"Hang out our banners on the outward walls; / The cry is still, ‘They come'; our castle's strength / Will laugh a siege to scorn."
—William Shakespeare, Macbeth
We are finally getting an Arthurian expansion, after 25 years. Which is why I was inspired to write this, and this will be my only mention of this set.
A strong defense is a great offense, or so they say. Fortifications existed from the earliest farming communities, to the age of flight, when it was finally decided to be a technological obsolete tactic. Among all of these, nothing captures the romance of a bygone era like the castle. You can't think of any fantasy setting, especially classically written ones, without some giant castle, usually with a moat, parapets, and so forth. It would make sense, for the base set, to include one, as it's a common generic fantasy trope, and it even almost got reprinted in modern times, but someone asked why a castle would be an enchantment (instead we got the same card called Builders Blessing).
I'm not going to lie, I wasn't allowed to play for Ante when I lost my Castle in a game of Ante to my older brother. When I learned Crusade was a card, I was less interested in Castle, but I've continued to run it over the years, and one day, I'll try it in OS.
|"Just carry the wall with you"-Me, to Serra Angel (probably).|
Playability: As seen above, the current incarnation is stronger then the original, considerable. Given attacking creatures also get the bonus. This was just one of many functional changed that happened on cards in "Classic" 6th edition. This does hurt a few points it will receive below, however.
Given in OS proper, there are 6 cards with Vigilance, with 5 of them being creatures, only two can be run in mono white (Serra Angel and Yotian Soldier). If we go 95, we get the Sleigh, Ghost Hounds, and Serra Paladin (which gives another creature vigilance). The two most playable of these, are already mentioned, with Bartel being a fourth (but off color).
So it being abused with Vigilance isn't that likely. However, it does help a defending bands, giving much needed toughness to the creatures in question. It also helps nullify burn, forcing some of it's most potent removal to go to the face or become card disadvantage.
I think, playability, it's a solid 4/5. Plus, anyone who's used even one with a Serra can realize how good two extra toughness can be.
Flavor: As stated earlier, it doesn't make sense for attacking creatures to be protected by the Castle. It makes perfect sense when defending creatures are, and while I don't understand why exactly multiple castles work together, I just attributed it to layers of the wall. I'm also not sure why it's an enchantment, besides functional reasons, but that's a common theme among early magic cards/
As promised, the flavor is 3/5.
|My brother spent years announcing the errata on this card.|
Artwork: Castle is a cute, simple drawing, like many of the early art pieces. It has a number of small, interesting details that give it life, though, such as the stonework of the castle itself, with none of it being perfect. The Castle also has depth, with black windows showing the interior exists, but unable to be seen, as if looking from the outside, and parapet's in the background show it's 3D. Other details are the flag, a flag, a drawbridge and gate, but unfortunately not a soul to be seen. Many early art pieces are like that, with the image seemingly lifeless.
The clouds though are the best touch. As said in other posts, he could have gotten away with just painting the sky blue, but that little extra detail makes the card pop.
Honestly the art is a solid 5/5. Another simple, but effective and memorable art piece, that one sure isn't to forget.
|A close up to show the small details|