If you asked someone like MaRo right now, I'm pretty sure the answer would just be "because people did not like it" and that (sadly) is a very good reason for them to not try a second time. It's the same deal as with the "failed planes".Quote from Formless_One »Nevertheless having guns for one set might work out, especially if the setting demands it (like Wild West). As I said, I don't understand why Wizards is so adamantly against it. My first guess would be possible censorship in other cultures, but since it's never brought up, that doesn't appear to be the reason.
I think its just stubbornness. They made a declaration more than ten years ago, and they don't want to admit it might have been a hasty decision.
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Aug 17, 2017Posted in: Magic Storyline
Aug 17, 2017Posted in: The Rumor Mill
This is why arguing about art is kinda pointless. I like Monastery Swiftspear because it looks very dynamic, Soul-Scar Mage tries to do the same but just looks stiff somehow. And while the New Phyrexia art Glistener Elf doesn't exactly look like one of those 3D renders you sometimes see on Pokémon cards, it certainly is one of the most 3D-ish artworks out there imo.Quote from Skudd »In what universe does Glistener Elf look even remotely like a 3D model? I'm going to guess in the same made-up universe that Soul-Scar Mage looks sterile and amateurish but Monastery Swiftspear doesn't (for the record, I don't think either does, but they're similar enough in composition that saying one looks amateurish while the other is fine will be a very hard sell).
Personally, I think Magic art was at it's best between the Kamigawa and Alara blocks - but maybe that's just bias because I was playing pretty heavily during that time.
I'm not so much of a fan of what is often described as older card art; I always found the older character designs to be a little too cheesy and/or ridiculous (good example: Akroma's purple/white color scheme, purple hair inclusive ... just why?). Overall I think I like the newer art better, but I think they could loosen their grip on art direction a bit. Rebecca Guays basic lands from Commander 2016 are popular enough that Wizards decided to give them out as promos/rewards after all, it really seems like stylistic variety is something the majority enjoys.
Aug 17, 2017Posted in: Magic Storyline
That puts it pretty well. Worlds that focus on one aspect/culture/whatever are fine as long as you still make them feel large. That was where Lorwyn/Shadowmoor performed great imo. It felt like a pretty small/limited/focused world, yet at the same time you had stuff like Primal Beyond, Recross the Paths and the Elementals; then there were these strange creatures that showed up in Shadowmoor and then even more of them appeared on cards in Eventide (Selkies, Duergar and Noggles)...Quote from Flisch »At any rate, I wish they would put some more 'world-' into their '-building' [...]
It made the world feel like a place they couldn't fully explore even though they tried to.
In comparison, sets like Kaladesh or even Amonkhet feel like every "superfluous" thing has been cut out and you basically know everything about the plane after having looked through all the cards once. The concept "less is more" is detrimental here.
Aug 17, 2017The character on Electrify looks bland, overpolished and/or under-rendered, but she's not what I'd call a "3D model".Posted in: The Rumor Mill
Steve Argyle art probably comes closest to actual 3D models: Glistener Elf (New Phyrexia), Liliana of the Veil, Bloodfray Giant, Soul-Scar Mage, Seize the Initiative. He may be my absolute least favourite artist when it comes to Magic, his stuff just feels sterile and sometimes even amateurish (although I certainly couldn't do better, but that's not the point). It only looks good when the camera is zoomed out (Admonition Angel) or when he masks the lifeless visuals with actually interesting poses or composition (Monastery Swiftspear).
I too have noticed a tendency towards artwork that looks rushed or unfinished. It's not necessary to have every pore of someone's skin visible because the art box is relatively small, but the picture shouldn't look stiff and awkward at least. Oketra's Avenger and Pathmaker Initiate are two bad examples (incidentally, the art for those cards comes from different artists, but it could as well be from the same person...).
Aug 16, 2017So what ever happened to the "storyline" of Nissa staying on Amonkhet and helping the people recover after Bolas's destruction of Naktamun? Was/is that even a thing? I only read Hour of Devastation lately and skipped some stories before that, maybe it came up somewhere. It certainly seems to be implied on cards like Beneath the Sands or Sidewinder Naga.Posted in: Magic Storyline
Aug 14, 2017Posted in: The Rumor Mill
Yeah, that's what I was thinking too. They could leave the stories and/or fates of some minor or side characters in the story open-ended (and, if they choose to do so at all, only portray them on cards before the point of diversion).Quote from Manite »There could be open-ended side stories, kinda like how some games have a main story that plays out a specific way and sidequests that can play out different ways.
