The Gathering’s eighth set and fourth expansion set was called The Dark. It was first released in 1994. The set was a continuation of a storyline that was started in Antiquities and it recapped what happened after the events that occurred in that set. The Dark contains 119 cards. The theme of the set was sacrificial and dark. However, unlike the Legends set that preceded it, it didn’t introduce any keywords. The set does not contain any clear focus mechanically. It experiments in small amounts with sacrifice and a subtheme that is tribal in nature. An eclipsed moon is The Dark’s expansion symbol.
At first, the storyline that is told in The Dark was only presented by using the flavor texts of the cards. Things changed in 1999, when Jeff Grubb’s novel The Gathering Dark was released. This was the first novel in the Ice Age cycle. It tells the story of one of The Dark’s protagonists named Jobah.
Several conflicts take place after the Brother’s War that cause most of the continent of Terisiare’s inhabitants to revert back to a primitive state. Heroes and leaders rise up during this time, such as Lord Ith, Mairsil the Pretender, Maeveen O’Donahough and Vervamon the Elder.
After a large amount of the continent of Terisiare was destroyed during the Brothers’ War, many nations begin to rely on magic and religion to help them deal with the approaching ice age started by the Golgothian being detonated. This creates a change in the climate that is similar to a nuclear winter. Lord Ith is imprisoned by Mairsil the Pretender in a device known as Barl’s Cage. This is a mage prison that was constructed by Barl, Mairsil’s chief artificer. Mairsil then wages a war in the Dark Lands. He becomes obsessed with trying to find a gateway to Phyrexia. He later tries to manipulate Jodah into taking him there.
At the same time Mairsil employs Maveen O’Donahough and her mercenaries to perform various missions. Vervamon the Elder goes with them on many of these missions. He is an elderly sage who keeps a record of their travels. Upon his return, Vervamon is accused of being a heretic and burned at the stake. Mairsil starts to lose his power and Jodah succeeds in freeing Lord Ith. There is no continuation of this particular storyline until Ice Age.
The Dark, along with Homelands and Fallen Empires, are considered to be the three weakest Magic sets. The Dark created a decrease in the speed and power level of the game. It is the first expansion set to be released in a foreign language (Italian).
- Prominent Cards
- Sorrow’s Path
This card is considered by many to be among the worst land cards of all time.
Maze of Ith
For the most part, The Dark has a power level that is low. However, this card was quickly placed on the lists of cards that are restricted. It was on the Vintage restricted list for a long time. Even though The Maze of Ith was in rarity between The Dark’s other commons and uncommons, this card is considered to be the most valuable of the set.
This card was the first to penalize people for using lands that are non-basic.
This is considered one of the most iconic red creatures in the game. It was reprinted in Magic 2010, 4th Edition and 5th Edition.
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