-Richard Garfield, Email to Dave Pettey, late 1993
Arabian Nights turned out to be a wonderful expansion; not the least considering it had the shortest development time of any set, a development team of only four people, and a design team of one. There are many gems among the 78 different cards, and the stories are plentiful if you dig a little. Today, we dig.
Serendib Efreet is awesome. It is so good it supports strategies on its own, and strong enough that you should look for reasons not to play it in blue decks, rather than look for reasons to play it. The card was actually banned in extended in 1995, as it is a bolt-proof moat-jumper for the cost of a Devouring Deep. It may not be as iconic as Juzam, but then again, what is? The card itself has a colorful history of reprints. The most famous color is probably green.
|"Current Errata: none". All is well. Nothing strange about the green blue card.|
No, I didn't get it either. It's Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon by most, and Serendib in the Arab world. The "montagne qui était la plus haut de tout de la terre" line is a slight exaggeration. I assume that they refer to Mount Pedro, which according to wikipedia stands at a little over 2,500 meters (for any non-metric readers, that's about half a parasang). The quote in the flavor text is attributed to 1001 Arabian Nights, trad. Mardrus. It's from the sixth voyage of Sinbad, where he gets shipwrecked and ends up on Ceylon. It was supposedly a very nice place to visit, even for non-Sinbad travellers. The word 'serendipity' itself, meaning "fortunate happenstance", actually hails from the country's name. And after all, it is surprisingly sweet to play the Efreet :)
White-bordered Serendibs with the correct image are pretty uncommon, at least when compared to those with the wrong image. The German and French versions are fairly cheap though, but even a fair price for an English wb Efreet with the original Arabian Night's picture is actually higher than the GDP per capita for Sri Lanka (well, actually higher than the GDP per capita for the majority of the world's countries). It is on the short-list for one of the most expensive magic cards in the world.
|Borders and image correct, but still the wrong artist credit ;)|
So, there's some single-card history on Serendib Efreet. It's a sweet card with lots of history, and I'm starting to feel like building a monoblue suicide deck about now :)