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Arabian Nights

Arabian Nights
Arabian Nights logo
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description Scimitar
Design Richard Garfield
Development Richard Garfield
Joel Mick
Skaff Elias
Art direction Jesper Myrfors
Release date December 17, 1993
Plane Rabiah[1] (originally Arabia, China, and other locations from "One Thousand and One Nights")
Themes and mechanics Lands with abilities,
meta-game effects,
coin flip effects
Set size 78 cards
(27 commons, 51 uncommons)
Expansion code ARN[2]
Early non-block expansions
Arabian Nights Antiquities Legends
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Unlimited Edition Arabian Nights Antiquities
For the comic, see Arabian Nights (comic).
Arabian Nights booster

Arabian Nights booster

Arabian Nights is the very first Magic expansion and was released in December 1993.[3] It is not part of any block.

Set details[ | ]

Arabian Nights was printed on sheets of 121 cards. The set's rarity breakdown is: 27 commons (1@C1, 1@C11, 9@C5, 16@C4) and 51 uncommons (1@U4, 17@U3, 33@U2).[4] Because of the relative number of uncommons to commons in a pack, C1 and U3 cards are of equal rarity, despite being printed on different sheets. Due to production difficulties,[5] 15 common cards have light or dark variants (see Misprints section below).[6] Most collectors consider these variants to be distinct cards, and therefore a full set to be 93 cards. If the light and dark variants are treated as distinct, there are 42 commons (1@C11, 3@C5, 9@C4, 11@C3, 8@C2, 10@C1). The U2 are considered the "rares" of the set.[7] Arabian Nights was designed by Richard Garfield [8] and co-developed by Joel Mick and Skaff Elias.[9] Arabian Nights is the first set to use an expansion symbol: a scimitar, meant to evoke the Arabian setting of the expansion.[5][10]

The Arabian Nights lands have a sand-colored text box, which was reused 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 because the card title font did not support them, but can be found in the text box.

Marketing[ | ]

Magic card back 2

The rejected card back for Arabian Nights

Wizards announced the print run to be 5 million cards.[11][12][13] 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.[14] Arabian Nights booster boxes are now extremely rare and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The summer after the release, while The Dark debuted, Arabian Nights booster packs were already 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, to distinguish it from "The Gathering", which was originally the name of Alpha.[15] In addition, basic lands were to be included. Although four of them were later removed, a lone Mountain was accidentally left on the common sheet.[5][16]

Note that the proposed new card back appeared on the booster box, indicating that it was indeed a last-minute decision to print the set using standard Magic backs.[5][14] In December 2003, an unopened “case” of 10 booster boxes of Arabian Nights was auctioned for $95,000.[17]

Setting and storylines[ | ]

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.[18][19] All of the flavor text for Arabian Nights was created in one night, by Beverly Marshall Saling (the original head editor at WotC).[20]

As a result of the real-world references and stark difference from the world of Dominaria, Arabian Nights takes 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.[21] There were also two short stories; one dealing with the history of the City of Brass, the Brass Men and the planeswalker Fatima,[22] while the other told the origins of the Serendib Efreets, Bird Maidens and Flying Men.[23]

Themes and Mechanics[ | ]

Arabian Nights introduced and broadened several concepts that would have long-lasting effects on the design of Magic:[24]

Creature types[ | ]

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 Human Rogue), Ali Baba (later changed to Human Rogue), Ali from Cairo (later changed to Human), Ape, Asp (later changed to Snake), Bird Maiden (later changed to Human Bird), Camel, Cavalry (later changed to Human Knight), Dandân (later changed to Fish), Devil, Efreet, Egg, El Hajjâj (later changed to Human Wizard), Elephant, Flying Men (later changed to Human), Guardian (later changed to Beast), Island Fish (later changed to Fish), Jackal, King (later changed to Human), Leper (later changed to Human), 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 Human Wizard), Tortoise (later changed to Turtle), and Witch (later changed to Human 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.

