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  • posted a message on Theros Beyond Death the rest of the cards and story
    Quote from buffntuff »
    Perhaps it's the Netflix show, the MMORPG, and all of the other resources that the brand is focusing on that's siphoning creative from the actual TCG. I've been playing MTG since pretty much the beginning and the lore was still fun back when it was vague and we had to fill in the gaps, yet through the decades WotC has ratcheted up the Vorthos component of MTG such that they have the capability for things such as an MMORPG and a Netflix series, so maybe this is just a natural progression. Who knows, we may get story lines and sets of cards that are based on the show or the video games if they are well received enough.


    I actually wouldn't be shocked if they're planning to get real brand integrate-y with either the mmo or the netflix show, where the story now has to match up to whatever's going on in those. Maybe what we're seeing now is more clearing house to get some characters up and ready for whatever's written for those. Garruk is back, liliana is kinda redeemed, elspeth is back. Beefing up the cast a lil.

    Also as a total aside, wild to watch tiro (of meletis) have gone from absolutely livid and irrationally angry about this set before it was previewed to raving about it in effortposts now the whole thing has dropped. There's a lesson there, but I'm not gonna be the one to figure out what it is.


    The key word there is "irrational."

    Using the show and the mmo as media for the overall narrative is probably a good move, as they're likely to be more accessible and thus expand the audience. I think one of the difficulties they've been having is trying to coordinate the stories with block releases a little too much. Of course that has to do with wanting to push sales of the new product, so it makes sense on paper that every set would have its story published at the same time, but I think there's a practical issue of getting reasonably high quality content written under those conditions. It would be better if they had several ongoing stories being printed that would eventually "catch up" and incorporate new settings while maintaining the audience's investment with the overall set of characters and settings. Comics and story articles might be sufficient to push new sets upon release.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Theros Beyond Death the rest of the cards and story
    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »

    Yet if the quality of the overall franchise declines, its popularity probably will eventually follow. Now that the game is bigger than any previous point, it is the time to expand on what makes it unique rather than to regress to an earlier stage when the game was small and new.


    Wizards will probably cost cut on the story until product sales revenue slips notably. It's always this way with companies: they will seek to save money to make more profit, so they will cut in areas until the product quality gets bad enough for visible complaints and sales loss. I just don't think Wizards is at that point yet.

    Alternatively, as Tiro and MoonKnightLite pointed out, much of the creative focus has moved to other properties, basically putting the card game on cruise control. As long as they print competitive cards and enticing thematic sets, Wizards can probably coast on a light narrative for a while. As I said, Wizards will probably focus stories on new sets, not returning ones, to avoid consecutive "synopsis only" sets.


    And the problem with that is that returning sets is where story arcs can be developed. When the story only gets brought up with a new setting, people get fatigued with the same rehash of "oh no the world is on fire, but protagonist saves it!" It's important to get the audience invested in established characters and not just planeswalkers who are mostly written as color caricatures at this point.

    I also believe that as consumers how we choose to respond can affect the tipping point where business decisions become unprofitable.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Theros Beyond Death the rest of the cards and story
    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »


    This has been discussed in another thread, but I think it is somewhat myopic for them to consider the investment in the story only through its direct impact on the bottom line. Although only Vorthoses place the lore at the center stage of their fandom, it's also in the background for most other players. Otherwise they would probably just play poker or something like that.


    I would agree with you if Magic was a new card game with little or no tournament support. However, Magic is established now and has tournament support, with money and prizes on the line. I think the number of competitive or semi-competitive players dwarf the Vorthoses, so as long as Wizards creates cards that players believe will help them win games, the story (excluding basic world building and synopsis) can take a backseat. Modern Horizons and Core Sets had no story support, but they sold well if they had cards people wanted. (Modern Horizons appears to have sold to expectations, at least.)

    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »

    I think the brand has a very serious crisis about how it's going to do its storytelling.


