Magical abilities: Telapath, illiusioist, Living Guildpact
Know Visited planes (that we’ve seen in cards): Ravnica, Kamigawa, Zendikar, Regatha, Innistrad, Kaladesh, Amonkhet, Ixalan
Sets/Storylines: Lorwyn, Magic 2010, Magic 2011, Agents of Artifice, The Purifying Fire, Worldwake, Magic 2012, Magic 2013, Magic 2014, Return to Ravnica, Magic 2015, Magic Origins, Battle for Zendikar, Shadows over Innistrad, Kaladesh, Amonkhet
Known Other Planeswalkers (that we’ve seen as a planeswalker card): Garruk, Tezzeret, Liliana, Bolas, Chandra, Sarkhan, Vraska, Ral, Gideon, Nissa, Ugin, Nixilis, Tamiyo, Sorin, Dovin, Ajani, Saheeli, Samut*
Bio: Brilliant, curious, and always in control, Jace is a master of mental magic: spells of illusion, deception, and mind reading. His powers allow him to manipulate enemy mages by countering their magic or using their spells against them. An adept analyst, he has an optimized plan (and a backup plan) for every situation.Growing up as a magical prodigy on his home plane, Jace Beleren sought out the training of the mysterious sphinx Alhammarret. Under the sphinx’s training, Jace learned to control his abilities. However, when Jace discovered that Alhammarret had been using him for political manipulations and had even hide that Jace had unlocked his planeswalker abilities, he confronted his master in a fierce mental battle. The battle badly damaged Jace’s memories and caused him excruciating pain. This distress caused him to planeswalk away, tearing him away from his home plane. Jace awoke on Ravnica, his memories shattered and his former identity forgotten. Jace’s absence of memory now fuels his insatiable appetite for knowledge and truth.
Ok, not to be too hasty, but I’m gonna start updating Tomblour with this year’s Inktober crop. This was our MTGinktober for “Swift,” starring Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Monastery Swiftspear!
I’m also testing out scanning these so they look a little less randomly glare- and shadow-ridden than the photos I frantically post day-of on the daily sites, I’m not sure if that helps–does it look a little fuzzy to you? I dunno, I’d say it looks better on Blogspot and you can even zoom in there…Anyway, feel free to let me know if there’re any obscure chars/creats you’re hoping to see this year–I bet I can stump you, though…gauntlet thrown.
Click this post’s Source link for this piece’s Making-Of.
Most of us don’t have fond memories of Kamigawa. This is a fact. Most of you who think it’s a cool plane and want a ‘Return to Kamigawa’ were never actually there to begin with. This isn’t me talking: This is something Maro himself has said. Sure, there’s plenty of things we liked about Kamigawa, but overall, the entire block failed on a lot of levels. I’m going to upset some people by saying that, but before we discuss anything else about Kamigawa, before we get into what should be changed or kept the same, before we discuss how a return could be successful, we’ve got to accept that the previous visit wasn’t.
I do want to go back. As bad as it was, it’s a rich world with a lot of unique ideas, and today, if you’re willing to listen to the rantings of an old goblin for far too long, I’m going to go through what of Kamigawa needs to change if it’s going to be successful in the future.
This was our
MTGinktober for “Run,” starring Azusa, Lost but Cross-Training and Azami, Lady of Regretting Ever Agreeing to a “Light” Jog with her Sporty So-Called “Friend” and Would Rather be at Home Curled Up with a Good Scroll with Atmospheric Waterfall Sounds in the Background! がんばれアザミちゃん
Click this post’s Source link for this piece’s Making-Of.
Known Other Planeswalkers (that we’ve seen as a planeswalker card): Jace, Bolas
Bio: This mysterious Planeswalker wields a suite of deadly spells that suit her gorgon nature. She specializes in magic that involves assassination, stealth, and petrification. And she likes to take souvenirs …
During her time on Ravnica, Vraska has provided certain dark services to the Golgari guild. Her magic helps her track her chosen marks through the fungus-choked tunnels of the undercity, where she destroys her victims quietly. When necessary, she can even summon shadowy killers to do her dirty work for her. The Golgari see her as a useful enigma: a shadowy death specialist who only responds to the jobs she wants in exchange for strange favors and obscure trophies. Vraska stays largely out of guild politics and cares little about the inner workings of the Golgari Swarm. She gets the job done and departs again, not to be seen until another mission interests her. Vraska’s power is clear, but her true motivations are a mystery, even to other gorgons. Unknown to the Golgari Swarm, she spends a significant portion of her time on planes other than Ravnica, using her death-dealing powers to slowly build a collection of petrified victims from across the universe.
Know Visited planes (that we’ve seen in cards): Kamigawa
Sets/Storylines: Khans of Tarkir, Dragons of Tarkir
Known Other Planeswalkers (that we’ve seen as a planeswalker card): Sarkhan, Tamiyo, Ugin?, Ajani?, Elspeth?, Dovin?
Bio: In a world where history unfolded differently, Narset was the khan of the Jeskai, a clan of warrior monks. She seemed on the cusp of enlightenment, but her true potential remained latent, untapped.
