Magic: the Gathering - BFZ Ob & Kiora

Certainly digging the preview images Wizards of the Coast have been shipping for Ob Nixilis and Kiora.  WotC world building panel vid over here.

KIORA - The merfolk Planeswalker Kiora believes that only by summoning the fierce krakens, serpents, and other terrors of the deep can she defeat the titans who now rule her home plane of Zendikar.

OB NIXILIS - A cruel, demonic Planeswalker, Ob Nixilis was drawn to Zendikar by its powerful mana, with which he hoped to break the curse that robbed him of his humanity. But when he arrived, another Planeswalker magically snuffed out his spark.

A peek into MTG world guides

Each one of the following images is part of a world guide (also known as “story bibles”), documents used to translate the creative team’s vision into infographics, illustrations, symbols, scales and color palettes. 

Handed to illustrators, writers and other external and internal contributors, these guides are not usually published, and all we usually get are bits of condensed information in “A Planeswalker’s Guide to…” articles. 

PAX Prime’s Best Worlds In Gaming panel, though, offered several peeks into those documents, and this post register all of the MTG related ones.

You may also want to check my Table of Contents

Command Zone: The Battle Begins

Normally I’d wait for the official preview weeks to start talking about a new set, but PAX gave us Commander players some juicy previews. Three mythic rare cards were spoiled, one planeswalker and two legendary creatures. Hey, those are the things I usually write Commander articles about when new sets roll out!

Instead of being patient and waiting, I’m just going to dive into Battle for Zendikar. Seriously, folks, I’m super-pumped for this set. #TeamEldrazi all the way! ALL WILL BE DUST.

I mean, uh, let’s talk about some Magic cards? Yeah, let’s do that and forget about my plans to suck the energy out of your bodies, leaving you a chalky husk to be swept away by the winds of death.

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Ally

Nothing brings people together quite like the threat of annihilation (or Bill Pullman), and Battle for Zendikar is playing that up with the return of Allies. The President Whitmore of this set is Gideon Jura, the intrepid warrior from Theros. As expected, Gideon gets a fancy new planeswalker card:

I think it’s funny that it looks like he’s wearing an ascot.

Well that’s weird. All previous versions of Gideon could turn into a creature, but that was always a 0 cost ability that functioned as a middle or ultimate ability. This Gideon is so pumped to fight Eldrazi that his creaturefying has become a plus ability. You ask him to be a massive beatstick and he answers, “It’s brawlin’ time, broseph.” It’s a little awkward that he doesn’t have haste, but we’ll forgive him for that.

Planeswalkers in Commander are usually judged by their plus abilities. Gideon’s is pretty solid…after the first turn. I lied. It’s super awkward that Gideon’s plus ability doesn’t really do anything on the first turn. It’s even a liability, as he can be targeted by removal (exile or bounce) in that window. After that turn is up (or you grant him haste), however, Gideon’s plus ability is a huge advantage.

Thankfully, we don’t have to sacrifice Gideon’s loyalty if we don’t want to make him a creature on his debut turn. He has a 0 ability that pumps out a 2/2 Ally Knight token, which is reasonably OK. This becomes an amazing ability if we get an Ally-focused legendary creature, or maybe you already forced a five-color Ally deck already anyway. Even the Knight type can be relevant in the right deck.

Finally, Gideon does something few planeswalkers can: use any of their loyalty abilities the turn they enter the battlefield. This is where Gideon shines I think. In a token deck, anthem effects (usually enchantments that grant +1/+1 to your entire team) are critical to the go-wide strategy. The problem is that your anthem cards can be destroyed, leaving you with an underwhelming army of weenies. You know what can’t get destroyed? Emblems. Even just casting Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and killing him to get the emblem right away isn’t an awful play.

There are few planeswalker cards that have three decent abilities in Commander, let alone ones that can be used right away. While Gideon, Ally of Zendikar isn’t for every Commander deck, I think that he’s going to be very flexible and useful in the correct ones. Token decks should love him, while Ally decks should always consider a repeatable way to get more Allies.

