Weatherlight was released 1997, and while I'm pretty sure I was still playing Magic: The Gathering around that time, I wasn't really buying much. This may or not be connected to some of my cards being swiped by a "friend" at the time. I find myself bummed out over such situations! I now own too much of the set thanks to the various collections I've bought since then.
Even though Weatherlight was an expansion of the Mirage block, it is the first set ever to be accredited with attempting to facilitate a deep, fleshed out storyline within the Magic Universe/Multiverse, where other sets before it merely vaguely alluded to one. For that reason alone, I feel that it's one of the most important expansions released by Wizards of the Coast. This is also when they were releasing books based on the game (apparently this set was a precursor for the Rath Cycle novels), which I've only read the first of.
The Weatherlight Saga that was launched by this expansion contained many of the characters highlighted in Vanguard (Gerrard, Squee, Volrath, etc) and culminated in the climax brought about in the Invasion block. There's no doubt as to the success of this new design path when creating sets. Wizards of the Coast has continued to make the storyline of their products a key selling point. Many characters and planes/worlds created in Magic's vast history play continual roles in these narratives. It's offered a much richer and more satisfying experience for many players of the game.
Weatherlight didn't add anything in the way of mechanics. Instead it reused previously established ones like Banding and Cumulative Upkeep (both which I think are now defunct in regards to being used in newer sets/expansions). There were themes, however, like "Graveyard Order" (how the order of cards placed in your graveyard matter — another aspect I think long since abandoned in newer sets) and "Sacrifice Buyouts" (cards with triggered abilities forcing players to choose between paying a cost to keep them or sacrificing them).
Even though I never collected or played with any of the cards from the set when it released, I still respect that it played a pivotal role in how Wizards of the Coast developed their future product from that time forward. It's made the game overwhelmingly more dynamic!
I'll wrap up with a few cards I happen to like from the set:
Do you currently play Magic: The Gathering? Are you a fan of Weatherlight? If so, what's your favorite card and/or ability from the set? Did you enjoy the storyline of the Weatherlight expansion and/or the Weatherlight saga? If so, do you have a favorite character? Have you read the novels based on the Weatherlight and Urza sagas? Do you think Magic is better now that storylines are an integral part of the game?