|Symbol description||The Mirari|
Mark Rosewater (lead),|
Randy Buehler (lead),|
|Art direction||Dana Knutson & Ron Spears|
|Release date||October 1, 2001|
|Themes and mechanics||Filter lands, "Graveyard matters", Token creatures, Unusual tribes|
|Keywords/ability words||Flashback, Threshold|
(110 commons, 110 uncommons, 110 rares, 20 basic lands)
|Expansion code||ODY (formerly OD)|
|Magic: The Gathering Chronology|
- For other uses, see Odyssey (disambiguation).
Odyssey contains 350 black-bordered cards (110 rare, 110 uncommon, 110 common, and 20 basic lands). Odyssey's expansion symbol is a representation of the mirari. Alongside Torment and Judgment, the second and third expansions of the Odyssey block, Odyssey was a graveyard-focused ("graveyard matters") expansion. All the colors interact with the graveyard and use it as a resource, though green and black are the strongest graveyard colors. Previously, the graveyard rarely affected gameplay, but Odyssey 's cards forced players to constantly keep track of both graveyards at all times. For Odyssey, a new story began in a new setting with a new cast of characters.
Odyssey was sold in 75-card tournament decks, 15-card boosters, four preconstructed theme decks and a fat pack. The booster packs featured artwork from Seton, Krosan Protector, Mirari and Aboshan, Cephalid Emperor. The prerelease featured باسلْ ليسك - الحجر واللسان (Stone-Tongue Basilisk printed in Arabic text) as the prerelease card. The set was accompanied by the novel of the same name.
Flavor and storyline
The Odyssey block storyline features desert nomads and bird (aven) warriors of the Order; the highly advanced underwater Mer Empire of the cephalids; barbarian and dwarves of the Pardic Mountains; and the centaurs, druids, and other creatures of the Krosan Forest. Each of these civilizations struggle to survive day by day, a fact off which the Cabal, an occult and sinister organization, led by the Cabal Patriarch and includes members such as Braids and Chainer, that controls most of the land and its wealth, benefits, as it operates pit fights for entertainment of the masses and, for the one lucky pit warrior who survives, fame and fortune.
The Order, structured like an army, counts among its leaders the militaristic Kirtar, Pianna, Teroh, and Eesha, and strives to break the Cabal's iron fist over the populace. Meanwhile, the Mer Empire, led by Aboshan and his wife Llawan, and advised by Laquatus, ambassador to the Cabal, scheme for absolute control of the continent by flooding the continent and killing the "inferior air-breathers". The Krosan Forest, having survived the plague of Phyrexians, grows more self-sufficient and hostile to outsiders; but, it also has a peaceful side to its existence, with figures such as Thriss and Seton being comparably more receptive of outsiders, one of whom will be Kamahl, the protagonist of the storyline cycle and, during the events of the Odyssey novel, is a young Pardic barbarian and warrior proficient with weapons and fire magic who seeks glory within the pits of the Cabal.
In leaving behind the Pardic Mountains, where age-old territorial skirmishes between the barbarians and dwarves continue to rage on, Kamahl leaves his sister Jeska; and, in an attempt to make a name for himself, Kamahl will forge new alliances, make new friends, lose friends, and irrevocably change his fate and fortune as well as that of the continent, in no small part due to the alluring and mysterious Mirari, a magical orb that calls out to all who gaze upon it and fills their heads with delusions of grandeur and dreams of conquest.
- A number of Cephalid Looter cards were misprinted with the creature subtype Wizard in addition to Cephalid instead of merely Cephalid.
- As of the Grand Creature Type Update, the card has since gained a class subtype of Rogue; as such, Cephalid Looter's subtypes are now officially Cephalid Rogue.
- Bash to Bits by Matt Cavotta was miscredited to Gary Ruddell.
Critical reception and tournament impact
While by no means comparable to the power level of the Urza block expansion sets but also incomparable to the dearth of power in Masques block, Odyssey and its subsequent expansion sets were moderately powerful. However, it nevertheless received a mixed reception from players, who were "forced" to play Magic with the graveyard in mind.
