The Creatures of Blue

Last Monday I started a short series on creature types, and today I’ll be continuing that series. Going in color order, that makes today’s article about Blue. Blue is the color that contains the fewest creature cards in every set, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in creature diversity. As the color of the sea and the sky, with land-lubbers appearing in every color, Blue has some of the most diverse creature shapes in the game. I’ve broken them into five categories, so let’s take a look!

What is Blue’s characteristic race?

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Master of the Pearl Trident

Each color has a characteristic race, a sapient humanoid civilization to represent the everyday wielders of the color’s magic. For Blue, this race is Merfolk. Blue is the color of water and adaptation, so Merfolk are the perfect fit. Traditionally, Magic’s Merfolk had fish tails, but this ran into the flavor problem of them being unable to fight on land. They disappeared from the game for many years, and Blue focused more on Wizards during that time. In Zendikar, however, the Merfolk solution was found: just give them legs. Merfolk still have fins and gills and scales and all sorts of other fishy qualities, but the addition of legs has allowed them to return to the prominent role they used to hold.

What is Blue’s iconic race?

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Conundrum Sphinx

Each color also has an iconic race that represents a large creature that epitomizes the color’s philosophies and mechanics. For Blue, that creature is the Sphinx. First of all, they fly. Blue is the number one color in flying, so this is important. Second, they are knowledge-seekers and riddle-makers, exemplifying Blue’s desire for information. Many Sphinxes provide card advantage, while some even let you play vexing mini games with your opponents. While various sea monsters used to hold the iconic spot for Blue, Sphinxes have proven popular and resonant enough to solidify their spot.

What are Blue’s other sapient races?

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Homarid

Blue contains my favorite sapient race, the Homarids. They’re cold-water-dwelling lobster-people, and I wrote a deck article for them last week. I could die happy if Homarids ever returned to Magic. Like every color, Blue has Humans. While Merfolk were taking a break from the game, Cephalids (ocotopusfolk) were created. They didn’t last, however, and the Vedalken were introduced as a possible replacement. Vedalken are essentially bald, blue Humans that sometimes have four arms. Blue shares flying with White, so the bird-like Aven also appear in Blue. Faeries fill the role of small flying creatures, usually tapping into Blue’s trickster themes. Also in this space are Shapeshifters. On Kamigawa, the rabbit-eared Moonfolk dwell in the clouds, inspired by supernatural beings in Japanese folklore. Finally, Homunculi have been getting a little more respect lately, though they’re always a servant-class creature.

What are Blue’s major classes?

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Elite Arcanist

Speaking of classes, Blue has a few. It’s the main color of Wizards, who appear in peaceful, research, and military roles alike. As knowledge seekers, many Blue creatures are Wizards. Rogues also fall into Blue, mostly loner types and thieves. Blue Rogues may search for knowledge, but some are just trying to make themselves better and adapt to their magical worlds. Theft and looting also make Pirates Blue, although Magic hasn’t had too many of them so far. Finally, the sneakiness of Blue makes it the main color of Ninjas, even if they have only appeared in one block so far.

What are Blue’s wild races?

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Stormtide Leviathan

Many races have wild counterparts, and Blue’s are no exception. Birds can be Aven, but they can also just be Birds. Blue is also the color of Fish, along with all manner of sea animals (Jellyfish, Sponges, Oysters, Whales, Turtles, Squids and Crabs). The aforementioned sea monsters include Serpents, Krakens, and Leviathans, and are also some of my favorite creatures in the game. Drakes also fall into Blue, usually representing sky things, although a few water-themed Drakes exist. Blue has a lot of Elementals, and is also the color of Illusions. Fashioning something from nothing is a trait of Blue, so these two types fit perfectly. On Theros, Chimeras usually fall into Blue, being huge, winged amalgamations of animals created through bizarre magic.

Biological Aspirations

Many of Blue’s creatures are focused on the ocean, which is part of why the color contains so many different creature types. The oceans are filled with so many different kinds of life, and Blue is the color that seeks to categorize them all. Since Blue also has Shapeshifters, it’s also possible for it to have any creature and creature type in the game. Ironic, given its stance as the spell color.

