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  • posted a message on Gix 2.0 (NOT SoM)
    Quote from Pete Venters
    I've never heard of Opposite Day before.

    BTW, if anyone is interested, I finally got all of my Magic art originals measured and entered into a price list. It's a pdf and runs 11 pages! Drop me a line if you want a copy.

    I'd like a copy. My newly-uncrappified house needs at least one Phyrexian pic.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on [MBS] Mirrodin Besieged Patch for Magic Workstation (155/155)
    Mine worked with no problems. Thanks a lot for the hard work, I appreciate it. Smile
    Posted in: Third Party Products
  • posted a message on Test of Metal discussion thread
    That's ... odd. Looks like it was pushed back. Originally it was listed as 3/22/11 release. Curses and drat.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Yawgmoth and the Phyrexian Oil
    Quote from Skaterbruski
    This. Wizards is retconing. HIde your kids, hide your wife. They gonna fiiiiiiind you, they gonna retconnn youuuuu.

    I live in Antoine's home town. I can confirm with absolutely certainty that the man has nothing to do with Phyrexia.

    The bedroom intruder, however, is 100% compleat.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Does anyone else feel... apathetic?
    "Apathy" is actually the exact word I would use to describe how I currently feel about the storyline. I wouldn't read them at all, but I figure I've been doing it since I was a kid and it doesn't take up that much time since only three--or two--books come a year anyway.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on The current state of Savor the Flavor
    Didn't read it, only scanned it. I read Alara Unbroken, and that was enough for me. But, I do really like the fact that they use the column occasionally to do short stories. I would rather see more style guide stuff, like they did with Zendikar and recently did with the humans of Mirrodin column. But, anyway, two readable articles in a row is great. Continue.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Death of a Walker
    Quote from MORT
    As Brady once said, it's very hard to write a villain that is smarter than you.

    Did he really? Ho boy.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Test of Metal discussion thread
    Yes, the out-of-universe references were glaring. It was a book with many flaws, all of which detracted from the overall enjoyment. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it, I most definitely did. But if someone makes a peanut butter pie (the single greatest thing that has ever graced our plane of existence), then sticks cigarette butts into a few slices of it, it's going to decrease the overall enjoyment of the pie ... a little bit. Maybe.

    The alternate reality, clockworking stuff shouldn't have happened. As a fantasy analogy, it's like finding out after the fact that the One Ring could've also been destroyed by putting it in soapy water. But, hey, these are Magic books, continuity has never been a strong point--to put it extremely mildly.

    I still haven't been sold one way or the other on whether or not there are two Lilianas running around, or only one. I'm pretty content not caring, really. It could be that the pact that Vess entered with Bolas happened off-screen in the greatly-missed Veil book, but there are good points that Barinellos has brought up that make me question that possibility as well.

    Bolas's character--ALL SEMANTICS ASIDE (FFS)--has been slightly ... altered ... of late. I cringed numerous times reading his prose in this book, but I also thought that the explanation that it wasn't the real Bolas was satisfactory. I could see other people not liking the deviation from the previously-established characterization, but, eh, for me it worked fine. But, yeah, I greatly miss the old Bolas. Say what you will about McGough (and God knows, I have), but the man did a phenomenal job creating Bolas's character and general attitude. He doesn't seem to me like a generic Dr. Doom ripoff. Mr. Stover, or his doppelganger, is off the mark with that generalization. Bolas was powerful, dark, aloof, and arrogant, but the main trait that I would stick him with would be "malicious." I don't think Dunjohn is quite right when he says that he displayed "no tendency to toy with a captive opponent." While Ramses wasn't an opponent in the strictest of terms, he definitely did toy with him a great deal. He took him on a tour of the planes in an effort to terrify the guy into showing how cute Bolas considered Overdark's play for power really was. He also displayed power, but usually only through posturing. "I've eaten worlds and shat out mountains, blah blah." He liked to mentally torture his opponents and lieutenants alike, but he was NEVER cocky about it.

