2019 Holiday Exchange!
A New and Exciting Beginning
The End of an Era
  • posted a message on [MID] - Rivals Gauntlet -- Liesa Forgotten Archangel (im not kidding....shes alive)
    I don't think Avacyn lied about destroying Liesa. Rather, Avacyn's death allowed Liesa to remanifest.

    Note that I have no idea how long it usually takes for a natural, elemental-like angel (as opposed to an intentionally-crafted one like Avacyn) to remanifest. Otherwise, we'd expect to see Bruna and Gisela in short order (unless they need even longer to fix themselves up after Emrakul's influence warped them). But my hypothesis is that unlike the Ashmouth's demons, destroyed angels remanifest with at least most of their old psyche and memories, meaning that Avacyn had to constantly suppress Liesa's essence (not necessarily difficult, especially if Sorin was helping in some way; of the four "true" archangels, Liesa would probably have been in the best position to notice what Avacyn's "programming" was really doing for humanity, through noticing how the vampires were stabilizing rather than waning). No Avacyn, no suppression, Liesa begins to reassemble. (Maybe she's stuck in the Celestus, or something?)
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Should magic make basic Dual lands common and easily obtainable?
    Remember one other reason why WotC is currently loath to put duals at lower than rare when the set theme isn't multicolor--they get in the way of draft construction. I'm pretty sure Rosewater has brought that point up multiple times.

    That said, I would like to see a ten-card Flood Plain cycle at uncommon in M2020.
    Posted in: Magic General
  • posted a message on Mothership Spoiler 5/31 - Full Card Image Gallery!
    According to the Twitter thread, the art used had been part of the slush pile. (Notice that the font looks more like a dragon than a dinosaur.)
    Quote from Rakath »
    Quote from redcar »
    Sadly, it seems Phyrexians on Ixalan isn't currently a thing: https://twitter.com/alisonthewizard/status/1134491192668766210

    This doesn't mean the dream of Mecha-T-Rexes terrorizing the Ixalan countryside is dead though, just that they won't have infect Laughing
    Well this is just bad naming. Ichor is almost always used to refer to Phyrexian Oil in Magic and thst flavor text sounds ominous. Is ichor even used irl to refer to regualr oil?
    It's an irregular use of the word's meaning, but not wrong?

    In the 'a watery discharge from a wound' definition.

    Realize there is no 'in real life' use for an ancient Greek term for Godblood. All uses are going to be fairly out of use.
    I don't necessarily agree with that. A word of similar origin is ambrosia, the food of the gods in ancient greek myth, but today it is used as another term for honey or simply in refernece to the actual desert named after it. As another example, a derivitie of ichor, petrichor, has a very specific definiton. I don't agree that a word's mythological origin bars it from having a real definition.

    I just think that it's very odd for Wizards to use Ichor in refernece to regular crude oil when, to my knowledge, it isn't used to refer to crude oil at all irl and it already has a very well known, very specific meaning within Magic. They could have used other terms that actually refer to regular oil, simply "oil", "petrol", or even "black gold" (which would have actually been a clever thematic choice because Ixalan already has an entire city of regular gold, setting up a sort of parallel).

    At the very least I hope that the discovery of actual oil on Ixalan means something going forward and isn't just a footnote. It would be interesting to see some factions begin to industrialize and come into conflict over this new resource.

    Well, there is the problem of what one is going to call petroleum at first glance. Especially if they have no similar substances to compare it to. I can well believe that the Sun Empire interpreted it as something akin to stone pus.

    In any case, since the Sun Empire hasn't even worked with coal large-scale yet, I'm not expecting industrialization, at least not in the space of 50-80 years. Not sure what the Legion of Dusk might like to do with it, though...

    It's worth noting, by the way, that petroleum has been used since around 4000 BCE, for lighting and such things as asphalt. Industrial use of the stuff is pretty recent.

    (Now that I think of it, what did the Assyrians, Chinese, etc. call petroleum?)
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Mist-Syndicate Ninja
    Technically, there were Europeans in Japan during the first part of the Tokugawa bakufu, before Tokugawa Iemitsu set up the isolation policy in response to the Shimabara rebellion. What they weren't was numerous. I'm not sure about the details for Portuguese missionaries, but there was an enclosure in Nagasaki for Dutch traders. It's not out of the question for the naga to be investigating just such an enclosure, given the art. But something tells me the Ingenious Infiltrator is in a place bigger than the Nagasaki enclosure.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Sword of Truth and Justice!
    Quote from Always_home »
    the other 4 could fit in with the name and number crunch but it would leave 0-1 more myhthic for the whole set, which is unlikely.

