This Battle Box harkens back to the Magic games of the 90s, using sets from Unlimited up to Urza's Legacy.

The Nostalgia Box brings you back. Back to the days when big creatures had even bigger drawbacks. Back to when counterspells were efficient and removal was ubiquitous. When "dies to Doom Blade" wasn't a thing, because we didn't know what a Doom Blade was. A simpler time when Lightning Bolt was just a normal red common and a Vesuvan Doppelganger was the coolest card you could own. If you have ever wondered why on earth they abandoned the Enchant World card type, this Box is for you.

Project Basics

There are a few basic guidelines I keep myself to when building a Battle Box. These are not necessary for the box to function, but help keep my projects tidy:

  • I use different colored sleeves for my deck, the land sets, tokens and any other distinct parts of the box. This helps finding everything quickly.
  • I design each box to fit into one Fat Pack cardbox. This helps to keep each box portable enough to be able to easily play it outside my house.
  • I try to adhere to any theme I have as closely as possible. If I'm doing a nostalgia box (like this one), a Tenth Edition printing of Shivan Dragon would not be acceptable; I would include an older printing instead. If there are no thematic restrictions I try to stick to modern bordered cards because their wording is mostly consistent and avoids confusion for newer players.
  • I like tokens, so I always leave enough room in each box to include at least one of each token I need. However, to save some room and because we didn't have printed tokens in the 90s, I decided to leave them out this time.

Special Rules

All the standard Battle Box rules apply. I have simplified the mana development by only using basic lands in the land sets (we didn't play duals that entered the battlefield tapped back then and including revised duals was too big a strain on the budget). Additionally, the starting player will start the game with a copy of Rainbow Vale in play, which will then travel around the table for the rest of the game.

To really make things feel like 1994, mana burn returns as a game concept. For those of you unaware of what mana burn is, it means that any of your unused mana not only vanishes at the end of each phase, but it also deals 1 damage to you. This is interesting with cards like Mana Flare and Su-Chi. To not make things more complicated than necessary, all other rule changes that have happened since the 90s will not be changed back, but rather follow the modern rules (feel free to change them in your own games).

Lastly, the Box contains a 20 card World deck. This deck is inspired by the Enchant World cards that first appeared in the Legends expansion. The idea was that only one of these Enchant World cards could be on the battlefield at the same time. I think these cards capture the feeling of 90s magic very well, but in the Battle Box format you don't want to draw cards that affect each player equally. The world deck lets global effects happen randomly, without players having to draw and cast them. This works as follows:

  • At the beginning of the game, shuffle the World deck and turn over the top card. This card is considered to be in effect.
  • Whenever the top card of the World deck is turned over, place a 6-sided dice on it showing the number 6.
  • At the beginning of each player's upkeep, lower the number on the dice by 1. If the dice would be lowered to 0, instead exile the current card and turn over the top card from the World deck.
  • A player may at any time during his or her turn (even before his or her upkeep) pay an amount of mana equal to the number on the dice to exile the current card and turn over the top card from the World deck. This is treated as an activated ability that goes onto the stack and can be responded to.
  • When there are no cards left in the World deck, shuffle all exiled World cards into a new World deck.
  • Players may not interact with cards from the World deck. Cards from the World deck may not be targeted and are not affected by any other cards or effects.

Card Choices

As always, I have minimized mana acceleration, card draw and library manipulation and attempted to keep a fairly flat power level. On the other hand, this is a nostalgia box, so some cards were included because they were iconic or just carried great personal memories. As a consequence, the power level fluctuates a bit more than usual. To compensate for this a little, I have tried to make the Box accomodate multiplayer games as much as possible; differences in power level are softened by having multiple opponents.

Project Cardlist (305):

Lands (4 sets of 10)
2 Forest
2 Island
2 Mountain
2 Plains
2 Swamp

World Deck (25)
Aluren
Angel's Trumpet
Antagonism
Awakening
Bubble Matrix
Concordant Crossroads
Death Pits of Rath
Dingus Staff
Fecundity
Furnace of Rath
Gravity Sphere
Helm of Awakening
Howling Mine
Intruder Alarm
Invasion Plans
Lifeline
Mana Flare
Oath of Druids
Oath of Ghouls
Oath of Scholars
Pandemonium
Planar Gate
Repercussion
Total War
Well of Knowledge

White (40)
Creatures (18)
Archangel
False Prophet
Intrepid Hero
Ivory Gargoyle
Karmic Guide
Kjeldoran Royal Guard
Knight of Dawn
Mother of Runes
Northern Paladin
Orim, Samite Healer
Paladin en-Vec
Preacher
Radiant, Archangel
Seasoned Marshal
Serra Angel
Wall of Swords
White Knight
Witch Hunter

Enchantments (8)
Farrel's Mantle
Field of Souls
Gerrard's Battle Cry
Opal Titan
Orim's Prayer
Pacifism
Reconnaissance
Serra's Embrace

