|Symbol description||Cloud with Lightning Bolt|
Mike Elliott 
Charlie Catino 
Henry Stern (lead)|
|Art direction||Matt Wilson|
|Release date||October 14, 1997|
|Themes and mechanics||Flowstone, Licids, Slivers, Spikes|
|Keywords/ability words||Buyback, Shadow|
(110 commons, 110 uncommons, 110 rares, 20 basic lands)
|Magic: The Gathering Chronology|
- For other uses, see Tempest (disambiguation).
Tempest is the twelfth Magic expansion and was released in October 1997 as a standalone set, and as the first part of the Tempest block. The set continues the Weatherlight Saga on the stormy plane of Rath.
The 350 card black-bordered set is comprised of 110 commons, 110 uncommons, 110 rares, and 20 basic lands. Tempest's expansion symbol is a cloud with a lightning bolt, to symbolize Rath’s turbulent sky and Tempest’s tumultuous plot. This set was the first after Antiquities that featured Richard Garfield in an active role as designer.
Tempest was the last set that was marketed as a standalone set, and the first that was advertised as an expert-level set in the new rating system for sets. Tempest cards were sold not only in traditional 60-card starter decks and 15-card boosters but also in a new form: pre-constructed theme decks. Using only Tempest cards, the design team built four theme decks, marketed as a ready-to-play introduction to the set. The accompanying booklet explained the play strategy for each deck and suggested ways to strengthen them by swapping in cards from other sets. Another difference from the previous large expansions came in the rulebook. Anyone buying Tempest cards could safely be assumed to have either a Fifth Edition rulebook or a friend who could teach them the game. So instead of reprinting all the rules in the Tempest booklet, WotC only printed a brief overview and a few pages describing the features that were new in the set. The rest of the booklet, some fifty pages, profiled the main characters and summarized the Tempest story. Each Tempest booster contained 15 cards: 11 commons, 3 uncommons, and 1 rare. The packs featured artwork from Auratog, Volrath's Curse, and Commander Greven il-Vec. Tempest was the first set to feature a special prerelease card: Dirtcowl Wurm. The card is non-foil, with the word "Prerelease" and the Magic "M" stamped in gold leaf on the type line.
The Official Guide to Tempest is a complete companion card set, written by Beth Moursund. This guide gives tips for playing in a Tempest-only environment and how to best use Tempest cards with Fifth Edition. There are full-color reproductions of all of the Tempest cards, along with information on the rarity of the cards and current errata.
Mechanics and themes
The block mechanics Buyback and Shadow were introduced in this set. White, blue, and black have creatures with shadow (white Soltari, blue Thalakos, black Dauthi), while green and red have multiple methods of blocking creatures with shadow. The abilities associated with Slivers, Licids, Spikes, and flowstone were also introduced in this set. There are cycles of Slivers and Licids, and one green Spike that served as a preview of sorts for the rest of the Spikes yet to appear in the block. Flowstone creatures are red.
The following creature types are used in this expansion but also appear in previous sets: Angel, Ape, Atog, Beast, Bird, Cat, Cleric, Dragon, Drake, Druid, Dryad, Elemental, Elephant, Elf, Faerie, Giant, Goblin, Hound, Illusion, Imp, Insect, Knight, Lizard, Merfolk, Minion, Ooze, Pegasus, Rat, Rhino, Salamander, Serpent, Skeleton, Soldier, Spider, Spirit, Treefolk, Thrull, Turtle, Vampire, Wall, Wizard, Wurm.
