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Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description Cloud with Lightning Bolt
Design Mark Rosewater
Richard Garfield
Mike Elliott [1]
Charlie Catino [2][3]
Development Henry Stern (lead)
Mike Elliott
William Jockusch
Bill Rose
Mark Rosewater
Art direction Matt Wilson
Release date October 14, 1997[4]
Plane Rath[5]
Themes and mechanics Flowstone, Licids, Slivers, Spikes
Keywords/​ability words Buyback, Shadow
Set size 350 cards
(110 commons, 110 uncommons, 110 rares, 20 basic lands)
Expansion code TMP[6]
Development codename Bogavhati
Tempest block
Tempest Stronghold Exodus
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Weatherlight Tempest Stronghold
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.

Set details[ | ]

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.[7] This set was the first after Antiquities that featured Richard Garfield in an active role as designer.

Marketing[ | ]

TMP booster 1

Booster featuring Greven il-Vec

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.

Storyline[ | ]

Main article: Rath cycle

The set takes place on the stormy plane of Rath, where Gerrard and the heroes of the Skyship Weatherlight set out to find Volrath's stronghold.[8][9]

Mechanics and themes[ | ]

The block mechanics Buyback and Shadow were introduced in this set.[10][11][12] 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.

Creature types[ | ]

The following creature types are introduced in this expansion: Crab, Licid, Shapeshifter, Sliver, Spike.

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.

Cycles[ | ]

Tempest has eleven cycles:

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
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 {1}{W} and the ability to prevent the all damage from a source of a given color for {1}. This cycle was reprinted from the Core Set. All Circles had similar art by Harold McNeill.[13]
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 {1}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 {2} and reduces the cost of spells of a given color by {1}. Some of them have residual images from a dirty press.[14]
Common slivers Talon Sliver Winged Sliver Clot Sliver Heart Sliver Muscle Sliver
Each of these common 1/1 Sliver creatures costs {1}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 {2}M and grants an ability which activates for {2} to all Slivers, including itself.
Cycle name {W}{U} {U}{B} {B}{R} {R}{G} {G}{W}
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 {C} or one mana of two allied colors; if tapped for the latter, it doesn't untap during your next untap step.
Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
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 come into play tapped and can be tapped for {C} or one mana of two enemy colors; if tapped for the latter, it deals 1 damage to you.

Mega cycle[ | ]

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
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.

Mega-mega cycle[ | ]

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
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.

Pairs[ | ]

Tempest has two mirrored pairs.

Matched Pair
Warmth (Tempest) ({W}) Havoc (Tempest) ({R}) Each of these uncommon enchantments costs {1}M and rewards you or punishes an opponent, respectively, when another player casts a spell of the other's color.
Scalding Tongs (Tempest) ({C}) Thumbscrews (Tempest) ({C}) Each of these rare artifacts costs {2} and deals damage to an opponent if you have a low or high number of cards in hand, respectively.

Theme decks[ | ]

Tempest was the first set to be released with pre-constructed theme decks. The decks are:

deck name
Colors Included
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Deep Freeze W U
The Slivers U B
The Swarm W G
The Flames of Rath W R

Notable cards[ | ]

  • Capsize was a notoriously miserable experience as a control finisher, as at every end step they could remove anything, and at a certain point their opponent's board began diminishing.
  • Cold Storage confused players as written with the ability "{3}: Put target creature you control on Cold Storage". With errata, it now reads "{3}: Exile target creature you control." Duplicity has a similar effect.
  • Ertai's Meddling later inspired Delay and consequently Suspend.
  • Goblin Bombardment remains extremely powerful as a sacrifice outlet, being free to activate and is not as vulnerable as an enchantment.
  • Humility was a seemingly simple enchantment with complicated layer implications due to timestamps (what was played before it / after it), especially when paired with Opalescence.
  • Oracle en-Vec functionally forces your opponent to commit to attacks a turn in advance.
  • Stalking Stones was the second printed creature to land and remains unusual in that it does so permanently. Newer designs would have it be sacrificed to put a token into play.
  • Tradewind Rider 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.
  • Escaped Shapeshifter is the first of many cards to "borrow" keyword abilities from other cards, listing out all of the keywords that it can have one by one.

Banned and restricted cards[ | ]

  • Earthcraft pairs with Squirrel Nest from Odyssey for a quick way to make an arbitrarily large number of creatures. It was banned in Standard in 1999, and in Legacy in 2003.
  • Cursed Scroll is a powerful artifact when down to one card in hand. This card is worth even more in the Japanese language version as its activation cost was misprinted as {2} instead of {3}. It was banned for the Tempest Block format.
  • Lotus Petal was a small version of Black Lotus, but it proved to be still too powerful and was eventually banned from the Legacy and Extended Formats, and restricted in the Vintage format.
  • Grindstone combos with Painter's Servant from Shadowmoor to mill entire decks. While it was banned in Commander in 2008 shortly after, it was unbanned and Painter's Servant was banned instead in December 2009.

Reprinted cards[ | ]

The following cards have been reprinted in Tempest from previous sets.

Functional reprints[ | ]

Tempest has five functional reprints:

Colorshifted[ | ]

Tempest has one colorshifted card:

Trivia[ | ]

Gallery[ | ]

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (April 27, 2015). "Twenty Things You Might Not Have Known About Tempest". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Wizards of the Coast (November 28, 2008). "Dangerous Minds". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (December 16, 2002). "In a Teapot". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. OCTGN Fansite
  5. Wizards of the Coast. "Dominian FAQ (archived)".
  6. Wizards of the Coast (August 02, 2004). "Ask Wizards - August, 2004". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Brady Dommermuth (October 31, 2006). "Ask Wizards". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Staff (December 20, 2002). "Tempest Storyboard". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Blake Rasmussen (April 30, 2015). "Tempest Storyboard (Remastered)". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Michael G. Ryan (November 24, 2008). "Tempest on the Horizon". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Mark Rosewater (December 17, 2002). "Before the Storm". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Randy Buehler (December 20, 2002). "Out of the Shadows". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Mark Rosewater (November 10, 2003). "Make No Mistake". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Magic Arcana (December 19, 2002). "Dirty Medallions". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. a b c d Mark Rosewater, Top Ten secrets behind Tempest card names, The Duelist #21 (January 1998), p. 19
  16. Mark Rosewater (February 22, 2016). "Untold Tales". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Mark Rosewater (August 4, 2023). "How Trivial with Mark Rosewater (Video)". Magic: The Gathering. YouTube.
  18. Mark Rosewater (April 28, 2018). "Is the flavor text of time warp from Tempest a reference to Rocky Horror Picture Show?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  19. Mark Rosewater (January 9, 2023). "Trivial Pursuit: What's in a Name?". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[ | ]