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Ranking the Cards for the Modern Weatherlight Crew

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Last week, I went and ranked the newer, more modern takes on the original Weatherlight crew - the main focal point of Magic's first major overarching storyline. This was meant to be a follow-up to a piece I wrote back in May talking about the original versions, many of which are tremendously sentimental to myself, though haven't aged quite well. The new ones are by and large much more interesting and made for an excellent set of reworkings more fitting for some of the game's most classic and endearing characters.

All good things must come to an end, however, and following the original Weatherlight saga, the ship sunk into antiquity and was forgotten about for centuries. That is, until Jhoira found the ship and raised it once more, bringing together a new crew from across the plane of Dominaria. Naturally, with a new crew comes a whole host of new Weatherlight cards to talk about, so this week, I've opted to cover every card of this new crew from both Dominaria and Dominaria United - focusing primarily on the legendary creatures side. Let's get into the ground rules and I'll explain why:

  • No Planeswalkers. This is a weird one because technically speaking, various planeswalkers were actually considered to be a part of the Weatherlight crew in Dominaria. The problem there is only some had cards when the Weatherlight was active, some got cards in surrounding sets, and it gets messier if you want to include their past and future iterations as well. For simplicity's sake, I'm keeping it to legends for this list.
  • No antagonists. This is mainly a holdover from the previous lists, but it doesn't make sense to focus much on the bad guys when they're not, you know, part of the crew. This got murky with the original crew, but it's much easier this time around.
  • No Allies of the Weatherlight. The new Weatherlight crew, much like the original one, had a long list of allies across Dominaria, though they're not part of the actual crew. The list for this one is particularly long thanks to Dominaria and Dominaria United and it's best to not go too deep down that rabbit hole.
  • No Team-Ups. In March of the Machine, there were a couple team-ups with some of the crew members and non-Weatherlight crew members. In some cases, there was even a mix of old and new. For simplicity and less headaches, I'm leaving them off this list.
  • No Alchemy. Unfortunately, several members of the crew from the original Dominaria set got sidelined to MTG Arena's digital only Alchemy format. I'm not as tuned in to those cards, and the mechanics of them can get weird, so I'm avoiding them on this list.

Now that we've established the rules, let's dive into the list, starting with one juicy honorable mention!

Honorable Mention: Weatherlight

Weatherlight

When I wrote my first piece covering the original cards of the first Weatherlight crew, I gave a warm nod to both Skyship Weatherlight and Legacy Weapon for their defining role with the crew. They weren't technically part of the crew, but it felt wrong to not bring them up when they might as well have been a member. I'd be remiss if I didn't do the same here once again and mention the newest Weatherlight card (and no, not that compleated one from Dominaria United). I considered putting it with my list last week, but I thought it better to attach it to the new crew it went along with. The card itself is stellar and is an excellent addition to any historic-heavy deck. That could be legend-matter or artifact heavy decks, or perhaps even your latest Tom Bombadil brew! It's narrow, but when it works, it's great, and it's even best as the centerpiece for your Weatherlight crew theme deck.

8. Shanna, Sisay's Legacy

Shanna, Sisay's Legacy

Shanna is a really sweet card in areas like Standard and Limited, but once you get outside of those spaces there isn't a lot to work with here. She gets huge and she's a little hard to get rid of in some cases, which is great. Her Achilles heel is that she ultimately just gets chump blocked forever in most situations unless you can give her evasion. In my opinion, there're many better go-tall options - even as Commanders go (see Trelasarra, Moon Dancer) - that ultimately Shanna just feels like she doesn't do enough to be a worthwhile addition. For that reason, she rests here at the bottom of the list.

7. Arvad the Cursed

Arvad the Cursed

You know what Commander really likes? Legendary creatures. Arvad fits that role in spades, making him a great inclusion in either Legends Matter decks or ones that just happen to have a lot of legends by happenstance. The problem is that he's extremely one note, fitting into one specific kind of deck for the most part. Even then, all he's doing is giving some solid power and toughness boosts. With a high density of legendary creatures, this can be a huge boon to your overall strategy. On the whole, his uses are so narrow that he has to find himself on the lower end of this list.

6. Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage

Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage

Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage is the absolute definition of a role player card. No deck in the history of the game is going to ever have him as the focal point of the list because he doesn't do enough to warrant it. Similarly, he's not what you want to be doing as the Commander because he's usually better in the 99 for other decks themed around the likes of artifacts, legends, and even enchantments (because of sagas). In the actual lists, however, he gives you ridiculous amounts of value by being able to flash in stuff at opportune moments, enabling you to get around opposing interaction and set up your wins for a strong finish. He's never going to be center stage, but when Raff is good, he absolutely shines.

