Mark Rosewater. (June 20, 2016.) “25 More Random Things About Magic”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Some scans from the Arabian Nights comic
  16. “The City of Brass”, a story about the creation of the City of Brass
  17. “The Eater of the Infinite”, a story about a Serendib Efreet
  18. Mark Rosewater. (August 05, 2002.) “It Happened One Nights”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Trick Jarrett. (May 13, 2014.) “City in a Bottle!”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Magic Arcana. (July 10, 2002.) “Suleiman and the genies”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.

External link[edit | edit source]