Here is the second installment of my Parallels in VKM posts! This time, I’ll be examining the parallels between Yuuki’s relationship with Zero and her relationship with Kaname, as well as the contrast between Zero’s relationship with Ai and Kaname’s relationship with Yuuki.
My personal belief is that Hino has chosen these particular parallels to deconstruct the relationship between Yuuki and Kaname, as well as to further highlight Yuuki’s growing similarities to Kaname’s character and how that has impacted her relationship with Zero, who is now, in a sense, fulfilling Yuuki’s role from the Kuran Manor Arc.
Disclaimer: Due to the controversial nature of this post, I have tagged it as anti yume out of consideration for those who might take offense. With this warning out of the way, the rest of my post can be found behind the cut.
Over the years the team has had their share of secrets and dark moments but there are dark things that they never share with the team.
Scout wants to be fully human. Being half Gargoyle has proven to be difficult- both emotionally and mentally. The constant bullying and persecution he faced growing up from not only his brothers but other monsters and human children, Scout desperately wanted to be normal. Although his mother adored him, it wasn’t enough. And lacking the ability to fly didn’t help with his self-esteem. There are days where he’ll hide himself somewhere dark or high up and just imagine a life as a normal human. But there are times where he’s happy to be himself; it’s usually after Spy tells him his wings will one day grow strong enough to carry him or those nights when he can’t sleep so Spy tells him what it’s like fly and be in the air.
Engineer is dyslexic and it makes it hard to do things. It’s normally called “the Alchemist’s curse”. Although it helps him read other languages and interpret symbols, Dell finds days where it’s hard to do normal everyday things. He has trouble reading and sometimes mixes up left from right. He gets headaches often when he strains himself trying to read. He’s never told anyone on the team; although he’s sure Medic and Spy know, they’ve never mentioned it to him.
Demoman wants to go back home. He misses Scotland and his family so much there will be days he can’t sleep because he’s so homesick- some days he can’t stop sleeping because he misses home. He writes letters to his friends back home and writes down memories of his youth. But there are days where he just lays in bed and drinks, wishing he could retire from his job and go home to his mum and sister and half-brothers. Then he reminds himself there’s work to be done and people that need to be blown up. No matter how hard he tries, though, there’s always that nagging little feeling that longs to be home.
Soldier wishes, every now and then, that he was never brought back to life. He can’t remember his past life very well, only that he fought in World War 1 and died in combat. He wants to remember his family, his friends, the people he fought beside. He wants to know who he used to be so he can be a better man… er… zombie. But when he realizes that he might not ever remember his old life, Soldier gets upset and angry. There have been times he’s asked for Merasmus to send him back to death but the old Wizard refuses. And it still doesn’t settle right with him when he remembers that he was resurrected to be a servant. He wants to just be at peace some days, and that’s when he wishes he were dead again.
Pyro wants everyone dead. They never meant for it to pop into their head, it just did. That and their siblings were destroyed long ago which makes Pyro want revenge. Some nights Pyro will sit in their candle and just want to burn everyone and everything to the ground. But then they spend more time with the team and remember that not everyone is bad.
Sometimes Heavy’s mind goes fuzzy. He’s a Golem, he’s not supposed to have free will and emotions or a soul. He was made from clay and that’s all he’ll ever be is just a giant walking wad of clay… right? Well, that’s not how he sees it. He’s just as alive as Engineer or Spy or Scout. But then there are days where his mind just becomes mush and he can’t think or speak or do anything other than what he was programmed for. And then after a few seconds his memories will come back and he’s free to continue to do whatever it was he was doing before the relapse. It bothers him, though, because each time it happens he loses parts of his memories. He hasn’t mentioned it to Medic and won’t mention it because Heavy doesn’t want anyone to worry about him.
Sniper just wants to run away. He’s terrified that he’ll hurt someone during a transformation or he’ll lose control in his wolf form and kill someone. He could never forgive himself if that happened. He’s seen the carnage of his wolf form and is terrified to know a creature was capable of such violence. He’s even more terrified that he is the one who is capable of such violence. He just wants to leave the team so they’ll be safer, and head off into the forest where the only ones he can hurt are animals. He’s already halfway to being a wild animal, he might as well live like one. But then his transformations come and go and Sniper realizes he has more control over himself than he thinks. But the fear is still there, and he can’t help but question himself.
