Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Oracle Review - Creature Types - Arabian Nights

A long time ago I posted a review of the updates to creature types for Limited Edition. I did my research into creature types for several additional sets but never got around to posting my reviews. Now that I have a new baby and I don't feel like writing anything, I figured I'd dredge them up and post them as if I was getting something done. Enjoy, if that's what you do with this sort of thing.

Artifact Creatures
There were two artifact creatures in Arabian Nights: Brass Man and Dancing Scimitar. Brass Man is appropriately a Construct while Dancing Scimitar is a Spirit. I find this latter choice somewhat perplexing. The scimitar's low power and high toughness suggests that you have to actually smash the sword to bits to deal with it, which makes bringing it back with a Forked-Branch Garami feel odd. Then again, stopping the scimitar in it's tracks with Urgent Exorcism feels about right and would probably be allowed in flavour draft regardless of the actual type. Why this card was given a highly interactive creature type I don't know, but I'm happy to give it two stars as a reasonable-enough choice.

A Human Now
In this category we have the lone Desert Nomad. Previously Nomads of unspecified race, we now find out that they were humans all along. No real surprise, and two stars.

Proto Legends
In Arabian Nights we have a wide variety of named individuals but the set preceded the invention of Legends. As such, these cards all had creature types that were simply their names. They haven't been made legendary in retrospect, but they have been given creature types.

Aladdin and Ali Baba both became Human Rogues, which seems suitable enough. El-Hajjaj is apparently a Human Wizard, which he might as well be, since I know nothing about El-Hajjaj or why he has pre-lifelink lifelink. These guys get two stars.

The other proto legends - Abu Ja'far, Ali from Cairo, King Suleiman and Sinbad - are all just Humans with no additional type. You may recall from my creature type review of limited edition that making a creature just some guy doesn't really appeal to me. With both Serf and Citizen as available creature types, surely most people must be some kind of person. King Suleiman seems particularly odd in not having a creature type. He's a king, you'd think that would be worth mentioning. Ali from Cairo looks like an upper-crust sort of guy so he might be an Advisor like Cartel Aristocrat. The worst offender, though, has to be Sindbad. Is there really no creature type in magic that is for great adventurers? I feel at the very least he should be a Rogue. All of these get one star from me.

Unsupported Types
As usual, there are is a long list of unsupported creature types that have been updated to something new.

Merchant Ship is now a Human. Much like Pirate Ship, this card is a boat, not a person. Why not Construct for these? Guardian Beast is now a Beast instead of a Guardian which is problematic because the "Guardian" type is actually a creature type with interactions. Old Man of the Sea loses Marid and becomes a Djinn, which makes me mad just because I really like Marids. All of these get one star.

Giant Tortoise is now a Turtle. Tortoises and turtles are different things, but I suppose it's okay if Magic wants to treat them interchangeably. Presumably any effect that cares if you are a turtle mostly cares about the presence or absence of a shell. Cuombajj Witches are Human Wizards which I'm okay with even though that picture doesn't look human to me. Erg Raiders can't be raiders so they are Human Warriors. They dropped Jackal so Hurr Jackal is a Hound. All Ghouls have become Zombies so Khabal Ghoul goes that way. Nafs Asp changes from an Asp to a more generic Snake. Rukh Egg stops being an Egg and becomes a Bird as is their style these days. Singing Tree is a plant - presumably not a treefolk because it doesn't walk around. Sorceress Queen is a Human Wizard though and while I love the word "sorcerer" I can understand how keeping it in the game as distinct from Wizard doesn't make sense. Dandan, like Merchant Ship should be a Construct - oh wait, Dandan isn't two boats? Two stars for all of these predictable but well done updates.

Not quite last we have two creature type updates that I feel were very well done. First of all, Bird Maiden is now a Human Bird. This is a change from "Bird Maiden" so all they really did was specify that a Maiden is a Human. I'm particularly fond of this update just because of how straightforward it is. This highlights how much better the contemporary creature type system is. Secondly, there is Flying Men. I know I said I don't like cards that are just "Humans" but here I make an exception and love it. These really are just some dudes. They just happen to be in the air. Three stars that is!

Island Fish Jasconius
Here is a creature that is very special to me. For a brief time you could fetch this guy out with Bad River, or at least it sure seemed like you could when the rules were trickling out in the pre-internet era. I absolutely believe that they should have left the type Island on this card and added reminder text that says: (If Island Fish Jasconius is not a land then its "Island" subtype does not apply). I don't think that can matter right now, but if there is ever a way to turn a creature into a land then that Island type should be sitting there waiting for it to happen. Even though this is a flight of fancy on my part and not a defect with the card at all, I still have to give this one star, if only for the personal pain it causes me.

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