The new year is upon us. Out with the old, in with the new, and other annual clichés. After stuffing our faces with turkey, ham, and . . . er, stuffing for the past month or more, it's now time to turn over a new page on the calendar and make promises to ourselves that we can't keep. Yes, that's right, it's time once again for New Year's Resolutions. Most of us make them, I'm sure, and some of us even stick to them for longer than the first week of January. Every year, news coverage focuses on celebrities, politicians, and other professional liars, to see what they have resolved to do for the upcoming year.
And now, for this year's New Year's Resolutions from the magical world of Dominaria, we turn things over to our lovely correspondent, Hanna, Ship's Navigator.
Hanna: Thank you, Dr. Tom. Every year, people resolve to do various things as the calendar turns over a new page. What can you resolve to do if you're a planeswalker? What if you're a minotaur? Just like I’ve done the last two years, I hit the streets and alleys all over Dominaria, asking all manners of beings about their New Year's resolutions. I was even lucky enough to talk to a few of the same . . . er, people, that I talked to last year. Let's see what they had to say.
Hanna: We’re standing in . . . some kind of line. Where are we?
Mistform Ultimus: The unemployment line.
Hanna: The unemployment line? You’re out of a job?
Mistform Ultimus: I’m out of several hundred jobs, actually. I never really enjoyed being an Ali-From-Cairo—I still haven’t been to Cairo—but it was something to do. Now, I have nothing.
Hanna: What happened?
Mistform Ultimus: Well, the reduction in creature types was both good and bad for me. I had less to do, but my poster-sized business cards could shrink a little. I could even overnight them to clients via the Urza Parcel Service for less than $20, so that was good. But then . . . *scowls* changeling came along.
Hanna: Changeling put you out of a job?
Mistform Ultimus: Think about it. If you could get a common to do all the work of a rare, wouldn’t you?
Hanna: I guess so.
Mistform Ultimus: Of course you would. Well, Woodland Changeling came along, and he could do all the jobs I could do. And not only was he a common, he was Green. Kids love Green, so he picked up a lot of jobs at parties. And I always thought my casual clients hated me because I was Blue . . . like I was going to counter their Enormous Baloth, or something. Well, they all went over to the changeling creatures, so now I know they hated me. It’s not easy being Blue!
Hanna: Can’t you just take your jobs back?
Mistform Ultimus: From Woodland Changeling? Sure, he’s only a 2/2. But he’s a common, so he’s all over the place. I squash one of them, and another one crosses the street right behind that one. And sometimes, they buddy up with Changeling Titans. I think they’re running a protection scheme. Whatever it is, I’m not taking on a 7/7.
Hanna: Well, I wish you luck in finding work. On another note, this is the shortest interview we’ve had.
Mistform Ultimus: That’s because I haven’t had hundreds of jobs at which I’d like to improve.
Hanna: Is there something you’d like to improve this coming year?
Mistform Ultimus: Well, my ability to hide from reporters could use some work . . .
Gaddock Teeg: To find outer peace . . .
Hanna: That sounds nice.
Gaddock Teeg: I wasn’t finished, young one. To find outer peace, one must first look within.
Hanna: Oh. I guess that’s true, but what does it have to do with making a New Year’s Resolution?
Gaddock Teeg: All things are related to me, and I am related to all things.
Hanna: I’m getting confused now.
Gaddock Teeg: Confusion is often the first step to knowledge.
Hanna: Well, I guess I’m learning something.
Gaddock Teeg: The man who knows something knows that he knows nothing at all.
Hanna: You should write fortune cookies, you know.
Gaddock Teeg: *blushes, and stuffs what looks like a tiny pen inside his shirt pocket* Uh . . . yes, if you say so.
Hanna: Wait a minute! *walks past Teeg; the camera pans down to see a table covered in small scraps of paper and another tiny pen* You DO write fortune cookies!
Gaddock Teeg: How else do you think they get that writing on these small papers? A kithkin has to do it.
Hanna: Isn’t this a waste of your knowledge?
Gaddock Teeg: Nah, I retired a few years ago. Sometimes, I do some consulting work in Extended, though.
Hanna: I just expected more from you than a fortune cookie business.
Gaddock Teeg: Do you want to know your lucky lottery numbers?
Hurloon Minotaur: I still want to get back into print.
Hanna: It looks like you’re going about it differently this year.