Aug 14, 2017It's me again.Posted in: Personal Writing
This was another cool story. Among the legendary creatures from Shadowmoor, the Reaper King always had an air of mystery around him (or it?), because unlike almost all other characters, like Ashling, Rhys and Rosheen, he doesn't appear in the actual block novels. In fact, it was more or less by coincidence that his card got made and stayed in the set in the first place (as explained in this article), so he's one of those "random legends", but even then he just oozes flavor. It was great getting to read a story about him, especially since we probably won't ever get a proper return to Lorwyn/Shadowmoor. (Incidentally, while that's a pretty harsh truth Kamigawa and/or Lorwyn/Shadowmoor fans like me have to face, it really opens up space for personal writing, since you don't have to worry about your story or characters being compromised by an eventual continuing canon story. So how about a Kamigawa story? )
I liked how you ended the story in particular. You could interpret the song in the end to mean that what was told in the story didn't actually happen (that would explain why all the grain was gone for apparently no reason, although admittely magic exists in Shadowmoor) - or at least didn't happen exactly how it was told. It just adds to the mystery and the uneasy feeling, because you can't say for sure whether the Reaper King really exists or not (we as readers know that he has a card, so the former is more likely of course, but it's different for the in-universe Kithkin).
You also managed to accurately catch the feel of the setting, just like in the Doran story. Words like "herky-jerky" made the scarecrows feel creepy without losing the storybook vibe of the plane. There were a few lines where I thought you were struggling with the tone a bit, but overall the execution was very good.
I also kept trying to find magic card equivalents for the characters you described - the description of the rake-hand scarecrow reminded me of Pili-Pala and the one with the rotten basket as its core of Scrapbasket.
And two nitpicks:
- A fortified Kithkin town in Shadowmoor is called doun, not duon (see the Shadowmoor printing of Mystic Gate, for example).
- The plural of Kithkin is Kithkin, not Kithkins (see the flavor text of Apothecary Initiate).
Aug 12, 2017Posted in: Magic Storyline
You seem to be assuming that storyline fans/Vorthoses are the target audience for Commander - the problem is, they aren't. Or at least they are not the only target audience. Sure, maybe the percentage of Vorthoses is higher among commander players than, say, Standard or Modern players. But I think they are still being outnumbered by the people who are mainly interested in the product as a fun casual multiplayer experience. Maybe a good subset of those people also care about seeing characters from Magic's past, but then again other people don't. And then there's the group of people who do care a bit, but don't have completely accurate 1:1 top-down designs of old characters (or old characters in the first place) as their top priority. All the people that don't care as much for the older characters mostly want Commanders with new or interesting abilities (or abilities that aren't available on a commander yet) to help them build the decks they want. It's not reasonable to completely ignore those people and say that old characters is all the audience cares for (or rather: should care for), especially since those "Mels" are probably the majority. Magic is a game, after all, and while it's great being able to play a deck with your favourite character at the helm, it's not really exciting if the corresponding card isn't new, exciting or interesting from a gameplay perspective.Quote from Tiro of Meletis »I find that to be the either-or fallacy. One does not exist at the expense of the other IMO. And Commander is hardly the product for optimizing designs the way they do with standard, modern or other formats. This actually is the format for Timmy Vorthos to shine. If not in a slow kitchen table casual format, then where? These decks don't *need* anything in the realm of design except better mana bases, which isn't what they're getting. These self-imposed restrictions to try and please everyone is a mess - focus exclusively on hitting the actual target audience that are deprived all year long when WOTC is catering to standard sensibilities, or the Modern whiners, etc.
When an idea lends itself to an existing character, that character is considered. Ideally, you want to cover both parts of the audience after all. Mairsil, the Pretender is a supreme example of a commander that pleases the Mels and the Vorthoses at the same time. But some cool and new mechanics just don't suit any older characters.
Take Mathas, Fiend Seeker for example. He gives out "bounty counters" and the respective bounties for players to collect, that's a pretty interesting new ability. What old character would this mechanic fit? He's a commander for the WRB precon, you'd have to stick to those specific colors and all...
Who knows, maybe they considered an old character. However, if they did, they most likely decided it wasn't worth bending some past figure out of shape just to make it appear in a commander product (some would argue that's what happened with Ludecvic, Necro-Alchemist). That's why those random legends exist - they give designers more freedom to explore new kinds of effects, without being limited by some sort of creative canon.
Aug 12, 2017Posted in: Magic Storyline
Reminded me of the Harry Potter movies where Harry's mother doesn't have his eyes despite it being such an important thing (and the people having consulted Rowling about the problems with contacts etc.). Pretty much a "you had one job" kind of deal.Quote from Azurhawk »Am I the only one who read the text for Mirri, looked at the artwork again and noticed "yep they're both yellow"?
It's the first line about her and directly next to her face, making it kind of awkward.