Counter types[ | ]

Wind counters were introduced as a counter type in the set via errata.

Notable cards[ | ]

Cycles[ | ]

Arabian Nights has no true five-color cycles. There are four Efreet and four Djinn cards, however, with one for each color except White.[26] According to Richard Garfield, efreet and djinni "did not seem to belong in White — while not always evil, they were never good."

Strictly better[ | ]

Cards from Arabian Nights as compared to cards from earlier sets.

Misprints[ | ]

Stone Throwing Devils light vs dark

dark (upper) vs light (lower)

Erg Raiders, Oubliette, Fishliver Oil, Giant Tortoise, Nafs Asp, Wyluli Wolf, Bird Maiden, Rukh Egg, Army of Allah, Moorish Cavalry, Piety, Hasran Ogress, Stone-Throwing Devils, War Elephant, and Camel (Arabian Nights) each has two versions, commonly referred to as light and dark.

Light versions have lighter colorless and colored mana symbols and larger text in the colorless mana symbols. They look similar to mana symbols in other sets. Dark versions have darker colorless and colored mana symbols, and smaller text in the colorless mana symbols.

Stone-Throwing Devils has no generic mana symbols on the card, but light and dark versions can be differentiated by the black mana symbols in the casting cost, which appear either light grey (light version) or pinkish-grey (dark version). The black mana symbols on light/dark versions of other black Arabian Nights cards also differ in this manner.

Camel (Arabian Nights) has no generic mana symbols on the card, but light and dark versions can be differentiated by the area inside the circle surrounding the white mana symbol, which either has black print dots (light version) or does not (dark version). The white mana symbols on light/dark versions of other white Arabian Nights cards also differ in this manner.

All uncommons in the set have dark versions of mana symbols.

Trivia[ | ]

Main article: Arabian Nights/Trivia

References[ | ]

  1. Wizards of the Coast. "Dominian FAQ (archived)".
  2. Wizards of the Coast (August 02, 2004). "Ask Wizards - August, 2004". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (December 06, 1993). "What If week: Nights of the Round Table". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Magic Arcana (August 07, 2002). "Arabian rarities". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. a b c d David Howell: Arabian Nightmare
  6. Stephen D'Angelo (February 2, 1999) "Card Rulings Summary". Usenet.
  7. Magic Arcana (August 8, 2002). "(a) versus (b)". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Richard Garfield (August 05, 2002). "The Making of Arabian Nights". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Skaff Elias (August 09, 2002). "Better Late Than Never". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Brady Dommermuth (October 31, 2006). "Ask Wizards". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. John Tynes (April 1995). ""An Expansion Timeline"". The Duelist: A Special Preview Edition. Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Wizards of the Coast (December 1995). ""The Duelist Presents: the Complete Magic Card List"". The Duelist #8. Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Beth Moursund (2002). The Complete Encyclopedia of Magic: The Gathering, Thunder's Mouth Press. ISBN-10 1-56025-443-2.
  14. a b Magic Arcana (August 06, 2002). "Arabian Nights product images". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Magic Arcana (August 05, 2002). "The almost different back". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Mark Rosewater (February 16, 2009). "25 Random Things About Magic". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Randy Buehler (December 19, 2003). "Classic Developments". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Michael G. Ryan (August 09, 2002). "Magic: The Naming -Arabian Nights". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Richard Garfield (August 17, 2009). "The Expanding Worlds of Magic". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Mark Rosewater (June 20, 2016). "25 More Random Things About Magic". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Some scans from the Arabian Nights comic
  22. “The City of Brass”, a story about the creation of the City of Brass
  23. “The Eater of the Infinite”, a story about a Serendib Efreet
  24. Mark Rosewater (August 05, 2002). "It Happened One Nights". Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Trick Jarrett (May 13, 2014). "City in a Bottle!". Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Magic Arcana (July 10, 2002). "Suleiman and the genies". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[ | ]