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Cosplay: The Weatherlight Crew

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Coalition Victory by Eric Peterson

Magic old-timers will read the title of this article and nod their heads.

If you’re new to Magic, though, you might be going, “ . . . Who?”

Donato Giancola

Magic Online folks will have seen Weatherlight references during Tempest Remastered Week back in April, and Blake Rasmussen provided a nice little introduction to the crew.

Lore-wise, what we’re talking about here are the various people who crewed the interplanar skyship known as Weatherlight. This ship was designed by Urza, an artificer and Planeswalker notorious for his brilliance and his meddling with world events. Urza has left his mark on MTG with a constructed-playable Legacy, which is ironic because his big project from back in the day was actually called “The Legacy.”

Karn Liberated

“They call that the Tron / I just turned it on” —Spruke

Urza’s nemesis was Yawgmoth, a scientist and bio-terrorist who eventually became the leader of the artificial plane known as Phyrexia. “Back in the day” of the Multiverse, the Phyrexians were invading Dominaria, and the crew of the Weatherlight fought in this war.

As far as cosplay goes, on Grand Prix SeaTac weekend, we (unfortunately) didn’t have anyone to play a steroidally-large silver golem, nor anyone to be a minotaur, and not even anyone who’d take on being a fully-furred cat warrior. Huh, can’t imagine why not . . . But, we did have a group of brave souls who were willing to take on these other famous Weatherlight roles:

Maybe next time we can have a Tahngarth, a Mirri, and a Squee, too.

Gerrard

Art by Terese Nielsen. Gerrard cosplay by Liz Cady.

Played by: Liz Cady (@JhoiraArtificer)

1) Tell us a where you were born and raised and about your ethnic background.

Born and raised in Seattle! Pacific Northwest, yay! My ethnic background is probably best described as "Mid- to Northern-European mongrel." The largest identifiable portions are probably Irish, German, and English. I do not agree with the eugenics project that created Gerrard.

2) What did you love about this group cosplay?

I loved cosplaying (some of) the Weatherlight crew because The Brothers’ War into the Weatherlight saga is really how I got into the Vorthos side of things. For my twenty-second birthday, my girlfriend Natalie got me most of The Weatherlight Saga (and the two Ice Age books that are hard to get your hands on).

Left: Liz and her Vorthos hoard of novels. Right: Taking a test shot of the corset modified for femme Gerrard.

Jhoira was my first cosplay because of my love of the character in those books. Making a Gerrard as part of a group cosplay just seemed awesome. Also, the crew does have pretty good gender representation in canon, but the chance to add more awesome women (and queer canon with Hanna) was pretty attractive.

As far as a group cosplay goes, it also really helped get me off my butt! Knowing that y'all were relying on me to show up and be the commander was the encouragement I needed to actually plan and execute on it. Plus, running around with a whole awesome-looking crew really gives me the energy to hang out at the GP.

3) What was the most challenging aspect of this cosplay?

Since I did this cosplay largely out of off-the-shelf components (so far . . . I'm going to make it more elaborate), the hardest thing I did was probably to get the corset properly filled out on the dressmaker's dummy so I could glue the red panel on the front without it becoming wrinkled. If you ask me this again after I do more custom work, you may get a different answer!

Hanna

Art by Anson Maddocks. Hanna cosplay by Air Bubbles Cosplay.

Played by: Arielle of Air Bubbles Cosplay (@AirBubbles)

1) Tell us a where you were born and raised and about your ethnic background.

I'm pretty boring and was born and raised in Washington State. Moved around a bunch near the Seattle area, but that's about it. As far as ethnicity, I'm a redhead, so I'm as white as the moon. My family is pretty much all from Norway and Sweden. Vikings, yeah!

2) What did you love about this group cosplay?

I thought it would be easy, and then it came time to actually start making it—I realized there were like ten different reference images, and all were different as far as texture and color, and it made it really difficult to pick things out. I also liked that, though, because I had freedom to really throw my creative twist into the character.

Progress pictures of Arielle’s Hanna cosplay, including the infamous butt-window pants.

As far as the group, well, it was a group! It was fun and relaxing, and people were excited to see us! And there is such rich lore—which I still need to read more of—so it was like walking around and recreating a story, which felt awesome.

3) What was the most challenging aspect of this cosplay?

It was hard because there was so much detail to Hanna, and without it, I felt that I wasn't doing her justice, so I spent a lot of time picking the perfect fabrics and making things as close as possible to the character. She also was wearing an outfit a little outside of my comfort zone. I have a super-short torso, so wearing waist-high pants was actually nerve-wracking for me. And, holy cow, trying to figure out how to put everything on my body . . . She has a lot going on, and there are no straps in sight in some places. I also procrastinated and had to make it in a month! Yay, me!