Yeah, that explanation was very reasonable. With something like that, you'd expect even hyper-Vorthoses to understand, but nope, apparently that's not the case.Quote from Jay13x »
You weren't blown off. You were given a long (for blogatog) and reasonable explanation for why everything is not about what you want to see out of a set.Quote from Tiro of Meletis »The blurbs about the random legends are so scarce and generic they're doomed to be randoms forever lol Glad I brought this issue to Maro's attention today despite being blown off and told to basically deal with it for the sake of Mel.
Aug 12, 2017Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Well, that's just a problem with combo decks in general, isn't it? If you play them enough, there's a point where you feel you're just going through the motions, even if you run multiple combos.Quote from Venomous08 »With all that said, do I think this deck can win consistently? Yes.
Would I ever try to build the deck in person? No.
The deck just isn't fun to play. It's not interactive and does the exact same thing every game. (Lets not even mention the $700 pricetag)
After goldfishing for a bit with an artifacts list that was similar to your first version, I got the feeling that the deck was indeed performing more consistently (compared to my own very first draft for the deck). However, it also felt less fun to play with because you got less chances to do all kinds of wacky stuff with Mairsil and he was "just another combo piece". That's why I think it can't hurt to go a bit "dumpster-fiery" with the deck - maybe go down on the tutors a bit, turn the power level down in general and include some cards that maybe aren't optimal, but fun to use. It may not be very efficient to include stuff like Arcanis or Avatar of Woe, but it just feels so good using their effects with Mairsil twice or more per turn cycle (with help of Rings of Brighthearth or Aphetto Alchemist).
In the end, I think I have to disagree with you: Mairsil is very well suited to be a commander. Sure, if your playgroup demands the most streamlined decks, he may not be that interesting (or powerful for that matter, as I believe there are better combo commanders out there), but there are other decks for him that can play out differently every time and are very interesting. Plus, in my opinion it's always a plus having to have a deck that can be turned into a super efficient combo machine if needed. That way, you essentially have a "casual" and a "competitive" deck all in one.
Aug 11, 2017Posted in: The Rumor Mill
Whenever I read stuff like this I' really happy that I don't live in the US.Quote from The Greendale Human Being »Literally only $21 because the C17 designers all have parents who are cousins that also don't know which reprints should have been included.
It was $5 this morning before the decklists were spoiled. How do I know? I tried to buy some and they sold out as I was going through checkout.
Aug 11, 2017Posted in: Commander (EDH)
This looks like an interesting list, but I think it's a bit light on interaction/removal. I'll try out an artifact-heavy build myself as it certainly helps using Argent Sphinx's ability and provides a strong secondary theme.Quote from Venomous08 »Here's my version of a Mairsil deck. It's built around artifact synergies and uses Mairsil as a flexible enabler with some combo potential, but can also win without him.
Aug 11, 2017Posted in: Magic Storyline
Doesn't seem to be the Dragon timeline though. Look at the blurb about him here:
I think that makes it pretty clear that he's from the Khans timeline. But then the symbol on his head in the art makes no sense. Honestly, between the podcast info, the artwork and the text above, UB Taigam really is a mess.In one timeline on the world of Tarkir, Taigam is a dark wizard who betrayed his clan, defecting to the Sultai where he's working his way up the ranks, ruthlessly seeking power to fulfill his selfish ambition.
This kind of makes me excited about a possible return to post-Conflux Alara, but at the same time it also makes me think they may intend to not return to it at all, since they're establishing all those characters that they would have to work into the narrative somehow (at least some of them would have to be mentioned). Could Alara have become the new Shandalar for now - a sort of "dumping ground" that's frequently used for random legends?
Aug 11, 2017Honestly I think phasing would be the better protective option if your plan is to get to the late game. Blinking every turn s very powerful obviously, but Metalcraft is relatively easy to interact with. Your opponent just has to fire off a Vandalblast or destroy one of your artifacts with Reclamation Sage to keep you off the effect. I'm probably still going to try out Argent Sphinx though, maybe it's possible to make it work consistently enough.Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
Speaking of artifacts, I just noticed Mirage Mirror in your list. Looks really nice actually - its ability is cheap and allows Mairsil to either turn into an opponent's fattie or an utility/value permanent and protects him from all kinds of removal by giving him the ability to transform into a land. I'll definitely try to find a spot for it in my list. I could see myself running it over Rainbow Efreet since it also does something on its own, although I've yet to see how desirable the whole "protection until untap step" thing is.
As for Chainer, the ability looks very tempting since you don't have to sac the Nightmares, but I'm a bit apprehensive of the relatively restrictive cost. Requiring something like UUU for Arcanis once is one thing, but I don't know about paying BBB multiple times. I'll test him, but I'm sceptical for now.
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