    But I still think WotC is handling his personality okay post-Time Spiral Cycle. In Agents, he was more guarded about his motives, which was certainly understandable given his power decrease. And he also stepped into the role of "Godfather" pretty nicely. I imagine this is what Bolas had to do before his ascension, manipulating factions in the Dragon Wars to try to get an advantage over his brothers and cousin. Now that he's trying to regain his power, he's had to step back into that role. I was pretty worried about how another writer would handle Bolas, but I thought that Ari handled him very closely to McGough.

    And then, of course, Alara Unbroken. Granted, it was probably the worst piece of fiction I read last year, but Bolas's behavior was, for the most part ... excusable. Beyer did illustrate in the prologue that Bolas's mental health was also degrading as a result of the Meandering, so I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Killing subordinates and giving host to master plans involving "eat all the magic" are excusable to someone who has suffered that much mental trauma. Then came Test of Metal, which I was extremely worried about, but like I say, the revelation that it was only a bad copy of Bolas (with a bad copy of Bolas's personality) worked for me. So, yeah, I'm still happy with his personality post-TSC.

    Of course, I ****ing hate Nicol Bolas, so I'm probably not the best judge there.

    I'd like another Matt Stover book, though. Despite its flaws, ToM was one of the better Magic books released in the past few years, IMO. I enjoyed it for the most part, and really liked Stover's Tezzeret (although I think I like Marmell's Tezzeret better). But I guess it depends on what happens in the aftermath of the Mirrodin/Phyrexia storyline.

    Edit: Wow, post #2000.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on The current state of Savor the Flavor
    Doug's problem is that he tries to infuse humor into his articles, and it just comes off as childish and boring. "Hey, future self! Let's talk about what we're doing aren't I clever lololololol." Or something to that effect.

    That being said, when Doug does a good job with StF, he does a very good job. This week's article was an example of him doing an extremely good job.

    ... I just complimented Doug Beyer. I'm pretty that's a sign of the apocalypse for several world religions.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Test of Metal discussion thread
    Hi guys, hope everyone is doing great. Finished this one just a few minutes ago. Not going to do a review or spoilers of anything because I honestly don't have the motivation to do those anymore. But I'll throw my two cents in on a couple of points very quickly.

    Overall, I give this book a resounding:


    But it's a weird "meh." Usually when a book is "Meh" it's because it wasn't particularly enjoyable, nor particularly unenjoyable. It just sort of "was", and I doubt I'll ever read it again because I really have no opinion on it whatsoever. Recent example: Zendikar: In the Teeth of Akoum.

    This one, however, is "meh" in the sense that I really enjoyed many parts of the novel, while really loathing other parts. So it kind've averages to a "meh". Or a "Meh +". It's definitely worth a read, and I'd probably say that the good outweighed the bad.

    Amusing somewhat-related anecdote. I picked the book up from Barnes & Noble (fascist corporate oligarchic bastards that they are), but at first I couldn't find the book. It wasn't with the other Magic books, and it wasn't in the fantasy section under the author's last name. So after walking around for a while (the B&N on the other side of town has a kiosk that tells you exactly where the book is, but the closer one doesn't; all of my hate), I had to ask a clerk where it was. I told him the name of the book, but couldn't remember the author's name. He said that they had it, but it wasn't on the shelves yet and he'd have to grab it from the back room. While waiting, I meandered over to the shared world fantasy section and noticed that there was a novelization for God of War. I had a little chuckle at this; while I love the games, the fact that someone would try to write a novel based around "THE GODS WILL PAY ARGH KILL ANGST" was just kind've funny. I think the protagonist of the GoW games is an excellent character simply because he's so devoid of compelling traits that it makes it interesting to see just whose north and south torsos he will diverge next. Anyway, the book was authored by one Matthew Stover, and I remember thinking that at least I'm not reading this guy's book.

    Then the clerk came with Test of Metal, and, well, yeah, you can figure out the rest.

