Namespaces

Variants

Share

Share
Actions

Alliances

From MTG Salvation Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Alliances
Alliances
Set symbol
ALL symbol.png
Symbol description
Pennant
Design team
Skaff Elias (lead)
Jim Lin
Chris Page
Dave Petty
Development team
Charlie Catripino (lead)
Skaff Elias
William Jockusch
Joel Mick
Bill Rose
Paul Peterson
Mark Rosewater
Release date
June, 1996
Themes and mechanics
Alternate and additional cost, cantrips and Snow
Keywords and/or ability words
Cumulative upkeep
Set size
144
(55 commons, 43 uncommons, 46 rares)[1]
Expansion code
ALL
Development code name
Quack
Ice Age block sets
Ice Age Alliances Coldsnap
Magic: The Gathering chronology
Homelands Alliances Rivals Quick Start Set

Alliances is the eighth Magic expansion and was released in 1996 as the second set and first small expansion in the Ice Age block.

Alliances booster

Contents

[edit] Set details

Alliances is black-bordered. It was printed on sheets of 110 cards. The set's rarity breakdown is: 55 commons (40@C2, 10@C3, 5@U6), 43 uncommons (40@U2, 3@R6), 46 rares (46@R2). Each common card and the 5 uncommons cards @U6 have 2 pieces of art, making collectors view this as a 199 card set. Since the ratio of uncommons to rare is 3:1 in a booster pack, the 3 rares @R6 are considered as uncommon even if they could be found in the rare slot of an Alliances booster pack. A similar statement can be made about the 5 commons @U6. The expansion symbol of the set is a banner, or pennant, to reinforce the “alliance” concept. [2]

[edit] Marketing

Alliances was released eight months after the less-than-spectacular Homelands, which is the longest gap between expansion sets in the history of the game. Prior to the Coldsnap release it was the third and final set in the Ice Age block with Homelands being the second set. [3] It was sold in booster packs of twelve cards which included eight commons, three uncommons and one rare. A booster box contained 45 booster packs. This was the last time that boosters contained twelve cards. Alle boosters feature the same artwork from Benthic Explorers.

This was the last expansion to feature regular multiple artworks on cards. This was discontinued to ease identification of cards by their artwork, which was important to the global community as Magic was beginning to see print in languages other than English.

Alliances is also the last standard Magic expansion that was underprinted, as supply did not meet demand in many areas. Alliances was highly anticipated after the long wait from the release Homelands.

[edit] Storyline

After the planeswalker Freyalise cast her World Spell, thereby ending the Ice Age, a population long adapted to the cold had to re-adjust to warm weather. With the new climate came devastating floods and plagues, and the necromancer Lim-Dûl has built an army of undead bent on world domination. An alliance is formed between races to defeat Lim-Dûl and his army.

[edit] Mechanics and themes

Alliances didn't introduce any new keywords, but it did introduce the popular alternate cost mechanic, popularly referred to as "pitch cards", that allowed a player to discard cards of specific colors (and in the case of two cards, with an additional life payment) to play a spell instead of paying its printed mana cost. In Magic: The Gathering history, this mechanic, or a derivative or variant thereof, appears on rare cycles in the Masques block, the Betrayers of Kamigawa expansion, and the Coldsnap expansion.

Alliances builds on many of the themes of the Ice Age block. Cumulative upkeep and cantrips return, as does the allied color theme and a few new legendary creatures. The Snow mechanic on only a few cards.

[edit] Design & Development

Alliances was the second expansion by the quartet known as the "East Coast Playtesters" [4], which also had designed the Ice Age expansion, which they had designed as well. While it was sold as an Ice Age expansion, it wasn't really designed as such. Design considered the Snow mechanic to be a failure and it was completely ignored, although Development added in a few Snow-matters cards before the release of the set as the mechanic has great flavor. Actually, the vast majority of the mechanical tie-ins was added in development. [5]

At some point, Continuity (the department responsible for the storyline) decided that Alliances would have a race of sentient gorillas. The design team thought this was a silly idea and protested by renaming all the cards in the set to have "Gorilla" in their names. [6]

[edit] Creature types

The following creature types are introduced in this expansion: Aesthir (later changed to Bird), Bird, Gorilla (later changed to Ape), Harlequin (later changed to Human), Heretic (later changed to Human Cleric), Mosquito (later changed to Insect), Pigeon (later changed to Bird), Spy (later changed to Human Rogue), Starfish, Swarm, Tactician (later changed to Human Advisor), War-Rider (later changed to Human Warrior).

