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May 19, 2019Force of Negation is certainly good. Notably, the spell you counter is exiled. Aside from the obvious usage, you can use it like a Pact of Negation to protect your own combo from being disrupted if you can go off at instant speed (the names even line up). It pairs nicely with Leyline of Anticipation in that regard, and extra Leylines can be pitched to it.Posted in: The Rumor Mill
May 17, 2019Lord_Mektar posted a message on [Unofficial/Leak] Modern Horizons Buy-a-Box and Second PromoFlusterstorm is obviously a powerful card, but Modern already has Spell Pierce, which can also hit other card types. Decks will probably run a mix, depending on the meta.Posted in: The Rumor Mill
May 17, 2019Lord_Mektar posted a message on What are your thoughts on black is gonna learn how to remove enchantmentThis is actually really interesting. I like @void_nothing's ideas as to how this might be limited. And while it may seem like a major boost to black, keep in mind that all colors can technically deal with enchantments using high-cost cards like Meteor Golem. Still, there are plenty of conditions you could use. For example, something like this:Posted in: Magic General
Strip of Power B
Destroy target Aura.
Most auras get put on creatures anyway, and black can already get rid of them by just killing the creature it's enchanting.
May 8, 2019Lord_Mektar posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance (RNA) and War of the Spark (WAR) General DiscussionThe first one is live on the Mothership.Posted in: Magic Storyline
May 8, 2019Lord_Mektar posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance (RNA) and War of the Spark (WAR) General DiscussionThe first extra chapter is lame sauce. One new scene in the beginning and then just the first part of the book from Rat's POV. I really should have expected to be disappointed.Posted in: Magic Storyline
May 3, 2019Lord_Mektar posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance (RNA) and War of the Spark (WAR) General DiscussionPosted in: Magic StorylineQuote from Serpent Steve »Lol I never thought of Daretti as Italian.
Has pizza been mentioned in any magic setting so far?
Honestly, with the bovines being so uncooperative, I'm not even sure if any planes have cheese.
Apr 30, 2019Don't forget the more obscure races like Nezumi, Sirens, and Homarids. Man, a Homarid PW would be hilarious.Posted in: Magic Storyline
Apr 24, 2019Posted in: Magic StorylineQuote from Perkunas687 »So I read the whole book yesterday, and I have some thoughts which some may find disagreeable. I’m going to attempt to put them under a spoiler thing:
If I had to give a rating “x/10,” I would give 3/10. I’m not a Bolas fanboy, so the rating isn’t coming from that. The rating also only has partial relevance to my earlier postings about stakes, but takes more than ‘deaths’ into account.
1) For an end of the Bolas arc, Nicol Bolas did remarkably little. True, I read this pretty quickly, but I took a lot of screenshots as I was reading which back up my general conclusion here. Bolas was presented as far more dangerous, far more powerful, and far more . . . Nicol Bolas-y in the Amonkhet short stories than he did here. 85% of the time that he was mentioned in War of the Spark, he was described as sitting around and smiling. I can’t say my memory is perfect on this next score, but apart from blasting away Oketra and protecting Liliana for a few seconds by tumbling some buildings, did he do anything substantial before being defeated? I can’t think of anything. He never went toe-to-toe with any walker that I can recall (apart from invisible Ugin when he was desparked). And as the Elder Spell progressed, we are told Bolas is sucking in the odd spark here or there into his gem. Yet we see no god-like Bolas at any point. We don’t see astonishing power that outshines anything he did in the beginning of the story, or in any other story. Bolas simply didn’t feel like a godly threat. How could this happen? He is presented as far more impressive and powerful in the cards than in this story. Very disappointing.
2) I had a general “What the hell?” reaction to many things, including:
- The Beacon. Ral says “[N]either the dragon nor his minions will be able to shut it off. Hell, *I* can’t even shut it off.” They repeat this over and over in the story. But wow, later on in the story, we figure out that we can just cut the power to the Beacon. What an ingenious flaw!
- We are set up in Ixalan, after the friendship/love story between Jace and Vraska, with Jace blocking away Vraska’s memories of him so that they could unlock their alliance when Bolas least expected it. Instead, in this book . . . a kraul telepath unlocked Vraska’s memories long before Bolas’ arrival, but then she . . . went ahead and killed people and Isperia anyway, because she was angry? What? Her whole relationship with Bolas and her actions are so convoluted now that her part in the story was just nonsensical.
