Fixing Old Cards: Arabian Nights Green

(This is a link to the previous installment of this series. Chain clicks to find them all.)

I’ll very probably keep going until I have finished Arabian Nights, but I’m yet undecided if I should proceed to Antiquities afterwards.


Drop of Honey

Drop of Honey Original

While I do not especially like this card concept, it works under its current Oracle wording. The issue, however, is that this is not a green effect. It has been reprinted in White as Porphyry Nodes, but since Planar Chaos was explicitly about colorshifting cards from their core color identity to a fringe color identity, it is possible that Wizards do not consider this effect truly white either – if so, my best guess would be that it’s black.

Anyway, my task was to find a similar card concept which works both in Green and with the card name (which is referring to a story from One Thousand and One Nights, where a drop of honey attracts a couple of flies, who then attract a bird eating them, who attracts a cat catching it, and so on, until the whole region is at war). Well, we know Green allows you to destroy creatures if your own creatures are somehow involved, so this wasn’t too hard.

My design:

Drop of Honey


Ifh-Biff Efreet

Ifh-Biff Efreet Original

This card showcases very well how different (and less precisely defined) the color pie – which didn’t have that name then – was in Magic’s early days. Direct damage in Green is an absolute no-go today, and Green isn’t supposed to get flying creatures with any regularity either (although I strongly disagree with this philosophy). Also, the Efreet is way too powerful if you’re ahead, and even if not, way too suppressive towards opposing flying creatures. If an opponent actually has access to green mana, however, there are situations where it is flat out unplayable or outright killing you in short order if already on the battlefield, which is just too much risk for a good design. Lastly, I really do not like permanents whose abilities can be activated by all players.

Identifying its core aspects, this card is meant to be an efficient aggressive creature doing double duty as a weapon against flyers, whose deployment poses a significant risk to its controller (a prevalent theme in Arabian Nights). I just had to measure out these aspects correctly for a well-balanced limited creature.

My design:

Ifh-Biff Efreet


Singing Tree

Singing Tree Original

Really, isn’t this one of the most terrible artworks ever? It might do for a basic Forest – but where is a singing tree in here?

That issue aside, this card is just unattractive even in limited. Also, there are already more than enough cards in Arabian Nights which impede flyers, and the flavor here doesn’t explain this mechanic. Thus, I decided to create a powerful rare with a more generally useful ability instead – in fact, so powerful that I had to make this tree legendary to preclude having two of them on the battlefield!

My design:

Singing Tree

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12 Gedanken zu „Fixing Old Cards: Arabian Nights Green

  1. jashinc sagt:

    Wow, I like your new Drop of Honey. Looks strong!

    • Zeromant sagt:

      Hopefully, your first statement does not depend too much on the second… I aim at interesting designs playing well of varying strength, but try to avoid making cards whose popularity would stem mainly from high power level.

      • jashinc sagt:

        No the two statements are not connected at all.
        I like the design and at the same time it seems to have the potential to completely warp a limited game.

        • Zeromant sagt:

          Yes, it’s very powerful in limited (which was to be expected, since I designed it to be a constructed-level rare), but at least it needs a little setup in contrast to those „oops look what I just drew I guess I won“ rares.

          That said, as a designer I would make sure that any environment with this Drop of Honey in it features a good amount of maindeckable enchantment removal spells.

  2. Andy sagt:

    Ich mag den Baum in seinem neuen Design, auch wenn ich ihn persönlich selbst mit der Zusatzklausel noch ziemlich stark finde. Zu einfach lässt er sich über andere Wege enttappen, bzw. versaut er dem Gegner in der Theorie eigentlich alle Angriffe, da er bei einem All-In einfach den Nebel fängt und dann im nächsten Zug aufs Maul bekommt, beim vorsichtigen Vorgehen hingegen einfach die angreifenden Kreaturen durch die eigenen Blocker verliert. Da helfen eigentlich nur Kreaturen, welche beim Angriff anderweitig positive Effekte erzeugen. Stichwort Eldrazi, was ich aber schon wieder als eine ziemlich beschissene Pauschalantwort empfinde. Meine Idee: Does not untap during your untap step. At the beginning of your upkeep, you may sacrifice a creature to untap the singing tree. You lose life equal to the sacrificed creatures power.
    Das ist zugegebenerweise eher etwas für grün-schwarz, empfinde ich aber als zumindest etwas mehr balanced.

    • Zeromant sagt:

      Ich habe den Baum ebenso wie den Tropfen bewusst als constructed-taugliche Rare designt, und das bedeutet meistens, dass sie im Limited sehr, sehr stark sind. Ich denke aber nicht, dass sie ZU stark sind. Der Baum setzt den Gegner halt nicht unter Druck, wie es zum Beispiel ein dicker Flieger tun würde, und gibt ihm dadurch auch Zeit, ein Removal zu ziehen. Weiterhin hält er auch Evasion-Kreaturen oder Fatties (Power ab 5) nur jede zweite Runde auf – und wenn er einmal benutzt wurde, ist auch ein Alpha Strike wieder möglich. Und auch die Manakosten für die Aktivierung sind nicht zu vernachlässigen. Ich glaube ehrlich nicht, dass der Baum im Limited stärker ist als zum Beispiel ein simpler Mahamoti Djinn.

  3. mollib sagt:

    Bitte mit der Serie hier weitermachen, ich mag sie sehr gerne. Es geht bestimmt auch noch anderen so, auch wenn sie nicht kommentieren.

    Zum singenden Baum: Er hat doch einen Mund auf der linken Seite, oder? Also singt er bestimmt auch 🙂 Am Original mag ich, dass er sowohl einen Angreifer blocken als auch gleichzeitig einen neutralisieren kann.

    • Zeromant sagt:

      Das soll ein Mund sein? Also, vielleicht mit ganz viel Phantasie! Das literarische Vorbild der Karte war übrigens ein Baum, in dessen Krone zahlreiche Vögel sangen, und nicht etwa ein Ent, der von einer Karriere an der Oper träumt…

      Zum Thema „Ich habe Interesse, zeige es aber nicht“ ist längst alles gesagt.

  4. Baervon sagt:

    „drop of honey“ is the first card in thos series where I don’t really like your design, even if I cannot explain why. Maybe because I like the original card even more after reading about the story the cards name is referring to.

    The efreet is well designed, but i would cut the damage to yourself either on the upkeep or in the ability. Especially the trigger reminds me of juzam djinn. And that guy is black.

    Finally I have to say that I really like the tree. I even „spotted“ the „mouth“ on your card but you’re right… the artwork is terrible.


  5. Rob Anybody sagt:

    I don’t like DoH either. I just can’t imagine a limited deck, even in a cube, which is fully equipped to take advantage of the repeatable boardwipe. And as a later topdeck, I don’t think it’ll do anything because an enemy’s 1- and 2-drops shouldn’t be a concern anymore.
    An awesome multiplayer card though.

    • Zeromant sagt:

      That’s strange, because I believe that my DoH is much more in danger of being too strong for limited that too weak. It’s not that you have to wipe the board REPEATEDLY with it to make it good, you know… The best-case scenario of being a REPEATABLE Duneblast is actually what scares me a little, but I hope it wouldn’t happen too often. It’s certainly not what the card needs to be good!

    • jashinc sagt:

      Imagine this being played with a ton of value creatures 2-for-1-ing the opponent while destroying some of their creatures and a few big creatures as finishers – this sounds VERY oppressive to me!

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