This week I’m introducing a couple of pirate captains. First one is Gilder, and as far as I can remember he had no particular reason to be associated to green, other than he does wear vivid colors and owns a parrot. I also wanted the main cast of the game to have a character in each color of Magic! As usual let’s first take a look at the 10 years old version of this design. Before you ask, The Claudia is the name of Gilder’s ship, quite obviously. His other ability has been printed on 9 green creatures so far. Most of the time though, the effect’s potency has been regulated. Lone Wolf is a small power creature, Rhox is a 6-mana-double-green (awesome) rare card, and Gurzigost is also a pretty powerful rare, with tricky downside, an ability that needs to be paid for, and one of the weirdest card name and illustration ever. The rest is huge expensive guys, apart from Pride of Lions, that seems to me like a fantastic limited card. So let’s ask ourselves how much it should cost to have this ability on a creature with an ok body. As you can understand, I don’t want to get rid of the activated ability, because The Claudia is a card that I have designed as well, and I like the idea of fetching it. One thing to keep in mind though is that this will provide card advantage, and The Claudia better be a legendary card, otherwise a player could just fetch a new one and throw it on the field every turn and that would way too much. Knowing that it will probably be a good card though (more or less by virtue of being legendary), we should definitely consider this ability a powerful one. The one that makes Gilder hit through blockers is a good ability too, if a little weird to play. Why not keep it? Let’s see what we can do to balance the card’s mana cost and power/toughness then. My opinion is that Gilder should be a good enough creature on its own, so that I can slow down the fetch ability a little and still have it be a useful card. Being able to fetch a legendary card is extremely powerful, quite possibly beyond repair. But what could I do if I wanted the captain to find his ship? I didn’t want him to sacrifice himself, it would defeat the purpose. I figured I could add a cost, of a color that matches one of The Claudia’s, in order to make the ability a little harder to activate. I also had a quick look at 3/5 for 5 rares and I found out that most of them had a fairly powerful upside, and were almost always costed with two colored manas. Considering that I had two fairly potent upsides in mind for Gilder, maybe 3/5 would be overreaching. If you consider 3/4 for 5 rares, it gets a little more eclectic. Most of them have several colored manas still, and while some have a powerful upside, lots are lesser rares with mostly boring abilities. It makes me feel like my 3/4 would still be good, with its two abilities. I do believe that 3/4 is better than 4/3 with the embedded combat trick that comes with it. What would be the point of pushing 4 damages through, if at the same time your rare died to a 3/3 or 3/2? If you can be a little safer getting 3 damages through I feel like it’s a much better deal. The point is attacking repeatedly. I which I could bring in the 5 toughness, but again with two abilities… Moving on! Drachma is our good ol’ rugged pirate with a (huge mechanical) prosthetic arm, devoting his life to the chase of a whale, Moby Dick’s style, on his ship The Little Jack. The monster Drachma is chasing, is called Rhaknam and is affiliated to the color purple, the color of ice. I think that’s why I decided Drachma would be white, one the two colors we have left. White doesn’t seem like the worst that could be associate to purple Ice magic, and blue is taken since it fits Skies of Arcadia’s blue, corresponding to air. This is also why I had Drachma be protected against white. This makes it a sub-theme of my edition I guess, with Fina and Enrique already protected against their own colors. My goal here is not to remake a new version of my old-school designs, but rather to fix them. I don’t think Drachma will need too much fixing. The life gain ability is somewhat good, especially since it’s almost unconditional (no need to sacrifice the creature, has it’s often the case). Protection is obviously good too though not busted, especially one a medium size creature and against white who is not the color with the most removals. White creatures fighting him would likely enough die anyway, and the damages he deals to a white player, while pretty consequent are not huge just yet. The third ability, as I mentioned before, is important for flavor. We need to keep it if we want the captain to be able to get his ship, which was the original intent. I think he compares reasonably to some crazy 4/4 for 6 rares, including Angelic Skirmisher, Jace’s Mindseeker and other Niv-Mizzet. Let’s fix him still. I think my main concern was that Drachma could hit white players for free too easily, and now it’s mostly solved. 3 damages a turn on a special color for a 6 mana rare is not so bad. Drachma is also similar to Gilder that way, another 3/4 captain with upside AND card advantage! I made the activated ability cost one mana as well, because it feels nicer than giving it away for free. I didn’t want to make it so expensive that it would prohibit casting a spell after using the ability in the same turn though. You don’t want to spend a whole turn looking for a card, do you? So what do we have this time? Those captains are packing quite a bit, though making them dorky 3/4 for 5 and 6 probably helped tuning them nicely. I hope I didn’t bring them to an unreasonable power level, and I hope it can still be ok if I make sure their corresponding ship cards are not power houses themselves.
So is the Skies of Arcadia edition fun so far? Are you looking forward meeting the main hero Vyse, yet? Stay tuned, it’s coming soon!