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Unstable Q&A with Mark Rosewater
 
The Dos and Don'ts of Silver-Border Commander
  • posted a message on What will happen on Dominaria?
    Sarkhan's time travel accidentally undoes the defeat of the Phyrexian invasion.
    Posted in: Storyline Speculation
  • posted a message on Mirrage mirror
    Quote from Omnirahk »
    Given that it is called Mirage Mirror, it may have played a role in Kefnet's trial during which participants appear to have been bombarded with illusions to torture and entrap them. I feel a mirror reflecting the actual fate of the worthy amidst a trial of falsehoods and illusions is just the kind of deliciously vindictive act that Bolas would set up (much like how he had Hazoret be the one to kill the worthy after she vowed to keep him from killing the children of Naktamun, or how his prophecy was technically true about how the hours of his return was going to happen).


    After 25,000 years as an oldwalker, you learn how to have some fun while you're doing your horrible master plans.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    Quote from Tekkactus »
    I can't tell which conversation in this thread I'm less into, Color Pie Debate #57,023,769,327,693, or the one about the current state of Liliana's womb.


    We do seem to have gotten a bit far afield from the thread subject, haven't we?
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    Quote from Forestsguy »
    Tamiyo and Angrath, parentwalkers represent!

    Anyway MtG realizes a lot of its players are dads and moms I guess. Hundred year old Lilys and Bolases with no kids? I mean come on.


    Nah, everybody knows that Niv-Mizzet is gonna turn out to be Bolas's son. Wink
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    Quote from Quannage »
    Quote from SimicNuggets »
    Baby girl minotaurs <3 <3


    Problem is, by now they aren't babies anymore. looking forward to a real tragic reunion in a future block.


    What, no Cathartic Reunion reprint?
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Storytelling Critique Thread
    Goryo: Yes, I'm really with you on these two stories. I have some theories about the reasons for the problems.

    1. I'm pretty certain that in the long, plot-heavy stories like these two, Alison Luhrs is not responsible for most of the writing. She (or someone) is putting together an outline, and various writers are filling in sections. You can very obviously see the differences in writing style and quality between sections.

    2. No, I really think that nobody is editing or proof reading these things before they go live, not with any kind of thoroughness at least. That's been a noticeable phenomenon throughout the Ixalan stories. But in other stories, if the unedited writing is pretty good, it's less noticeable. At worst, a few groaner errors or weird repetitions get through, but overall it's okay. That's because Alison -- and presumably some of the other Creative staffers -- are actually pretty good writers. You can't blame them for having stuff in their unedited drafts that an editor would normally fix. That's why even professional, highly-regarded literary authors almost always have good editors too.

    So when we combine these, what we get is writing of very uneven quality, with no real editorial refinement to bind it together and correct its flaws. So it ends up reading like exactly what it is: a plot outline filled in by writers of varying quality, focusing on hitting plot points instead of creating good characterization or emotional effects.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    I won't try to predict Bolas's plans because frankly, we tried that with the Eldrazi and got a huge disappointment out of it all.

    I will say that I found it interesting when Jace admitted he thinks the Immortal Sun doesn't belong on Ixalan, after many of us were wondering whether or not it was even from Ixalan as a plane, and if it could be the Mirari. With the alluring way it's being pursued, and the havoc we know the Mirari wreaked before, it's starting to sound convincing again. I'm mostly interested in what the Immoral Sun is, and what Orazca itself will mean. I feel like beyond the Immortal Sun, the city itself is its own seat of power too. Controlling Orazca is mentioned at times, not just owning the Sun.

    I think we're long overdue to a visit to Vryn. I'd love it to be the set after Dominaria. The foreshadowing with Jace's memories earlier suggests it. Bolas may have undone a lot in Jace's mind, include mental blocks and erasures that, for a being like Bolas, were not as permanent as Jace might have liked. Even Tamiyo had sensed how Jace has erased many things.


    As much as I think I'll enjoy a Vryn set if/when they do it, I very much doubt it's coming right after Dominaria. I think that would be too many Jace-centered stories coming back-to-back. It seems to me that Creative is working through sets focusing on the consequences for each of the defeated Gatewatch members: Jace here, Liliana in Dominaria, etc. So my money would be on a story about Nissa being next, or maybe Gideon with a Return to Theros. But anyway, that's probably more fit for the Speculation subforum.

