Greetings again from the Paper Champion. One year ago I started this project, not really knowing what I was going for other than helping others play magic cheaply and teaching others the game. I feel I’ve done a fairly good job in that and to reward myself, I’ve purchased three old school packs from the first set I played with as a young planeswalker, Fallen Empires.
You may chuckle to yourself and say that Fallen Empires is the worst set ever printed. While that may be true to some degree, with many under powered cards printed, there are multiple gems including Hymn to Tourach that have seen multiple tournament lists over the last 21 years.
With that said, let’s open our birthday presents and relive some old school Magic.
Pack One: Homarid Spawing Bed, Fungal Bloom, Farrel’s Zealot, Elvish Hunter, Order of Leitbur, Necrite, Elvish Scout, Merseine.
The smell of 21 year old cardboard fills my nostrils as I open the first pack. I toss aside the wrapper and take a peek as I brush the cards aside across the playmat.
Homarid Spawning Bed represents the birthplace of many Camirids and Homarids a race of sea creature that resembled bipedal lobsters and crabs. Apparently, from the enchantments rules, these Homarids brought the dead to the Spawning Beds to feed the newborn Camarids. A very interesting lore factoid.
Fungal Bloom was a great enchantment used to fuel the multiple Thallid creatures found in Fallen Empires. you could take any extra green mana you had to pump out counters on Thallids at instant speed to help them pop another Saproling creature token. this token could then chump block or any other thing a 1/1 token could do. This was my rare from pack one.
Farrel’s Zealot represents the townsfolk that lived in Icatia. This 2/2 creature was never widely used in decks of the era although it’s ability is interesting, especially in multiplayer games where you can redirect damage to a creature that isn’t controlled to the player you originally attacked.
Elvish Hunter, a 1/1 with an ability to paralyze a tapped creature. Not really the greatest use of mana out there but fun and lore filled nonetheless.
The Order of Leitbur was a group of knights trained to fight the forces of evil, known in Sarpadia as Tourach. This card found it’s way into many white wheenie decks in the early days of Magic. It’s 2/1 and pumpable abilities as well as first strike activation mad a formidable creature in combat.
Necrite is another Farrel’s Zealot type card where if the thrull goes unblocked, it may trigger it’s ability. This thrull did not make my Top Five Thrulls list earlier in the year but did make my Fear the Thrull deck just for it’s ability.
Another elf, Elvish Scout is a bit deceiving at first bit can be used to it’s full potential, untapping a creature during your opponent’s turn and giving you an unkillable blocker.
My last card in pack one was Merseine. This creature enchantment represented a giant net thrown over offending creatures. in order to release the creature, it’s owner had to pay it’s casting cost three times. Considering how many large creatures ruled the tabletops over the years, this potentially could be a decent sideboard card in that era.
Havenwood Battleground wasn’t a very good land. Coming into play tapped then having the option later to sacrifice it for only one additional mana is very slow and ineffective. It’s only redeeming quality is the hanged skeletons illustrated upon the art.
Tourach’s Gate was an ineffective land enchantment used to boost your attacking creatures offensive power. The downside to this was it kills off all your toughness 1 attackers and you have to sacrifice a thrull every few turns to keep the enchantment in play. A lore filled but horrible card for sure. My rare of the pack.
Combat Medic is a fun little card that negates damage, one point at a time per activation. it even has the potential to block smaller creatures. It’s casting cost is a tad high for what it does and this is in my opinion the third flop in the pack.
I’ve had a deck that contained Brassclaw Orcs. They aren’t too bad. In red decks back then that typically weren’t known for blocking their downside really didn’t matter that much. Sadly, the Orcs is got in this pack were the ones that don’t have any type of claws in the illustration.
Here is the all-star of the pack, Icatian Javelineers. These little guys have made a home in many white Pauper decks. their utility in a format where a 3/3 is a game ender I’ve always enjoyed the thought of the soldier tossing away his javelin in combat as well.
Basal Thrull is a sacrifice for mana machine. In Sarpadia, thrulls were bred for one purpose, die for the benefit of the Ebon Hand. Eventually they became numerous and were impossible to stop in their revolt of their heavy handed masters. The Basal Thrull was sacrificed for more evil magic.
Vodalian Soldiers is a 1/2 vanilla creature. Not optimal.
Lastly, Elven Fortress was played by several early days tribal elf decks, back when theme mattered. They were built by elves to defend against the great numbers of thallids that assaulted them from all sides of the forest.
One of my favorite cards in Fallen Empires, the Deep Spawn has a place in my heart. I once had a graveyard recusion deck involving self discard effects, Animate Dead and this homarid. Discard the overgrown lobster, animate it then allow it to attack and munch on your library, giving you more fodder for animating. A fun deck that could bring the 6/6 trampler out by turn two only to be triggered to give it slow shroud till end of turn.
Heroism was a poor card and possibly one of the worst cards ever made. Consider sacrificing a 1/1 creature to have an attacking red creature deal no damage this turn. Why not just block with the creature instead? It would be the same result unless the red creature had trample or equivalent ability.
Spore Cloud is a cousin of Fog. It has a little flavor as well as it taps blockers as well and paralyzes them for a turn. This instant has the potential to really make a mess out of a combat step.
The Mindstab Thrull, a common that is similar to Necrite is a decent card. Losing three cards in hand to an errant attacking thrull is quite strong. Getting the thrull in to score is where you need to be creative. In my opinion, Mindstab Thrull is the best thrull in the game.
Goblin Grenade is a staple sorcery used in goblin theme decks everywhere. For just one measly, filthy, horrifying goblin life, you can drop five damage on a target. Totally worth it.
Have you ever really needed your blockers to have first strike in combat in a blue deck? Neither did I. Just in case you did, Tidal Flats is available.
Icatian Moneychanger is a fun little card from my past and it was a treat to see him last in my final pack. My first deck contained several of them, gambling my life away in hopes of a solid return. I’ve racked up some great life totals using this townsfolk in the past and it’s one of my favorite cards from the set.
There you have it. The Paper Champion’s birthday packs from Fallen Empires.
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