2019 Holiday Exchange!
A New and Exciting Beginning
The End of an Era
  • posted a message on Zendikar Rising- Lore and Story
    Quote from soramaro »
    Does it have to be one or the other? To me, it makes the character more realistic. People with *****ty general behaviour that are likeable under certain circumstances are a thing in the real world...

    My gripe isn't that he isn't realistic, but that it appears to me that the author wants him to be likeable/semi-heroic/sympathetic etc without doing anything to earn that sympathy.

    Like, Akiri thinks that despite his thieving activities, "his heart is in the right place". He was right about Nahiri's intentions etc. There's a point where it stops being just the characters' opinions, and starts becoming the author's intent.

    The issue is all positive traits about him are either told to us (rather than shown) or aren't earned. Akiri says that he is a good person and we have to take her word for it. Zareth opposes Nahiri and believes the artifact to be harmful, despite no reason for the latter. His only reason is that he doesn't see a place for himself (an adventurer) in a healed Zendikar, which is A) somewhat selfish B) somewhat dumbass and C) not even related to any sort of information. It's just an emotional response. Zareth isn't against using the artifact because he has seen its effects. He just opposes Nahiri because he doesn't want her to succeed, even if the artifact did exactly the thing everyone hopes it does, no strings attached.

    Quote from soramaro »
    I wouldn't really count the "sacrifices people" thing as a bad character trait though (in this specific case). Not everyone is a selfless hero, and the author clearly described what kind of life-of-death situation they were in. I think in a situation like this, most people would've done what Zareth did instead of heroically, but pointlessly trying to save everyone.

    To me there is a sharp distinction between abandoning people you care less about than your friend and actually calling them over and using them as bait with no intention to secure their survival, to save your friend.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Zendikar Rising- Lore and Story
    New story was good, but I'm having some major cognitive dissonance about Zareth. On the one hand he's written as likeable and witty and actually right about the whole Nahiri thing, clearly a sympathetic character.

    On the other hand he steals from people who don't seem to be particularly rich and actually literally sacrifices people to save his best buddy.

    Like, I dunno...

    Quote from user_938036 »
    Not quite. All of the original dungeon diving for Zendikar was based around this mysterious "thing" known as the Eldrazi. It was unclear if they were a civilization, a group of Gods, or something. Just that they left powerful Artifacts and Zendikar wasn't happy about it. So there was this underlying feel of interconnectivity based around "What are/were the Eldrazi" and they can't get that back

    I dunno, maybe it's my cynism, but I never really had this "oh wow so mysterious" feel about Zendikar. All the places on Zendikar were obviously just "lets throw as many unexplained things at the wall as we can to paint a colourful picture". Tal Terig the puzzle tower has no relation to the singing city, has no relation to glasspool, has no relation to the crypt of agadeem, has no relation to the blue strand of jwar isle. (To be fair, the singing city being ringed by giant multi-armed statues was okay foreshadowing, but literally never explained/shown on the cards, so probably missed by 99.9% of the players.)

    There is nothing tying these secrets together, something that when connected creating something else or suddenly making something make sense. There is no payoff after the Eldrazi were freed, which confirmed that these mysteries were done the same way they did the mysteries in Lost: There literally was no answer baked into the design. They were open questions that even the creators didn't know how to solve.

    And your mileage may vary, but that is not deep worldbuilding. That's just placing props on a stage to make it pretty. Which, again, isn't particularly bad, given that MtG is a game first and foremost and not an epic saga where a single world has years to be developed. But it's a thing. And it has been a thing during Zendikar I.

    Quote from soramaro »
    One question that's still left is "what is the Roil?", because until now, the assumption was that it was the plane's immune response to the Eldrazi. It should be gone, so why is it still there? This arguably qualifies as an element of mystery, at least for the readers and the planeswalkers in the story. From the perspective of the average Zendikari adventurer it doesn't really work though because for them, the Roil has always been there. Also it's not something you go on an adventure for, but just a hazard/obstacle that you run into along the way.

    I mean the (current) in-universe explanation is that the roil is like a scab. It doesn't just stop from one day to the enxt just because the Eldrazi are gone. It may take centuries to heal. To spin the "physical harm" analogy further, Zendikar may never fully recover from it and remain "crippled".

    The out of universe answer of course is that (planar) change in Magic is bad, or has been phased out sicne they started returning to planes. Obviously when you return to planes, you want to show what people fell in love with.

    Personally, I am of the opinion that planes are the "real" characters in Magic (or should be, rather) and as such should undergo the same changes that characters do in other stories, including their destruction or, well, irreversible change, but that's just me and unfortunately theres a lot of players/fans who don't want things to change at all. Because for them it's about the franchise and not the stories.

    I don't get why Nissa is acting awkwardly with Jace at the end. Can someone fill me in?

    Because they want to make the planeswalkers relatable and social awkwardness is very relatable to a lot of Magic players.

    Of course extracting real world modern society social awkwardness into a fantasy world where people literally fight for their survival on a regular basis and are involved in interplanar threats kinda doesn't work, but shh, don't tell Wizards that.