Tempest has eleven cycles:
|Circles of protection||Circle of Protection: White||Circle of Protection: Blue||Circle of Protection: Black||Circle of Protection: Red||Circle of Protection: Green|
|Each of these common white enchantments has a mana cost of and the ability to prevent the all damage from a source of a given color for . This cycle was reprinted from the Core Set. All Circles had similar art by Harold McNeill.|
|Hoser double cycle||Light of Day
Dread of Night
|Each color has two uncommon cards that prey on its enemy colors.|
|Licids||Quickening Licid||Stinging Licid||Leeching Licid||Enraging Licid||Nurturing Licid|
|Each of these common 1/1 Licid creatures has a mana cost of M and the ability to turn itself into an aura enchantment attaching itself to a creature or back to its normal state.|
|Medallions||Pearl Medallion||Sapphire Medallion||Jet Medallion||Ruby Medallion||Emerald Medallion|
|Each of these rare artifacts has a mana cost of and reduce the cost of spells of a given color by . Some of them have residual images from a dirty press.|
|Common slivers||Talon Sliver||Winged Sliver||Clot Sliver||Heart Sliver||Muscle Sliver|
|Each of these common 1/1 Sliver creatures costs M and has an ability that it grants to all Slivers, including itself.|
|Uncommon slivers||Armor Sliver||Mnemonic Sliver||Mindwhip Sliver||Barbed Sliver||Horned Sliver|
|Each of these uncommon 2/2 Sliver creatures costs M and grants an ability which activates for to all Slivers, including itself.|
|Gold allied-color spells||Sky Spirit||Lobotomy||Spontaneous Combustion||Segmented Wurm||Ranger en-Vec|
|Each of these uncommon spells, one for each allied two-color combination, has a mana cost that includes both of its colors.|
|Nap lands||Thalakos Lowlands||Rootwater Depths||Cinder Marsh||Mogg Hollows||Vec Townships|
|Each of these uncommon dual lands can be tapped for or one mana of two allied colors; if tapped for the latter, it doesn't untap during your next untap step.|
|Gold enemy-colored spells||Selenia, Dark Angel||Dracoplasm||Vhati il-Dal||Soltari Guerrillas||Wood Sage|
|Each of these rare spells, one for each enemy two-color combination, has a mana cost that includes both of its colors.|
|Enemy-color tap-pain lands||Salt Flats||Caldera Lake||Pine Barrens||Scabland||Skyshroud Forest|
|Each of these rare lands comes into play tapped and can be tapped for or one mana of two enemy colors; if tapped for the latter, it deals 1 damage to you.|
|Retrievers||Treasure Hunter (Exodus)||Scrivener (Exodus)||Gravedigger (Tempest)||Anarchist (Exodus)||Cartographer (Exodus)|
|Each of these 2/2 creatures returns a card of a certain type from your graveyard to your hand when it comes into play. There were four from Exodus and one from Tempest. Four out of the five were reprinted in Odyssey.|
|Atogs||Auratog (Tempest)||Chronatog (Visions)||Necratog (Weatherlight)||Atog (Antiquities)||Foratog (Mirage)|
|Auratog is the final card of this mega-mega cycle of creatures that started in Antiquities with the eponymous Atog.|
Tempest has two mirrored pairs.
|Warmth ()||Havoc ()||Each of these uncommon enchantments costs M and rewards you or punishes an opponent, respectively, when another player casts a spell of the other's color.|
|Scalding Tongs ()||Thumbscrews ()||Each of these rare artifacts costs and deals damage to an opponent if you have a low or high number of cards in hand, respectively.|
Tempest was the first set to be released with pre-constructed theme decks. The decks are:
|The Flames of Rath||W||R|
- Cold Storage - As written, people wondered what this card actually did with ": Put target creature you control on Cold Storage". With errata, it now reads ": Exile target creature you control."
- Cursed Scroll - This is a powerful artifact, especially when you have 1 card in hand. This card is worth even more in the Japanese language version as its activation cost was misprinted as instead of .
- Earthcraft - This rare green enchantment pairs with Squirrel Nest from the Odyssey Expansion for a quick way to make an arbitrarily large number of creatures.
- Humility - A seemingly simple enchantment with complicated timing implications (what was played before it / after it), especially when paired with Opalescence.
- Lotus Petal - This common artifact proved to be too powerful and was eventually banned from the Legacy and Extended Formats, and restricted in the Vintage format.
- Tradewind Rider - This blue creature was a staple in block constructed and extended bounce decks.
- Wasteland - Though strictly worse than Strip Mine, it is a staple in eternal formats where it is not restricted or banned.
The following cards have been reprinted in Tempest from previous sets.
- Armored Pegasus — was last seen in Portal.
- Charging Rhino — was last seen in Portal.
- Circle of Protection: Black — was last seen in 5th Edition.
- Circle of Protection: Blue — was last seen in 5th Edition.
- Circle of Protection: Green — was last seen in 5th Edition.