Magic writer Abe Sargent of StarCityGames.com wrote that, of 350 cards, of which 20 are basic lands, only four — Wild Mongrel, Psychatog, Upheaval, and Roar of the Wurm — were good. However, he noted that the expansion was influential in establishing the graveyard as a relevant zone of the game. D. Gran, also of StarCityGames.com, however, listed Braids, Cabal Minion and Entomb as tournament-worthy cards from the set.
Magic readers and forum-goers noted that Odyssey was a welcome departure from non-interactive and unfun Magic; however, it was also noted that Odyssey and Onslaught blocks were, to an extent, dominated by blue decks or decks containing blue.
- 2/2 Bear for Bearscape
- 4/4 Beast for Beast Attack
- 1/1 Squirrel for Squirrel Nest, Chatter of the Squirrel, Nut Collector, Nantuko Shrine and Druid's Call
- 2/2 Zombie for Zombie Infestation
- 3/3 Elephant for Call of the Herd and Elephant Ambush
- 6/6 Wurm for Roar of the Wurm
Themes and mechanics
Odyssey introduced the graveyard-related keywords Flashback, which allowed players to replay instants and sorceries with the ability one more time for their flashback cost, and Threshold, which conferred some sort of bonus if and when the permanent or spell's controller had seven or more cards in their graveyard. Odyssey was the first set in which protection from all colors (Iridescent Angel), creatures (Beloved Chaplain), enchantments (Tattoo Ward), and instant and sorcery spells (Devoted Caretaker) were printed.
Cards with flashback featured a tombstone icon, an indicator, in the upper-left-hand corner of the cards. so as to facilitate playing with cards with the graveyard-active ability. Flashback would be revisited in Innistrad block, but the tombstone icon was not featured on cards after Odyssey, with exception to the reprinted Call of the Herd and Judgment's Valor, from Time Spiral. This was, in part, due to the change in card frames between the Scourge and Mirrodin expansions.
In addition to the "graveyard matters" theme, Odyssey had a minor token subtheme, as reflected in the number of token-generating cards, and a significant number of cards with activated abilities involving discarding cards from one's hand or sacrificing permanents.
Odyssey block is said to be the spiritual predecessor of Innistrad block due to the thematic similarities, namely, the emphasis on the graveyard. Interestingly, both blocks share the mechanic Flashback.
In order to establish a distinct setting from the Weatherlight Saga, a majority of common creature types from the Weatherlight Saga, such as elves and goblins, were removed and replaced with completely novel or unusual tribes, including, but not limited to, barbarians, birds (avens), centaurs, cephalids, druids, dwarves, and Nantuko insects.
|Bursts||Life Burst||Aether Burst||Mind Burst||Flame Burst||Muscle Burst|
|Each of these common instant or sorcery spells has an effect that linearly scales up by the number of similarly named cards in all graveyards.|
Two of these spells, namely Flame Burst and Muscle Burst, also scaled with the number of cards named Pardic Firecat and Diligent Farmhand, respectively, in all graveyards. These five spells were inspired by Kindle (Tempest) and Accumulated Knowledge (Nemesis).