    I'm very interested to see how the pacing of the Rivals of Ixalan stories compares to the pacing of this set's. I think it might have been better to start the stories in media res with the race for the city already under way, then maybe flash back to all the setup bits. Or at least get to it quicker, so as to have more space for the core action than they ended up having.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    I like Angrath's straightforward approach, and how his assumptions about Huatli are as hilariously mistaken as hers are about the city she saw. Too bad he didn't figure out a way to spam planeswalking attempts to throw off the compass, though. But I guess that would be more of a U move. Smile

    Still loving the Jace+Vraska relationship. I like her line about his hair. I can definitely see soft hair seeming sexy and exotic to a gorgon.

    As for the Noggin Whack fixing Jace's amnesia -- eh, it's a proven method. It worked on Archer, right?
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    Quote from Emelica »
    This is one of those stories where I wonder if the different segments were written by different writers. Mavren's piece was enjoyable. Good usage of "show, don't tell" to establish his character while maintaining a proper pace in the telling of the story. Vona's piece on the other hand... good grief! Everything above the Dusk Legion Dreadnought picture was just one big info-dump that did nothing to advance the plot. Yes, it established her character. Yay. As Mavren's piece showed, there are better ways to do that.

    Yes, I think you're exactly right with this. I hit that Vona section, and after about 2 sentences I was thinking, "Oh dear, show don't tell, Wizards, show don't tell." When pieces aren't really edited, we're pretty much just seeing the raw writing capability of whoever gets assigned a particular section, which obviously varies in quality a great deal.
    Overall, I like this storyline--though I must admit I've always had a soft spot for Wacky Race type stories. So far we have a boat, a dino, and an elemental. I wonder what Angrath and Kumena will be riding. Smile
    (Any thoughts on who will end up being the Dick Dastardly?)

    Yeah, Wacky Races! Are the pirates the Anthill Mob? Smile
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    I liked the piece overall, a workmanlike setup for the main concluding action of this set's storyline, though the actual execution of the writing still is pretty uneven. But it did its job. We've got our factions set up and all on the case. One interesting thing is that with the exception of Mavren Fein, all of the factions seeking the city are starting from the same general geographical location. That means that there's a lot of probability for them coming into conflict during the course of their journey, rather than just at the end when they find Orazca.

    Speaking of Mavren, I like him. I feel like they're doing exactly what I'd hoped with the contrast between Mavren and Vona as a (relatively) good and (definitely) evil pair of faction representatives. Good parallelism among the various factions, who all have a similar pairing (except, so far, with the Sun Empire, which makes me more confident that the Emperor will turn out to be more villainous later on). Having multiple "good guys" with conflicting goals, as well as multiple competing "bad guys" too, is a much more interesting narrative structure than the straight-up good vs. evil setup of several recent stories.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Storytelling Critique Thread
    Quote from Jay13x »
    Quote from Trinite0 »
    Then I guess this is the right place to say that "The Talented Captain Vraska" really needed some proofreading. I liked the story content, but boy were there some jarring errors.
    Oh? Like what? (Genuinely curious)


    "Vraska had never been hired to do anything other than kill before."
    Then later:
    "She was humbled, alarmed, and excited all at once. No one had hired her to do anything other than kill before." {looks like a copy-paste error from rearranging where that phrase was going to fit into the story}

    "Jace coughed and blinked open his eyes. Vraska snuffed the fire in her mind and looked down at him with no magic in her eyes." {using "eyes" twice in succession like that is awkward}

    "Jace finished his first bowl of porridge in two minutes flat..." and "You have two minutes to explain how you found me before I turn you to stone and use you as a paperweight, Jace." {another phrase awkwardly repeated in too-close proximity}

    And there are a bunch of slightly more subtle ways in which sentences are constructed in unclear forms, verb tenses are slightly misused ("picked up" instead of "had picked up" for a past-perfect, stuff like that).

    It's not bad writing, per se; it's just the sort of rough edges you always have in a draft, which can get smoothed down by a simple copy editing* pass or two. Mostly, it's stuff that is much more noticeable when reading the piece for the first time with no foreknowledge of its content, so the writer really can't ever see it themselves. That's why it's always best to have a different person do a copy edit at least once. I really get the feeling that nobody at Wizards does this for these stories anymore, or if they do they don't go through them with much effort and detailed care. Which I can understand, it's time consuming work for what seems like minor benefit, and everybody's busy.

    On the plus side, this story did teach me a new word, "knolling," and even defined it in the sentence where it was used, which is great style!