In this timeline, she is one of the foremost scholars of Tarkir’s history-and a Planeswalker. At a young age, Narset gained the personal notice of one of Ojutai’s skywise. She attracted the dragon’s attention as she would often mimic the exercises performed by both the dragons and her elders, mastering them after no more than a casual glance. The skywise recognized hers as a mind with the potential for nearly limitless growth, so she was taken on as a student. Narset quickly mastered not only the exercises but the Draconic language itself, and over the following years she became one of the youngest of the clan to learn directly from Ojutai. But as Narset grew older she began to feel restless. She harbored a longing, although she was unable to identify what for, and she started to question whether or not the skywise dragons truly knew all the answers to the questions of life. When, in relatively short order, Narset achieved the status of master, she cared more for the autonomy that the position granted than the highly sought-after honor. She spent many a day alone, exploring the deepest and dustiest cavities in the Ojutai strongholds, slowly piecing together clues that illuminated the forbidden past. Her peer, Taigam, warned her of the danger in seeking out knowledge without the dragonlord’s permission, but Narset saw no harm in research. She discovered the truth of the past of Tarkir. It was not always a world ruled by dragons as the teachings of Ojutai claimed; at one time humanoid khans led mighty clans that dominated the land. Narset also learned of a powerful spirit dragon from whom all dragons were formed. It was this being that most interested her. She could feel something more in the histories that described him, something similar to her own wanderlust. She took to meditating in these secret chambers, spending hours that crept into days and even weeks without making an appearance above. Now that her Planeswalker spark has ignited, she has the ability to walk the Blind Eternities, the space between planes, and discover new worlds, but her devotion is to her home plane of Tarkir. Narset knows that the mysterious past might hold the key to long-lost magic, power that might not just benefit her clan, but the whole of Tarkir. So she carefully and painstakingly continues her research. She will wait, ever patient, for her time.
Today my mind wandered back to a comment that was once thrown at Mark Rosewater circa Theros, about how every block since Zendikar has had a distinct visual cue that was new and unique to the block. I believe they were talking about Eldrazi, but it might have been Level Up creatures.
This really got me thinking, and in that thinking I realized that with the introduction of the “Modern” card frame, no block has really gone by without some kind of innovation or visual cue. Admittedly, there are some years that were weaker than others, but what I would like to show today is just how much the visual part of this game has been evolving over the last 13 years.
The change from the Scourge template to the one used in Eighth Edition was huge when it happened, many people I knew said they would refuse to continue to play with the new face. In the long run, I believe this was a very good choice. In some ways reading old cards could be difficult, but the time Onslaught block was coming out, I would like to believe they had gotten most of the template bugs out. There was a few quirks, like the White and Artifact cards looking
visually similar on the table, but these were worked out during Mirrodin
The major stylistic gimmick of the Champions of Kamigawa block was the flip cards. Meant to represent a creature going from one state to another, the cards were split in half, with the art being placed in the center and designed to be two different pictures based on the prospective.
Honestly, for the time, this wasn’t a bad idea in my opinion. It’s hard enough as it is to represent a card with two states, because you want to show the cooler of the two (see Threshold), but that leaves you with a non-intuitive piece if the end state doesn’t match well with the beginning state.
It is important to point that Mirrodin block had no gold card, Magic Design at the time believed it was correct to deprive environments of elements as to make it really exciting when it returned. They would later realize this made rotation have far less effect on decks than they might have intended (see Affinity). What this meant in the larger sense was that we didn’t see the modern template for gold cards until Betrayers of Kamigawa with Genju of the Realm, and that was the only card! With it we got our first look into how modern frames might handle multicolored cards.
Ravnica was a hallmark for many things in Magic’s history; the first real block with Block Planning involved, the introducing ally and enemy pairings names - whoich we commonly use today, introducing hybrid mana and giving us the first use of watermarks in a black-bordered set. It’s the last two that presented themselves via visual cues. With an asterisk next to Genju of the Realm, this was the first time we’d seen a multicolored frame, but with Hybrid, we got a sort of “what if?” for how multi-colored cards could have looked.
I actually believe that had they hit on this color mixing “technology” during Invasion, they would have used this for two-color cards.
This leaves us with the watermarks, the crests of each of the ten guilds of Ravnica. By just fanning out the cards in a pack, you had a visual sense of the guilds and even some of their flavor, taking the Dimir as an example, their crest very much evoked the idea of The Illuminati. This, I think, was one subtle attribute that helped give Ravnica is extremely lasting legacy.
Our next block, Time Spiral, brought us two deviations from the typical card frame; an alternate timeline frame (which I prefer) and the futureshifted frame. As it turns out, the futureshifted frame was also an alternate timeline, as Mark Rosewater has since said that the dynamic difference was actually problematic. Either way, once again, Wizards was flirting with what they could do with the space on the front face of a Magic card.
Our next innovation almost feels like cheating, Planeswalkers. During Lorwyn block we got a completely new and completely disconnected flavor-wise card type and with it came a new face to Magic cards. They were a little weird, the art breaks out of the frame, they had plus and minus signs and no written explanation as to how they worked or what anything meant.
