Fallen Empires: Old School Player´s Manual (Part I)

It was the summer of 1994, when we played a game in our role-playing club, maybe it was M.E.R.P, AD&D or Paranoia. That day came a friend who had been traveling around EE.UU and he showed us the last game of fashion that was causing furor there, it was a card game in a small brown box, you can read: «Revised Edition«. He said he was going to teach us to play and we decide to leave the role-playing game for another time. He showed us the cards that were inside the box, the artworks was beautiful, and made reference to a medieval world. I had never seen anything like it, the text of the cards was in English, I was not understood what they said, at that time I was a 13-year-old boy and I was very bad at languages … but I remember well that afternoon in the role-playing club of my city, and my first game with Magic, it was fascinating … we never finished the role-playing game 😛

Three months later, on November 15, 1994, Wizards of the Coast published a new expansion, it was called Fallen Empires (FE from now on), the booster packs was red and white and the narrative background was amazing, at that time I could not stop playing Magic: The gathering, I was totally hooked and I was looking forward to that expansion …

It arrived en masse to stores and kiosks throughout Spain. Over time we have known some details that we did not realize at the time, one of them is that FE was the most overproducted expansion of all MTG (had a print run four times greater than The Dark), and another that was one of the weakest collections in history in terms of quality, only surpassed, perhaps, by Homelands or Kamigawa cycle, and we also know what it was, and is, one of the most reviled by players around the world. But I was a 14-year-old boy who bought and bought a huge amount of FE booster packs, because they were nice and because they were cheaper than the Revised booster, as I say, I was a child who did not know anything about it, just we were looking forward to Fallen Empires.

The storyline of Fallen Empires focuses on the continent of Sarpadia. The war of the brothers has plunged Dominaria in a time of darkness and chaos (The Dark), The Ice Age (winter) is comming (What current serie sounds like this?). These changes in climate are causing shortage of resources. The spoils of the empires are being disputed by the tribes that live there. The war seems that, again, it´s the only solution …

In this article, we will look more closely at the best FE cards and in next chapters the cards with the most potential and the different strategies (always from the point of view of OS 93-94 player). I hope that this article serves to know a little better this expansion, with its virtues and its defects; I admit that you have to scrape a lot to find «playable» cards, but there is more to it than meets the eye.

1- HYMN TO TOURACH:

fem-38c-hymn-to-tourach

It´s the most destabilizing card that this collection gave. This single card can change the whole format (always referring to Old School and its variants). We have already talked about it in the previous articles.

Hated and loved in equal parts, but not because it is bad, but because of its enormous potential.

2- GOBLIN GRENADE:

fem-56a-goblin-grenade

The second best card from Fallen. What would our goblins do without this bomb? Well, it would not be the same deck. It´s a very dangerous card and it´s not easy to stop because you can´t kill in response to the goblin that is going to sacrifice to be part of the cost, so you know, the best goblin is the dead goblin, kill them all before that they do throw this bomb to you.

3- ORDER OF THE EBON HAND:

fem-42b-order-of-the-ebon-hand

Another important contribution of FE are those known as «pump knights» who are better knights (white and black). We already talked about Tourach´s sons in the article dedicated to Monoblack.

Nothing more to say, they are a great contribution to the monoblack decks.

4- ORDER OF LEITBUR:

fem-16c-order-of-leitbur

In the current metagame the Order of Leitbur are worse than their antagonists because they have a protection against black that´s not as useful as that of the Ebon Hand, because Terror isn´t as basic a card as the Swords to Plowshares are.

5- ICATIAN JAVELINEERS:

fem-8a-icatian-javelineers

If you don´t have Savannah Lions in your starting hand, then playing with these soldiers isn´t bad, apart from kill the Savannah Lions of the opponent, and many more creatures: Royal Assassins, Order of Leitbur, Argothian Pixies, Flying Men, Ball Lightnings, River Merfolks, Dandân, etc … the list of candidates is long.

In addition, combined with a spark, can help to kill larger and annoying creatures such as Serra Angel, Sengir Vampire, Serendib Efreet, Tetravus, Su-chi, etc. To end games to the late game are also not bad, and can scrape those extra damage points needed to win.

A must have in your White weenie.

6- RIVER MERFOLKS:

fem-24-river-merfolk

River Merfolks are the perfect contribution for the merfolk deck in Old School, its cost of turn 2 helps for the curve (so necessary in that deck) and its power of 2 contributes the necessary aggressiveness (for that reason they are always above the Vodalian Soldier), also has evasion by itself and is a merfolk that will get +1+1 thanks to the Lord of Atlantis.

7- RAINBOW VALE:

fem-99-rainbow-vale

This land never came up me in an booster pack of FE and until I started playing OS 93-94 I didn´t know of its existence, so as soon as I met her I got the playset without really knowing where I could include it. It was thanks to Jaco’s deck tech at Eternal Central that I saw what it was very effective for: to activate Land Tax.

Apart from sacrificing your lands with your own Strip Mine, it’s a great way to activate Land Tax. And very efficient.

I am always looking for more uses but it´s not easy to play this land in any deck.

8- AEOLIPILE:

fem-81-aeolipile

This card belongs to one of the existing cycles in Fallen: the «artifacts boon», which are very bad versions of Ancestrall Recall, Giant Growth, etc. In this case it´s a version of Lightning Bolt and this artifact is at least playable and a source of direct damage that you can also do at any time for a low cost. It may even be playable with Titania’s Song. One more spark to take into account in the format.

9- DERELOR:

fem-36-derelor

A 4/4 for 4 manas has never been bad. It can be the budget substitute for Su-Chi and it has some advantages over it, for example, it doesn´t die with Disenchant nor does it affect hatred against artifacts. His handicap normally converts him into a black splash. In the right deck is a good finisher.

10- ORGG:

fem-63-orgg

The same «flavor text» says it, nor does he himself know how big is XD

A 6/6 for 5 mana and trample seems pretty big. It´s designed to attack so the handicap isn´t so much if you have the right cards, it can be combined very well with Smoke, Icy Manipulator, Word of Binding, sparks, etc.

11- DEEP SPAWN:

fem-17-deep-spawn

Another 6/6 with trample and with an interesting ability of shroud, and it´s perfect to play it in Reanimator deck because he himself fills the graveyard every turn. Very good addition to reanimator decks.

12- HIGH TIDE:

fem-18b-high-tide

It´s true that the true potential of this card was discovered years after being printed, and even a tier deck was made around it, but it´s not bad in the current old school and it can be included in decks that need a lot of mana like the mana flare, big blue, etc.

*************************************

So far the first part, in the next article we will go to analyze in more detail those cards that have a lot of potential but don´t see the game as often as we have seen here. We´ll also try to understand Fallen Empires in the current context of Old School 93-94. Do you think there is a card missing from this list? Tell me in comments or through my Instagram account: @retroplayermtg

Until next week!

Carlos Piélago

Un comentario en “Fallen Empires: Old School Player´s Manual (Part I)

  1. Pingback: Fallen Empires: Old School player´s manual (part II) – Liga Madrileña Old School MTG

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