    Aye, it doesn't seem that likely. I know that planeswalkers usually aren't counted for mythic color balance, but we do have two green mythics already, neither of them a planeswalker (Hexdrinker and Unbounded Genesis). White has Ranger-Captain of Eos (and Serra), Blue has Urza, Red has Seasoned Pyromancer, and Black doesn't have anything revealed yet. If the full allied sword cycle were in, we'd only still have room for one black mythic.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Mothership Spoiler 5/24 - Fallen Shinobi
    Quote from idSurge »
    Quote from fluxje »
    Quote from idSurge »
    Quote from fluxje »
    Quote from idSurge »
    I absolutely DESPISE the cmc's in this set.

    Yeah everything should have costed 0, or 1 cmc, independent of the actual powerlevel...

    Seems a weird position to take, but hey if thats what you think.

    Ok mr. passionate, mind sharing with the group which cmc would have been 'acceptable' for you on this card, and which cmc would make you LOVE the card.

    Drop the stats (3/2 or something), the effect is super strong (until you whiff and hit a land and an Expedition Map), put the Ninjitsu at 3cmc (1UB), and the actual cast cost at 4.

    4 Mana is the big stuff in Modern, its what ends games. Keeping something attacking AND hold 4 mana? Or just hard cast at 5? Nah.

    Interestingly, according to the preview article, WotC really was going for current-Modern-compatible with this card. So the concerns of going to far towards Commander desires, may actually be concerns of how well WotC understands high(est?)-end Modern.

    Although there's always my hunches that WotC is trying to slow Modern down to a 5-6 turn format...
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Mox Tantalite Twitch TV stream
    Quote from rancorcrank »
    Not impressed.

    This is strictly worse than all the other moxen, and any other artifact ramp worth playing for that matter. If I have to wait 3 turns for a card to be playable, it had better win me the game.

    I'm sure it will be a bomb in limited, but it won't see constructed play.

    Lots of chaff/filler in this set so far. Hopefully we get some REAL spoilers soon.

    Which...assumes that it's possible for one card to win you the game outright, regardless of how much power it has.

    I will confess that it's been a long time since I played (and only at FNMs, at that), but I'm not seeing how that can happen. (Yes, that's an invitation to offer counter-examples.)

    Not to mention, there's a thorn that's been bugging me for a long time. Namely, how are four-turn games enjoyable? A turn takes, what, 90 seconds at most? I'd expect any game worth the name to take at least fifteen minutes, if not twenty! How can such a brief game be savored, or at least enjoyed by the loser? I honestly don't see how excitement is enough, and I'm just guessing that excitement is involved. (I'm not sure I'm capable of excitement myself...)
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Combat manipulation Jeskai commander
    I've been weaving back and forth on whether I should chart a deck based on a strategy that appeals to me (albeit one that seems to be very outside-the-box, and certainly untested by me), namely manipulating combat in terms of who's blocking whom, or whichever commander most appeals to me in a vacuum (Yasova). I decided to try my hand at constructing a commander who'd hit both themes at once, in the ideal color combination for the strategy--to me, Jeskai, getting both RW's combat work and U's easy card advantage.

    And yes, the first part is something that came from my previous attempt at an RW commander who cared about combat in ways more than "make things stronger".

    Gethrell, Riddlemaster of War
    Legendary Creature--Sphinx Soldier
    Flying, vigilance
    As long as Gethrell, Riddlemaster of War has not been declared as an attacker this turn, creatures you control have provoke.
    Whenever you declare Gethrell as an attacker, you may return target sorcery or instant card from your graveyard to your hand.

    Hopefully the flying and second special ability together are enough to make Gethrell part-blue...
    Posted in: Custom Card Creation
  • posted a message on Shu Yun, the Tactician
    An idea I've long had is a deck whose mechanism is by manipulating combat in its favor. As in manipulating who's blocking whom. Transportation restrictions have kept me from assembling a deck (not much point in ordering everything if there's a chance multiple cards--especially multiple $5+ cards--get displaced by newly released cards in the future), but that hasn't kept me from planning things.

    That said, with the unveiling of Feather, the Redeemed, I suddenly wonder if there's a way to make a Shu Yun deck that can fit both blocker manipulation and the usual sort of combat tricks.