Join me next week, planewalkers, when I become sickened by Black’s creatures.

Shark Shaman (Druid Archetype)

Blood. Blood and teeth and scales and death. These are the marks of the most famous apex predator in the oceans: the shark. Today’s archetype reveres these powerful predators as their totem animal.

So surely these druids revere them for their bloodthirstiness and mastery of their domain, right? Not necessarily, as it happens. While western culture tends to demonize them as deadly predators and maneaters, sharks are actually less likely to attack people than one might think. In fact, death by lightning strike is more likely than a shark attack.

In truth, sharks, while an apex predator in their environment, are often shy creatures, more likely to retreat from a creature that attacks them. Most attacks occurring due to hunger and an honest mistakes on the shark’s part, and many more minor bites occur due to their mouth being their only way to examine something that is unfamiliar to them.

In Hawaii, sharks are revered not only for their power and deadliness, but also for their association with death and life, and an attributed sense of honor as noted by the principle shark god forbidding the eating of humans in their mythos.

All in all, these druids can draw upon both the deadly hunger and the powerful swimming abilities of these piscine predators.

Naturally, these druids must take a shark for their animal companion, or else the Animal, Death, War, or Water domains.

Their ability to communicate with animals on an empathic level is enhanced when dealing with fish, granting them an advantage in aquatic realms.

Like other animal shamans, these mystics can partially transform themselves, emulating the gills and swimming speed, underwater sense of smell, powerful jaws, and even the tough, toothlike scales of a shark, protecting them and scratching at the flesh of those that grapple them.

The summoned sharks and rays of these druids are exceptionally tough, and can be weakened or strengthened to use at higher and lower levels of summoning spells, giving them a range across all of the summoning spells. In addition, they also add stingrays and manta rays to their summoning list for free.

Furthermore, their shark forms while wildshaping are enhanced, while their other forms are less perfected.

Finally, this archetype provides a list of bonus feats, including those that increase their speed and reflexes, master of the water and ability to survive along, and even to tear into their foes, causing them to bleed profusely.

There are many fun ways to bring a druid into your aquatic/pirate-themed game, but this one is great if you’re looking for a more melee-themed druid capable of tearing foes apart in the water. Especially clever shark shamans will prepare control water and use it to flood shorelines when fighting on a beach or other watery location, allowing their companion shark or themselves in shark form to travel further on land than normal.

Much like the serpent shaman, these druids have a choice of educating others about their fanged totem animal, or to embrace the fear and devour those who oppose them. They are certainly equipped to do the latter. Additionally, you might take inspiration from Hawaii’s culture and spiritualism, and develop a character who embodies those traits.

 

The party rescues a woman seemingly being sacrificed to sharks only to find that she is a shark shaman about to call her first animal companion. She and the rest of her tribe are less than pleased by their foreign interference and if things are not set right, they’ll need to go further to resupply their ship, a grim prospect considering how low their stores have gotten.

The fiendish sharks of the River Styx are immune to the effects of that foul water, and in some places, lesser demons, daemons, and devils increase their own power by forming a bond with them, commanding them to drag foes into the depths, where the water take hold with whatever the foul effects of that tributary have, such a memory loss, immolation, and so on.

Terrestrial races are not the only ones to create sentient constructs, and the Tikans, carved with exotic faces from stone taken from the depths or shoreline cliffs, serve as powerful seafloor-striding defenders of locathah homes. Some, however, seek out a life of their own, like Busha, whose carved form represents the power of the sharks he has learned to conjure from across the oceans, tearing into his foes.

I am disappointed with the abundant lack of mermen with long gorgeous curls and flowers in their hair so I drew a merdude chillin out on the rocks, dissatisfied with the weather and how easily his beautiful hair gets tangled. 

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"When the Time Comes" - Ink on Bristol w/ Digital Colors

I’m quite happy with how this turned out!  It was very difficult forcing myself to keep to a limited palette instead of picking “daylight colors” and the entire color wheel but I think I did okay.  Also, Tropic of the Sea by Satoshi Kon really got me even more excited about mermaids and I read it right before making this comic so there was definitely inspiration.  Check out that book if you can because the way he inks and tones water is mind-blowing.

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