- Bolas has an Eternal army created to invade Ravnica, but then: “Eternals, despite their years of training on Amonkhet, stood little chance with their limited free will and limited agency against these Planeswalkers.” What? The Eternals fought with some semblance of free will and agency on Amonkhet. They weren’t exactly marching morons. They also exhibited a lot of their previous skill in combat and killing. Yet . . . Bolas makes them the droids from the Star Wars prequels that need a command ship (Liliana) to do anything? Nonsensical. In War of the Spark they’re just automatons, plodding around instead of being written as truly terrifying. What a lost opportunity.
- The Eternals trained all their lives to be the most dangerous warriors Bolas could bring to bear on Ravnica. Yet throughout the story, almost every named person is killing them easily. They’re being melted, shattered, stabbed (in their eyes? I lost count how many times the author had Eternals stabbed in their eyes, by nobodies too. How do they even have eyes???), chained, on and on. Neheb, the cream of the crop? Easily beheaded. You never really feel like the Eternals are dangerous (but they're slaughtering people! Yes, but they're being slaughtered en masse, too), and that could be because of the writing style. I might address this again later, but the writer seemed to have written a long outline first, and then just added details later. There was a lot of movement in the story without a lot of meat on the bones. You would think that Neheb would have a moment of fear-inducing violence. Nope: Samut jumps on his back and cuts off his head, easily.
- Planeswalkers throughout the story make strange observations. Ral at one point is like, “That leonin Ajani is likely from Alara.” What? There are several, at least, planes with leonins. Teyo also seems to be the writer’s mouthpiece, and the writer mentions almost all the named walker cards throughout the story, almost in passing, like he was crossing names off a list to make sure they made an appearance. (Tibalt leading forces in battle? Doesn’t make sense, but sure.) And apparently Samut knows the name of every Eternal she kills? What? Also, I think it's Teyo near the end who reflects that it was hard to feel a certain way for all the unnamed walkers who died. It's almost like the writer knows we're thinking the same thing.
- I may have been a fool, but weren’t we set up to believe that five of the guilds were being led by five walkers loyal to Bolas, or working indirectly for Bolas? Yet when the story starts, there’s only one walker working with Bolas, directly or indirectly: Dovin. Domri doesn’t appear to be working with Bolas until he watches the Selesnya elemental get torn apart by the god-eternals. Until that point, he was fighting and killing Eternals. Then he ‘woo hoo’ed and went over to Bolas, and was promptly killed. What? What happened to the Raze Boar set-up? What happened to what I felt was the set-up of Domri working with Bolas from the start and then getting betrayed? What? Ral and Kaya are not with Bolas, and Vraska is on Ixalan for half the book.
- The Beacon doesn’t force a planeswalk, it just strongly suggests it. How did Sorin free himself from the wall on Innistrad? We’ll never know. Why didn’t he free himself before this battle? No idea. Obviously he chose to planeswalk to Ravnica, which means he could have planeswalked from the wall any time, which makes that whole part of the Innistrad story meaningless. At most, we are told Sorin and Nahiri are fighting on rooftops. That’s it. What a waste of a story set-up.
- So, nothing biological can pass through the Planar Bridge . . . except for planeswalkers. What? This was another point they hammered ever since the Planar Bridge was made. Yet, in this story, Ob Nixilis, Dack, Karn, and Samut just walk/fly through the portal into Amonkhet. The explanation is that their sparks somehow protect them. Then somehow, for some reason, Sarkhan Vol is on Amonkhet and helped Hazoret restore the Hekma shield (didn’t that take more than one weak god to maintain?). And feel free to inform me otherwise, since I could be wrong, but when did Sarkhan and Karn ever meet?: ‘“Sarkhan Vol.” The golem didn’t sound particularly pleased to see this Vol again. Sarkhan Vol’s attitude toward Karn seemed no more welcoming. “Karn.” Then he turned to the demon and with even less warmth said, “Nixilis.” Ob Nixilis eyed the newcomer with suspicion, “What brought you here?” “I had word – from . . . Goldmane . . . . ”’ Suddenly all these walkers know each other? I may be wrong, and if I am, I will be humbled and thankful for the education.
- People are walking all over the city to recruit guilds to the fight, ***while people are being hunted and slaughtered***. This seemed to be a rejection of reality to me. The city is being attacked and people are being killed, yet we have the heroes mosying to different guilds to try to convince them to take up arms. There is so little sense of urgency!
