Hello folks! I hope your day is going well! I was intending to be in Cape Verde over in Western Africa for Spring Break, but my flight was canceled. It was too late to cancel my vacation request from work, so instead I booked a plane for the Caribbean here at Turks and Caicos Islands. (TCI for the rest of this article.)
I am writing this article on my penultimate day here in TCI. For many of my previous visits, I penned a Top Ten article looking at cards that really evince the style and feel of the place I went. My most recent was a Top Ten Icelandic Cards after my Iceland trip for a week In November.
Why did I choose TCI to be my backup? I ordered the tickets at 10 p.m. the night before flying out.
But I didn't choose at random. You know how much I like random challenges for my articles, but I like them way less for my vacations. There were a few reasons why TCI was a good choice.
- As a former English colony, they speak English here. As a bilingual person for French and English, that's important to me.
- Due to its close proximity to the US, it uses the US dollar and our plugs. No need for purchasing the right plugs or getting my money swapped over
- It's the closest traditional Caribbean destination on the map. There are places a lot further away.
- I have a direct connection from my local airport, BWI (Baltimore Washington International, literally 13 minutes by car from my apartment).
- It's Spring Break. Going to the Caribbean during Spring Break is a ritual for college students. As someone who works at a college, I didn't want to run into a bunch of partying college-age folks in my time here. That's not TCI. Its off the beaten path and it has fewer traditional tourist infrastructures. There are tons of things to do outside, living on the beach, and more. But few bars. Lots of biodiversity. But not a whole lot of drink holes.
I would call TCI a primarily green (loves nature) and secondarily blue (loves the ocean) kind of place. It's blue-green overall. I'd also say that it's planeswalker is Kiora. As a blue-green merfolk who loves nature and the ocean too, she's a very very Turks and Caicos Island style of planeswalker, mechanically.
Ready to get started? Let's do it to it!
Honorable Mention: Moss Diamond
I could have sworn that I saw this exact pattern in the wallpaper in some local stores. Moss Diamond for the win!
#10. Breaking Wave
Hello folks! Let's begin my top ten proper with this bad boy. Waves are common, and although on most places there were gentle, there were places on the island with much stronger smashes of the sea. Hence the Breaking Wave! It's also a fun card as it can be an instant take on Sleep or similar effects, and untapping your tapped dorks can be a fun combo while also locking down the others. It's not bad in multiplayer after you swing all out when you normally wouldn't, and then you leave you as the only path of resistance in encouraging folks to slip in some attackers on each other. Thus, the Breaking Wave is a cool card with a lot of flexibility due to its alternative cost, making it similar to Rout or Twilight's Call with its instant option should you need it.
#9. Man-o'-War and Great Whale
Guess who's in the Caribbean? Yup, the Portuguese Man o' War.
There are also more than 20 Whales in the Caribbean as well. Now to be fair, I saw neither in my (admittedly limited) time there. But they are here! Want to check them out?
#8. Hammerhead Shark
In addition to the above sea life, there are shark (and ray) tours that include Hammerheads which will circle around the Caribbean. Want to check out Hammerhead Sharks in the wild? Of course, you do! I don't know why I asked. Silly me.
#7. Spiny Starfish
Starfish are cute. They are iconic. They are fun. The Spiny Starfish can be found in a lot of nearby places. The card feels like it favored flavor and flavorful mechanics over the color wheel, and that's to its benefit. This card is awesome! You'll also see starfish shells in shops for sale all over the island, so they are here in numbers.
#6. High Tide by Drew Tucker
High Tide by Drew Tucker
I prefer the Drew Tucker art for this article (although shoutout to Amy Weber, who did my favorite art in the cycle). We see the life of the sea arrive to the shore to party alongside the aforementioned High Tide.
The card's art is very strong. The water is drawn very nicely, as is that rock or pier it's rubbing up against. But that's not the TCI, you don't see life teeming in every wave that crashing the beach. It's more Drew Tucker's art. It's out there! It's just out there, not here, and you have to go and see it. Anyways, the Tucker art feels more like Turks and Caicos Island-y to me more than the others. Enjoy!
#5. Coral Eel
There are tons of snorkeling and diving opportunities where you can check out life below-water. Eels are just one of the lifeforms on the underground coral that you can find. In this case, Une Fricker does a strong job with colors and scene setting. Coral Eel would go on to star in Core Sets after its Portal appearance, and the fun scene. It's also not the worst limited card as Blue rarely gets 2/1s for two without any disadvantages.
#4. Coral Atoll (and Shoutout to Coral Reef)
While on a coral kick, check this out! Coral Atoll is gorgeous and very representative of what you'd see while snorkeling or diving the nearby reefs. It's a deep underwater scene that is well fleshed out with many details as you dip deeper into the art. That's very representative of TCI diving in the best spots. Also check out the Coral Reef while we are on the topic. It's another great way to see the coral reefs on display with its lovely detailed Amy Weber work. Don't you love the art here? Good job!
#3. Seashell Cameo
Want to bring something home for the family? How about a seashell that has had an angel carved into it as a fun takeaway? This is the perfect gift for your people. It's also very TCI as there are several shells with various art on them for sale in stores across the island. You cannot go wrong with a Seashell Cameo. Enjoy it!
Also, I noticed something unique about TCI while I was there. Every souvenir shop had different things in them. One may have handmade art, the other typical keychains, a third several kitchen appliances and more. Unlike places like Iceland, where every shop had the same souvenir (like stuffed Puffins or this roll away draw-in map for kids) every store in TCI had very different things.
#2. Mirage Island, Douglas Shuler
This was the card that came to my mind as soon as I thought about this article. It's a perfect representation of TCI in card art form! Take the beach as a good example. The beach itself is a fun valuable way to bring in waters and colors. The palm tree perfectly frames the painting, and it looks like a perfect place for a snapshot. Also note the island in the background. Here at TCI are a number of "Cays" that are uninhabited and near the main islands such as Mangrove Cay and Iguana Cay. You can do day trips to those islands, and the background island here suggests a local small Cay to me.
#1. Conch Horn
While here I have eaten Conch Fritters and Conch Chowder for meals. There are restaurants here that only serve Conch, like the Conch Shack. There is a Conch Cab that has a big giant Conch on top of each car. In the Saltmills Plaza, there is a statue of a Conch. In shops there are entire shelves of Conch items for purchase such as Conch back scratchers and Conch coasters. This is a love affair that cannot die. Hence the Conch Horn at #1.
And there we are! Thanks for reading! Have you been to Turks and Caicos Islands? Anything in here I missed? Just let me know, and thanks for your time.