    Anyway, short, bullet-points I felt worth mentioning:

    1 - The banter was extremely annoying, though not as annoying and downright childish as Sash & Waistcoat. Still very annoying and childish, though. Whenever a character says something and I inwardly cringe because I narrow a list of what another character will say down to three options ("That's what she said!" "You think?!" "And how is that different from what's happening now?") ... The dialogue in this book isn't bad at all, it's just that the banter is. And since 60% of the prose is banter ...

    2 - Thank you, book guys, for going back to the tried-and-true softcover MMP format. $8 is enough for a Magic book. $15 is ridiculous. $25 is pants-on-head retarded. Best of luck trying new things, but please don't try this again.

    3 - For those who were asking about Crucius, yes, he is in the book. But he's not. Or he will be. Unless he isn't. It makes sense, really.

    4 - Dear God, the amount of real-world lingo and allusions in this book makes me want to run toward the nearest living thing and kill it. Relgious allusions, pop culture references, you name it, it's got it.

    5 - **** clockworking. Seriously. **** it. I'm using the word "****" here. "We had to limit the powers of planeswalkers, they were becoming too powerful." Read this book. Urza couldn't ever do this ****. He had to build a ****ing robot and blow up the universe to be able to do a percentage of what people in this book routinely do. Scope-creep, guys. Look it up. You're doing it. You guys should apply for Mensa, seriously.

    6 - I kept asking myself "Why in the hell is [INSERT CHARACTER NAME HERE] acting this way? [INSERT GENDER PRONOUN HERE] never acts this way." If you feel the same way while reading this book, don't worry. By the end of the book, it really does make sense. Yes, he or she doesn't act that way. And that's fine. Keep reading, it'll work out.

    7 - Small complaint, but I really disliked the last bit with (no spoilers here really) Tezzeret being high and mighty with Jace. Yes, it's Tezzeret, so high and mighty is to be expected. But he seemingly went from being genuinely concerned with Jace's wellbeing and willing to make amends for the horrible things he'd done to him ... into "I WILL HUNT YOU! YOU WILL LIVE IN FEAR!" And that's a pretty accurate paraphrasing of his dialogue. Again, without giviving anything away, at the end we really feel like Tezzeret has changed and his relationship with Jace, Baltrice, and Bolas is different from how these relationships existed at the end of AoA. Which is great, character development and muffins for all. But then, as an aside, we get the old Jace/Tezzeret rivalry established when Tezzeret had (among other things) spent the past 330 pages trying to help Jace. It felt weird.

    8 - Dear Christ, man, put some pants on. He spends more time naked in this book than clothed. And it feels really forced. The plot doesn't really necessitate him being nude, although occasionally it makes sense why he would have to be. But seriously. Enough is enough. This is what happens when we have a bit about Chandra admiring Gideon's naked man-chest. Cat out of the bag here, guys. Pandora's ****ing box. Pants. Now.

    9 - Small aside, Esper was my least favorite shard, and the only one I generally disliked. After this book, though, I find myself liking it a good deal more. Just throwing this one in as an aside.

    10 - Not a criticism of the book per se, but again, what the hell happened with Curse of the Chain Veil? Is it going to come out or not. Am I supposed to know what happened between Vess and Bolas in that book? Vess seems to be another of Bolas's puppets in this book, beholden to his rule, whereas in AoA, she was working for him on a "friendly" basis and rejected his offer of employment. Now she's a slave? When did this happen? In the book that didn't come out?

    11 - The metaphysics, shaman-sitting-on-a-mountain bits. They got old, and confusing, and put some pants on.

    I know that's a lot of negative stuff, but like I said, there's tons of stuff I generally enjoyed to counterbalance all the goat's balls. And yes, that is now a recurring term to be used on these boards. Mandatory really. Esper is explored much more fully than in Beyer's Alara Herpdaderp. Tezzeret's relationship with his father is interesting. Bolas gets taken down a couple of thousands pegs (before immediately going up a thousand and one). Sharuum is extremely interesting. The quick updates about what's happening with World War Alara were nice. Tezzeret (unintentionally) going from D-list villain to A-list good guy was actually extremely believable and enjoyable to boot. Jace being revealed as an asshat was appreciated. And Baltrice is now many times more readable than Chandra (although still no Jaya).