The following creature types are used in this expansion but also appear in previous sets: Barbarian, Cleric, Druid, Elemental, Elf, Gargoyle, Goblin, Guardian, Homarid, Horror (later changed to Horror Spirit), Insect, Keeper (later changed to Avatar), Knight, Mercenary, Merfolk, Paladin (later changed to Human Knight), Phantasm (later changed to Illusion), Rat, Skeleton, Soldier, Spirit, Wall, Wizard and Zombie.

[edit] Notable cards

  • Balduvian Horde was initially heralded as the "new Juzam Djinn," then considered the best creature in Magic, as a 5/5 for Mana2.gifManar.gifManar.gif. It later proved to be only mediocre and has seen print in 6th Edition.
  • Diminishing Returns is the first attempt at creating a "fixed" version of Timetwister. Despite its decrease in power compared to Timetwister, Diminishing Returns sometimes still sees play in Vintage alongside Timetwister.
  • Force of Will continues to be an important and potent card in every format it is legal in because it can counter any spell without the use of mana.
  • Ivory Gargoyle was powerful because it was difficult to get rid of it permanently and was used in some control decks as a win condition.

[edit] Cycles

Alliances has five cycles:

[edit] Trivia

Main article: Alliances/Trivia
  • Only Alliances and the Chronicles set were sold in packs of 12 cards.
  • Alliances was the first and only set to feature different tiers within its rare cards. A few rares appeared six times on each rare sheet while most appeared twice, making a few rares three times as common as others.

[edit] References

  1. Alliances Checklist
  2. Brady Dommermuth. (October 31, 2006.) "Ask Wizards", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater. (April 29, 2013.) "Third Time's the Charm", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater. (July 6, 2003.) "Of Ice and Men", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater. (December 07, 2009.) "Playing With Blocks", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Skaff Elias. (May 28, 2002.) "Ask Wizards", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.

[edit] External links

Magic products · Magic: The Gathering sets · Special Magic sets
Starter-level sets: PortalPortal Second AgePortal Three KingdomsStarter 1999Starter 2000
Advanced-level core sets: Limited Edition (Alpha/Beta)Unlimited EditionRevised Edition4th Edition5th Edition6th Edition7th Edition8th Edition9th Edition10th EditionMagic 2010Magic 2011Magic 2012Magic 2013Magic 2014Magic 2015
Early expansion sets: Arabian NightsAntiquitiesLegendsThe DarkFallen EmpiresHomelands
Expert-level block expansion sets
Ice Age Mirage Tempest Urza's Masques Invasion Odyssey Onslaught Mirrodin Kamigawa
Ice Age
Alliances
Coldsnap
Mirage
Visions
Weatherlight
Tempest
Stronghold
Exodus
Urza's Saga
Urza's Legacy
Urza's Destiny
Mercadian Masques
Nemesis
Prophecy
Invasion
Planeshift
Apocalypse
Odyssey
Torment
Judgment
Onslaught
Legions
Scourge
Mirrodin
Darksteel
Fifth Dawn
Champions
Betrayers
Saviors
Ravnica Time Spiral Lorwyn–Shadowmoor Alara Zendikar Scars of Mirrodin Innistrad Return to Ravnica Theros Tarkir
City of Guilds
Guildpact
Dissension
Time Spiral
Planar Chaos
Future Sight
Lorwyn
Morningtide
Shadowmoor
Eventide
Shards of Alara
Conflux
Alara Reborn
Zendikar
Worldwake
Rise of the Eldrazi
Scars of Mirrodin
Mirrodin Besieged
New Phyrexia
Innistrad
Dark Ascension
Avacyn Restored
Return to Ravnica
Gatecrash
Dragon's Maze
Theros
Born of the Gods
Journey into Nyx
Khans of Tarkir
"Dewey"
"Louie"
"Blood" "Lock"
"Blood"
"Sweat"
"Tears"
"Lock"
"Stock"
"Barrel"