Sisay

Art by Ray Lago. Sisay cosplay by Michelle Shepardson.

Played by: Michelle Shepardson

1) Tell us a where you were born and raised and about your ethnic background.

I was technically born in New York, but I was raised in a number of places all over the U.S., ranging from Hawaii to Alaska to Guam. I've been on the west coast the longest though, especially Seattle. I consider my background to be Asian–American. Mom is Indonesian, so I grew up with some of that influence (and a healthy love of Asian food).

2) What did you love about this group cosplay?

The group support! It really helps to have someone encouraging and sharing with you throughout the process, and the more the better. Being part of a crew, both in making the cosplay and the cosplay itself, was really motivating, and it was great having other people to bounce off of.

Progress pictures from Michelle’s work on Sisay.

3) What was the most challenging aspect of this cosplay?

Ooh man. It's a solid tossup between making rounded armor and sewing a modification for my pants. I've learned a couple of tricks for next time!

Ertai

Art by Terese Nielsen. Ertai cosplay by AE Marling.

Played by A. E. Marling (@AEMarling)

1) Tell us a where you were born and raised and about your ethnic background.

In the shadow of San Francisco. White.

2) What did you love about this group cosplay?

As Ertai, Wizard Adept, it was my pleasure leading those lesser crew members who lacked all the benefits of an arcane education at Tolarian Academy. They were ever so charmingly reliant on my expertise in runes and transplanar navigation. They must've been delighted to have a wizard of my abilities on their little ship. Donating my time to their cause was its own reward. I am, after all, a gracious wizard. I am certain they'll remember my invaluable services and not leave me behind on the desolate plane of Rath. Definitely not.

A. E.’s—I mean Ertai’s—staff construction . . . using, I hear, two different types of Dominarian wood.

3) What was the most challenging aspect of this cosplay?

A tension grew between me and Hanna, Ship's Navigator. I can only assume she grew jealous of my skills and good looks. It must be so awkward to be the daughter of Barrin, Master Wizard without even the least ability in polymorphic science or higher-level negation. Sad to say, she has done nothing to earn his love apart from being born to his wife. Doubtless when next we meet, she'll apologize for being less than considerate to me, a wizard adept.

Orim

Art by Carl Critchlow. Orim cosplay by Moxymtg Cosplay.

Played by me, MJ (@moxymtg)

1) Tell us a where you were born and raised and about your ethnic background.

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, in a very low-to-middle working class neighborhood in the SE. The main drag near my childhood home has a used car lot on every other block, and in between the car lots are fast food joints. The funny thing is after hating Portland for many years, vowing I’d get out and never look back and stints in Seattle and Eugene, when I bought a house . . . well, it’s up the street from my parents.

My son attends kindergarten at the same elementary school I went to. It’s amazing and wonderful to see how much more diverse, aware, and proactive the neighborhood has become. When I was young, it felt as though every group was stereotyped and pitted against each other for no good reason. And none of us were aware about how homophobic, sexist, and racist the culture was. In contrast, I now get to see signage in every language and LGBTQ posters at my son’s school, and they discuss things like Compassion as part of the curriculum. Thank goodness. The other day, I saw two guys walking down my old street holding hands. It was awesome.

She’s a Samite freak, Samite freak, Samite freakin’ . . . yow!

In terms of bloodlines, I think I’m Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Dutch, and English. But since we don’t know much about one of my Chinese great grandmothers, it’s possible I’m Korean or Mongolian or god knows what. And on my Japanese side, we really have no idea how the Dutch got in there. I mean, they got in through a port, but . . . you know what I mean. Like every other American (except you fabulous Natives), at some point, my ancestors came here from somewhere else. And they were probably drinking while they did.

2) What did you love about this group cosplay?

It was such an iconic thing to do—and an excuse to hang with some really great people. It gave me courage to walk around a GP in costume, and it forced me to step out of my writerly hermitage and show up in public!

3) What was the most challenging aspect of this cosplay?

Just getting to the meetup on time. I was dragging my kids and my husband with me.

The Crew

A super-high-five to photographer Phillip Penty of Plainswalker Photography, who did our Weatherlight photoshoot and was very positive and easygoing to work with. We also want to thank Cascade Games for helping to support and promote our group cosplay—we can’t wait to show up at more Cascade events with some sick stuff. We’re already plotting for next summer, and there just might be a spoiler on that topic at the end of this article.