    Also, I'm sorry for Nissa. Her character has been through so many retcons and shifts in tone, I feel like not even she knows what kind of character she is supposed to be.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Zendikar Rising- Lore and Story
    Quote from soramaro »
    At this point the Skyclaves don't feel like they're connected to anything. They're randomly generated video game dungeons where the characters can go to find the new story's MacGuffins. I'd be nice if there was more to them, but my expectations are low. Similarly, the bismuth patterns on some of the weapons seem to be nothing more than a superficial aestethic.

    Is that new though? Zendikar was never a particularly deep setting. "Just" a rich one with lots of variety and content. All the places, ruins and so forth were just named dungeons with about a sentence describing their mysteriousness. Which isn't particularly bad for Magic's standards, mind you, but yeah.

    I think part of why they feel so disconnected is not so much the lack of connect, but the fact that we know that they were made up for this set. Like, that's how Magic operates, which is fine, but it's become a bit of a sore point in the last years due to the constant retcons and inconsistencies. It killed speculation, and it kills excitement about new content, because the glamer that new content is just something that's always been there, but only just now discovered, has been dispelled. The good-will is gone.

    At least, that's how I feel about it.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Skyclave Squid
    Should have been a baby serpent imo. :p

    Also, personally, squid and octopus should be merged into one creature type. Throw nautilus and cephalid in there as well. There's too much creature type splitting going on in Magic anyway.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Zendikar Rising- Lore and Story
    I'm probably crazy, but, peeople have probably noticed that Legion Angel is carrying what looks like a bismuth lance, like made of the bismuth created by Kozilek and his spawn. Given how hard it must be for a society with the infrastructure of Zendikar to get hold of ores and metals, it makes sense that the Zendikari just decided to forge new weapons out of the bismuth which is probably found in abundance.

    There's also Skyclave Pick-Axe, which has a similar texture. Its name being tied to skyclaves is probably coincidence.


    In the artwork of Skyclave Shadowcat (better seen here, fifth image) there's a strange patterning on the ruins around it, which are clearly from the skyclave. Similar patterning can be seen in other skyclave ruins, though not as detailed and clear. While it's possible that it's merely coincidence, the patterning on the skyclave ruins just trying to evoke "old stoneworking" aesthetic, it seems very very thoughtless to do something that so closely resembles Kozilek's bismuth, especially given that the colouration on some weapons matches the bismuth as well, while also matching the texture on the skyclaves.

    So, what if the skyclaves and the eldrazi are related? Narratively it makes no real sense, given the skyclaves supposedly predate the Eldrazi's arrival on Zendikar. So I don't know what to think anymore. Did I spend too much time in the singing city? *starts rocking back and forth*


    Unrelated to that, do you guys think we're gonna see the Surrakar again or did they go extinct?
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Nahiri's Binding— The Loregoyfs preview
    Is Jace becoming the art minotaur for rendering planeswalkers helpless? :p
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Murasa Brute— Top Level Podcast preview
    Yeah that's kind of mean. Did he do something to piss wizards off?
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Stonework Packbeast— Alliestrasza preview
    The fact that this is a wizard and a cleric (and a warrior and rogue) is awkward to say the least. Couldn't they at least have made it into a golem?
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on So Power Creep, much awful
    If your deck has basic lands its because the BASIC type has advantages associated to it.

    If you can you always play a non-basic land that produces more colors and does not enter tapped, it will always be more useful to a deck that actually wants multiple colors of mana anyway.

    Theres even straight up 5-color lands in the form of Cavern of Souls and its friends for tribal decks too.

    So if you play a 2+ color deck you want both mana, not choose one or the other.
    If you dont have better alternatives you still play what you got, so these flip lands will see play, they are still worse if a deck relies more heavily on 2 colors (especially double costs, say UU and BB , with these lands you cant get both of these, while actual dual lands can produce both combinations).

    Fetchlands were played (and valuable) before shocklands came around. These cards do everything fetchlands do, except don't cost 1 life.*

    These lands will be played. These lands will be good. Regardless of alternatives, they even out your colour balance for no cost at all.

    *You could argue fetchlands remove a land from your library, but I'd assume the one life difference is going to matter more often than the minuscule better odds of drawing a nonland. And even if it didn't, fetchlands are currently not in standard, so being 99% comparable to fetchlands in 2 colour decks, everything said above still goes.

    Quote from ashrog »
    A lot of people don't seem to understand "strictly better". Not just in this thread, I hear it all the time. If you have to say "it's strictly better, except for these situations", it's not strictly better.

    Alternatively, the fact that people point out situational exceptions might show that they are, indeed, well aware of the definition of strictly better, but at the same time also of the practical applications of the concept.

    You know, just a thought.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Blackbloom Rogue//Blackbloom Bog— PolyHS preview
    I find these language exclusive previews annoying. I want to know what the flavour text says but I don't remember the next day which cards I still need to check in the image gallery on the mothership.

