Lore Ipsum: Tricolor
Hello! Today’s cards deal with tri-color partly to celebrate the impending release of Khans of Tarkir, but mostly due to serendipity.
As usual, both of these myths were recounted this month in vlog form by Dael Kingsmill of Geek & Sundry, and i highly recommend you watch them before you proceed to the cards (links to the specific vlogs will follow). I won’t necessarily be covering the whole myths, only the aspects my cards drew from, and she tells them far better than me anyway. Let’s get started!
Once upon a time, there was a great prosperous kingdom on an immense island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, named Atlantis. The island was favored by Poseidon, who carved its mountains into a beautiful palace surrounded by three sets of natural moats. On this island flourished all kind of fauna and flora in addition to a plethora of natural resources, which its inhabitants used to develop their kingdom. Atlantis was a wealthy advanced civilization, a hub of commerce with impregnable defenses, and everything was good. So of course it all went to hell.
Eventually the descendants of the original rulers grew complacent and, when the riches of their land stopped sating their greed, turned their sights on conquering Europe. The Atlantian army was unstoppable, overwhelming the European nations one by one, until Athens stood alone against them. The Greek Gods took notice of this and, to punish the hubris of the Atlantian kings, brought down a series of calamities on Atlantis until the entire island was destroyed and sunk into the ocean.
The concept for the Atlantis card started out as a land with an activated ability for every color. This is what i call a “Butterfree card”, after a card in my Pokémon set, which is a dumb name in at least three ways: firstly, it’s just arrogant to name it after a card of my own when i’m sure i got the concept from a Magic card somewhere (though i can’t remember one right now); secondly, i made this card long before Butterfree, and “moon card”, “seer card”, or “lunar card” would all sound much cooler; thirdly, and most importantly, Butterfree doesn’t even have activations in all colors, only four. But i digress.
The “hubris ability” was in from the start, based off Gemstone Mine, and as i wrote down the abilities it became evident that five colors would never fit on the card. Three colors seemed like a good compromise, and Bant (White/Blue/Green, called an “arc”, or a “shard” because of Shards of Alara) felt the most fitting for the utopian kingdom, before hubris brought about its Red and Black qualities.
Two of the abilities were in my mind from the very beginning: the white Moat ability, representing, of course, the moats; and the green Call of the Herd ability, representing the elephants which, Dael assures us, were very prevalent in the island. The blue ability was more generically meant to represent knowledge and how advanced the kingdom was. All of these abilities are very powerful in a land, despite the hubris limitation, so i tried to cost them accordingly, but the card might still be too powerful. It also gives tri-colored mana because lands should always have mana abilities, and the fact that this mana ability also requires a counter is very much intentional.
Once upon a time, Aegeus, king of Athens, cheated on his wife. Nine months later, Theseus was born (fathered by Poseidon, actually), who eventually grew up and decided to go to Athens to meet his (not) father, having a series of adventures on the way which frankly sound like a pretty neat D&D campaign. Aegeus accepted Theseus as his heir; however, Athens was bound by war treaty to send fourteen teenagers to Crete every year, where they were to be thrown into the Labyrinth of Daedalus. Theseus was forced to become one of these tributes.
In the days preceding his imprisonment, Theseus got to know the king’s daughter, Ariadne, pretty well. She promised to help him escape the maze, and did so by sneaking in a dagger, to slay the Minotaur; a ball of yarn, to help him find his way back; and, in some versions, a shiny divine glowing crown, because one assumes the labyrinth was dark. Armed thusly, Theseus managed to overpower the Minotaur, return safely, and sneak himself, Ariadne, and all the other tributes back to Athens. There Theseus succeeded his recently-deceased father as King of Athens, and all was well. Oh, except he actually abandoned Ariadne on an island on the way back.
Once again i focused on the character’s items, as i am wont to do for some reason; namely they being sneaked in by Ariadne, which immediately became the first ability. The second ability represents the light crown, blinding his opponents and allowing him to march on unopposed. The third represents the dagger, allowing him to fight off foes directly. The fourth represents the yarn, allowing him to return to safety.
Theseus becoming tri-color, and Temur (Green-Blue-Red, called a “wedge”) in particular, was a coincidence. His primary color sounded green to me, which suited the fight ability, but i needed an equipment-centric color. White is often the equipment color but Red is secondary in it, and it felt to me like it suited him better. Blue came strictly from the can’t be blocked ability; i considered removing it altogether, making him Naya (Red-Green-White) or maybe even just Gruul (Red-Green), but left it in both because it would be somewhat weak without it, and because the wedge was a nice coincidence with the release of Khans.
The card may seem a bit blunt, like it’s giving you strict instructions on what to do, but i like that it essentially tells a story: Theseus enters the battlefield, has some equipment handed to him, fights the creature, then returns safely.
Until next time!