|Click to enlarge|
Magic the Gathering MTG Homelands booster box contains 60 booster packs of Homelands containing 8 cards of Homelands each. Released in October 1995, Homelands was the second set in the Ice Age block. It was considered to be part of the Ice Age block until the announcement of Coldsnap in October 2005.The set contains 115 black-bordered cards (43 rare or U1's, 47 uncommon, and 25 commons). Every common card has two pictures making Homelands a 140 card set.
Homelands was the thirteenth Magic the Gathering set and seventh expert level set. The set takes place in a plane known as Ulgrotha. Homelands begins 600 years ago, during a war between the Tolgath, Planeswalkers who desire knowledge, and the Ancients, wizards who are prepared to be cruel to defend 'their' mysteries. A Tolgath planeswalker named Ravi used an artifact called the Apocalypse Chime, given to her by her master, to destroy all life and mana on Ulgrotha. The plane became a prime battleground for wizards, until the planeswalker Feroz happened upon it. He wished to protect the plane, so he, along with the planeswalker Serra, created a ban to keep other planeswalkers out. Feroz died in the process, and Serra died soon afterwards. (Serra would appear briefly in the novelization of a later set, Urza's Saga, but that appearance occurred prior to her coming to Ulgrotha).
The events surrounding the set begin many years after Feroz's death, when his ban begins to fade. The residents of Ulgrotha (now known to its inhabitants as the Homelands) are at war with one another.According to Aaron Forsythe, Magic Director of R&D, "it seems Homelands started design as a story first". While most Magic sets have a background story, it is rather unusual for a Magic set to have the story dictate most of the design of the cards in the set.
The 140-card set introduced no new mechanics or keywords; however, it did use some of the mechanics previously unique to Ice Age. Most notably, Homelands used the "cantrip" ability: a cantrip spell in the Ice Age block allowed a player to draw a card at the beginning of the next turn in addition to a normally minor spell effect. Later cantrips allowed a player to draw a card immediately.
Homelands also included single-color legendary creatures, first found in Ice Age. In Homelands, each color had at least one legend, with some colors having as many as five (Black has Baron Sengir, Irini Sengir, Grandmother Sengir, Veldrane of Sengir and Ihsan's Shade)
Homelands was the last set to feature just two rarities, common and uncommon, and the last set to be sold in eight-card booster packs.
The expansion, on average, had an unexpectedly low power level compared to previously released expansions. Initially, very few cards were used for competitive play when the expansion was legal in the Standard tournament format. Magic Head Designer Mark Rosewater labeled Homelands as "Magic's all-time design low". When the first Pro Tour was held shortly after the release of the set, Wizards even decided to have the competitors play a modified Standard. Each player had to have five cards from each legal expansion in his deck, so that at least a few cards from the newest set, Homelands, would be showcased in the top decks.