    *I should have said "copy editing" instead of "proofreading" in my original comment; they're technically two different things.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Who is Angrath?
    Quote from Ander228 »
    Just theorising here: Angrath is an agent of Bolas, and here are some points explaining why:
    • We just finished a set recasting Nicol Bolas as the main villain and setting up a possible future big battle between his forces and whichever plane he chooses to invade.
    • Nicol Bolas already has 2 planeswalkers working for him: BU Tezzaret and UR Ral Zarek. Having a RB planeswalker would complete the BUR triangle.
    • The golden city could be either too elusive or too effort-intensive for Bolas to search for himself (or just beneath his effort when he can have someone else find it for him).

    It think it's much more likely that Angrath is independent. It would be a weird duplication of roles if Bolas already had somebody on Ixalan before sending Vraska, and even if he did, you'd expect him to tell her about it as part of her mission (either to team up with him, or else to take him out if he's gone rogue).

    Now, Angrath could very well get recruited by Bolas as a result of this storyline, especially if he's present when the showdown over the Immortal Sun happens. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he ends up tipping the balance in favor of Vraska in the big final scene. Or, if Vraska decides to betray Bolas in the end, Angrath could end up grabbing the Immortal Sun and completing her mission for her to curry favor with NB (or simply to finally get off Ixalan).
    Posted in: Storyline Speculation
  • posted a message on Ixalan General Discussion
    Quote from Unique_Fossil »
    Attending to the matter of the thaumatic compass pointing to Jace:
    • So far it has been assumed the compass will only point to the Immortal Sun.
    • We have also made the possible leaps that the Immortal Sun is something not native to this world.
    • What if, rather than the compass being tuned solely to the Immortal Sun, it is simply attuned to ANYTHING that is not native to the world Ixalan inhabits?

    Well, that would make it pretty awkward for Vraska to use, wouldn't it? "Why does this piece-of-junk compass always point directly at me?"

    Quote from Flisch »
    I think people are making this more complicated than it has to be. The compass is a piece of magic in a story with very limited space. It's not going to have any super-convoluted means to operate. It'll either be a compass that points to "what vraska needs" (to fulfill her quest) or "what she wants" (the compass knowing what she desires).


    The Pirates of the Caribbean forum is athataway ->

    And the "Plot devices stolen directly from Pirates of the Caribbean" forum is right here. Wink

    Flisch is right. The compass points at wherever the next plot point is that Vraska needs to get though to eventually find Orazca.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on What can be moved from plane to plane?
    Quote from kanoyugoro »
    Even in one of the more recent stories where have wakes on ixalan, he mentioned he has a different kind of sand on his boots than the sand on the beach he woke up on. So in a sense you could carry some soil/sand/ground/detritus with you if it was small enough and close enough to your body.

    The Ixalan ecosystem better watch out for all that xenobacteria from Amonkhet and Ravnica. Don't breathe on any of the natives, Jace and Vraska, or the New World inspirations for this setting might suddenly get a little too real! Shocked
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Could Tezzeret be good and figured out how to beat Bolas?
    I really don't think there's any hope for "redemption" for Tezzeret. After all of the innocent people he hurt during his brief tyrannical stint on Kaladesh, he isn't being written to deserve any sympathy. That said, there is some tension in his relationship with Nicol Bolas, and I could see Tez possibly trying to betray Bolas at some point down the line. But I don't think it's likely to have anything to do with Ixalan or the planeswalker-trapping power of the Immortal Sun. For one thing, Bolas clearly already knows about the anti-planeswalk thing, and in fact that may be why he sent Vraska to get the Immortal Sun for him.

    In addition, formally speaking, the arc of the Ixalan block is not directly about Bolas or Tezzeret. To the extent that it is related to the main narrative stream of the Magic multiverse, it's just an interstitial story about one small element of Bolas's master plan. It's mostly a character-developing side-story about Jace and Vraska (and maybe Huatli and Angrath, if they end up staying relevant to the story after the block is over). Right now Bolas is the overarching super-villain of the entire Magic story. They wouldn't put such a massive plot twist in a minor story, nor would they do it so soon after Hour of Devastation clearly positioned Bolas as the big bad antagonist of the whole saga.

    They're going to spend a long time building up to the next major conflict with Bolas. The next few blocks are going to lay the groundwork for that, showing various elements of Bolas's big scheme coming together (the planar bridge, the Immortals, the Immortal Sun, something from Dominaria, etc.) and then revealing the true purpose that he's going for. At that point, the Gatewatch will probably get another crack at thwarting him, and only then might there be some new drama about Tezzeret. Until then, I think we can expect to see Tez just sticking to his role as Bolas's gofer.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
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