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  • posted a message on Kamigawa Fat Pack Booklet Scans
    These are great lore bits -- Kamigawa is truly one of Magic's most developed, lore-rich worlds, and the player's guides add so much to what can be known about the plane. I really appreciate the background for Azusa, Godo, Oyobi, Maga, and Urami here; all characters who went otherwise unseen in the novels or online vignettes. Kamigawa is just too rich in legends to have a story for every single one, but that only adds to the richness of the plane.

    I see just a couple interesting conflicts here with other canonical sources, however:

    1.) The player's guides give Mochi (the Kami of the Crescent Moon) too much responsibility for the Kami War, even going so far as to suggest he'd influenced Konda. This directly contradicts the novels, where Konda alone is the mastermind behind the War, and Mochi merely tagged along. We even get a scene from Mochi's POV in the Saviors novel, where Mochi reflects on Konda starting the War, as well as his own motivations:

    His (Mochi's) agents in Eiganjo had told him of Konda's plan to raid the spirit world as soon as the daimyo consulted them about it. Instead of seeing this as an outrageous blasphemy like any decent kami, Mochi saw only opportunity.... Konda was intending to disrupt the natural order of things, the balance between the physical and spiritual. Such an act would have dangerous, unpredictable repercussions, and so Mochi decided that he would not only allow it, but facilitate it.

    In the twenty years of strife since Konda made his raid, Mochi had time to reflect on the wisdom of his actions and their true motivations. His introspection revealed three important things: One, he did not know what to expect as a result of Konda's crime, but he was sure he could capitalize on it for his own benefit; two, if Konda succeeded it meant the oldest and most sacred laws could be broken by someone with enough will and power, which he could capitalize on for his own benefit in the long-term; and three, it was a waste of time second-guessing his own genius because he made good decisions even when he didn't have all the facts.

    When the kami attacks started, Mochi knew that Konda's reign would not survive. The daimyo had done a remarkable job uniting the different people's behind him, but once he was gone they would undoubtedly fall back into petty skirmishing and tribal warfare. Mochi knew the soratami would be largely unaffected, safe in their cloud cities, but he also thought the soratami destiny was to be more than elite survivors. They were exalted beings who worshipped him, after all. If anyone was fit to rule Kamigawa, it was the moonfolk.

    If he had conceived of the plan on his own beforehand, Mochi might have tried to bring Konda down or perhaps even challenge him on the field of battle... Once Konda had decided his course, however, it became unnecessary to take action in order to topple him--he had doomed himself by his rash act. It might take decades, even centuries, but eventually the spirit world would come to claim what the Daimyo had stolen. When it did, Mochi intended for the soratami to rise in Konda's place as the dominant culture in Kamigawa.

    (Guardian: Saviors of Kamigawa, pp. 156-8)


    Of course, when Mochi's forces actually meet Konda's army a few chapters later, Konda realized the attempt at betrayal and utterly annihilates them. Mochi was always a smarmy little d***** who talked a bigger game than he could really deliver. The player's guide gives him too much credit.

    (A side note: The soratami were still amazing bastards though. Tamiyo presents a kinder, more peaceful face of the moonfolk for newer generations of Magic players, but originally in the Kamigawa block they were an elitist, power-hungry, genocidal culture through and through. The above passage took place while Mochi watched the moonfolk razing Jukai Forest and exterminating the orochi snake-folk. That's the soratami I remember).


    2.)The other clear discrepancy is the design and location of Shinka. The books describe Shinka not as a keep high in the mountains, but as an ogre hut in the lower slopes of the mountains - a relatively humble lodge that covers a larger, subterranean lair. Though the novels are typically considered the primary canon, in this case, however, I feel we can give preference to the player's guide version, since that interpretation comes not only from the player's guide, but from the cards as well--card art, card names, and card flavor texts. If we want to reconcile both versions, we can perhaps assume that the original Shinka Keep in the mountains was destroyed/dismantled and restructured/relocated by the time the novels occur, since the books cover only the 20th and final year of the Kami War.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on The command zone preview - Nyxbloom Ancient (the final mythic rare)
    That's Xenagos's old throne in the background.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Mist-Syndicate Ninja
    I personally can't stand these new ninja. It's just grating.

