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Fallen Empires
FEM logo
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description Crown
Design Skaff Elias, Jim Lin
Dave Pettey with design contributions from Chris Page
Development Same as Design Team
Art direction Sandra Everingham
Release date November 15, 1994
Plane Dominaria (Sarpadia)[1]
Themes and mechanics Storage lands, sac lands, flavorful theme, creature type "tribal" theme, extensive use of counters
Set size 102 cards
(35 commons, 31 uncommons, 36 rares)
Expansion code FEM[2]
Early non-block expansions
The Dark Fallen Empires Homelands
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
The Dark Fallen Empires Fourth Edition

Fallen Empires is the fifth Magic expansion and was released in November 1994. It is not considered part of any block.

Fallen Empires booster

Fallen Empires booster

Set details[ | ]

The set's rarity breakdown is: 35 commons (15@C4, 20@C3), 31 Uncommons (25@U3, 5@U2, 1@C1), 36 Rares (36@U1). Each common card of C4 rarity has 4 pieces of art (each with a different flavor text), and each common card of C3 rarity has 3 pieces of art (also each with a different flavor text). This results in 120 unique commons (and 187 total unique cards in the set) if you count art (and flavor text) variations. The expansion symbol of the set is a crown, to symbolize the concept of empire.[3]

The Fallen Empires lands have a unique red-tinted text box.

Fallen Empires was the last set to use the tilted-T tap symbol.

Marketing[ | ]

Fallen Empires was sold in eight-card packs which included six commons and two uncommons. The availability of multiple versions of Fallen Empires commons was an experiment to see if players liked to see more art on commons, but it was ultimately decided that having too many artworks associated with one card made it more difficult for players to identify a card quickly.

The frenetic pace of 1994 had blinded everyone to the reality of an upward limit to the number of cards a small set could sell: Fallen Empires was overproduced. Cards were available from mid November 1994 to sometime in 1998. Although they stopped shipping in late January 1995, enough cards were printed to keep them on the shelves for years afterwards. Even some 15 years after the initial release, booster boxes can be found at roughly the same price as when they were first released. The print run was announced by Wizards to be between 312 and 340 million cards.[4][5] The failure of Fallen Empires to sell on time, plus the additional expense of warehousing the unsold product, caused WotC considerable expense, particularly when it is considered that Revised, which was in short supply, had been scaled back to accommodate the orders for Fallen Empires.

After Fallen Empires, WotC would carefully decide how much of a particular product to print. It was a total swing of the pendulum. A formula was established by the Sales team at Wizards, and how much new product the distributors received was based on how they scored on the profile. How much the local retailer got was in turn determined by the distributors, each of whom had different ways of deciding how much of their allocation would go to the retailers. Some of the allocation would go to mass-market retailers which didn't have games as their core-business.

Storyline[ | ]

Main article: Sarpadia

After the Brothers' War, on the Dominarian continent of Sarpadia, the Ice Age is approaching. The changing climate results in dwindling resources and fighting amongst allies for survival.

Themes[ | ]

Fallen Empires has a flavorful theme. The flavor text on the cards could be used to piece together a story. Another theme is the creature type, or "tribal" theme. For the first time universal creature types were used, tying the creatures in this expansion together. Also, multiple cards referenced these creature types. Featured creature types ("tribal" theme) are:

{W} White {U} Blue {B} Black {R} Red {G} Green
Order of Leitbur (Icatia) (Vodalian) Merfolk Order of the Ebon Hand Dwarves Elves
Farrelites Homarid Thrulls Goblins/Orcs Thallid

A third theme is the use of tokens and counters, but this theme was overdone and resulted in confusion because of the many different kinds of tokens and counters that were used.

“  There were so many cards that produced tokens and/or required counters that we issued a cardboard sheet of them in Duelist #4.[6]  ”

As a result of this expansion, and some other cards like Frankenstein's Monster, only +1/+1 and -1/-1 counters were used to modify creatures (with a few exceptions). This changed with the introduction of Ability counters in Ikoria, and subsequently, Commander 2020.

Fallen Empires features 5 different types of tokens and 14 different types of counters.

Counter Color Card(s)
Javelin {W} Icatian Javelineers
Credit {W} Icatian Moneychanger
Tide {U} Homarid
Tidal Influence
Net {U} Merseine
Time {B} Tourach's Gate
Spore {G} Elvish Farmer
Feral Thallid
Fungal Bloom
Spore Flower
Thallid Devourer
Thorn Thallid
Cube {C} Delif's Cube
Storage {C} Icatian Store
Hollow Trees
Sand Silos
Dwarven Hold
Bottomless Vault
P/T counters
+0/+1 {R} Dwarven Armorer
+1/+0 {R}{B} Dwarven Armorer
Ebon Praetor
-2/-2 {B} Ebon Praetor
+2/+2 {B} Soul Exchange
+1/+2 {B} Armor Thrull
-1/-1 {B}{G} Tourach's Chant
Thelon's Chant

Creature types[ | ]

Fallen Empires is the first expansion to use a consolidated set of universal creature types. This also plays into the creature type, or "tribal," theme in this expansion. Of the 14 creature types used in this expansion, only Orgg and Wall appear on just one card.