    Next book is out in March, and although it looks intereresting, I really don't hold out for it to be anywhere near as enjoyable as this one. I'm off to read Cryptonomicon. Have fun!
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Scars of Mirrodin: The Quest for Karn - block novel
    I'm still unconvinced. I think it's intentionally left open.

    Urza last sees Xantcha and Ratepe in contrast to a bright light, then in the next instant the room is filled with fire. It's not conclusive as to whether or not she's dead.

    Ratepe mentions Xantcha's face is "a glorious sight to carry into the darkness". Still inconclusive. There's an Eladamri chapter in Planeshift that ends the exact same way: going "into the darkness." But Eladamri pops up again twenty pages later. It's a common fantasy trope, really, "into the darkness" leaving the reader questioning if the author means that the character(s) is/are dead. It could still go either way.

    Urza mentions that Ratepe grabbed Xantcha's hand before the fireball consumed them. But it's from Urza's perspective, and he has no idea whether or not the fireball actually consumed them, only that he saw them hold hands before being consumed. There are no bodies, and, well, again, fantasy trope.

    Urza wishes them joy, "wherever they'd gone." Extremely open-ended. He could mean that he wished them joy in "whatever" afterlife "they'd gone" to. Or he could be wishing them joy because he thinks they're going to appear elsewhere (and elsewhen). To me, if they had died, Urza would've known that definitively. He's Urza. But it looks intentionally open-ended.

    Rereading your synopsis, I still think it's very possible that Xantcha is alive, but I agree that it's much less likely that Gix is alive. I agree that the phrase about Gix being in the past is a romantic notion of Urza's, that he's in Urza's/Dominaria's past, and Urza needs to concentrate on his/Dominaria's future foe, the Phyrexian Invasion and Yawgmoth. The phrase "It was the last thing the demon did" is pretty conclusive in indicating he's dead, but the book still never explicitly states it, only heavily implies it.

    There's a slim chance they'll bring Gix back, and there's a big chance that it won't make sense if they do (remember the Magic book motto: "**** cannon."). I'm not really advocating that he is alive, just saying that there is a possibility (and tiny one) that he could be brought back in the future.

    TL;DR - He's ****ing Gix, dude. Do want.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Scars of Mirrodin: The Quest for Karn - block novel
    Quote from Tezzeret
    You see, this post nicely illustrates why I DON'T want Gix to come back: Because once they resurrect one guy, many others will soon follow. We could end up with resurrected versions of Xantcha, Ratepe, Urza, Mishra, Yawgmoth etc. before the year was over. Rolleyes

    Yes, but the three characters I mentioned were never confirmed as dead; in fact, it was heavily implied that they were just displaced in time. You could easily return them without resorting to comic book cliches of a revolving door in the afterlife.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Scars of Mirrodin: The Quest for Karn - block novel
    I'd like to second ... third ... seventeen thousand eight hundred forty-ninth Gix's return. Gix comes back, Xantcha and Ratepe come back, and Lynn Abbey writes The Quest for Karn. Can has?
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Scars of Mirrodin: The Quest for Karn - block novel
    I'm for the retcon, but there's one thing that still bothers me. What happens when they do it again? Look at Alara for example. What happens when they decide that, you know what, the shards should not have merged. The plane is more well known for having five distinct and separate shards, so retcon. What about Ravnica? The plane is known for having ten guilds, which are now completely gone. But we need them back, so retcon it. Kamigawa is known for having spirits fighting physical beings, but there's no reason to now that they have a balanced O-Kagachi that is 50% spirit and 50% physical. But that's boring, so retcon it.

    Again, I'm for retconning it, but retcons by their very nature are an admission of bad editing. If you don't want Spider-Man getting married, don't let Spider-Man get married.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Scars of Mirrodin: The Quest for Karn - block novel
    Saying Venser is a more compelling character than Radha is like saying that belly-button lint is more compelling than the contents of my septic tank.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
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