    Ninja were a super cool thing that Kamigawa had exclusively going for it, mechanically and flavor-wise. Yuriko was awesome, Sakashima's student was like seeing an old friend. They fit with the Japanese theme and Kamigawa's unique planar identity.

    But now, naga ninja? Vedalken ninja? I'm not saying it CAN'T happen. Planeswalkers could have spread knowledge of the ninja arts among the planes. But flavorfully,this is taking one of the big things that made Kamigawa unique and diluting it among foreign planes and creature types

    For fans of Kamigawa, who will likely never see a return to one of our favorite planes (even after second visits to Zendikar and Innistrad and three to Ravnica), the most we can look forward to are whatever crumbs they toss us to expand the world. Crumbs like O-Kagachi, Yuriko, and Silent-Blade Oni. And I get it - Kamigawa has its loyal cult following, but it wasn't successful enough of a block to justify a return. It's just the way things are, so crumbs are fine.

    So when I heared that we were getting new ninja, I was super psyched for more Kamigawa. Turns out I'm Charlie Brown, and WotC is Lucy with the football.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Mothership Spoilers 5-27 Yawgmoth
    Beautiful. The circle is now compleat.

    This is my favorite kind of mythic card - the kind you need to be smart about, the kind that makes you plan instead of just slamming it down on the table and bulldozing everyone.

    But the power is real, and so is the fun.

    "Your life was meaningless. But your death will glorify Yawgmoth."
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Mothership Spoiler 5/24 - Fallen Shinobi
    Do ninja exist on multiple planes? Looking at the background, the cobblestone and what little I can see of the architecture, this definitely isn't Kamigawa.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Signature Spell Book Gideon
    Depending on how well this sells, Wizards might end up killing off characters more often. Wink
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance (RNA) and War of the Spark (WAR) General Discussion
    Quote from Ulgrim »
    Quote from Chalsis »
    People talking about "stakes." Well, here are the stakes: if Bolas had won, the Multiverse would have been his forever, and he would reign over infinite Planes and infinite lives with an iron fist for eternity.

    Who lives and who dies on Ravnica are not the stakes. The stakes aren't the number of named Planeswalkers we lose in this battle. The stakes are what happens if Bolas wins.

    Now, we can debate whether or not our losses on Ravnica reflected, emotionally, the GRAVITY of those stakes. But the stakes in MTG's story have never been higher. Not even in Apocalypse.


    Now, let's compare War of the Spark to other MTG finales.

    Mirrodin: No heroes truly died in the final battle with Memnarch. Slobad lived, Raksha lived, Bruenna lived. Main heroine Glissa died briefly but came back. The world ended, but everyone came out okay. Bosh died back in Darksteel, but that was 5 years before the final clash.

    Kamigawa: Widely considered to be one of the best blocks story-wise. Toshi, Michiko, Kyodai... All the good guys live. All of them. The only deaths in the finale were baddies; O-Kagachi and Mochi. Big Bad Konda didn't technically die, but I'll include him here anyway because he still got destroyed. But among the good guys, even randos like Pearl-Ear, Riko, and Sharp-Ear -- everyone comes out of the big final battle okay.

    Ravnica Block: Kos dies in book 2, but his ghost is back as the main character in Book 3 so it doesn't really count. Feather, Pivlic, Faun, And Jarad all come out at the end. Jarad as a zombie, granted, but he's around. The only serious deaths in the final book are Nephilim and villains like Augustin, Momir, and Lyzolda.

    Coldsnap (End of the Ice Age Block): Just the villain and Lovisa Coldeyes, but admittedly Lovisa's kind of hurt. (She went out like a badass, though. Smile )

    Time Spiral: Along with Apocalypse and War of the Spark, this is the Big One, with the whole Multiverse at stake and a vast host of heroes arrayed against the big threat. But really, among the heroes, only Freyalise and Jeska die. Windgrace sacrifices his spark.

    Alara: Big huge planar war, but if I recall correctly, all the good guys live. Jazal dies, but that's at the beginning, and key to kicking off the actual plot.

    Zendikar (Both blocks): No carded characters die save for villains Ulamog and Kozilek.

