Antonino De Rosa says, when lead designer Justin Gary submitted the Infinite Crisis file to the development team, Ahmed Samsarra was 5 ATK / 5 DEF and didn’t have loyalty—reveal or concealed—optional yet. He searched for a location but put it into your hand. He had the chess mechanic (as we call it in R&D) from the get-go.
Being new to the process and only having experienced Vs. as a serious professional gamer, the first thing I did with this character was try to break it. I put him in combo decks that required locations (like Fantastic Fun) and in decks like League of Assassins so that my Merlin and other effects were always at full force. The card was great. I was able to do things I was never able to do as a player with this card.
We created more tension between the card’s stats and his effect by making him 6 ATK / 6 DEF in development. Now we had a very powerful character with a very powerful ability that would present an interesting decision point. Do you give up 6 ATK and maybe character advantage for a location? Do you go get a location for your location-themed or combo deck at the cost of giving up a stun? We had created tension, hence making the card more interesting.
Another way we increased tension was by giving the card concealed—optional. A 6 ATK / 6 DEF for 3 usually wants to be in the visible area. You can dominate the board for two turns with it. But in this case, Samsarra’s King mechanic really wants him in the hidden area so he doesn’t risk being KO’d.
We also gave Samsarra loyalty—reveal, a new keyword defined as: “If you don’t control a character that shares an affiliation with this card, then as an additional cost to recruit this card, reveal a character card from your hand or resource row that shares an affiliation with this card.”
Example: Ahmed Samsarra has loyalty—reveal and the Checkmate affiliation. You may recruit Ahmed Samsarra if you control a Checkmate character. If you don’t control a Checkmate character, you must reveal a Checkmate character card from your hand or resource row as an additional cost to recruit Ahmed Samsarra. Read more.