We’re cruising! Let’s see if we can go through card designs a little faster this time.
Here is Aika. She packs some nice punch, doesn’t she? A little too much, I believe. This mini Inferno Titan (not that the card existed at the time) is basically a 3/1, which admittedly isn’t so good for 3, and Flames Of The Firebrand stapled together, for only a slightly less practical mana cost. Such a nice burn spell coming with a 3 power creature is pushing it, for that price. Let’s see how we can fix her.
We are going to try and take Aika down all the way to uncommon if that’s possible (uncommon legendary creatures only exist in Legendary oriented editions though).
Pretty simple, right? So is it acceptable now? It’s hard to say. Two damages divided as you want is still better than shock, or it would be if the card wasn’t sorcery speed now. We did mention that the body wasn’t all that fantastic, and at this stage two red manas does get a little annoying. Still, we get 3 power, and two damages that can be either a removal, or sometimes a removal and 1 damage to opponent, and even 2 removals when you’re lucky. Easy 2-for-1 and potential 3-for-1 has to make it a great card.
Quick mention of a rule point now.
Oracle rules (the reference for card rules) always specify “divided between one, two, or three target[s]…” until damages are over 4, but the principle remains the same. The fact is, even when the card says “any number of target[s]” you can’t assign less than 1 damage to every target; it’s not legal. That isn’t the case of Fireball though; since the damages are divided automatically, you can pick any number of targets, and let the division happen. As long as you don’t pick 0; we don’t divide by 0 around here. Now you know how to deal with a board full of Phantasmal Images!
Ok let’s try and fix a second design then!
Skies of Arcadia had a yellow color that was linked to lightning magic. Yellow not existing in Magic I got behind the most obvious thing about yellow folks of the country of Valua: they are the bad guys. Black it is, then! Enrique is different though, he’s a Valuan prince, and he rebels against his people.
This makes a great case for this variation of the infamous black knight.
So is Enrique well designed? This is pretty delicate call, mostly based on his cost. It is obvious enough Magic designers don’t want to be giving first strike to a 2/2 without making it cost two colored mana (and have an extra ability, which Enrique does). It is hard to say whether it is by tradition or by design though. There are tons of crazy 2/2 for one colorless and one colored mana. On the top of my head, Scavenging Ooze, Skylasher. I would venture it is in regards to limited, in which first strike just can skew close-combat games pretty efficiently and frequently on turn two, and also possibly later on, whereas other awesome creatures might have abilities that are more constructed oriented. Still, it’s a stretch to think a 2/2 first strike is as crazy as the previous bomb I mentioned. Other fact that might make my design not that over-powered: I have a feeling, though unexplained, that protection from black when you are black is less powerful. That might very well just be psychological, though.
The fixed, conservative version of Enrique isn’t quite as good, obviously. This should be acceptable though. I believe Wizards of the Coast really want limited to not have 2 drops that dominate the board easily, so I could imagine that version is still considered too powerful, but it is a rare after all! In recent memory, one-colored-mana two drops with first strike have a downside. By the way, I really was attached to the flavor of having Enrique not being entirely black. Otherwise going for a complete black knight, for two black mana, but protected against black, would have been an easy solution.
Another side note about flavor. There is no “Noble” creature type! For some reason I thought there was, and I’m a little surprised to be honest. I’m not sure why that is exactly. It might mean that unless they want to establish a strong kingdom themed edition, this is too much honor to give a card that’s just passing by in the history of planes, to be a prince of a king. But at least a noble! I think they also like to limit the number of different creature types, because dilution prevents all sorts of cool effects, if not full tribal strategies. I’m going to use it though, because I feel it’s a nice and flavorful creature type. Who knows, Wizards designers might be keeping this creature type for a future awesome use! 🙂