    ...I could go on through each and every block, but this post is already stretching long and you all likely get the idea. So let's go back to Apocalypse, the Big One that people love to bring up.

    Villains Yawgmoth and Crovax both die. Among the heroes, we lose Urza and Gerrard, who are extremely significant. But after that... Who? Bo Levar and Commander Guff? I guarantee you that more people care about Dack dying than ever cared about those two. Eladmiri and Lin Sivvi go as well, if I recall, but those are legendary creatures, and in War of The Spark we can balance them off with the corruption (and perhaps... destruction?) of other beloved legends like the God-Eternals, esp. Oketra.

    More named characters die in Apocalypse than in War of the Spark, certainly. But not by all that much.

    ----

    In the end, War of the Spark delivers the casualty of the hero, which is something that (if my memory is complete) only Apocalypse and Time Spiral Block can claim as well. Gideon, meanwhile, was not just a member of the Gatewatch. He was the leader, and along with Liliana, one of the two heroes of this final story.

    Would I have liked to see Nissa, Vivien, Jaya, and Jace bite it as well? Absolutely. But the fact that they don't doesn't ruin the story for me. It would just have made it better if they had.

    But in the end, Magic stories have always have a pattern of most of the cast walking out of even the most apocalyptic cataclysms intact.


    I just want to say that this is the worst example and the greatest reach that I've seen so far.
    You're comparing this story to the older ones and yet you choose to exclude the entirety of the Urza saga, focusing only on the ending, to try to prove a point. Apocalypse is being brought up because it is the end of a years long saga, just like WAR is.


    I explicitly said, multiple times, that I was only comparing finales. Why would I compare War of the Spark to the entirety of the Urza/Weatherlight Saga? That would be stupid.

    I'm comparing War (the final act in this saga) vs. the final acts in other MTG sagas (Apocalypse, Fifth Dawn, Saviors of Kamigawa, dissension, Future Sight, etc.)

    Though I just realized Freyalise and Windgrace sacrificed themselves in Planar Chaos. So the only good guy we really lost in Fifth Dawn was Jeska. Leshrac and Dinne, two of the villains, also died. But if memory serves, those three were it for that finale.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on VorthosCast preview: Despark, Prison Realm
    Also, the art for Prison Realm actually makes me chuckle a bit.

    That is literally the saddest, most flaccid-looking Bolas I've ever seen.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance (RNA) and War of the Spark (WAR) General Discussion
    Personally I find Vivien a frustrating and pointless character and I hope she dies during this war.

    Still, the fact that she isn't shown to die within the novel itself is really no skin off my nose. I would rather that Magic's first hardcover novel in a decade didn't waste any time trying to develope her before a "proper" send-off.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance (RNA) and War of the Spark (WAR) General Discussion
    Quote from idSurge »
    Quote from Chalsis »
    People talking about "stakes." Well, here are the stakes: if Bolas had won, the Multiverse would have been his forever, and he would reign over infinite Planes and infinite lives with an iron fist for eternity.

    Who lives and who dies on Ravnica are not the stakes. The stakes aren't the number of named Planeswalkers we lose in this battle. The stakes are what happens if Bolas wins.

    Now, we can debate whether or not our losses on Ravnica reflected, emotionally, the GRAVITY of those stakes. But the stakes in MTG's story have never been higher. Not even in Apocalypse.
    .


    Here's the thing...thats absolutely false.

    Those are not real 'stakes' because.../spoilers....it was never going to happen. He was never going to win. So no, the stakes are not higher in that regard.


    No, what I said was absolutely true. The stakes are the stakes for the people within the story, even if we, the players, know Bolas can't win or the universe is over.

    Yawgmoth couldn't have won either. But just because the villain is doomed to fail doesn't mean that in-world, the stakes are any less real for the characters. You can bet that even if Urza and Gerrard had failed, the other Weatherlight heroes would have found some way to save the day. Because that's what the plot demanded.

    Sauron was never going to win in LOTR. Thanos will never win in The Avengers. Their eventual defeats are a given. Does that mean there are no stakes in their respective stories? Of course not. If there are no stakes, what are the heroes fighting for?