They would become part of every following block, but this is where they first started.
Possibly my weakest argument (spoilers, it’s tied), Alara block played it pretty safe in terms of messing with the card frame when it gave us colored artifacts for the first time (in mass). This was really a very slight change, but worthy in my mind to at least highlight.
While we are on the topic of Alara, some would make the case that each shard should have had a watermark. While a visual to link shard together (besides the environmental art cues) would have been nice, from a flavor point-of-view the shards had no use for an iconic “seal,” as they were introduced with no knowledge of each other.
Next we move on to Zendikar, where this all started. The look of completely colorless cards wouldn’t really be perfected in my mind until Battle for Zendikar. To me, this criticism is not unlike the my earlier point about Mirrodin having a small issue with White permanents and artifacts, further experience fleshed the look out. These cards looked visually stunning the first time you held them in your hand, before the art didn’t bleed into as much of the card as this, it was a marquee mechanic that was completely worth it.
Like I said, I’m not sure what was more bizarre in Rise of the Eldrazi, actually getting colorless frames or Level Up frames. I know which was more successful though.
With that I would like to wrap-up for the night and push the second half of this article to tomorrow. I will be touching on the remainder of Magic’s history with it’s card frames as we hit Scars of Mirrodin block all the way through to Battle for Zendikar!
Know Visited planes (that we’ve seen in cards): Jund (Alara), Bant (Alara) Alara (Reborn), Dominaria, Theros, Kaladesh, Kamigawa
Sets/Storylines: Lorwyn, Shards of Alara, Magic 2010, Magic 2011, Magic 2013, Magic 2014, Journey into Nyx, Magic 2015, Aether Revolt
Known Other Planeswalkers (that we’ve seen as a planeswalker card): Sarkhan, Elspeth, Bolas, Koth, Kiora, Tamiyo, Nissa, Chandra, Tezzeret, Jace, Liliana, Gideon, Saheeli, Dovin?, Narset?
Bio: Ajani Goldmane is torn between his leonin ferocity and his sense of justice. He was born on Naya and became an outcast within his own family, an albino leonin never accepted by the rest of his pride. The only person who cared about him was his brother Jazal, the leader of their pride and Ajani’s inspiration. Ajani had always shown potential as a mage and healer, but had assumed his main calling was to be a warrior in Jazal’s service. The day that Ajani’s brother was assassinated by unknown forces was the day that Ajani’s Planeswalker spark ignited, and everything changed. No longer could Ajani worry about his problems with his pride. His quest to discover his brother’s killer has led him into a tangle of intrigue woven by mysterious forces, forcing him to broaden his skills as a warrior and to unlock new potential within himself. After thwarting Nicol Bolas’s plans on Alara, Ajani set aside his anger and began to travel the Multiverse.
The first cycle of legendary dragons goes back all the way to Legends. It had five glorious monsters that needed an upkeep cost of three coloured mana. Palladia-Mors and her brothers Chromium Rhuell, Arcades Sabboth and Nicol Bolas were the last surviving elder dragons along with their cousin Vaevictis Asmadi. Over time though, only Nicol Bolas would still be alive and kicking, with an active planeswalker spark.
In Invasion we got a new cycle. Darigaaz (or Rhammidarigaaz, “conception”) was contacted by Tevesh Szat. He told Darigaaz of the legend of five primeval dragons, who could be reawakened. Darigaaz went on to awaken Rith (“childhood”), Treva (“youth”), Dromar (“adulthood”), and Crosis (“death”). When all five were awakened, they rampaged against Dominarians and the Phyrexian invasion.
Karn convinced Darigaaz of his wrongdoings, which resulted in him commiting suicide by flying in an active volcano. The other four dragons could be defeated after his sacrifice.
The five dragons of Kamigawa are powerful spirits, each pledged to defend important places in the world. Yosei protected Eiganjo castle, Keiga Minamo, Kokusho the Takenuma swamp, Ryusei the Sokenzan mountains and Jugan the forest of Jukai. They did not side with the O-Kagachi in its war against the mortal world.
During Planar Chaos an alternative present happened. This cycle as a whole referenced the one from Invasion. They were the first legendary creatures in these colour combinations, now well known as wedges.
The latest cycle of legendary dragons to add to our roster are the ones from Fate Reforged. Each a paragon of their respective broods, they also all have a triggered ability whenever any dragon attacks. This cycle shows the biggest diversity in dragons yet. Each brood has a distinct look and a different breath attack. Some have four wings, other two. Some have feathers, others don’t. We’ll have a more in-depth look into each brood soon.
But the fun doesn’t end there on Tarkir. Oh no. As a treat we got a cycle of uncommon dragons! They are of the same brood as the legendaries. They are not in the same place in the cycle as their paragons because of ordering reasons. The white one belongs to Dromoka’s brood, etcetera.
To finish this overview up, a cycle of non-legendary dragons from Mirage. For completeness sake.
That is all for now. Most likely we can expand our menagerie again with Dragons of Tarkir. It’s pretty much in the name.