    First, the current, definitely-not-polished-by-actual-gameplay chart:

    Slings and ArrowsMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    1 Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest

    1 Alluring Siren
    1 Archon of the Triumvirate
    1 Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice
    1 Balduvian Warlord
    1 Balefire Liege
    1 Boros Battleshaper
    1 Captivating Crew
    1 Coveted Peacock
    1 Dragonlord Ojutai
    1 Forgestoker Dragon
    1 Identity Thief
    1 Iroas, God of Victory
    1 Jhessian Balmgiver
    1 Jhessian Thief
    1 Lavinia of the Tenth
    1 Lyev Skyknight
    1 Mesmerizing Benthid
    1 Odric, Master Tactician
    1 Protean Raider
    1 Sage of the Inward Eye
    1 Sage-Eye Avengers
    1 Soulblade Djinn
    1 Warden of the Eye
    1 Warkite Marauder

    1 As Foretold
    1 Bident of Thassa
    1 Brave the Sands
    1 Close Quarters
    1 Fervor
    1 Ghostly Prison
    1 Glory of Warfare
    1 Invasion Plans
    1 Knighthood
    1 Martial Law
    1 Military Intelligence
    1 Stand or Fall
    1 Street Riot

    1 Armillary Sphere
    1 Commander's Sphere
    1 Forebear's Blade
    1 Grappling Hook
    1 Rogue's Gloves
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Sword of Feast and Famine
    1 Thaumatic Compass
    1 The Immortal Sun
    1 Vorrac Battlehorns
    1 Wayfarer's Bauble

    1 Amass the Components
    1 Mystic Retrieval
    1 Open into Wonder
    1 Seething Anger

    1 Allay
    1 Boros Charm
    1 Chemister's Trick
    1 Condemn
    1 Master Warcraft
    1 Orim's Chant
    1 Response // Resurgence
    1 Shattering Pulse
    1 Valorous Stance

    1 Adarkar Wastes
    1 Battlefield Forge
    1 Cascade Bluffs
    1 Clifftop Retreat
    1 Command Tower
    1 Glacial Fortress
    1 Hallowed Fountain
    6 Island
    1 Meteor Crater
    6 Mountain
    1 Mystic Gate
    1 Mystic Monastery
    6 Plains
    1 Rugged Prairie
    1 Sacred Foundry
    1 Shivan Reef
    1 Slayers' Stronghold
    1 Steam Vents
    1 Sulfur Falls
    1 Temple of the False God
    1 Wandering Fumarole
    1 Windbrisk Heights

    Now then, with Feather out and about, ordinary combat tricks no longer risk as much card disadvantage, and Heroic becomes rather desirable (e.g. Artisan of Forms, Dawnbringer Charioteers, Labyrinth Champion, Phalanx Leader). Thing is, how much do I actually want to replace with catalyzed-by-Feather cards? The only real ways I see to tutor her in these colors are Citanul Flute, Drift of Phantasms, and Nahiri, the Harbinger. Basically, we don't want to make the entire deck hinge on Feather, but she also needs to be able to do something when she is out.

    It does call up the question of whether a Commander Feather deck could pull off this sort of strategy, even with the sudden loss of blue card draw.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Oath of Kaya (Del Rey Books spoiler)
    I wonder if part of the problem is trying to hit every "epic" note in existence (which, by the way, arguably includes late Heel-Face Turns). I realize the reborn Phyrexia is still going to be out there, but after that, maybe we could scale down the threats? Think the Suikoden games, where crises were never world-threatening. (All right, I think 2 and 3 ultimately were, but I'm pretty sure you got to quell the threats before they could even begin to actually threaten the world.)

    I understand FF12 was like this, too, although only from hearsay. Not "save the world", but "prevent the deployment of the fantasy equivalent of a nuke".

    Maybe not as awe-inspiring, but that probably leaves more room for proper character development et al.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Oath of Kaya (Del Rey Books spoiler)
    Quote from MonoBlackOut »
    All these evil ladies finally doing the right thing after all these people be dying. Golly they're solid people. Sure glad they grew a conscience right at the last possible second they could.

    Again, more really poor story telling.

    The question becomes, what understanding of storytelling lies at the root of the poor quality? And why do people latch onto it despite the poor quality? I'd at least like to believe that quality is one of the foremost things listeners/readers seek out in a story.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Oath of Kaya (Del Rey Books spoiler)
    Quote from Cainsson »
    Orzhov helps the community. They are the attorneys, advisors and accountants. They intercede for the guildless when they cross the other guilds. They buy and develop land after the others destroy it. And the indentured dead are indebted, not owned. The ghosts were they fulcrum of Ravnican economy not an evil plot that only benefited the Orzhov, and they don't hoard all the wealth either, the smart and disciplined become rich and powerful thanks to them. Feather is a millionaire because Pivlic the imp managed her wages.