- Can we talk about the fact that Jace knew a 9-word spell to deactivate the Immortal Sun, because he somehow pulled it from Azor’s head on Ixalan? In the story, they turn *off* the Immortal Sun, then turn it back *on*, which, obviously, no one else would be able to figure out (*cough* Bolas-if-he-was-trapped *cough*). The Immortal Sun also gives god-like power to the one who stands on it, yet . . . neither Dovin nor Bolas stand on it. It just rests on top of an Azorious citadel. Then Chandra, Saheeli, and Lavinia (I think) face down Dovin and hundreds of his thopters, and *survive.* Then Dovin gets ninja stars thrown into his eyes by Lazav. Where was Chandra’s Triumph? Never happened in the story. Dovin escapes, blind, and ‘walks away. And ***no one uses the Immortal Sun against Bolas.***
- Bolas setting up the story of the Blackblade in order to trick the Gatewatch into directing all their attention to it as the weapon to beat him. Possible, but man, did it make my head shake. Bolas doesn’t even brag about the steps he took to make it unable to ever kill an Elder Dragon again (it killed an eternalized god and Elder Demon, but shrug).
- Throughout the story, the writer keeps pointing out that Gideon can’t share his invulnerability and must stand in the way of danger so that he takes the hits. But then, Gideon *somehow* gives his invulnerability to Liliana and takes her curse. And somehow that invulnerability immediately starts reconstituting Liliana, where never before did it ever heal (it was just a full-body barrier of light). That, too, was just head-shaking all around.
- The Immortal Sun was still (re)activated when Gideon died. Yet he has a vision of Theros. Does he truly depart to Theros? This should be impossible. Does he just imagine it? That would make more sense, but we don’t know for sure, so it’s just nice and confusing at the same time.
- The whole thing with Hazoret’s spear piercing the God Bolas, and him being unable to dissolve it despite being a God Bolas because he had been the one who created it, was so, so ridiculous to the point of upsetting me.
- Another favorite: Bolas asks Ugin how Ugin managed to get past the safeguards on the Meditation Plane that Bolas had put up. They must have been considerable, considering Bolas created them. Ugin’s response? “Oh, Sarkhan helped me, because you made him angry.” What? No other explanation.
- The Spirit Gem that Bolas has been carrying around was a piece of Ugin? What? What kind of hand-wavy nonsense is this?
- Ugin rubs it in to Bolas that Bolas didn’t expect Hazoret’s spear to be dangerous to him. But no one knew Hazoret would give her spear to Samut and the good guys, or that it would get into the paws of Niv-Mizzet. So what the hell is he bragging about? Sarkhan didn’t really convince Hazoret to give the spear, as Ugin implies. I quote: Sarkhan: ”I came to Amonkhet with the hope of finding something on this plane that could defeat its former God-Pharaoh.” Hazoret: “Unfortunately, We know of nothing here that can defeat Nicol Bolas.” Sarkhan: “Perhaps your spear?” Hazoret: “Perhaps, though it is unlikely, as it was his creation.” No one knew for sure that the spear would be of any use! And it would take four of them to lift it!
3) Four or five years ago, in these forums, I had put forth the idea that Bolas might try to harvest planeswalker sparks to make himself a God again. It started some heated debates, but the end result is this story clearly shows that the mere spark provides Bolas with more power (how much more? Very ill-defined. We never see super-powered Bolas do anything really impressive). But are the sparks also one’s connection to Magic? When Bolas is harvested by Bontu, all the sparks he had absorbed, including his own, are pulled out and then they dissipate. On the Meditation Plane, Ugin tells Bolas he is no longer long-lived because he is spark-less, and then we find out Bolas is also Magic-less. But Nixilis lost his spark, no? As did Teferi. They both continued to be able to use Magic though. Since this book is officially canon, what impact does this have on the past stories of walkers losing their sparks? Is your tie to Magic a result of your spark? If not, how did Bolas lose all his powers in addition to his ability to planeswalk? Is the spark also the source of Bolas’ long life? I always thought that was a result of him being an Elder Dragon. None of this is ever explained, but it’s all canon.
4) It honestly felt like the writer wrote the story before being told by Wizards which planeswalkers would be involved in the story. It reads like an outline that is only later fleshed out. Planeswalkers are mentioned throughout the story almost in passing, a lot like the writer was told to make sure they pop up somewhere. We have Tibalt leading fighters into battle, which is crazy. We have Angrath trash-talking the Gatewatch even though he only just now found out about the Gatewatch and Bolas, and has no idea of their history. We have strange conversations and strange information about various walkers. I honestly would not be surprised if the first draft of the story simply had blank spaces for the names as placeholders until the writer knew who Wizards wanted him to put in there. It also feels like there was very little literary meat on the bones. I rarely can read through 363 pages in one day, especially on a work day, but there was so little juiciness to the story that it took me no time at all to finish it. It seemed like the reading grade level was pretty low.