Time to ride or die. Photo by Plainswalker Photography.

"Helping people is mostly a matter of teaching them to help themselves."

—Sisay, journal (Alms)

Sisay and Hanna get down to business. Photo by Plainswalker Photography.

"I'm not one for pretty things," said Sisay. "Unless they're pretty useful as well." (Sisay's Ring)

"What separates junk from treasure is imagination."

—Hanna, Weatherlight navigator (Treasure Hunter)

Gerrard lays down the law with an insouciant Ertai. Photo by Plainswalker Photography.

"If you can kill your enemy with the first stroke, you save yourself the labor of the second.

—Gerrard of the Weatherlight (Guided Strike)

"I'm too modest a wizard to reveal the full extent of my abilities."

—Ertai, wizard adept (Abeyance)

A happy moment in between fighting Phyrexians and saving the world. Photo by Plainswalker Photography.

"Even the fiercest storm has a peaceful eye."

—Hanna, Weatherlight navigator (Tranquil Grove)

Applying some reviving vapors. MJ: “You’re going to be ok, right?” Arielle: “No, no, actually I’m going to die.”

"My medicine bag and I have treated countless wounds and illnesses. But never have I seen so many made so sick for so long. We will never eat Squee's cooking again."

—Orim, journal (Medicine Bag)

Gerrard and Hanna enjoy some quality time, with a sneering Ertai giving them absolutely no privacy. Photos by Plainswalker Photography.

"Just think of me as the storm before the calm."

—Gerrard of the Weatherlight (Serenity).

"Why should I boast? The bards will do it for me—and with music."

—Ertai, wizard adept (Tolarian Entrancer).

The slap heard across the Multiverse. Photo by Plainswalker Photography.

"Barrin taught me that the hardest lessons to grasp are the ones you've already learned."

—Ertai, wizard adept (Relearn)

Photo by Plainswalker Photography.

"A sacrifice made in peace is worth a dozen made in panic."

—Orim, Samite healer (Serene Offering)

Buh-bye, Ertai. Thanks for opening that portal, dude. Photo by Plainswalker Photography.

"The sidar who raised me had a saying: ‘The first step into death is the hardest.'"

—Gerrard of the Weatherlight (Soul Shepherd)

"Gone today, here tomorrow."

—Ertai, wizard adept (Time Ebb)

A sixth member of the crew—some kind of Naruto ninja, I think—ducks behind Jace for cover.

For my first Magic: The Gathering group costume experience, I couldn’t have asked for a better time or better crewmates. 10/10 would do it again!

I always relish the chance to see Liz, ever since she let us crash at her place a couple years ago when I sojourned to a Card Kingdom event as an alterist. Though we didn’t get to have our usual “Jodah vs. Venser: Who’s the Better Durdly Boyfriend?” argument, just being around Liz for a short time is a stabilizing influence on me. And I’ve wanted to meet Alan (A. E.) Marling in person ever since I saw him around in the MTG Twitter community, read one of his amazing enchantress novels, and became a supporter of his work. Since then, our friendship has only grown. Now that he’s been signed on to be a flavor freelancer, I can’t wait to see what gems he pens for future Magic cards!

After seeing Arielle’s cosplay work on the Internet and getting to know her through an interview on her Chandra and Liliana, I was pleased to finally find out she’s just as down-to-earth and cool in real life as she is as Air Bubbles Cosplay. I hope we’ll be exchanging cosplay war stories for years to come. Last but not least, Michelle was brought on by Liz because she was interested in building Sisay—and I’m so glad she did! And I’m not just saying that because Michelle is hoarding a Modern Masters box (which had everyone at the bar very excited) . . . but because she is genuine and sweet and sharp and loves playing and talking MTG.

It was as though we’d all been in-person friends for years, which is very much not the case. Pretty darn Magical.

So what’s next? Well, I’m happy that now I get to spring a surprise on everyone:

Grand Prix Portland

August 12–14, 2016

Left to right: Art by Tyler Jacobson, Brad Rigney, Miguel Mercado, Adam Paquette.

We hope to see you there.

Planeswalkers are confirmed for Saturday, a selection of legends will follow on Sunday. And a partial Weatherlight encore at some point might even happen.

Crossing my fingers A. E. might make it, too, so Jace/Geralf/Ertai can jump in the fray.

And please . . . help me in peer pressuring Gathering Magic’s senior Vorthos Mike Linnemann to get in on the shenanigans.

Art by Chase Stone

Till next time, may Magic be your Biggest Group Hug Ever.

-MJ


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