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.
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.
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.
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
World Deck (25)Aluren
Death Pits of Rath
Furnace of Rath
Helm of Awakening
Oath of Druids
Oath of Ghouls
Oath of Scholars
Well of Knowledge
Kjeldoran Royal Guard
Knight of Dawn
Mother of Runes
Orim, Samite Healer
Wall of Swords
Enchantments (8)Farrel's Mantle
Field of Souls
Gerrard's Battle Cry
Instants and Sorceries (14)Hope and Glory
Retribution of the Meek
Swords to Plowshares
Wrath of God
Creatures (17)Air Elemental
Wall of Air
Instants and Sorceries (14)Blue Elemental Blast
Reins of Power
Creatures (19)Abyssal Hunter
Enchantments (9)Animate Dead
Instants and Sorceries (11)Exhume
Howl from Beyond
Ritual of the Machine
Word of Command
Creatures (18)Ali from Cairo
Maraxus of Keld
Roc of Kher Ridges
Starke of Rath
Enchantments (4)Mark of Fury
Instants and Sorceries (11)Cone of Flame
Creatures (18)Ancient Silverback
Keeper of the Beasts
Liege of the Hollows
Mirri, Cat Warrior
Enchantments (7)Drop of Honey
Instants and Sorceries (9)Berserk
Creatures (23)Adun Oakenshield
Merieke Ri Berit
Selenia, Dark Angel
Instants and Sorceries (6)Delirium
Hymn of Rebirth
Artifact Creatures (4)Juggernaut
Artifacts (17)Ashnod's Altar
Chariot of the Sun
Helm of Possession
Horn of Deafening
Maze of Ith