    Either Wizards goes back to the pre-Weatherlight days of storytelling for their sets, or they will spend money on story for a reduced number of sets. Likely, Wizards will spend money for story on sets taking place on new planes like the upcoming Ikoria, and less or no money on story for most returning planes. For example, Zendikar's story about its people vs Eldrazi is concluded, so in the next Zendikar set, the cards tell the general narrative of "D&D adventuring in dangerous places with a token amount of Eldrazi remnants," and we get a story synopsis.


    Yet if the quality of the overall franchise declines, its popularity probably will eventually follow. Now that the game is bigger than any previous point, it is the time to expand on what makes it unique rather than to regress to an earlier stage when the game was small and new.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Theros Beyond Death the rest of the cards and story
    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »
    Quote from Gutterstorm »


    The lack of a developed story for Theros is the most unfortunate part. One of the main benefits of a set that returns to an established plane is that it gives you an opportunity to deepen the storyline, provide character development, and build a coherent plot through larger story arcs. These were issues they had when they kept on going to a new setting every block. After the presumed end of the Bolas arc with Ravnica, Theros was the first plane where old plot threads were present to be picked up. But the most we have to show for that is a synopsis, so the narrative is pretty much in limbo. That's something that I feel is especially critical to resolve since Bolas was honestly a terrible villain and we need to move on to something better asap.


    Given the arguably substandard storywriting of the War of the Spark novels and past novels and some of the web stories, we may be better off with synopses for the set narratives and let the fans fill the gaps with their headcanons.


    I haven't even had my coffee yet today. What a super depressing comment. Gaaaaaaaaaah


    Sorry to be Debbie Downer. I have been around Revised and the sets pre-Weatherlight were essentially like Theros Beyond Death in narrative. Most of the narrative was alluded to by the cards themselves and it left the gaps to the fan's imagination.

    Wizards is not spending the money or political will to have a consistent and cohesive lore that Blizzard does with Warcraft/World of Warcraft. As a result, most of these narratives are not satisfying to Vorthos fans. A few web stories and Bryan Sanderson's story on Daveriel were received well, but for other narratives, the reaction has been bad.

    It may be just cost cutting by Hasbro, who only care about the game itself and don't consider story to be super important. They probably think if all the Vorthos players left the game, it would have little financial impact on Magic sales.


    I was being somewhat humorous. But it is kind of depressing how you make good points on an undesirable conclusion.

    This has been discussed in another thread, but I think it is somewhat myopic for them to consider the investment in the story only through its direct impact on the bottom line. Although only Vorthoses place the lore at the center stage of their fandom, it's also in the background for most other players. Otherwise they would probably just play poker or something like that.

    I guess that headcanons aren't always so bad. One of the things I enjoy about the lore of Fromsoftware games is the openness to interpretation. But the lore in those games is very purposefully crafted in that way, which I haven't seen MtG do successfully. I think the brand has a very serious crisis about how it's going to do its storytelling.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Theros Beyond Death the rest of the cards and story
    Quote from Gutterstorm »


    The lack of a developed story for Theros is the most unfortunate part. One of the main benefits of a set that returns to an established plane is that it gives you an opportunity to deepen the storyline, provide character development, and build a coherent plot through larger story arcs. These were issues they had when they kept on going to a new setting every block. After the presumed end of the Bolas arc with Ravnica, Theros was the first plane where old plot threads were present to be picked up. But the most we have to show for that is a synopsis, so the narrative is pretty much in limbo. That's something that I feel is especially critical to resolve since Bolas was honestly a terrible villain and we need to move on to something better asap.


    Given the arguably substandard storywriting of the War of the Spark novels and past novels and some of the web stories, we may be better off with synopses for the set narratives and let the fans fill the gaps with their headcanons.


    I haven't even had my coffee yet today. What a super depressing comment. Gaaaaaaaaaah

    I actually think escape is a pretty good graveyard mechanic. It's just too bad it had to be on Theros in a single set taking up a massive amount of space not only in itself but with all the grave hate they printed with it. Enchantments deserve to be explored mechanically with the same level of innovation that artifacts have received across several blocks. I resent that artifacts get all the love.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Theros Beyond Death the rest of the cards and story
    Quote from Crispen_Smith »
    A couple of times during spoiler season the team variously said (and I'm paraphrasing a little) "we f***ed up, wasted a bunch of time getting it wrong and then course corrected. The new set is gonna be, well, a set". (The Stygian mechanic, overly complicated cards that were caught late in the dev cycle and needed a quick fix).

