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Alliances is the eighth Magic expansion and was released in June 1996 as the second set and first small expansion in the Ice Age block.
Alliances is black-bordered and was the first set to be printed on sheets of 110 cards. The set's rarity breakdown is: 55 commons (40@C2, 10@C3, 5@U6), 43 uncommons (40@U2, 3@R6), 46 rares (46@R2). Each common card and the 5 uncommons cards @U6 have 2 pieces of art, making collectors view this as a 199 card set. Since the ratio of uncommons to rare is 3:1 in a booster pack, the 3 rares @R6 are considered as uncommon even if they could be found in the rare slot of an Alliances booster pack. A similar statement can be made about the 5 commons @U6. The expansion symbol of the set is a banner, or pennant, to reinforce the “alliance” concept.
The Alliances lands have a unique violet colored text box, and is the last expansion set to have this feature. The Mirage and Visions sets share the same color scheme, and from Fifth Edition on, land text box color was standardized.