|Desires||Kirtar's Desire||Aboshan's Desire||Patriarch's Desire||Kamahl's Desire||Seton's Desire|
|Each of these common Auras has static ability, a static threshold ability, and a name alluding to a notable Odyssey block storyline character associated with the respective color; depicted holding the Mirrari.|
|Hounds||Patrol Hound||Phantom Whelp||Filthy Cur||Mad Dog||Wild Mongrel|
|Each of these five common 2/2 Hounds cost M and have an activated or triggered ability.|
|Land Auras||Animal Boneyard||Chamber of Manipulation||Caustic Tar||Steam Vines||Squirrel Nest|
|Each of these five uncommon Auras enchant lands. Four of them confer a beneficial activated ability, while one (Steam Vines) has a detrimental triggered ability.|
|Each of these five rare Lhurgoyfs with power and toughness determined by the number of cards of a particular type in all graveyards. These creatures also had an in-color ability.|
|Each of these five common 2/2 creatures, which, when they enter the battlefield, allows their controller to return a card of a particular type from their graveyard to their hand. All of these cards, with exception to Auramancer, which replaced Treasure Hunter, were reprinted from Tempest block.|
|Rites||Sacred Rites||Rites of Refusal||Last Rites||Rites of Initiation||Rites of Spring|
|Each of these five common instants whose effect is determined and proportional the number of cards discarded at the resolution of the spell.|
|Shrines||Aven Shrine||Cephalid Shrine||Cabal Shrine||Dwarven Shrine||Nantuko Shrine|
|Each of these five rare enchantments costing MM and with a triggered ability, triggering whenever a player casts a spell and having an effect depending on the number of cards in all graveyards with the same name as that spell.|
|Spheres||Sphere of Truth||Sphere of Reason||Sphere of Grace||Sphere of Law||Sphere of Duty|
|Each of these five white enchantments with an ability that reduces 2 damage of damage that would be dealt to its controller by a source of a specific color.|
|Sac lands||Abandoned Outpost||Seafloor Debris||Bog Wreckage||Ravaged Highlands||Timberland Ruins|
|Each of these five common lands come into play tapped and have two mana abilities, one of which is the ability to tap for one mana of a specific color and the other is the ability to tap for one mana of any color but also requiring the land's sacrifice.|
|Threshold lands||Nomad Stadium||Cephalid Coliseum||Cabal Pit||Barbarian Ring||Centaur Garden|
|Each of these five uncommon lands with an ability to tap for mana of a specific color, albeit at the cost of 1 point of damage, and an ability that may only be activated if a player has threshold. These lands represent the pit arenas used by Otaria's different cultures and tribes within the Cabal's gladiatorial games and pit fights.|
|Each of these uncommon allied-color gold creatures with a CMC of 3 and two activated "eating" abilities, or abilities that cost a resource associated with that color to increase their power/toughness by +1/+1 per activation, that are an homage to the those of the Atog mega cycle Originally, these Atogs were conceived as "hybrids" of the original Atogs. Of these Atogs, Psychatog was the only one to have made a significant impact on competitive Magic; the abilities of the others as well as their colors were not overwhelmingly conducive to competitive Magic, and there was a lack of synergy between the abilities of the other Atogs. In addition to this cycle of Atogs, Odyssey featured Atogatog, a legendary Atog "Lord" who ate Atogs to increase its power and toughness.|
|Gold spells (rare)||Iridescent Angel||Shadowmage Infiltrator||Vampiric Dragon||Decimate||Mystic Enforcer|
|Eggs||Skycloud Egg||Darkwater Egg||Shadowblood Egg||Mossfire Egg||Sungrass Egg|
|Each of these five uncommon artifacts with ", , Sacrifice this card: Add two mana, one mana each of the colors of an allied-colored combination. Draw a card.".|
|Filter lands||Skycloud Expanse||Darkwater Catacombs||Shadowblood Ridge||Mossfire Valley||Sungrass Prairie|
|Each of these five rare lands with ", : Add two mana, one mana each of the colors of an allied-colored combination.".|
|Flashback creature token producers||Chatter of the Squirrel||Roar of the Wurm||Call of the Herd|
|Each of these green sorcery spells with flashback creates a green token creature.|
|Punisher spells||Blazing Salvo||Lava Blister||Molten Influence|
|Each of these red instant spells provides the targeted opponent with the choice of two generally unfavorable effects, one of which is direct damage.|
|Thought Beasts||Thought Nibbler||Thought Eater||Thought Devourer|
|Each of these aggressively costed blue Beast creatures with flying reduces your maximum hand size.|
Odyssey has two matched pairs.