This story did not do justice to the conclusion of Bolas’ story arc. We’ve been led up to this moment with so much hype, and all the action takes place in less than a day. Medieval battles took longer to sort themselves out. Bolas barely does anything of note, and all his best laid plans have immediate solutions (cut the power to the Beacon, say the magic words to turn off the Immortal Sun, walk through the portal the close it from the other side, stab Bolas with a spear). How is this anything other than ridiculous? Again, I’m not a Bolas fanboy. I’m not coming at this from the perspective of someone who lives and breathes Bolas. I think, as an objective matter, this is a particularly big dud. Not well-written, way too many strange plot points or throwing out of plot points. Honestly, the story told in the cards is way better. Very disappointing.
I had a lot of other points I wanted to make, but between yesterday and today, I’ve forgotten them.
Sorry for the wall of text.
I was going to write out my main thoughts on the book, but you pretty much got to most of what I was going to bring up and far more, Perkunas, at least in terms of the plot and continuity issues. I also spent the day reading, and was also disappointed. I feel like the author was rushed, and had to make changes to the story at the last minute. Because there are plenty of important events which play out differently on the cards than in the novel. There weren’t cards for Rat or the Spear of Hazoret, but Illharg, Krenko, Massacre Girl, Fblthp, Feather, and Roalesk all saw print despite none of them being in the book at all.
However, that doesn’t excuse the horribly misplaced focus within the narrative. For example, we got multiple pages of Teyo and company slowly making their way through Rix Maadi, complete with descriptions of every macabre performer, but the reconciliation between Chandra and Nissa, which should have been a major emotional beat, got like two paragraphs. I was similarly flabbergasted by the way Gideon’s death was handled. And Liliana’s change of heart, rather than being a result of her coming to genuinely care for others, as was being set up, was instead motivated by her realizing ‘oh wait being a slave forever is worse than dying’. It’s like every plot thread was burned instead of tied up nicely. And the internal voices of multiple POV figures, like Ral and Kaya, tended to blend together, as if nobody checked to make sure they were even in character. I honestly liked most of the story more on the cards.
It wasn’t all bad, though. Teyo was amusing as a novice mage way out of his comfort zone, and Rat was extremely funny and adorable. I also chuckled aloud here and there at some of the jokes. But overall, yes, the book was mediocre at best, and a big letdown. Sanderson’s novella and Drayden’s shorts are both leagues better, and either of them would have handled things with more care had they been given the reins.
Apr 24, 2019Lord_Mektar posted a message on Rat, Gateless Darling and Spear of Hazoret (Book Spoilers)Thought I'd whip up cards for Rat and Hazoret's spear, as they didn't make it into the set despite being extremely plot-relevant.Posted in: Custom Card Creation
Rat, Gateless Darling
Legendary Creature - Human Rogue
Rat, Gateless Darling can't be blocked or be the target of spells or abilities.
Skip your next combat phase: Rat loses all abilities until end of turn. Any player may activate this ability, but only during their first main phase.
Many Ravnicans slew Eternals during the war. But only one made Borborygmos blush.
I tried to represent how you couldn't see her unless you really stopped and paid attention. The weird mana cost is so she can be played in Gruul, Rakdos, or Selesnya decks, as per her preferences. Plus Orzhov, in case she wants to chill with Kaya, and three+ color builds, I suppose.
Spear of Hazoret RR
Legendary Artifact - Equipment
Equipped creature gets +3/+0 and has haste and "Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a creature or planeswalker, that permanent's abilities can't be activated until the start of your next turn."
Equip legendary creature with power 4 or greater
More so than Rat, you'd think the weapon Niv-Mizzet used to wound Bolas and give Liliana her opening would have gotten a card. It is very large, and thus easier for mighty heroes to use. Hazoret is known for haste, and the triggered ability represents how it stunned the Dragon-God for a moment.
Apr 18, 2019I've been trying to avoid spoilers beyond what's on the cards, but I thought I'd drop by to relay this juicy nugget from the Mothership regarding the story:Posted in: Magic Storyline
Beginning on May 8, we'll be publishing six additional chapters written by Greg Weisman. These secret chapters follow the perspective of Rat, a brand-new character who plays a pivotal role in the narrative. Look for these chapters on DailyMTG and MTGStory.com, one story per week for six weeks.
I'm honestly not sure why these chapters weren't present in the book to begin with if this 'Rat' is so important, but I'll take more content regardless. Moreover, I'm wondering why Rat wasn't in the set either.
Apr 18, 2019Lord_Mektar posted a message on CoL_Merchant Spoiler: Mini-story of 4 cards (Trusted Pegasus, Oketra, Divine Arrow, Unlikely Aid)Aww, don't say that, Rakdos. You might meet a nice lady demon someday.Posted in: The Rumor Mill
Apr 17, 2019Posted in: The Rumor Mill
Well, yeah, but you can just recast it from your hand for 0 on the same turn after Narset's Reversal resolves.
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