The Trickiest Vanilla Crab Ever

Posted in Arcana on March 13, 2006

By Wizards of the Coast

For a time during the creation of Legions, blue had this vanilla creature in its list of commons:

[Crag Crab]
5U
Creature - Beast
4/4

It was argued inside R&D that even at , a drawback-free 4/4 was out of flavor for blue for a common card. To rectify this, it lost a point of power and had its mana cost shaved:

[Crag Crab]
4U
Creature - Beast
3/4

After further swapping went on in the set, there was no longer space in Legions for [Crag Crab]. But the art had already been commissioned from Ron Spencer:

Art by Ron Spencer
Art by Ron Spencer

However, there was room in the set for a new blue rare creature. The following creature was proposed, with a tricky morph trigger ability:

[Bristleback Urchin]
4U
Creature - Beast
Morph 4U
When CARDNAME is turned face up, exchange control of target creature you control and target creature an opponent controls.
3/3

The art from the defunct [Crag Crab] was swapped onto this new creature. It went through a few more revisions -- a "you may" was added to the morph trigger, and the name was finalized -- and it became this card.

 

Chromeshell Crab

Chromeshell Crab -- which combines the creature-swapping abilities of Phyrexian Infiltrator with the surprise factor of morph -- started out as a vanilla 4/4 and ended up as one of the trickiest blue creatures in the game.

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