5. Shanna, Purifying Blade

Shanna, Purifying Blade

If Shanna, Sisay's Legacy was too little in terms of raw potential, Shanna, Purifying Blade is the total opposite. She is a value engine that will keep you drawing cards and gaining life repeatedly as the game goes on. That scales even higher if you have additional life gain methods and/or cards that increase her power and toughness, such as equipment. This makes her an excellent build-around or a great card in decks such as, say, Rafiq of the Many. Her main issue is that given her color restrictions, she's a lot narrower than you might like, thereby limiting her uses.

4. Tiana, Ship's Caretaker

Tiana, Ship's Caretaker

Boros decks often get a bad reputation for being so focused on either being aggressive or equipment-focused, while oftentimes being both at once. Tiana is somewhat of an oddity, however. She does fill a role in her affinity for equipment, but she also does a lot of work with auras as well. In both cases, she makes it hard to get rid of them, meaning the flaws and drawbacks of both types of cards are negated. In some cases, this can be made to be more of a puzzle than an aggressive line of play, giving you ways to try gaining more and more value as you put enchantments in the graveyard. There's even a handful of cards in Wilds of Eldraine - like Knight of Doves - that benefit from this strategy, meaning that while you can play Tiana in aggressive decks or build her to be aggressive on her own, there's a lot more depth to her play. That allows her to do something unique amongst a somewhat trite theme these days, and that makes her stand out brightly among the crowd.

3. Raff, Weatherlight Stalwart

Raff, Weatherlight Stalwart

If Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage was the top tier role player, then Raff, Weatherlight Stalwart is the star of the show. This Raff won't let you cast permanents at instant speed a la Leyline of Anticipation, but he will generate you tons of value. He fits well into lots of token-based strategies, putting in some real work with cards like Kykar, Wind's Fury and Alela, Artful Provocateur. He even works well on his own if you build him on his own, giving you incentive to play lots of tokens and get increasing value out of them.

The real winning play here is to play it in decks that make tokens off the spells that you cast, think things like Raise the Alarm or Increasing Devotion. This way, the more spells you cast, the more tokens you fill the board with, and the more spells you're able to draw with Raff's tapping triggered ability. Once you have enough creatures on the board then, you can activate Raff's anthem ability as many times as you're able and go to town. Best of all, giving all of your creatures vigilance means you can hold up spells to back them up and still manage to get further card draw value out of the equation. The use of all his abilities working in harmony makes him a winning combination, and more than earns his high placement here.

2. Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain

Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain

Oh yeah, now we're talking. Jhoira is about as grand a value engine as you can get, often representing combo-oriented strategies from just how many cards she tends to draw. Play as many low-cost artifacts and legends as you can, and you'll plow through your deck in no time flat. This leads to a lot of powerful and potent strategies when she's the focus of the deck, while being an excellent role player in the majority of decks capable of running her. The sheer amount of value she provides is so gratuitous and she's such a great character in her own right that she couldn't be anywhere but the top. Additionally, despite her receiving a follow-up card of Jhoira, Ageless Innovator in Dominaria United, she was no longer part of the crew so I'm not counting that here. That card is also an absolute value monster and would rank highly if I allowed it.

So, with all that said, what's the number one pick? Well, naturally, it's...

1. Slimefoot, the Stowaway

Slimefoot, the Stowaway

Could it really have been anyone else? Slimefoot, the Stowaway became a fan favorite almost overnight when Dominaria released in 2018. The design of the character and his flavor in the story is downright adorable, and the card itself fills roles in several popular areas. You get tokens, sacrificing, and specifically saprolings and Thallids. For me, personally, it's just about everything I want to be doing in a card. I adore token strategies and love a good bit of sacrificing and aristocrats, and this is all of that wrapped up nicely into one tight package. A beloved fan favorite, and a perfect top placement for this list, the only real crime is that the direct follow-up (that wasn't the team up card from March of the Machine) was a digital exclusive card made for Alchemy on MTG Arena.


That about wraps it up for this week's article! I hope you've enjoyed this look through at the various aspects of the Weatherlight crew throughout the years. The original crew was a key part to my experience in playing Magic as a kid, and seeing so much of that flavor brought back in the most recent two sets on Dominaria felt like I was that same kid again. It's great for players today to get to experience their own attachment to the Weatherlight and a whole new crew in this day and age, while simultaneously bringing some joy to the older players like myself.

Now, there's only one more area to tackle: the villains of the Weatherlight stories. Check back next week as I rank them all!

Paige Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

YouTube: TheMaverickGal


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