Fixing Old Cards: Arabian Nights Blue

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

I held this entry back for a few days, because Ormus (the site’s admin) asked me to, so that his worldwide exclusive preview content for Shadows over Innistrad would not get, well, overshadowed, I guess…


Flying Men

Flying Men Original

To be honest, I like even filler cards in limited to be just a tad more powerful than this, but the 1/1 flyer for 1 mana with no strings attached can be perfectly serviceable in the right environment, so I didn’t feel compelled to do a redesign here. It would be nice, though, if this human sported a class-based creature type, too – wizard, warrior or even rogue would do.


Merchant Ship

Merchant Ship Original

Incredibly weak, featuring the terrible islandhome ability (not spelled out yet on the card, though, and not in its Oracle wording since that ability has been discontinued), and violating the color pie by giving Blue lifegain: I definitely had to go back to the drawboard for this card. Luckily, the concept of trading can be described in game terms in a very blue way.

My design:

Merchant Ship


Old Man of the Sea

Old Man of the Sea Original

That card is just perfect – one of my favorite designs from Arabian Nights! Just like with Juzam Djinn, it’s only the price tag which keeps this creature out of my Limited Card Pool.


Serendib Djinn

Serendib Djinn Original

Yes, I get it, djinns are dangerous; and I actually miss that kind of design in the modern age of undercosted all-upside creatures; but somehow this card doesn’t click with me. Why does it want me to play with non-islands? Additionally, I feel that such a big disadvantage should be possible to be cheated: On the basic level, you get a creature which might kill your opponent fast, but if it fails, it will lose you the game – so far, so good. I miss a second level, though, where you can use another card to negate its downside – something like Spirit Link, for instance. Also, the card plays just more interestingly if its controller has a choice each turn – do they value that land higher than preserving their life total? With the original card, you just play it and then watch it win the game either for you or your opponent. My design feels more like you are still playing the game yourself, even if you have to navigate some very tough decisions.

One final consideration was if this kind of creature belongs in Blue at all. Normally, Black and Red are designated for such a creature concept. But if an expansion has a specific theme, it is okay if the colors bend a little to acommodate it; and dangerous, powerful djinns were very much the main theme of Arabian Nights. Because of this, creatures damaging their controller are fine here in every color except White in my book (and white creatures could get a comparable, different disadvantage instead).

My design:

Serendib Djinn

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5 Gedanken zu „Fixing Old Cards: Arabian Nights Blue

  1. sarathas sagt:

    Love the design for Merchant Ship!

  2. Baervon sagt:

    Merchant ship seems very nice for control decks in limited. I guess it is not powerfull enough for constructed.
    maybe 0/4 instead of 0/3 would be ok but I think that would depends on the limited enviroment it is in.

    The original Djinn could be one of the first cards that struggle you for playing a one color deck. Your design is good because there are two options for the player controlling the Djinn.

    I’d like to see a polished version of „Island Fish Jasconius“…it has to be legendary because it would win the „best commander name/background“-price all day

  3. Eswe sagt:

    I really like your series as a whole.

    There is nothing to complain about the fixed version of merchant ship, it is a very playable card. However I would like the card to be closer to its original design, because it beeing a variant of a looter does not transport the traits of trading, which I would interpret as a non-violant exchange of resources or growth of wealth in magic. Although you have mentioned that lifegain is out of blue’s normal characteristics, I would prefer something like: „If merchant ship attacks, you gain 3 life and your opponent gains 1 life. If merchant ship blocks you gain 1 life and your opponent gains 3 life.“ Maybe a different concept would be better, but I would love to see the action of attacking visualizing the journey of the ship.

  4. Rob Anybody sagt:

    I second Baervon’s wish for your take on Island Fish Jasconius. Enormous potential.
    Keep writing!

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