You Won’t Like Me When I’m Angry

Omnath, Locus of Mana was basically a throw-away legendary creature the first time around, having a neat ability and little story relevance. Omnath was embraced by the Commander community due do this unique ability that can create backbreaking scenarios.

Battle for Zendikar brings us a new incarnation of Omnath, and it has…absolutely nothing to do with the original:

That is one angry glowy-thing.

Omnath, Locus of Rage is all about Elementals. Making lots of them, mostly, but capitalizing on their deaths is neat too. And by “neat” I mean “have fun burning your opponent’s face off.” And that’s the first place it seems this new Omnath will make a magmatic splash.

As a commander, Omnath definitely wants other Elementals to come around to play. Red and Green have a lot of Elemental creatures, so this isn’t very difficult to pull off. Omnath will make sure that your dying Elementals go out with a bang, giving your deck tremendous damage potential even if you can’t attack. Building around this ability might involve sacrifice effects like Evolutionary Leap. Landfall can keep your battlefield buffed up while you grind away with free Lightning Bolts.

Omnath itself is an Elemental, so it definitely fits into any Elemental tribal deck that features another commander. Horde of Notions can replay the Elementals that die, providing a grindy engine of damage. Omnath is fairly expensive to cast, so it would also work well in an Animar deck.

But let’s say you’re more interested in making 5/5 tokens than getting free damage. Omnath can also support a general creature theme. Supporting a whole card type gives you more options than just focusing on Elementals, and Red/Green are certainly the colors to play if you want to build a creature-filled beatdown deck. I know if I open Omnath, Locus of Rage that it’s going right into my Surrak Dragonclaw deck.

Finally, you could focus on the land part of landfall. Red/Green already has land-based strategies with commanders like Borborygmos Enraged. A similar plan could be put together to make the most of Omnath’s ability. Getting multiple 5/5 tokens every turn is an easy way to run away with a game. There’s almost no downside to this plan too, since killing the tokens just gives you a bunch of damage!

I think Omnath, Locus of Rage will find plenty of homes in Commander, both as a commander and as part of the 99. Omnath can play into many strategies, or even just a good stuff deck, which is the kind of flexibility that gets your card played all over a format.

The Littlest Big Bad

If you’ve played with or against Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre in Commander, than you already know what to expect from Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Let’s check out his card:


Let’s start at the top and work our way down. Newlamog costs ten mana, a whole mana less than his previous card. “What’s one mana matter?” you might ask. Turns out it matters a lot. While Commander is known for expensive cards, there is still a threshold were cards become difficult to cast reliably. Seven mana is no problem in Commander, but you generally have to work to hit nine mana on time. The more mana you need, the harder it is to get. That’s just math, as your deck has fewer and fewer land cards in it as the game goes on. Costing one whole mana less makes Newlamog that much easier to cast.

Jump down to the text box and let your jaw drop. The Infinite Gyre destroyed a permanent upon casting, but the Ceaseless Hunger exiles two instead. Exile is better than destroy, and two is more than one. This is a huge upgrade for the tiny titan, who even stays an indestructible 10/10. Newlamog functions as a fairly powerful removal spell in any deck given his colorlessness. This ability alone will make him a sought after card indeed.

Exiling twenty library cards is a mediocre ability. This is no annihilator 4, which I’m sure makes most people happy. Even in Commander, however, Newlamog can mill out an opponent in four-five attacks. This number gets greatly reduced in a dedicated mill deck. Those folks out there who love that strategy just recived one of the most efficient cards for their deck. Good for them!

As a commander, Newlamog requires a colorless deck. I love this strategy; Kozilek is my commander and it’s one of my favorite decks to play. It just sucks that Newlamog still takes three hits to kill an opponent with commander damage. Hitting for 30 is only one attack away from killing them anyway. Better find ways to give him trample!

