Not a lot to say about Icefall at this point, other than...
Like Zendikar block and Call to Glory block, it's a small set following a large set, to which it is mechanically and thematically related.
Like Zendikar block and Call to Glory block, it's a small set followed by another large set, to which it is thematically related, but only tangentially mechanically related.
So, like Call for Glory <--> Murmurs from Beyond, you're going to see me bumping designs from Dominaria <--> Icefall. Since this seems to be a Dominaria-block kind of day for me, I just wanted to get this page started, since I already know the structure I'm dealing with here.
Okay, sounds ambitious. I must warn you that dropping your mechanical relationships for the large, final set can be bad news. Rise of the Eldrazi and Avacyn Restored were, ahem, divisive. New Phyrexia was much better recieved for a "much-different-than-the-previous-two" set because it was built up slowly and it made sense for the mechanics to go the places they did.
Thanks for the massive hint that I somehow missed.
Rise of the Eldrazi and Avacyn Restored were, ahem, divisive. New Phyrexia was much better recieved for a "much-different-than-the-previous-two" set because it was built up slowly and it made sense for the mechanics to go the places they did.
Personally, I love Rise of the Eldrazi and hate Avacyn Restored.
I love how Rise of the Eldrazi sort of obliquely references Zendikar-Worldwake's land theme, but takes it in an unexpected direction.
I hate how Avacyn Restored just pretty much craps on Innistrad-Dark Ascension's graveyard theme, shoehorning a bunch of miracle garbage into a block where it doesn't belong.
As for New Phyrexia, I'm avoiding those comparisons because neither of these stories (Dominaria block and Call to Glory block) are the same story as Scars of Mirrodin block. I'll just say it now - I'm baiting you, but I'm going to switch you. Like Scars of Mirrodin block, you have these two separate factional wars taking place on these two planes, but unlike Scars of Mirrodin block, that's never the story I'm setting out to tell. One side is winning each of those battles (I've already given you enough evidence to discern which faction wins in each block.) That's just the place setting. Something else much bigger is going on.
And when the third sets come in (long from now) I hope I take things in a more Rise-of-the-Eldrazi direction, relating to the blocks but going at a right angle to them.
Make sure that the third set is more connected to the rest of the block than Avacyn Restored. With double-faced cards and flashback disappearing, miracle and soulbond (which have nothing to do with anything in the previous two sets), the creation of the loner mechanic (which hates the tribal theme of all three blocks), the removal of the awesome Zombie, Werewolf, Spirit, and Vampire tribal themes, and the lack of an epic battle between humans and the monstrous races, it really seemed like a standalone set on the same plane instead of part of a block.
I'm in the same camp. Rise of the Eldrazi was pretty much "Mana Ramp: The Set," which is brilliant as the last part of the land block. There are the Eldrazi haters, whose arguments have merit, but I liked the set.
AVR could've been good if it weren't part of Innistrad block.
Call to Glory block is conceptually locked as the "combat block," so I have a pretty clear picture for where and how my 3rd set has to connect.
Dominaria block isn't so high-concept. I have a multicolor faction and a snow faction, but I'm not explicitly construing it as a "mana matters" block. So, I'm definitely going to be searching for a 3rd set mechanical identity, here. I'll need ideas that can play into both a multicolor theme and a snow theme, while being neither. A land theme seems to fit, but it's been done and would be obvious. I think I'm just going to have to wait for lightning to strike, here.
Why isn't it mana matters, may I ask? Is it merely because mana always matters, and it's an even broader theme than combat?
That's pretty much it.
And honestly, I wouldn't expect to do a "mana matters" theme justice. I'm not going to be looking at every-which-way that mana matters. I'm just taking two of many possible mana-related themes and pitting them against one another. I happen to think that they're a good match. And I am on a mission to do snow correctly.
Structurally, I expect Dominaria block to appear a lot like SoM block. Again, I'm trying to avoid too many comparisons (because I'm not doing SoM block redux) but I think the mechanical comparison is apt. Just as SoM had a two factions that mechanically didn't play very well together, and forced you to pick one, I'm setting up Dominaria block for you to either pick snow or pick multicolor.
Like I said, it's not quite as high-concept as Call to Glory block. It's a little more nuanced and messier to explain. But I think the strength of the idea is just as good.
Would it be too much to expect if, in the last set, instead of saying KALDARJAR VICTORIOUS, it's like on Survivor where there's a team merger and we're looking at snow multicolor? Or is that a bad resolution to a conflict/mechanical theme (the latter being the bigger concern)?
I'm not looking to merge the snow & multicolor themes so much as I'm looking to cleverly and relevantly subvert both mechanics at the same time. Think of it as introducing a third element that could be played with either.
"Cats vs. Dogs" block... meet the "Chasing Small Rodents" set,
"Square Peg vs. Round Hole" block... meet the "Carpenter's Power Tools" set,
I'm guessing that the slivers aren't going to be the enemy either. Any chance that the villain is going to be Tibalt?
Events are about to unfold that will eclipse any individual villain's plots or schemes, whether mortal, planeswalker, or god... not to say that some certain individuals won't be plotting or scheming for their own best personal outcomes to those events.
Now things get interesting. I can only speculate on the Coalition of set one being allied-color and becoming enemy-color in set two.
The color composition of the Coalition faction in each set is still a matter of emerging design.
That's a fancy way of saying, "I dunno."
I can tell you the following, with certainty: it is NOT the case that I'm doing an allied-color-pairs theme in in Dominaria and an enemy-color-pairs theme in Icefall. (That would be too Invasion block-y.)
I can also tell you the following, with certainty: Dominaria block is not a color-pair-centric block. 3, 4, and 5-color cards are also going to make an appearance. I haven't designed them yet, is all.
Right now, my current state of thinking is that the Coalition faction is going to have a number of 10-card cycles (both 2- and 3-color ones) that are split between Dominaria and Icefall. I'm not sure how they're going to be split. As I said, it won't be on an ally / enemy basis. But, for example, I don't know if 100% of the BR cards are going to be in Dominaria, and 0% in Icefall, or if it's going to be 50% / 50%.