The following creature types are introduced in this expansion: Fungus, Homarid, Orgg, Soldier, Thrull, and Townsfolk (later changed to Human). Camarid, Citizen, and Saproling also appeared on tokens produced by cards in this set.

The following creature types are used in this expansion but also appear in previous sets: Avatar, Cleric, Dwarf, Elf, Goblin, Merfolk, Orc, and Wall.

Cycles[ | ]

Fallen Empires has three cycles:

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Artifact boons Balm of Restoration
(Healing Salve)
Conch Horn
(Ancestral Recall)
Implements of Sacrifice
(Dark Ritual)
(Lightning Bolt)
Elven Lyre
(Giant Growth)
Each of these rare artifacts has a mana cost of {2} and an activated ability that costs "{1}, {T}, sacrifice [this]." The effects of each of these artifacts is a weakened version of each of the boons from Alpha.[7]
Token makers Icatian Town Homarid Spawning Bed Breeding Pit Goblin Warrens Night Soil
Each of these non-creature spells (four enchantments and one sorcery) allows to create 1/1 creature tokens of the same color (but 0/1 black creature tokens).
Tribal creatures Icatian Lieutenant Vodalian War Machine Thrull Champion Dwarven Lieutenant Fungal Bloom
Each of these permanents (four creatures and an enchantment) has an ability that affects creatures of a specific type by giving them a bonus (even the blue Vodalian War Machine can be seen as allowing Merfolk with Islandhome to take part in an attack).
Sac lands Ruins of Trokair Svyelunite Temple Ebon Stronghold Dwarven Ruins Havenwood Battleground
Each of these uncommon lands has "[This] enters the battlefield tapped. {T}: Add M. {T}, sacrifice [this]: Add MM.", where M is the respective color of the land; each also features art by Mark Poole
Storage lands Icatian Store Sand Silos Bottomless Vault Dwarven Hold Hollow Trees
Each of these uncommon lands has "[This] enters the battlefield tapped. You may choose not to untap [this] during your untap step. At the beginning of your upkeep, if [this] is tapped, put a storage counter on it. {T}, remove any number of storage counters from [this]: Add M for each storage counter removed this way."; each was also illustrated by Pat Morrissey

Pairs[ | ]

Fallen Empires has seven mirrored pairs, including 5 enemy-color hosers:

Mirrored Pairs Description
Icatian Lieutenant
Dwarven Lieutenant
Both creatures have the ability "{1}M: target [Soldier/Dwarf] creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn". They both cost MM and are 1/2.
Farrelite priest
Initiates of the Ebon Hand
These clerics can change the color of mana into their respective mana, but if the ability is activated more than three times in one turn, the cleric will be destroyed without regenerating. Also, both clerics have power 1 (but different toughness, mana value, and rarity).
Farrel's Zealot
Both creatures have a similar ability that triggers if they attacked and were not blocked. The pair is asymmetric: the white creature deals 3 damage to target creature, while the black creature must be sacrificed to destroy target creature. Both cost 1MM and are 2/2.
Spirit Shield
Zelyon Sword
These rare artifacts both cost {3} and have "[{2}/{3}], {T}: Target creature gets [+0/+2 - +2/+0] for as long as [this] remains tapped. You may choose not to untap [this] during your untap step".
Color hosers
Tourach's Chant
Thelon's Chant
These uncommon enchantments, one black and one green, both cost {1}MM and must be sacrificed at the beginning of your upkeep unless you pay one mana of its color and deals 3 damage to any player who puts a basic land of the other's color onto the battlefield unless they puts a -1/-1 counter on a creature they controls.
River Merfolk
Goblin Flotilla
These uncommon 2/2 creatures, one blue and one red, has or can gain a landwalk ability corresponding to the other's color.
Order of Leitbur
Order of the Ebon Hand
These common cleric creatures, one white and one black, both cost MM and have protection from the other's color, "M: [This] gains first strike until end of turn", and "MM: [This] gets +1/+0 until end of turn".
Homarid Shaman
Thelon's Curse
These uncommon spells, one blue and one green, both have a mana cost that includes MM and play with the tap/untap status of creatures of the other's color.
Raiding Party
These uncommon enchantments, one white and one red, both cost {2}M and allow you to sacrifice a creature to force an opponent playing with the other's color to temporarily give up one resource (mana or untapped creatures) or lose another (damage or lands).

Misprints[ | ]

One of the most famous misprints of all time was a run of Fallen Empires that was printed with backs from Wyvern, another TCG being manufactured at the same factory. These cards are very valuable, with fluctuating prices.

Notable cards[ | ]

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. Brady Dommermuth (October 31, 2006). "Ask Wizards". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. John Tynes (April 1995). ""An Expansion Timeline"". The Duelist: A Special Preview Edition. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Glenn Godard (December 1995). ""1995: The End of Innocence"". The Duelist #8. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Magic Arcana (May 31, 2002). "Fallen Empires tokens". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Magic Arcana (July 08, 2002). "Overlooked cycle". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[ | ]