Visions

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Visions
VIS logo.png
 
Set symbol
Symbol description
Triangle of War with V
Design team
Bill Rose (lead)
Charlie Catino
Don Felice
Howard Kahlenberg
Joel Mick
Development team
Bill Rose (lead)
Mike Elliott
William Jockusch
Mark Rosewater
Henry Stern
Art Director
Sue-Ann Harkey
Release date
February 3, 1997
Themes and mechanics
Keywords and/or ability words
Cumulative upkeep, Flanking, Phasing
Set size
167 (62 Common 55 Uncommon 50 Rare)
Expansion code
VIS[1]
Development codename
Mirage Jr.
Mirage block sets
Mirage Visions Weatherlight
Magic: The Gathering chronology
Introductory Two-Player Set Visions 5th Edition

Visions is the tenth Magic expansion and was released on February 3, 1997 as the second set and first small expansion in the Mirage block.

Visions booster

Set details[edit | edit source]

Visions contains 167 black-bordered cards (50 rare, 55 uncommon, and 62 commons). Its expansion symbol is the "Triangle of War", a Zhalfirin symbol, inset with a “V” for Visions.[2] [3]

At the time of its release, Visions was a "first" in the release of quality cards at the common level; examples include Uktabi Orangutan and River Boa. River Boa (at that time) was considered "very good", with two abilities (islandwalk and regeneration), and a 2/1 at only {1}{G}.

Visions was the start of increasing the speed of red decks. Red decks began to get faster due to a card from Visions: Fireblast. In the late game, players could now sacrifice two Mountains to deal four damage to opponents. This proved to be essential as burn decks became all the rage. Decks were sporting "pure burn", essentially: four Lightning Bolt, four Incinerate, four Fireblast, which made it very easy for the red player to deal twenty damage to their opponents, or in today's colloquial, it "increased the reach" of the red player. Fireblast was also common rarity.

The Visions set was the first set to introduce the color-appropriate text boxes to non-basic lands capable of producing single colors of mana, such as Karoo, Everglades and Jungle Basin, that had been used for basic lands since the launch of Magic the Gathering. Non-basic lands capable of producing more than one color of mana did not receive color-appropriate text boxes until Invasion (excepting the early Dual Lands which had their own unique box-in-box color design). The Visions non-monocolor lands share the same dull green text box color that Mirage has, and the monocolored lands still had text box frames of that same color. From Fifth Edition on, land text box color was standardized.

Marketing[edit | edit source]

Visions was advertised as an expansion to the stand-alone Mirage set as well as to the basic set. The set was released in February 1997. The cards were sold in 15-card boosters whic had artwork from Teferi's Puzzle Box. Each booster box contained 36 sealed packs. Visions was the first set to have a wide dispersal of pre-releases.

Storyline[edit | edit source]

The story continues the struggle between the nations of Jamuraa against the evil Kaervek, only now Femeref has been destroyed and Suq'Ata and Zhalfir begin to have internal problems as well. [4] There is hope, however, when Kaervek's ally Jolrael betrays him at the urging of the planeswalker Teferi. Jamuraa's leaders, led by Jolrael's visions, free Mangara from the Amber Prison and begin to fight against Kaervek.

Magic online[edit | edit source]

Wizards of the Coast started selling Visions cards and preconstructed theme decks for Magic Online on April 10, 2006. The cards became legal to use in several formats as they went on sale. Official release events were held on April 13, 2006.[5]

Mechanics and themes[edit | edit source]

Visions introduced no new mechanics, but used the following previously used mechanics: Cumulative upkeep, flanking, phasing, poison counters, slowtrips, substance, and world enchantments.

Visions included many creatures that had abilities that triggered upon entering play. This meant that some creatures could now do things normally reserved for instants, sorceries, or costly activated abilities. These "comes-into-play" creatures could also combo well with cards that returned creatures to a player's hand.

Creature types[edit | edit source]

The following creature types are introduced in this expansion: Caterpillar (later changed to Insect), Chimera, Hippopotamus (later changed to Hippo), Jellyfish, Lichenthrope (later changed to Plant Fungus), Necrosavant (later changed to Zombie Giant), Nekrataal (later changed to Assassin), Python (later changed to Snake), Sorcerer (later changed to Wizard), Warthog (later changed to Boar), Wildebeests (later changed to Antelope Beast).

The following creature types are used in this expansion but also appear in previous sets: Ape, Archer, Angel, Atog, Cat Warrior, Cheetah (later changed to Cat), Cyclops, Djinn, Dragon, Drake, Druid, Dwarf, Efreet, Elemental, Elephant, Elf, Enchantress (later changed to Druid), Falcon (later changed to Bird), Goblin, Gorilla (later changed to Ape), Griffin, Insect, Knight, Lion (later changed to Cat), Minotaur, Ogre, Phoenix, Rat, Snake, Soldier, Vulture (later changed to Bird).