    People on these boards are confusing terms. "Stakes" does not equal "losses" or "price of victory."

    In the end, the question isn't whether or not the stakes are there. Because the stakes ARE there. The question is whether we, the audience, feel the weight of those stakes.

    Maybe you didn't. But I did. True, I'd have liked to have feel more pain. I would have liked War of the Spark to leave me a stunned, emotional wreck, with 10-20 character losses for me to wrap my bleeding heart around.

    But it at least gave us a major Gatewatch death, which is big, and a first-time ever event. And at least they made it a good one.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Reddit Leak: Gideon's (SPOILER ALERT)
    Quote from Xeruh »
    Kind of baffling that supposedly omnipotent/omniscient super villain is not a cliche. Bolas was a very flat villain prior to M19 or so. Evil for evils sake is about as cliche as you can get.


    Here.

    While Hour of Devastation was the turning point that made Bolas truly scary for me for the first time, M19 was where they finally showed us what made him tick, and what made him so sick inside. It made him, if not sympathetic, then human and at least understandable.

    I now contend that Bolas ended up as a great fantasy villain. But that wasn't the case until quite recently.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Reddit Leak: Gideon's (SPOILER ALERT)
    Quote from pinkmex »
    it's not that people are enamored with bolas either - he too, as the story developed, became another cliche. and it's not that astonishing.


    It's actually the exact opposite. Speaking as someone who used to HATE Bolas (and it's difficult to emphasize just how badly I hated him as a character, to the extent that I stopped buying cards and playing in sets where was being featured), over the last two years Bolas has evolved from a boring, cliche (and to me, insufferable) supervillain into a layered and psychologically interesting character who, while still absolutely evil, now feels at least understandable and even human in his wickedness. Like, I can even relate to his motivations now (though I obviously condemn his actions).

    Bolas went from being my absolute most hated character in all of Magic to being one of my all-time favorites. And that's specifically BECAUSE the story fleshed him out and developed him in a way that I did not expect, and dared to make his evil understandable and grounded in universal, human fears.

    Bolas is evil through and through. And he does enjoy in hamming it up when he can, for the sheer, semi-self-aware fun of doing so. But his actual heart and soul are sick, fearful, and tortured things.

    Like Yawgmoth, Bolas is full of jealousies, insecurities, and resentments embodied by a former loved one. Yawgmoth called the problem "Rebbec." Bolas called it "Ugin." Each had a goal of proving himself dominant over his object of obsession. In the end, each reached too far, and each dared too much.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Ravnica Allegiance (RNA) and War of the Spark (WAR) General Discussion
    People talking about "stakes." Well, here are the stakes: if Bolas had won, the Multiverse would have been his forever, and he would reign over infinite Planes and infinite lives with an iron fist for eternity.

    Who lives and who dies on Ravnica are not the stakes. The stakes aren't the number of named Planeswalkers we lose in this battle. The stakes are what happens if Bolas wins.

    Now, we can debate whether or not our losses on Ravnica reflected, emotionally, the GRAVITY of those stakes. But the stakes in MTG's story have never been higher. Not even in Apocalypse.


    Now, let's compare War of the Spark to other MTG finales.

    Mirrodin: No heroes truly died in the final battle with Memnarch. Slobad lived, Raksha lived, Bruenna lived. Main heroine Glissa died briefly but came back. The world ended, but everyone came out okay. Bosh died back in Darksteel, but that was 5 years before the final clash.

    Kamigawa: Widely considered to be one of the best blocks story-wise. Toshi, Michiko, Kyodai... All the good guys live. All of them. The only deaths in the finale were baddies; O-Kagachi and Mochi. Big Bad Konda didn't technically die, but I'll include him here anyway because he still got destroyed. But among the good guys, even randos like Pearl-Ear, Riko, and Sharp-Ear -- everyone comes out of the big final battle okay.

    Ravnica Block: Kos dies in book 2, but his ghost is back as the main character in Book 3 so it doesn't really count. Feather, Pivlic, Faun, And Jarad all come out at the end. Jarad as a zombie, granted, but he's around. The only serious deaths in the final book are Nephilim and villains like Augustin, Momir, and Lyzolda.

