Initially, Crystal Ball relied on little more than a basic psychological intuition and some advanced stage magic to cement his role in COBRA. He was able to apply some of Dr. Mindbender's BrainWave technology to holograms, creating a portable, visual version in the form of his "Hypno-Shield". Eventually, his research began to lead to the occult, and seeing an opportunity to cement his role in the COBRA hierarchy, he began to play up his role of mystic and helped established CORPSE (Cobra Occult Research and Paranormal Supremacy Endeavor). This afforded him a unique role in COBRA, playing the part of supernatural adviser to the Commander, but his exposure to the unexplained changed him, and it would seem he has become a devout believer in the supernatural and himself as a conduit of those energies. He believes there is an unstoppable, unspeakable darkness descending upon the world and the only way to avoid being crushed beneath it's weight is to surround himself with mystical power, and through COBRA and CORPSE attain enough influence in the mortal plane to bargain favor with the approaching Dark Ones.
Crystal Ball seemed like a natural choice for this project, but I was stumped on how to approach a redesign. I was already working on incorporating the "Skeletons in the Closet" ideas into this project, when I noticed the one unmasked druid. I was simultaneously thinking about Rasputin's depiction in Hellboy and it all just clicked together, to redesign Crystal Ball as a monk-type character, drawing heavily on Grigori Rasputin for both visual and character inspiration. I remembered the Assassin's Creed plague doctor figure and regretted all the times I passed it up on the shelf, especially when I discovered it's going for $60 and more on ebay. I was disappointed until a search for "plague doctor toy" resulted in a single hit and I snagged one for less than $10. The rest came together almost effortlessly. As I was rummaging through parts for some ideas of what accessories to give him, I found the Gungan weapon and realized the top portion of the Star Wars column would make a great cauldron. I struggled with making hot glue flames for it until I found a perfect Iron Man blast effect.