    Stop judging them by the standards of american politics and pay attention to the actual lore. Kaya has done more damage than Bolas to Ravnican society and I already cringe at the thought of how they'll deus ex machina this economic catastrophe away.

    A question here is whether the lore team remembered those nuances of Orzhov. Never mind that Ravnican society as a whole is supposed to be poorly wrought, courtesy Azor's excessive faith in his systems and inability to believe they could need adaptation down the line.

    One thing I worry about is whether WotC is banking too much (mostly with the Gatewatch portrayal) on Rule of Cool. I can understand that appealing to the 13-19 year-old crowd, but beyond that? (Note that I'm 41 myself.) This may explain why Nicol Bolas was portrayed as he was (or, depending on how you view things, why he was pulled out of oblivion during the events of Time Spiral)--exploiting the Love to Hate trope. But it doesn't really allow for a major villain who's a Well-Intentioned Extremist (and note that none of the primary candidates for next major villain--Garruk, Tezzeret, and Elesh Norn--fit that description), or even the unflappable, mostly non-action sort of villain that David Xanatos of Gargoyles was.

    I also remember that I've voiced concerns whether the very conceit of a massive Multiverse even allows for good storytelling/worldbuilding while keeping that scale. Dominaria is well-developed because of how much time was spent there. Successive worlds have had much briefer story exposure, and probably in turn don't get as much detail work during the worldbuilding phase. But during the Dominaria-primary time, how much sense was really developed of how profuse and diverse the Multiverse was? I do get the feeling that Ulgrotha, Rath, and Mercadia wouldn't look that out of place compared to much of Dominaria.

    Of course, I seriously doubt Garfield expected the game to play host to an ongoing storyline of this length.

    Point being, you probably have to choose between one to a few worlds in noticeable detail, or you many Planets of Hats. Never mind that Hat-reliance could also extend to decisions on how to let characters grow, with colors and their combinations being the Hats. In fact, I'm guessing (slavish?) adherence to ideas of how the colors' good side would act is why Nissa's personality was remade--WotC corporate wanted an "obviously" green-good character for the Gatewatch's green slot, and for whatever reason didn't want the lore team to make a new character.

    And yet, for all this, the Gatewatch, at-least-near-to-one-note portrayals of characters, etc. still have popular appeal. And it's not something I can imagine relentless marketing explaining, not by itself...

    EDIT: Bah, of course I'd forget one of my Rule of Cool concerns while writing this out. The Mending was vectored in because the writing team (and, I'm guessing, the fans) were having trouble writing/relating to hyper-powerful planeswalkers, so they decided to scale them more down to earth. Yet it didn't take long for character planeswalkers to be shown as prodigies. I think that, too, is due to desire for the creations to be "cool". I feel like it ties in to an answer I noticed on Blogatog, about how WotC (or at least Rosewater) gets plenty of requests for planeswalkers that reflect the querent's semblance in some fashion. What wasn't listed, philosophy, was what stuck out to me. It does seem a bit strange that you could fit yourself in someone's shoes even if their outlook on life didn't match yours, so long as the semblance did. Is it just a desire for glory by proxy?
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Oath of Kaya (Del Rey Books spoiler)
    (Adapted from my comment on the spoiler.)

    Just keep in mind that so long as superhero films are A Thing, the Gatewatch isn't likely to get shelved. Maybe it would get better reception if it were more like the Harpers network in Forgotten Realms? (Although you'd need a lot more members to reflect that.)

    That said, I wouldn't be surprised if part of the problem is how WotC typically typecasts Jace, Chandra, etc. In turn, I think that's because they're possibly trying too hard to make everyone's psyche hew to their component colors. Which is...troublesome...for character development, especially when we're talking monocolor. Although given that Jace, Chandra, and Liliana are the most popular planeswalkers franchise-wide (I don't think Rosewater would have set them at 1 on the Venser Scale otherwise), WotC must be doing something right as far as popular appeal goes.

    Just for the record, the planeswalkers I like most personally are Ajani, Elspeth, and Narset. Then again, whenever I take the Dissension guild quiz, I always get Azorius, Selesnya, and Simic in the top three.
    Posted in: The Rumor Mill
  • posted a message on Shackles in the current style of storytelling? Or the very setting?
    Interesting part is, the Mending (which is what "watered down" planeswalkers as a whole) was written in because it appeared that people couldn't identify with the planeswalkers because they were too powerful, apparently even when considering the likes of Teferi and Jeska. So, Creative decided, the time had come to bring the planeswalkers down to earth, as it were.