    They weren't wrong about that. This is 264 new cards alright. There are things to live about this set and there are some really weird things that seem to be the result of getting it wrong.

    Building M:TG is a hard job, I'm glad it isn't mine. The R&D team put their heart and soul into it. This is going to be a fun set to play and there are cards I love at all rarities but there's those weird gaps.


    Yeah, I think they deserve at least a little sympathy. Solidarity for the labor at MtG.

    The lack of a developed story for Theros is the most unfortunate part. One of the main benefits of a set that returns to an established plane is that it gives you an opportunity to deepen the storyline, provide character development, and build a coherent plot through larger story arcs. These were issues they had when they kept on going to a new setting every block. After the presumed end of the Bolas arc with Ravnica, Theros was the first plane where old plot threads were present to be picked up. But the most we have to show for that is a synopsis, so the narrative is pretty much in limbo. That's something that I feel is especially critical to resolve since Bolas was honestly a terrible villain and we need to move on to something better asap.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [THB} Shadowspear
    I love the indestructible and hexproof hosing effect, especially since it's available to all colors. The more those abilities are hosed, the less they have to worry about pushing creatures with those abilities.

    This card also speeds up your clock while setting back your opponent's, but it needs a body.

    All for a cheap enough cost that you wont hate maindecking it on Arena. Possibly my favorite card of the set.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [THB] Bronzehide Lion— Shahar Shenhar preview
    I don't think the issue I'm having is with constellation, in terms of its power level or otherwise. Constellation is fine but it doesn't have quite enough oomf to carry the enchantment theme all by itself. I guess there's only so much that can be done with a single set under these conditions, but for us enchantment lovers out here it's a bummer.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [THB] Bronzehide Lion— Shahar Shenhar preview
    Quote from Crispen_Smith »
    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »
    Quote from Crispen_Smith »
    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »
    I'd like to see that second ability keyworded as an alternative to bestow. Theros this time around doesn't have nearly as strong of an enchantment theme as I was wanting.
    Quote from 5colors »
    Just like fleece mane lion this card both is a fun and flavorful card of the Nemean lion and both will be great in my kitties deck ^.^

    Nice that this time we are getting the lion being turned into a cloak like Heracles did.


    And there's exactly why it's a unique ability... it hadn't even occurred to me till 5colurs pointed it out but yes, this is a key moment in the Heracles arc and beautifully captured. Diluting it by making it a more generic mechanic would be a shame.


    My guess is that you wouldn't feel that way about, say, flashback diluting the flavor of something by being a keyword for a general mechanic. Usually when an individual card realizes a harmony of mechanic and flavor we still appreciate it on that basis. So I think that you're being rather arbitrary here.

    Considering that this set has the escape mechanic for story reasons though, a "turn dead creatures into auras" mechanic might have too much overlap in the same set. Although they could have used escape for it potentially.


    Keywording the ability in of itself might have been fine. But there's a narrative difference between "this is a plane where things become clothing" and "remember that one lion that became clothing?" Using an existing mechanic to illustrate a point is fine i.e. giving Thryx, The Sudden Storm Flying and Flash makes sense in he narrative because those are things that already exist which he manifests. The gods having their devotion related rules is fine a cycle of creatures for similar reasons but the unique rules of Thryx or those gods are similar to the unique text of this lion - they give each of those cards their character.


    That's true, but there's a lot of other flavor interpretations possible that also fit the setting. Ancient Greece loved its hero cults. It would be fairly appropriate for a hero's power in death to manifest as a blessing, basically the dead hero serving as a protective spirit. Whereas "clothing" usually would go more with equipment but it works here since its Theros.