Instants and Sorceries (14)
Hope and Glory
Humble
Purify
Radiant's Judgment
Reprisal
Resurrection
Retribution of the Meek
Righteous Fury
Smite
Swords to Plowshares
Tariff
Temper
Waylay
Wrath of God

Blue (40)
Creatures (17)
Air Elemental
Clone
Daring Apprentice
Ephemeron
Mahamoti Djinn
Man-o'-War
Phantom Monster
Phantom Warrior
Prodigal Sorcerer
Segovian Leviathan
Serendib Efreet
Somnophore
Time Elemental
Tradewind Rider
Vesuvan Doppelganger
Wall of Air
Zuran Spellcaster

Enchantments (9)
Abduction
Control Magic
Equilibrium
Invisibility
Launch
Opposition
Propaganda
Unstable Mutation
Zephid's Embrace

Instants and Sorceries (14)
Blue Elemental Blast
Counterspell
Desertion
Evacuation
Forbid
Legerdemain
Mana Drain
Mana Leak
Polymorph
Reins of Power
Remove Soul
Shadow Rift
Time Warp
Turnabout

Black (39)
Creatures (19)
Abyssal Hunter
Black Knight
Bog Raiders
Bone Dancer
Carrion Ants
Catacomb Dragon
Coffin Queen
Dauthi Trapper
Fallen Angel
Hell's Caretaker
Hypnotic Specter
Krovikan Vampire
Nekrataal
Norritt
Phyrexian Plaguelord
Royal Assassin
Sengir Vampire
Sorceress Queen
Will-o'-the-Wisp

Enchantments (9)
Animate Dead
Attrition
Dauthi Embrace
Endless Scream
Pestilence
Phyrexian Reclamation
Recurring Nightmare
Twisted Experiment
Vampiric Embrace

Instants and Sorceries (11)
Exhume
Expunge
Howl from Beyond
Reanimate
Ritual of the Machine
Shallow Grave
Terror
Urborg Justice
Victimize
Word of Command
Yawgmoth's Will

Red (33)
Creatures (18)
Ali from Cairo
Bloodshot Cyclops
Crater Hellion
Dragon Whelp
Firestorm Phoenix
Goblin Marshal
Karplusan Yeti
Maraxus of Keld
Marton Stromgald
Mogg Maniac
Orgg
Roc of Kher Ridges
Rukh Egg
Shivan Dragon
Shivan Phoenix
Starke of Rath
Thundermare
Volcanic Dragon

Enchantments (4)
Mark of Fury
Onslaught
Shiv's Embrace
Sneak Attack

Instants and Sorceries (11)
Cone of Flame
Deadshot
Earthquake
Fork
Goblin Offensive
Jagged Lightning
Lightning Bolt
Pyroclasm
Relentless Assault
Rolling Thunder
Thunderbolt

Green (34)
Creatures (18)
Ancient Silverback
Cockatrice
Deranged Hermit
Elvish Piper
Femeref Archers
Hunting Moa
Keeper of the Beasts
Lhurgoyf
Liege of the Hollows
Mirri, Cat Warrior
Pygmy Allosaurus
Radjan Spirit
Scarwood Bandits
Singing Tree
Spike Weaver
Willow Satyr
Yavimaya Elder
Yavimaya Wurm

Enchantments (7)
Drop of Honey
Gaea's Embrace
Hidden Gibbons
Lure
Midsummer Revel
Preferred Selection
Rancor

Instants and Sorceries (9)
Berserk
Camouflage
Desert Twister
Giant Growth
Hurricane
Needle Storm
Provoke
Regrowth
Stampede

Multicolor (30)
Creatures (23)
Adun Oakenshield
Bartel Runeaxe
Benthic Djinn
Dracoplasm
Hazezon Tamar
Johan
Lady Evangela
Merieke Ri Berit
Nicol Bolas
Palladia-Mors
Phelddagrif
Pygmy Hippo
Ragnar
Sedge Troll
Segmented Wurm
Selenia, Dark Angel
Skeleton Ship
Soltari Guerrillas
Tempest Drake
Tetsuo Umezawa
Tor Wauki
Vhati il-Dal
Xira Arien

Enchantments (1)
Purgatory

Instants and Sorceries (6)
Delirium
Fiery Justice
Fire Covenant
Hymn of Rebirth
Reflect Damage
Spontaneous Combustion

Colorless (24)
Artifact Creatures (4)
Juggernaut
Su-Chi
Teeka's Dragon
Triskelion

Artifacts (17)
Ashnod's Altar
Chariot of the Sun
Cold Storage
Forcefield
Helm of Possession
Horn of Deafening
Hornet Cannon
Icy Manipulator
Nevinyrral's Disk
Phyrexian Processor
Phyrexian Vault
Powder Keg
Puppet Strings
Serrated Arrows
Tawnos's Coffin
Unerring Sling
Zelyon Sword

Lands (3)
Arena
Diamond Valley
Maze of Ith