|Pilgrim of Justice
|Pilgrim of Virtue
|Clerics with protection from an enemy color of White and an activated ability, costing and the sacrifice of itself, to prevent the damage from a source of the enemy color in question.|
|2/3 Bird Soldiers with flying and protection from an enemy of Blue.|
- Anarchist, first printed in Exodus
- Angelic Wall, first printed in Portal Second Age
- Buried Alive, first printed in Weatherlight
- Cartographer, first printed in Exodus
- Gallantry, first printed in Tempest
- Gravedigger, first printed in Portal, last seen in 7th Edition
- Overrun, first printed in Tempest
- Patchwork Gnomes, first printed in Tempest
- Scrivener, first printed in Exodus
- Aven Cloudchaser, functional reprint of Cloudchaser Eagle (Tempest) with additional creature type
- Aven Fisher, functional reprint of Kingfisher (Urza's Destiny) with additional creature type
- Battle Strain, functional reprint of Heat of Battle (Stronghold)
- Druid Lyrist, functional reprint of Elvish Lyrist (Urza's Saga) except for creature type
- Dusk Imp, functional reprint of Feral Shadow (Starter 1999) and Moaning Spirit (Portal Second Age) except for creature type
- Dwarven Grunt, functional reprint of Goblin Mountaineer (Starter 1999), Mountain Goat (Ice Age), and Zodiac Goat (Portal Three Kingdoms) except for creature type
- Leaf Dancer, functional reprint of Cat Warriors (Legends) except for creature type
- Piper's Melody, functional reprint of Renewing Touch (Portal Second Age)
- Psionic Gift, functional reprint of Hermetic Study (Urza's Saga)
- Woodland Druid, functional reprint of Norwood Ranger (Starter 1999) and Trained Jackal (Portal Three Kingdoms) except for creature type
- Wild Mongrel, upgrade from Balduvian Bears (Ice Age), Barbary Apes (Legends), Bear Cub (Portal Second Age), Forest Bear (Portal Three Kingdoms), and Grizzly Bears (Alpha)
Odyssey has four bicolored theme decks.
- Wizards of the Coast (August 02, 2004). "Ask Wizards - August, 2004". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (June 11, 2003). "Eighth Edition Rollout: Odyssey". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Odyssey Prerelease Information — Wizards of the Coast
- Brady Dommermuth (October 31, 2006). "Ask Wizards". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (November 14, 2011). "Grave Consequences, Part 1". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Vance Moore. (2001.) Odyssey Cycle, Book I: Odyssey, Wizards of the Coast. ISBN-13 978-0786919000.
- Pete Hoefling. (2005.) "Insider Trading #2", StarCityGames.com.
- Magic Arcana (April 11, 2002). "Cavotta's Bits". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (October 5, 2009). "Leading a Horse to Water". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Abe Sargent. "Do You REMEMBER What The Old Sets Were Like?"
- D. Gran. "The Top 10 Broken Cards in Odyssey Block"
- Discuss: Do You REMEMBER What The Old Sets Were Like? - Page 1 — StarCityGames.com
- Magic Arcana (May 27, 2002). "Player Rewards tokens". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (December 26, 2002). "Bambi Meets Wurm". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (July 30, 2002). "Unseen tokens". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (November 5, 2011). "What prompted the use of the tombstone symbol on Odyssey 's flashback cards?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (June 12, 2012). "What happened the the tombstone on flashback cards?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (August 29, 2011). "Every Two Sides Has a Story". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (September 12, 2011). "C'mon Innistrad, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (February 04, 2002). "Here's Looking at You, Squid". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Ben Bleiweiss (July 17, 2002). "Sets of Five, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (January 21, 2002). "Finding a Good Mechanic". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (January 15, 2002). "Odyssey Spheres". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (January 15, 2002). "The Lexicon Archive". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (February 27, 2002). "Atog Breeding". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Anthony Alongi. (September 13, 2001.) "Odyssey Card Preview: Atogs", Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (May 18, 2009). "Golden Oldies". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (February 18, 2002). "Aven homage". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.