    Edit: I guess what I'm really saying is the way they choose which mechanics to revisit when they return to a plane is flawed. Devotion and constellation were received well so we're seeing them again. Bestow was a unique mechanic but executed poorly so we don't get it this time. Consequently, the set feels a little more bland and doesn't do the enchantment theme justice, which I'm disappointed with.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [THB] Bronzehide Lion— Shahar Shenhar preview
    Quote from Crispen_Smith »
    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »
    I'd like to see that second ability keyworded as an alternative to bestow. Theros this time around doesn't have nearly as strong of an enchantment theme as I was wanting.
    Quote from 5colors »
    Just like fleece mane lion this card both is a fun and flavorful card of the Nemean lion and both will be great in my kitties deck ^.^

    Nice that this time we are getting the lion being turned into a cloak like Heracles did.


    And there's exactly why it's a unique ability... it hadn't even occurred to me till 5colurs pointed it out but yes, this is a key moment in the Heracles arc and beautifully captured. Diluting it by making it a more generic mechanic would be a shame.


    My guess is that you wouldn't feel that way about, say, flashback diluting the flavor of something by being a keyword for a general mechanic. Usually when an individual card realizes a harmony of mechanic and flavor we still appreciate it on that basis. So I think that you're being rather arbitrary here.

    Considering that this set has the escape mechanic for story reasons though, a "turn dead creatures into auras" mechanic might have too much overlap in the same set. Although they could have used escape for it potentially.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [THB] Bronzehide Lion— Shahar Shenhar preview
    I'd like to see that second ability keyworded as an alternative to bestow. Theros this time around doesn't have nearly as strong of an enchantment theme as I was wanting.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Calix, Destiny's Hand(Last PW, TCGplayer Preview)
    Quote from Flisch »
    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »
    Note that his name seems to be a combination of Castor and Pollux. Maybe he'll be split into two.

    For what it's worth, "Calyx" is a real word with ancient greek origins. Whether that means anything for his role or design is anyone's guess.
    https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/κάλυξ#Ancient_Greek

    Having all that said I can't help but think of Asterix and the other gallic characters when I hear Calix. :p


    Maybe in the sense of a seed pod for cotton as the origin of the threads of fate?
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [THB] Eidolon of Obstruction — Lee Shi Tian preview
    Quote from 5colors »
    Quote from H3RAC71TU5 »
    Quote from HighHolder »
    Should have been an increase of two per ability not one.this guy has one job and he fails at it unless you have a bunch in play. At least give him two toughness so Chandra can't ping him easily.
    Not liking white in this set


    They tend to be a little conservative when they print hate drops with new design space. If this one doesn't make a splash they'll probably feel more confident in printing a one drop version or a two drop with a larger tax as you propose.

    Quote from 5colors »
    Fun effect but I wish this was blue instead. IMO blue has the harder time getting rid of walkers since white has effective creatures and exile spells.


    Keep yo grubby blue hands off mah white taxing!

    I would be in favor of a blue version with a more in-color approach to hosing planeswalkers though. Like a 1/1 flying Bird token for each activation.


    Oh I hate blue the most, just saying out easy to get rid of walkers blue has counter spells and creatures in which its the worst creature color where white has exile effects and is the second best creature color. A more in color effect for blue would also be welcome.


    Yep, I definitely agree you're right about blue needing more options against planeswalkers and planeswalker hate in general.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on [THB] Eidolon of Obstruction — Lee Shi Tian preview
    Quote from HighHolder »
    Should have been an increase of two per ability not one.this guy has one job and he fails at it unless you have a bunch in play. At least give him two toughness so Chandra can't ping him easily.
    Not liking white in this set


    They tend to be a little conservative when they print hate drops with new design space. If this one doesn't make a splash they'll probably feel more confident in printing a one drop version or a two drop with a larger tax as you propose.

    Quote from 5colors »
    Fun effect but I wish this was blue instead. IMO blue has the harder time getting rid of walkers since white has effective creatures and exile spells.


    Keep yo grubby blue hands off mah white taxing!

    I would be in favor of a blue version with a more in-color approach to hosing planeswalkers though. Like a 1/1 flying Bird token for each activation.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Calix, Destiny's Hand(Last PW, TCGplayer Preview)
    Note that his name seems to be a combination of Castor and Pollux. Maybe he'll be split into two.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
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