Visions also introduced Enters the battlefield effects, at that moment known as CIP effects. [6]

Design and development[edit | edit source]

The Visions expansion originated as a split from “Menagerie” (the original name for Mirage), which had grown too large for a single set. For a brief time during its development, Visions was known by the codename “Mirage Jr.” It received its final name shortly later.[7] Mark Rosewater was instrumental in determining the power level of Visions in the last development meeting.[8]

Cycles[edit | edit source]

Visions has five cycles:

Notable cards[edit | edit source]

  • Chronatog: This curious creature looks bad at first: Skip your next turn for a temporary boost in size. But this ability was found to have benefits in a deck that established a "lock" (a situation from which the opponent cannot win) and proceeded to win the game by running the opponent out of cards. By never having another turn a player did not have to worry about "decking" him or herself after the lock was established. A deck that exploited this fact was "Stasis".
  • Goblin Recruiter: Like most goblin cards, this was overlooked until Onslaught was released and the goblin deck archetype began to dominate Extended and Legacy. The card was banned in Extended until 6th Edition rotated out and is still banned in Legacy.
  • Nekrataal: A "187" creature that kills a non-artifact non-black creature when it comes into play. It was reprinted in 8th, 9th and 10th Edition as well as the Battle Royale box set. It is still played in both casual and tournament decks.
  • Man-o'-War: Another "comes into play" creature, Man-o'-War allowed blue players a measure of board-control, by returning a creature in play to its owner's hand.
  • Relentless Assault: Having only one attack phase per turn is central to Magic. This sorcery gives the player another attack phase, which leads to a variety of opportunities.
  • Squandered Resources: An innocuous-looking enchantment that lets its controller sacrifice lands in play for a quick mana boost, this card became the linchpin of the "Prosbloom" decks that used a combination of cards from Mirage and Visions to draw cards, make mana, and repeat until the player could cast a Drain Life large enough to kill the opponent.
  • Uktabi Orangutan: The poster "comes-into-play" creature of the set gives green players a way to destroy artifacts (which was out of green's flavor at the time) and have another creature. The card art also had what looked like two yellow monkeys in the background mating, which was poked fun at in the card Uktabi Kong from the humor set Unhinged that shows the same two monkeys in the background, one of which is seemingly pregnant. The Mirrodin card Viridian Shaman is a functional reprint of this card.
  • Undiscovered Paradise: This land can produce five colors of mana but returns to its owner's hand the turn after it is used. It was instrumental in allowing four- and five-color decks to dominate in 1997 and 1998.
  • Vampiric Tutor: With this instant, a player can grab any card from their library at any time for a minimal amount of life and mana. It enabled decks that required a specific combination of cards for victory to gain a foothold in tournament play, and also made "toolbox" decks (containing just one copy each of certain situational cards) possible. The fact that only 2 life is lost when the card is 'tutored', and that it can be played during the opponent's turn makes it almost as good, if not better than Demonic Tutor.

Theme decks[edit | edit source]

The Mirage block theme decks were designed for MTGO, as these expansion sets were printed before theme decks were first printed in the Tempest block.

The pre-constructed theme decks are:

Theme deck name Colors included
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Legion of Glory W
Savage Stompdown R G
Unnatural Forces U B
Wild-Eyed Frenzy R

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Visions was the first set to have the same name as a Magic card printed earlier: Visions, the card, was first printed in Legends and Fourth Edition. Though it began life as Mirage Jr., the set quickly went through a serie of name changes: early names included Lion's Eye (to tie in with the Lion's Eye Diamond from Mirage, and Jungle's Edge (to complement the African feel of the set). [11] Initialy Visions was discarded because it was a cardname; this same argument led to the card Mirage being renamed Shimmer, but Asmira's prophecies were central enough to the backstory to make the name work.
  • Nekrataal originally was named Sheitan (Satan), but this was deemed offensive. [11]
  • Kyscu Drake is an anagram for "Sucky Drake", though it was better than it should have been for green. [11]
  • A green legend named Rothello was originally planned for this set. [11]
  • Visions was the last set to feature a new creature that creates poison counters (Suq'Ata Assassin) for over 10 years until this mechanic reappeared as the poisonous keyword on two futureshifted cards from Future Sight (Snake Cult Initiation, Virulent Sliver).
  • Visions is the last non-Starter expansion set to date not to include any legendary permanents.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wizards of the Coast. (August 02, 2004.) “Ask Wizards - August, 2004”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Brady Dommermuth. (October 31, 2006.) “Ask Wizards”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Magic Arcana. (September 21, 2005.) “Visions' Triangle of War”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Visions: The Backstory
  5. Wizards of the Coast. (March 28, 2006.) “Visions Release Events”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Brady Dommermuth. (June 01, 2009.) “Mechanically Inclined”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Mark Rosewater. (August 12, 2002.) “Codename of the Game”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater. (February 22, 2016.) “Untold Tales”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Ben Bleiweiss. (December 25, 2002.) “Sets of Five”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Wizards of the Coast. (November 10, 2008.) “Card of the Day”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. a b c d Visions of Glory (Michael G. Ryan), The Duelist #15, p. 62

External links[edit | edit source]