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Odyssey tournament (starter) pack contains 75 random cards; 3 rare, 10 uncommon and 32 commons with 30 lands and rules insert. Released in October, 2001, Odyssey is the first set in the Odyssey block and its expansion symbol is a small image of the Mirari. The set contains 350 black-bordered cards (110 rare, 110 uncommon, 110 common, and 20 lands).
The storyline of Odyssey leaps forward 100 years after the events in the set Apocalypse on the remote continent Otaria. Odyssey 's protagonist is Kamahl, a formidable fighter-mage skilled in both throwing fireballs and melee combat. Kamahl has a close friend Chainer, a cabalist, and a cool-headed sister Jeska. The antagonist is Laquatus, a sly merfolk who uses trickery and mind control to bend others to his will. Other characters include the cephalid emperor Aboshan, Kamahl's centaur friend Seton, Kamahl and Jeska's dwarven trainer Balthor, the militaristic Kirtar, the mellow but dangerous Cabal Patriarch (The First), and the unpredictable sociopath Braids.
Almost everyone in the story is after the Mirari, a legendary artifact of immense power with the ability to make its wielder's innermost wishes come true. The Mirari is relatively small, resembling a metallic ball mounted on a wiry helix. The Mirari notoriously drives its wielder insane, often causing death and massive destruction, wherein it awaits a new master.
Odyssey 's main theme is the graveyard. All the colors interact with the graveyard and use it as a resource, though green and black are the strongest graveyard colors. Previously, the graveyard rarely affected gameplay, but Odyssey 's cards forced players to constantly keep track of both graveyards at all times.
Odyssey's secondary theme is token creatures. Throughout the Odyssey block, all the colors receive more token creatures than usual, and green's token generating spells are some of the most powerful tokens generators in Magic history. This was because if spells had Flashback they could be played from the graveyard for its Flashback cost and would be removed from the game once it resolved. This essentially allowed you to play the same spell twice. The most notable card among these was Call of the Herd which was later reprinted as one of the Time Spiral 'Timeshifted' cards.
Many of Magic's marquee races like Elves and Goblins are completely absent from Otaria. White is represented by Nomads and the Aven birds of The Order; Blue has the deceitful, octopus-like Cephalids; Black is plagued by the Horrors and Minions of Cabal summoners; Red showcases Dwarves, Firecats, and Barbarians of the Pardic mountains; and Green is rife with Centaurs, Squirrels, and the insect-like Nantuko druids of the Krosan forest.
The Magic: The Gathering Creative Team began a new approach to Magic's storyline starting with Odyssey. Changes include:
The 13 previous sets' storyline, beginning in Weatherlight and climaxing in Apocalypse, that depicted the adventures of Urza Planeswalker, Gerrard Capashen and the Weatherlight crew's crusade against the Phyrexians, has been dropped. For Odyssey, a new story begins in a new setting with a new cast of characters.
Kamahl is a red protagonist (Red is the color of chaos, destruction, and impulse).
Laquatus is a blue antagonist (Blue is the color of knowledge, trickery, and now, even deceit).
Odyssey portrays black themes that include the entertainment and glory of the pit fights mixed with capitalism. These themes offer a new variation of evil to black's themes in previous storylines, which included genocide, soul-harvesting, and finding the most agonizing torture for captive victims.
New storylines can be as short as three sets, and each storyline can be revisited or cross paths.
Odyssey introduced two graveyard-centered mechanics:
Flashback - These spells can be played again from the graveyard, essentially getting a second use out of the spell. However, using a Flashback ability removes the card from the game.
Red and green are the strongest flashback colors.
Threshold - Certain spells and creatures gain bonuses when your graveyard reaches or exceeds the seven card threshold. Blue is lacking in threshold cards but has the easiest time achieving threshold.