It’s clear to me that Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is going to be a chase mythic for Commander players. The ability to drastically reshape the battlefield in literally any deck makes him a powerful option that any player will consider. Players with myriad decks may even seek out multiple copies of the Eldrazi titan. No table is safe once Battle for Zendikar hits store shelves.

Lines in the Sand

So where will you stand, folks? Will you join Gideon and his motley band of Allies? Will you battle with Zendikar itself, channeling Omnath’s rage? Or will you join Ulamog and his eldritch abominations in a quest to consume the Multiverse? This October, the choice is yours.

Until then, planeswalkers, enjoy the last few days of pre-official-spoiler-week excitement.

Right, so Tumblr Mobile is an Eldrazi that has been eating my posts. This is for the post with anafenza-the-deadmost that drake-edh tagged me in about theories of ‘dead’ Planeswalkers. (It was actually a post about leaving Anafenza’s own ashes at her shrine, but hopefully they can tag the interested parties for this theory)

*sticks head in the doorway* Did someone say plausible theory for the return of Venser?

Righto! In a nutshell, it comes down to a couple points.
1 - Wizards is a company. They want to make money. If not them, then their Hasbro overlords. They do this by giving fans what they want, to varying extents, and the fans buy it up. Deliver a product that fills a need. In this scenario, supplying entertainment. (That’s the theory, but there are scenarios for an against it, etc.)
2 - Comic book characters don’t stay dead. In every story arch of almost every ongoing comic, people die all the time. They come back. The universe is rebooted. Etc.
The point being that if it is popular, it will inevitably make a return. i.e. Ravnica, Zendikar, land cycles, Jace.
We’ve seen this with the Premium, or whatever they’re called, full art lands in Battle for Zendikar packs. Wizards pays attention to what people want. Granted it probably has to fall within a certain margin for making money, but that’s another topic. (Ravnica vs Kamigawa)
3 - Lore based points/theories. I’ll give a quick rundown, more or less in order chronologically.
Venser was studying Inter-Planer travel before going to Mirroden. Phyrexia wants to expand and envelope as much as it can. New Phyrexia is trapped on a single Plane now. Phyrexians corrupt and zombify things. Venser’s body was left in a Phyrexian Throne Room. How hard can it be to make a heart? And the flavor text on, I think it’s Elesh Norn, speaks of other worlds. The Phyrexians could have the knowledge of the Multiverse. Possibly through Karn. In addition, Venser was Karn’s student. I’ll bet if Venser is around in any sense, Karn will try to save him.

One other extremely telling point, from Wizard’s point of view.
I’m not sure where, I think it was Maro’s blog, but someone said that the “fetches would not be returning in Battle for Zendikar.”
But look! We have fetches! And shock lands! Plus new tango lands!
The point: the best way to have a Huge surge of hype about a particular aspect of something right before it is released is to deny almost Everything about that aspect until the opportune time.
They have never said Venser is permanently dead. Only “highly unlikely”. Which is a whole lot less certain than “fetches not returning.”

There’s that! I’ll probably make this its own post on my blog if there’s any discussion over this to be had. Wow that was rambly. And I didn’t even start on Venser’s potential power and character growth!
Ok I’m done now.

anonymous asked:

We have seen legendary creatures become Planeswalkers. Is it at all possible that a Planeswalker could be downgraded to a legendary creature IF a block would include involvement from more Planeswalkers than there are Planeswalker slots?

There are ways for planeswalkers to lose their sparks, so that could do it. But I wouldn’t expect to see a currently active planeswalker as a creature (with the exception of time travel, things like Origins, etc), no.

123thealchemist asked:

I would like to know if you can use activated abilities while a creature is summoning sick. Like if it is late game, and I summon Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. Could I use his activated ability to tap him and transform him to his planeswalker form (my graveyard would be full at this point)?

You can use Activated Abilities as soon as the creature enters so long as they don’t have to tap via the tap symbol as part of their cost. Jace taps to activate his ability, so you can’t use it until Summoning Sickness wears off.