Hurloon Minotaur: Well, threats and violence didn’t get anything done. I chased Rosewater around for a while last year. For a guy who makes games for a living, he can run pretty well.
Hanna: So this year, you’re protesting?
Hurloon Minotaur: I figure it can’t hurt. Maybe going the nonviolent route is better.
Hanna: So why do you think you should be printed again?
Hurloon Minotaur: I’m still an icon of this game, babe. They have to print me again at some point. I thought Lorwyn was going to be it, but I never heard anything from my agent. For whatever reason, giants and elementals seem to be taking most of the red creature slots.
Hanna: I can see how that would be disappointing.
Hurloon Minotaur: Giants, I can understand. I learned back in Alpha that I didn’t want to mess with too many Hill Giants, and he wasn’t even the best of them. But Elementals? Are they serious? Rosewater and his gang have made hundreds of elementals over the years, and 99.5% of them don’t represent actual elements.
Hanna: So the inaccuracy bothers you?
Hurloon Minotaur: You bet it does. Back in Alpha, they made four elementals for the four classic elements. Now, some cultures believed wood was an element, so that card—terrible as it was—got made. Even sulphur was believed to be an element ages ago, so I'm OK with that one.
Hanna: Wow, you've really studied this.
Hurloon Minotaur: Like my grandfather always said, "Know your enemy. Right before you gore him thru the chest." But look at the crap they’ve put out recently. Tornado Elemental? War Elemental? Where’s War on the periodic table? What’s its atomic weight?
Hanna: I . . . I really don’t know.
Hurloon Minotaur: You know what, this nonviolence stuff sucks! *throws down picket sign and charges the WOTC building* I’m coming for you again, Rosewater!
Brion Stoutarm: To go to a Major League Baseball tryout camp.
Hanna: *standing on tiptoes to hold the mike in the vicinity of the giant’s chest* Don’t you think you’re a little . . . overqualified to be a major-league pitcher?
Brion Stoutarm: *winds up and throws a goblin across the practice field* Sure, but look at the salaries these guys are getting. Barry Zito makes $18 million a year, and he sucks. If I can throw a goblin the length of a football field and get it thru the goalposts, I should be able to throw strikes in the majors.
Hanna: So it’s all about the money?
Brion Stoutarm: Hey, it works for A-Rod. Besides, do you think I can buy clothes off the rack? I have to get everything specially tailored. Armani’s expensive enough without needing twice the fabric anyone else does. So I figure a $20 million salary playing baseball will get me what I want.
Hanna: But look at you. You’re so much bigger than everyone else.
Brion Stoutarm: So was Barry Bonds, and it took them years to catch on to him. And unlike him, I got this body the natural way.
Chandra Nalaar: To get people to play me.
Hanna: Right now, everyone seems caught up on Garruk as the Planeswalker of choice.
Chandra Nalaar: I know, and I hate it! *flames shoot from her nostrils as she snorts in a mix of anger and derision* That guy is an idiot. Oooh, let me untap some lands for you, buddy. Yeah, that’s really special. Play Garruk, then play Grizzly Bears right afterward. That’s going to win you a lot of games.
Hanna: *fanning away some smoke* I’m pretty sure there are better plays than that.
Chandra Nalaar: Whatever. Look how disloyal Garruk is. One good attack, and he’s running away to go help someone else. I can put up with a lot more than he can. And which would you rather do: get Overrun, or Inferno your opponent for 10?
Hanna: Well, I think it –
Chandra Nalaar: Exactly, it’s obvious! My big effect is better than his. You spend five mana and three turns, and you get to do 12 damage to your opponent, plus 10 damage to all of his creatures. How is that not better than all the other big effects out there?
Hanna: You make a convincing argument.
Chandra Nalaar: Plus, I’m hotter than all the other Planeswalkers. And not just because my hair is a mane of fire. Look at me! Garruk is ugly, and what’s with the antlers? Jace is an emo kid who cuts himself if he can’t mill someone for 20. I mean, my competition isn’t exactly top-notch, but since when does a hot girl lose out in a game played by horny teenagers?
Hanna: Well, that didn’t help me see a lot play when I was legal in Standard.
Chandra Nalaar: Honey, you’re not even in my league. *exhales a gout of fire, which causes Hanna to scurry away*
Crovax, Ascendant Hero: To find a way back to my own timeline.
Hanna: You seem very . . . familiar.
Crovax, Ascendant Hero: I should hope so. You served on the Weatherlight with my twisted, cursed counterpart.