Spy doesn’t want Scout to know he has a half-sister in France. She was born before meeting Scout’s mother, but Spy hasn’t met her more than a few times. He’s afraid Scout will resent him for abandoning a second child. Spy has done everything he can, he’s tried to be a good father. He tries to be there for Scout, he tries to guide him the best he can. But he never did that with Scout’s sister. He never did that with his daughter. He left her and hasn’t seen her in years; ignored her attempts to contact him or the letters she’s sent. It hurts Spy to do this, it really does. He wants his children to be safe and he can’t put her in danger like that. He already has to keep an eye on Scout. He can’t worry about someone who’s half a world away. Especially when he can’t fly to see her. But at night, Spy will sit in his smoking room and read the letters she’s sent him.
Medic has an insatiable bloodlust at times. It’s not something he worries about too often, and it surely isn’t something he mentions to the team. But sometimes he craves blood so much that he can’t control himself. On more than one occasion he’s found himself in the bedroom of one of the mercs, standing over their bed with a knife or his bone-saw, craving to cut them open and feast on their blood. When this happens, he manages to snap himself out of the daze and lock himself in his lab until it’s over. He always locks away his doves when this occurs because God forbid something terrible happen to his precious doves. He theorizes this bloodlust has something to do with his father but never cares to ask his mother or siblings about it when he visits them. Heavy knows about the bloodlust, and he worries about Medic. He’s usually the one to bring Medic whatever he needs when the doctor has locked himself away. Heavy knows no fear of the doctor’s bloodlust but he fears for the team sometimes. Medic fears for the team’s safety as well, sometimes, but he just ignores the fear and continues on with his existence.
In a world where witches, monsters, fairies, and other supernatural folk are not only real, but a common part of society, there’s gotta be branches of law enforcement for supernatural crimes and the like. Think about the possibilities inherent in that…
Deputized monster hunters to take down feral werewolves or serial vampires.
Laws are in place requiring psychological evaluations of arrested werewolves to determine if they were in control of their lycanthropy.
Forensics teams trained to determine whether it IS a supernatural murder or a frame-job.
Hunters have their own version of COPS, since stupidity is not limited to mortal men.
Police precincts in vampire-heavy towns buying up lots and lots of rice as a defensive measure against vampire perps.
Vampires are easily among the most popular creatures in all of magic. With each set since Shadowmoor/Eventide containing at least one vampire. They are prolific to the ethos of Magic. However, until now they has lacked a lot of effective tribal support. Make no mistake, there has been a lot of vampires printed in the nearly 10 years since then. However they have been extremely messy and all over the place. Lords printed in 2 colours, while the best legendary creatures were in 1. Cards like Vampire Nocturnus being outrageously powerful inclusions in a deck, but ultimately limit their effectiveness by being tied to one colour.
Commander 2017 reunited Vampires across all colours, and shifted them into high gear by offering us three new commanders, each in the Mardu range of colours. All varying from heavy Vampire tribal, to fun and goofy shenanigans; Vampires have finally seen the revitalisation they’ve always needed, but have never had. And with several white vampires having been spoiled for Ixilan, the reasons to build Mardu vampires has only grown. And although this deck does not offer a fourth, off colour Legendary Creature, the cards that it pulls from in creating the decks are some of the best Vampires ever printed.
Finally, it’s ya boy. Edgar Markov, fresh off the print run with a new card. And with it he brings a cavalcade of abilities. Right off the bat, like all of the headlining Legendary Creatures in commander 2017, he has Eminence. A triggered ability that doesn’t mind whether they are in play or in the command zone. Much to the bane of every playing who forgets their triggers. However, this ability isn’t something you want to miss, as he will happily poop out Vampires for you. 1/1 black vampires to be precise. That’s right. Buy now and get two vampires for the price of one. And as is also the case all of the others, his following abilities get stronger as the first ability is used. As he attacks, you must put a +1/+1 counter on each Vampire you control. Which is amazing. And yes, he puts it on himself. And yes, he does have both haste and first strike, so he’s basically a 5/5 the turn he comes into play because there is never a world where you don’t attack with him first chance you have. And with Eminence triggering from the Command Zone, by the time you do play him, you should have something akin to a small army. Note: He won’t trigger Eminence on himself.
Edgar hits hard and fast, and will likely want to fill out a aggressive Vampire deck. People may be turned off by his high cost, reaching 6 among 3 colours. However, due to the raw power of Eminence, he will make up the difference. Doubling your board state, the preparing the game for his inevitable arrival. At which point it’ll be a quick race to the end. However if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, perhaps his token generation will give you the board support to build a Mardu combo deck. However, I would strongly recommend Vampires to be at it’s core. That is what he cares about most.
