Opening booster packs is the quintessential experience of being a trading card game player. There’s excitement in the chance of what you might pull. A couple weeks ago Dave Firth Bard did a post here on The Wizard’s Tower where he opened up a Revised Gift Box. If you haven’t read it, check it out. It’s what inspired me to do this post.
Playing in a format where all the cards are over twenty years old, opening boosters is not a normal occurrence for us unless you’re this guy. It’s because the amount of unopened boosters for many of the Old School sets are very low making them super expensive. But then there’s The Dark. A booster pack can be bought for about $15. I’m assuming that’s because of the much higher amount printed compared to the previous sets. I heard that the entire state of Montana was shipped only one booster box of Arabian Nights. That goes to show the scarcity of some of the early sets.
At the time of writing this I haven’t opened the pack yet. I want to explore The Dark a little bit first. The lead designer was Jesper Myrfors, one of the original Magic artists who, in an interview, claimed that he was labeled as “the worst artist in MTG, but at the same time Elves of Deep Shadow was voted the best illustration in the game.” I can see that. Some of his cards are god awful while others are incredible. And I don’t think there’s anyone that doesn’t love Elves of Deep Shadow! He also has some of the goofiest (though some of my favorite) cards in Magic. Moss Monster, Mold Demon, Living Lands, etc.
I don’t use a whole lot of cards from The Dark when I play Magic but flipping through the encyclopedia and the cards I do have, one thing is pretty clear: there are a lot of religious undertones. In the same interview mentioned above, Myfors said that the expansion was made partially as a way to do some artwork he really wanted to do but also as “a commentary against the evils organized religion.” It’s pretty cool because there’s a lot of witchcraft and horror related cards like Season of the Witch, The Fallen, and Witch Hunter.
Ok, so what do I hope to pull? I already have a Maze of Ith so I don’t exactly need another one. I’m also not trying to make my money back either. I’ve been playing with red a lot lately so maybe a Blood Moon or Ball Lightning could be a good pull.
Here it goes!
Not too shabby. Nothing mind blowing but I had never seen Murk Dwellers or Spitting Slug before. There’s also some pretty awesome flavor text going on here too.
I already have four copies of Marsh Gas and I’ve never used them. I’ve also never read the flavor text until now so I’m sort of glad I pulled it. I just really love the name Keevy Bogsbury.
Marsh Viper seems like a potentially strong card. I remember pulling one of these from a Fifth Edition starter pack back in the day before I knew how to play. I sort of want to try out a poison counter deck now.
Murk Dwellers is a bit creepy at first glance but when you read the flavor text, it’s even creepier. Love it.
Goblin Shrine is my favorite of the cards pulled. The Dark added a lot of creatures and other cards to use for tribal decks. I like this card for the flavor text mostly. It says, “I knew it weren’t no ordinary pile of – you know.” – Norin the Wary. No ordinary pile of what? Pile of shit? Wait, I know the name Norin the Wary. Where have I seen that name? Ah, now I remember!
Jade Statue! It’s not “no ordinary pile of” shit, it’s “no ordinary pile of” rocks! The one thing that can be said about Norin is that he is indeed very wary of seemingly ordinary looking rocks. Norin has definitely seen the Indiana Jones movies.
From a financial point of view, buying this booster pack was a bad deal. It was definitely fun though. I plan to do more booster pack openings in the future. I’d love to crack open more The Dark boosters but other sets could be fun too: Chronicles, Fourth Edition, Fallen Empires, etc. I’m pretty sure Fourth Edition starters are somewhat affordable too. If I’m feeling extra rich maybe I’ll do a Revised booster pack opening. And if I’m feeling extra extra rich maybe I’ll do an Arabian Nights, Antiquities, or Legends pack opening. I don’t often feel rich so I’m leaning towards Chronicles for the next one.