    Like as not, the time of mythic, planes-shattering battles is over. From my perspective, this might actually be a good thing. I'm rather suspicious of power fantasies in general--not good mental training for humility et al.--and pretending to be as devastatingly powerful as Urza definitely counts.
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • posted a message on Shackles in the current style of storytelling? Or the very setting?
    Recently, Rosewater invited viewers of his Tumblr to explain which plane(s) they disliked the most, and why. Two responses caught my eye. First:

    bloodstonegoth said: Amonkhet or Kaladesh, best examples of how wolrdbuilding suffers when you insist on pushing your mediocre, character-driven story instead. Nothing on those planes felt natural.

    The way they put it, it sounds like they're regarding character-driven to be low-wattage, or at least not something that conjures quality all by itself. Yet I'm not sure what else drives a story. (Please not prophecy. I absolutely despise the very concepts of Destiny and Fate.) Was the Weatherlight Saga driven by something besides its characters? Not that the Saga veered terribly far away from Dominaria; Rath and Mercadia were the only real outside places that Gerrard & Co. landed on, and neither of them were that dissimilar to Dominaria, I think (Rath's constant windstorms aside).

    Granted the problem might be the kind of characters who are doing the driving right now--those with an unavoidable remove from the vast majority of the Multiverse's denizens. That arguably makes them hard to identify with. Arguably. A bit more importantly, they're generally doing a lot of plane-hopping. That doesn't leave as much time to flesh out a plane as we've had with Dominaria itself. Even when the planes are a good deal smaller than Dominaria.

    That brings me to the first shackle I think I see in the setting, although it's one I've long thought of. Namely, does the conceit of the Blind Eternities and all the little planes within work against deep world-building? The Weatherlight Saga, as well as several of the sets that preceded it (i.e. Antiquities, The Dark, Fallen Empires, Ice Age, Alliances), fleshed out Dominaria, but that was it. I think Rath was the only outside plane that got development...and I'll confess I wasn't involved in the game at the time, so I don't know what depth it received, and how much its conflicts, precepts, et al. really differed from those associated with Dominaria. Point being, the storyline didn't give us much in the way of a feeling of a Multiverse of multiple planes. Fast-forward to Mirrodin onwards, and we get far more of a multiversal sense, yet I can't shake the feeling that none of the newly inaugurated planes, not even places like Mirrodin and Kamigawa, got as much attention as Dominaria did. (Only so much you can do with three novels per plane...) Maybe if we concentrated on four or five planes, you'd get deep world-building, but that still works against the Blind Eternities conceit. I just don't see a way to win here.

    And now, interesting response number two:

    iod256 said: I’m aware [of the conceits behind the Gruul]. Ravnica is in a marketing-determined status quo though, so Gruul will always just be another part of the city. Nature on Ravnica is tamed. There is no sense of things men could never understand or tackle. That’s what a city and technology represents: man’s dominance over the world. At that point, the fantasy feel is gone for me.

    This coheres to a point we were talking about in an earlier thread, about why firearms don't seem to pop up outside of the Alaborn. My thought was that magic, at least to a point, takes the place of machinery. Assuming you can mass-produce them and make it possible for non-sorcerors to use them, wands would relieve the selection pressure for creating pistols, for instance. But this point--that technology compromises fantasy conceits--stands out. Even the most primal firearms probably smack of industrialism to most of us Anglophones (China might be a different story), so that...undermines the fantasy, and primacy of magic. Which makes me wonder if a high fantasy world must be at least somewhat parlous, as human primacy over nature must never be complete.

    I will admit that on rereading Iod256's comment, I noticed the bit about Ravnica being caught in a status quo due to market research. Granted that according to Rosewater, little time has elapsed between the events of Dragon's Maze and Guilds of Ravnica. But at the same time, reliance on what the market currently demands seems to shackle storytelling itself. Such research only tells you the kinds of stories that are already liked. It's not going to tell you what new kinds of stories will be well received, although I doubt anything would elicit such information. Such reliance on what the market already likes necessarily constricts storytelling into preconceived channels--and I mean narrower than the idea that even by Homer's time, every possible type of story had already been told. Relying on the preconceived carries a real risk of undermining through boring the audience via predictability. So how to tell a sufficiently fresh story?
    Posted in: Magic Storyline
  • To post a comment, please or register a new account.