- Circle of Protection: Red — was last seen in 5th Edition.
- Circle of Protection: White — was last seen in 5th Edition.
- Coercion — was last seen in Visions.
- Counterspell — was last seen in 5th Edition.
- Dark Banishing — was last seen in Mirage.
- Dark Ritual — was last seen in 5th Edition.
- Disenchant — was last seen in 5th Edition.
- Dream Cache — was last seen in Mirage.
- Enfeeblement — was last seen in Mirage.
- Gaseous Form — was last seen in 5th Edition.
- Giant Strength — was last seen in 5th Edition.
- Gravedigger — was last seen in Portal.
- Horned Turtle — was last seen in Portal.
- Natural Spring — was last seen in Portal.
- Needle Storm — was last seen in Portal.
- Pacifism — was last seen in Mirage.
- Power Sink — was last seen in 5th Edition.
- Rain of Tears — was last seen in Portal.
- Rampant Growth — was last seen in Mirage.
- Shatter — was last seen in 5th Edition.
- Spell Blast — was last seen in 5th Edition.
- Stone Rain — was last seen in Portal.
- Time Ebb — was last seen in Portal.
- Tranquility — was last seen in 5th Edition.
- Wind Drake — was last seen in Portal.
- Winter's Grasp — was last seen in Portal.
Tempest has five functional reprints:
- Clergy En-vec is a functional reprint of Samite Healer from 5th Edition.
- Pit Imp is a functional reprint of Vampire Bats from 5th Edition, save for creature type.
- Rootwater Hunter is a functional reprint of Prodigal Sorcerer from 5th Edition and Zuran Spellcaster from Ice Age, save for creature type.
- Skyshroud Troll is a functional reprint of Gorilla Chieftain from Alliances, save for creature type.
- Staunch Defenders is a functional reprint of Spiritual Guardian from Portal, save for creature type.
Tempest has one colorshifted card:
- Aluren is an Old English word meaning ‘paradise’.
- Apes of Rath is a pun on The Grapes of Wrath.
- Bayou Dragonfly was inspired by a video game that was to be released in conjunction with Magic, but was never published.
- Eladamri, Lord of Leaves was named as a tribute to Michael G. Ryan's mother Irma and his stepfather Dale.
- Emmessi Tome follows the R&D tradition of naming tomes using one of the R&D member's initials. In this case, Michael Scott Elliott (MSE).
- Lyna, the Soltari Emissary, was named after Mark Rosewater's mother Lynn.
- Mogg Squad is a play on the The Mod Squad, the '60s show about three undercover cops posing as hipppies. The flavor text reflects this spoof.
- Orim, Samite Healer was originally designed as a very minor character. Stumped for a name Michael G. Ryan took Mark Rosewater's nickname (Maro), and reversed it. The ‘a’ was later changed to an ‘i’ to make the name easier to pronounce.
- Squee's Toy is pronounced as squeeze toy.
- The flavor text of Time Warp is a reference to a song from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
- Vhati il-Dal's name is derived from ‘Bogavhati’, the codename of the set.
- Mark Rosewater (April 27, 2015). "Twenty Things You Might Not Have Known About Tempest". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (November 28, 2008). "Dangerous Minds". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (December 16, 2002). "In a Teapot". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- OCTGN Fansite
- Wizards of the Coast (August 02, 2004). "Ask Wizards - August, 2004". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Brady Dommermuth (October 31, 2006). "Ask Wizards". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- MagicTheGathering.com Staff (December 20, 2002). "Tempest Storyboard". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen (April 30, 2015). "Tempest Storyboard (Remastered)". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Michael G. Ryan (November 24, 2008). "Tempest on the Horizon". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (December 17, 2002). "Before the Storm". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Randy Buehler (December 20, 2002). "Out of the Shadows". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (November 10, 2003). "Make No Mistake". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (December 19, 2002). "Dirty Medallions". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater, Top Ten secrets behind Tempest card names, The Duelist #21 (January 1998), p. 19
- Mark Rosewater (February 22, 2016). "Untold Tales". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (April 28, 2018). "Is the flavor text of time warp from Tempest a reference to Rocky Horror Picture Show?". Blogatog. Tumblr.