If an ability doesn’t use the Tap symbol, you can activate it even if the creature has Summoning Sickness.

anonymous asked:

When I cast Tragic Arrogance does my opponent have an opportunity to sacrifice an artifact before I choose permanents to stay on the battlefield? Can he for example flip Jace, Vryn's Prodigy to force me to choose him as a planeswalker?

Yes, your opponent can respond before Tragic Arrogance resolves.

Black on Black on Belerin.

I couldn’t resist doing another “SDCC Exclusive style” fan-art Planeswalker.  These are super fun.  I think everyone should give this a try.

You have to admit, love Jace or hate him, he’s got a pretty cool fashion sense.  Giant, heavy cloak for long brooding sessions, tattered just enough to say “hey man I’m not some poseur , I’m an experienced brooder.”  Enigmatic, glowing …buckle-ish things that look like maybe he’s trying to lock his fancy, rare blue leather (probably Muppet-skin) onto his hairless chest.  (I don’t know why I make the assumption he’s hairless.  But yeah.  Like pale, squishy teflon everywhere.)  He’s got his stompin’ Docs, custom-made to match his all-over mind-racing stripes.  And then, just to throw us off and make us discard our judgements: Bam!  Classic jester pants!  

They say fashion is a way of communicating who you are.  Jace’s fashion is spot-on with “I have no idea.”

If each planeswalker was locked in a room for an extended amount of time with a porcupine and some blueberries

Ajani Goldmane - Hiss at the porcupine until he’s set free
Ashiok - frighten the porcupine to death with some blueberry based nightmare
Nicol Bolas - would make the porcupine his newest minion, replacing Sarkhan
Chandra Nalaar - Eat the blueberries, accidentally set the porcupine on fire
Dack Fayden - Steal every quill off the porcupine, without it noticing, then use the quills as lockpicks to escape the room
Domri Rade - Makes the porcupine a 40/40 and rides it through the wall
Elspeth Tirel - Teaches the porcupine the meaning of chivalry, gives it flying, and uses the newly knighted porcupine to escape
Garruk Wildspeaker - Kills the porcupine on contact, by accident, swears revenge on Lilliana
Gideon Jura - Vows to protect the porcupine with his life, accidentally blows up the room in an attempt to escape, kills porcupine in process
Jace Beleren - Switches his and the porcupine’s minds in a freak accident, grazes on blueberries while crying about Kallist
Karn - Pets the porcupine very gently, despite its spines. The porcupine is uncomfortable- disturbed by Karn’s lack of ability to feel pain
Kiora - Gripes that the porcupine is not a leviathan instead
Koth - Ignores the porcupine entirely, walks through wall
Liliana Vess - Turns porcupine into a skeleton, teaches the undead porcupine how to dance
Nahiri - Makes a porcupine sized sword and armor out of the blueberries, tells the porcupine to help her save Zendikar
Narset - Spends hours counting every spine on the porcupine- twice- only to discover that her initial count was wrong. Does it again.
Nissa Revane- See Domri, but with more elves
Ob Nixilis - Sacrifices it, in an attempt to gain his spark back
Ral Zarek - Accidentally causes the blueberries to explode, also accidentally electrocutes the porcupine
Sarkhan Vol - Turns the porcupine into a dragon, escapes. Post-escape, eats porcupine. Immediate regret.
Sorin Markov - Meticulously places a blueberry at the end of every spine of the porcupine
Tezzeret - Impales porcupine on his metal arm- spends hours painfully trying to remove it
Tibalt - [Censored]
Tamiyo - Spooks porcupine, spends hours wondering how it could curl into a moon shape. Forgets that there are spherical objects that aren’t moons.
Ugin - Is mildly entertained by feeding blueberries to porcupine. Is glad to not be alone in a box. This time.
Venser - Is dead in a room with a porcupine and some blueberries.
Vraska - Turns porcupine to stone, plots to throw it at Jace’s face.
Xenagos - Makes blueberry based alcohol, gets porcupine drunk. Parties. [Censored]