Licia, Sanguine Tribune
It’s pretty straight forward that life gain will be the focus of a Licia deck. At least, more than just Vampires. She can come down as early as turn 3, with enough support, and immediately starts posing a threat. Paying 5 life into an attack for 7 with lifelink is powerful. And the fact that she has lifelink makes up for the life paid, and the limitations of the ability to give her counters. You can’t do it constantly, but creating a life divide with that life gain makes the difference. In other words, creating a life total divide of 47 and 33 is far better than just 40 and 33. The fact she also has first strike means that she’ll likely never come up against a creature she can’t deal with.
The only concern is whether paying for 5 life is worth it. For example, although you can’t attack the turn she comes into play, you can activate it. Meaning she’ll be able to swing for 10 the turn she can attack. However that cost may be too great, because you may pay the 5 life, only to see her die to removal. So there is a great deal of risk and reward. If you can swing, it’ll pay off. But if you can’t it may be worth holding off a turn.
That said, if you can cast her for 3, it means you’ve already gained at least 5 life this turn. Meaning that cost will result in, effectively, no loss to you
The decks that will want her are ones already heavy in lifegain that can afford 5 life without hassle. Failing that, a Mardu Voltron deck may just have a new powerful Commander to ride him to victory. The lifegain she provides, plus first strike, will make her very hard to deal with in combat. And a handful of protection spells will mean she’ll never die.
Mathas, Fiend Seeker
Perhaps the most unique Commander to come out of the entire product line, Mathas will consistently change the way a game is played. And it’s not complicated either. All it does it add one small mechanic, a Bounty Counter with an ability. At the beginning of your end step, Marthas will ‘brand’ an opponent’s creature with a bounty counter. With it, it’ll give the creature the ability “when this creature dies, each opponent draws a card and gains 2 life.”. This ability even after Mathas dies. As a result, the power to put a bounty on a creature’s head will make any political EDH player salivate. Suddenly, you control who lives and who dies.
There are two things that really make this ability interesting. The first is that you are forced to drop a bounty counter at the end of each of your turns. So, in a sense, you are offered a sort of plausible deniability. You gotta do it, and it can’t be your creature, so it’s more reasonable to just drop a counter on a creature than if it was a choice. The other is that the death effect that comes with the bounty counter affects everyone by the controller of the creature. As a result, no one but the one targeted player will feel the victim. Moreover, because of the nature of this effect, it’s likely you won’t be the one killing the creature. Just making it a nice target. Realistically, you do nothing. But will always reap a reward. This brings back to the plausible deniability as you can continue to mess with the game all you want, without being the one actually changing the game.
Mardu boasts the widest range, and the most powerful range, or targeted removal in Magic. Mathas is tailored to that, and so a spot removal heavy deck will go a long way to help mess with the game. Because it is through that removal, that you can take control of the politics. You can deem which creatures live and die, and when.
Marthas is the kind of commander that will offer you no clear method of winning. Instead, it’ll offer you a way to mess with your opponent’s and take control of the game. Whether you win will be determined by how you approach him. But while you are in the game it will be a very strange and unusual one. Which is exactly the thing a lot of people want.
The Commander 2017 deck, Vampiric Bloodthirst offered more than just a series of Mardu coloured Vampires. It offers 3 unique Mardu Vampires that vary wildly in how their decks will function. From a complete Vampire Tribal Commander, to a political powehouse, Commander 2017 is continuing to provide unique Commanders we wouldn’t see anywhere else. Each leading a deck I would personally love to build one day.
Thoughts on Buffy Season 11, Issue #10 - Spoiler Warning
So, here are my thoughts on the latest comic issue of Buffy Season 11. Of course, there are spoilers present!
I love the variant cover! It’s so cute and ties in
really nicely with the plot of this issue. The original cover is very
beautifully drawn as well and interesting in its own right, but the variant
cover wins for me because of the flirting Spuffy moment and the blushing sea
lion. I can’t resist this kind of cuteness!
From here on out, everything else will be under a Read More because of length and spoilers. The post will also be a bit image heavy.
Oops, my hand slipped and I did a sketchy drawing because I was too lazy to shade and do clean lines XD
This was made as a reference for one of my Skyrim characters, Emelyn, a wood elf, obviously. I used this as a picture for a Skyrim rp I was actually joining but sadly it died off before we could actually start it.
What happened with her in-game through the glorious use of mods (Death Alternative/Live Another Life), is that she started out being enthralled by a vampire in some cave to be used for cattle, got her master killed via a Dawnguard attack, and decided to join up with the Dawnguard to prevent that from happening to anyone else. Fun stuff XD
Despite her rough start, she still manages to be goofy and lighthearted in the midst of extremely heavy vampire attacks.
Maybe one day I’ll do a full-blown drawing of her, but I need to get off my lazy ass first.