    First world problems, I know, but still, would it hurt anyone if they'd provide the english version alongside the normal one, even if just as a footnote. :/
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Inordinate Rage— sandydogmtg preview
    What's going on with the horns of the minotaurs in Zendikar all of a sudden.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Zendikar Rising- Lore and Story
    Not a lot happened, but it was a nice introduction to two characters we are going to see for a large part of the Zendikar Rising arc, so it's good. I liked it.

    The short flashbacks to the battle at seagate highlight for me the fact that Magic story telling at its core works best as vignettes, rather than continous storylines following the same five planeswalkers. The descriptions of Zareth's and Akiri's experiences at seagate had more atmosphere and feeling than any of Gideon's "I whip my hair back and forth" and Nissa's "Zendikar is crying!" segments, like by a magnitude. The multiverse is a setting of countless worlds, and as a result of countless stories. They need to be told from the perspective of its countless peoples, not someone who's just passing through.

    For the same reason my absolute favourite story (installment) from Amonkhet was the one with the multiple vignettes showing how the Amonkheti survive (or not survive) the onslaught of the eternals. That is where magic storytelling shines the most. The other chapters focusing on the gatewatch were largely not memorable.

    Too bad these two characters are all gonna die...

    Don't be too sure about this. We haven't seen Akiri die on-screen. And she is a master line-slinger.

    I don't know if I could live in Zendikar. While I do like planes with a lot of natural landscapes like it has, civilization on Zendikar always seems just a few steps away from annihilation. Much like Ikoria.

    I mean, who does the books or sows the grain?

    Farming on Zendikar sounds like precarious occupation.

    Zendikar's main problem as a setting is that if you start looking too closely, the worldbuilding falls apart a bit. So best not look too closely.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on So Power Creep, much awful
    While I am hesitant to consider the new modal DFCs to be a sign of power creep, the sheer inability to understand cards in this thread is stupefying.

    Quote from Optidongus »
    I wouldn't play those lands in any format. Anyone who thinks these double non basics represent power creep needs to never publically evaluate a card again.

    These cards are literally strictly better basic lands apart from land type. So unless your deck massively cares about land type (which is probably not going to be that important in a dual colour deck) then there's virtually no reason to not use these in place of a basic. Please never evaluate cards again, publicly or otherwise.

    Quote from Trancebam »
    Yes, but MORE useful than a basic land.

    And? What are you even talking about? You think non-basic lands should always be worse than basic lands? That makes no sense and suggests you don’t know anything about Magic.

    It's more complex than that. It's not about duals being worse than basics, but not being strictly better. Granted, these don't have basic land types, but it probably doesn't come up often enough to matter, so they're near strictly better. This is something Wizards had said, for the longest time, not to do. Anyone who has more than passing interest in Magic than typing furiously away on a forum that creatures that die to removal are worthless and garbage and belong to the trash pile would know that.

    Of course, duals being pushed the way they are have been since... forever. They're more often than not better than basics in multi color decks, muddying the whole issue. Personally, I consider that to be a bug, not a feature, but whatever. It seems Wizards has dropped the last modicum of pretense that duals should not necessarily be auto includes in any deck.

    Quote from arcane7828 »
    Quote from Trancebam »
    And in a set that will inevitably have land bounce to promote landfall effects, you're not even stuck on the first color you picked.

    And there you have your answer, you need a bounce effect to switch colour. To make that insignificant your landbase or decklist needs to change. Being no land type tied to it these are not fetchable... which in itself is a massive drawback.

    These cards don't want to be fetched. Even if they did have basic land types, when you sacrifice your flooded strand, you're already deciding to get either a plains or an island. You can only get one or the other (barring shocklands, of course). These cards not having a basic land type does not change their practical applications in an environment with fetchlands around, in two color decks that is, which are kind of the standard outside of a multicolour heavy meta.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on [ZNR] Ladee Danger's party
    Oh for the love of Thassa, is this mechanic all we have to look forward to in this set? Where are the traps, quests and expedition enchantments?

    I actually kinda have to agree. These party reviews are getting old and make the set look like its 80% party cards with some token landfall here and there.

    The previews themselves are especially silly, because they're not telling us anything. The cards picked for each party review don't particularly synergize. There's more often than not a "have another <creature class> to get effect" which clashes with the party mechanic. These previews feel disjointed and pointless. "The set has clerics, wizards, rogues and warriors" isn't a point that needed to be made (instead show us cool party cards that combo with each other) and more importantly, not a point that needed to be made twelve times.

    And yes, I'm missing quests. These were, for me, the coolest part of original Zendikar. I would have liked at least one cycle of these. :/
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on So Power Creep, much awful
    Quote from Patch8700 »
    Choosing only one colour is a pretty big drawback and makes them worse than a lot of other dual lands.

    The problem is that these lands are strictly better than basics*, which used to be a golden rule by wizards not to do. Not anymore it seems.

    *Yes yes, sans land type, but unless the environment is going to super care about land types (and it doesn't look like it), it won't matter.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • To post a comment, please or register a new account.