    Coldsnap (End of the Ice Age Block): Just the villain and Lovisa Coldeyes, but admittedly Lovisa's kind of hurt. (She went out like a badass, though. Smile )

    Time Spiral: Along with Apocalypse and War of the Spark, this is the Big One, with the whole Multiverse at stake and a vast host of heroes arrayed against the big threat. But really, among the heroes, only Freyalise and Jeska die. Windgrace sacrifices his spark.

    Alara: Big huge planar war, but if I recall correctly, all the good guys live. Jazal dies, but that's at the beginning, and key to kicking off the actual plot.

    Zendikar (Both blocks): No carded characters die save for villains Ulamog and Kozilek.

    ...I could go on through each and every block, but this post is already stretching long and you all likely get the idea. So let's go back to Apocalypse, the Big One that people love to bring up.

    Villains Yawgmoth and Crovax both die. Among the heroes, we lose Urza and Gerrard, who are extremely significant. But after that... Who? Bo Levar and Commander Guff? I guarantee you that more people care about Dack dying than ever cared about those two. Eladmiri and Lin Sivvi go as well, if I recall, but those are legendary creatures, and in War of The Spark we can balance them off with the corruption (and perhaps... destruction?) of other beloved legends like the God-Eternals, esp. Oketra.

    More named characters die in Apocalypse than in War of the Spark, certainly. But not by all that much.

    ----

    In the end, War of the Spark delivers the casualty of the hero, which is something that (if my memory is complete) only Apocalypse and Time Spiral Block can claim as well. Gideon, meanwhile, was not just a member of the Gatewatch. He was the leader, and along with Liliana, one of the two heroes of this final story.

    Would I have liked to see Nissa, Vivien, Jaya, and Jace bite it as well? Absolutely. But the fact that they don't doesn't ruin the story for me. It would just have made it better if they had.

    But in the end, Magic stories have always have a pattern of most of the cast walking out of even the most apocalyptic cataclysms intact.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on VorthosCast preview: Despark, Prison Realm
    Quote from MarkXero »
    With the caveat that I haven't read the novel yet, I actually quite like the story elements that led to Bolas's downfall - Liliana choosing to go willingly to death rather than be at Bolas's command for the rest of her existence, and Gideon choosing to sacrifice himself to free Liliana from that end. The first he may have been expected to anticipate as a possibility, but the second, and especially the combination of the two, maybe less so. Both are choices outside of Bolas's way of thinking, and he was pretty confident he knew Liliana inside out. Everyone decrying this as 'Oh, Bolas is meant to be *so* smart, he should have anticipated everything' are, I think, overplaying his ability to empathise with those who hold different values and do things very differently to him. In his defence, he did at least anticipate that Gideon would attempt something heroic with the Blackblade, but what Gideon did next was too far outside of Bolas's ability to comprehend.


    Entirely on point, my friend. That was very good.

    I haven't read the novel either, but from looking at the cards we also see that Bolas loses his gem, probably when Liliana attacks it in "Finale of Eternity," and "Finale of Revelation" suggests Ugin discovers it has something important to do with Bolas's power.

    I've seen a couple posts scoff that Bolas's gem was just sitting there between his horns to be destroyed, but really, the fact that the gem was at all significant to defeating him, and that Lily should risk using the Chain Veil again to target it, is new knowledge for the characters, and must have been revealed to Liliana by Ugin once he found out. And likely, nothing less powerful than the Chain Veil could have destroyed it.

    None of the characters realized it was that important - it's not like it was stamped with a "WEAK SPOT, ATTACK HERE!" label. (Some story fans suspected it was crucial for Bolas's power, including myself, but after the Core 2019 story neglected to explain its origin and significance, I dismissed those old theories about the gem and decided it must not be important after all. Though it had once been central to my own speculations on Bolas's future, I had honestly forgotten about it until just this week).

    If I were Liliana, then without Ugin explaining the gem to me, I would not have thought to attack it either and would probably have just attacked Bolas's face. Wink

    I wonder, if Ugin had not been around behind the scenes, how would this story have ended?
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on VorthosCast preview: Despark, Prison Realm
    (edit, wrong post, wrong thread)
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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