Hanna: Oh, of course! I must have forgotten. During the holidays, I pine for Gerrard even more than normal.
Crovax, Ascendant Hero: Yes, I’m sure you do. Anyway, it’s good to see that I was getting played for a while. My counterpart never saw much play, even after he took over Rath.
Hanna: So what happened with me and Gerrard in your timeline?
Crovax, Ascendant Hero: Are you sure you want to know?
Hanna: Can it be worse than him spurning me in this one?
Crovax, Ascendant Hero: That depends. In my timeline, he spurned you and you became a lesbian.
Hanna: Well, there were some cold nights when Orim invited me into her cabin . . .
Jace Beleren: I love depleting libraries. It’s the only thing that brings light to my dark and dreary world. So I resolve to keep depleting libraries.
Hanna: Wow, she was right.
Jace Beleren: Who was right?
Hanna: Chandra. She said you were an emo kid who cuts himself if he can’t mill someone for 20. It looks like she was right.
Jace Beleren: *hiding a knife* I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Hanna: So what are those scars on your wrist?
Jace Beleren: Um . . . I fell into a thorn bush?
Hanna: Sure you did.
Jace Beleren: Hey, who’s the DJ this year?
Hanna: Walking Archive. He has a copy of every CD every printed.
Jace Beleren: Good. I’m going to go request some Linkin Park, AFI, and The Used. See you later . . . if I haven’t been freed from my gloomy prison on this mortal coil by then.
Hanna: Well, that was strange. Bloody Planeswalkers!
Imperious Perfect: To rid the world of eyeblights.
Hanna: What are those, bugs? I hope they’re easier to get rid of than ants.
Imperious Perfect: No, human. Eyeblights are ugly, disgusting people like you.
Hanna: . . .
Imperious Perfect: Surely, even an insignificant worm like you has been put in her place before.
Hanna: Is this the part where I say, “don’t call me Shirley?”
Imperious Perfect: A joke? Even for a human, you’re about as funny as a bad facial massage.
Hanna: You know, I get insulted every year doing this, and I’m getting tired of it! Let’s take a look at you, sister. Those pointed ears aren’t winning you many admirers here. And for someone depicted on a Magic card, you don’t exactly . . . stack up very well.
Imperious Perfect: A breast crack? What are you, 10? Are all human women as catty and petty as you? Your ridiculous attempt to insult me means even less than you do, eyeblight. Helen of Troy’s face may have launched a thousand ships, but mine could launch them and give them a reason to come home again.
Hanna: That was actually a pretty good turn of phrase there.
Imperious Perfect: Of course it was. I tire of you, idiot human. This interview is over. *walks away*
Hanna: Hey, that’s my line!
Doran, the Siege Tower: To invent a spinach IV and keep myself hooked up to it.
Hanna: What do you need a spinach IV for?
Doran, the Siege Tower: Look at me, dearie. I'm puny. I have skinny arms.
Hanna: Yes, but --
Doran, the Siege Tower: Now, when I go to the red zone, I eat some spinach, and BAM! Something changes. I'm stronger than a minotaur. I get in combat and I'm suddenly clubbing Loxodon Hierarchs around. But here, in this restaurant, you could beat me at arm wrestling.
Hanna: Me? I'm no stronger than Squire.
Doran, the Siege Tower: Yes, but I have zero power. I'm not complaining, of course -- my ability gets me a lot of singles sales, and my agent has made sure I get a nice cut of those. But unless something exciting is happening, I just don't have any power. Even Treefolk Seedlings are laughing at me, and that's hard to take.
Hanna: I'm sure it is.
Doran, the Siege Tower: Look, I don't confess this to anyone. *voice lowers* I have attacktile dysfunction. That's why I can only... perform... when I'm in the red zone.
Hanna: Sounds like you need more than spinach, then.
Doran, the Siege Tower: Well, I have the calendar you put out a few years ago. That helps, but not with my attacking problem.
Hanna: So that’s another year of checking on the residents of Dominaria and seeing what they resolve to do in the coming year. We have a giant who wants to play baseball for the money, a minotaur who still wants to get back into print, and an elf who has to be the most arrogant person ever captured on camera. On a personal note, this was the first year I didn’t get propositioned or tricked into revealing something sordid about my past, so that was good. The aeolipile is getting ready to drop for 2008, so that’s all for me. We’ll see you at Urza’s Tower next year.