I'm getting sick of that emo Jace.

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Every time any of us goes onto the MTG website or the forums, you see Jace being all emo and posing. I mean, even on the bloodly Worldwake adds hes there, like he's the new face of Magic. Why can't we have a diffrent Plainswalker when I sign onto the fourms? That woujld be cool. I know it seems like a pointless rant, but it's to do with style. In the same way people get tierd of having the same desktop wallpaper every so often, I get tierd of seeing Jace everywhere. Lets have diffrent onces on the banners.
Probably better in the TCB BB forum.

Either way, I agree, Jace is a bit everywhere
I want my black theme back.

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Probably better in the TCB BB forum.

Either way, I agree, Jace is a bit everywhere
I want my black theme back.



Hmm, maybe your right, I was not sure where to put it but I thought it's patr of flavour so I put it here.

Anyway, its' not to say that I hate Jace, it's just he's everywhere. I would just like a random banner of a diffrent Planeswalker poses everytime you load a page. Would really lighten things up.
Yeah, he really looks like the stupid scene kids getting elbowed at the ska show.. =P
Yeah, he really looks like the stupid scene kids getting elbowed at the ska show.. =P



lol it's so true. Just scroll up and I swear you can see his black emo haircut under that hood of his.
It is interesting that they've adopted Jace as their lead neowalker, but perhaps not too incomprehensible. Let's look at the marketable aspects of Jace:
  • Young, male, conflicted, powerful and intelligent but not wholly at home with many of the people he interacts with (or at least that's the impression his image and backstory give). Already we have a character that, quite frankly, a good portion of Magic players can probably relate to to a greater or lesser extent.

  • Has the aesthetic of the archetypal modern mage, which is what Wizards wants to promote.

  • Has two popular cards already (one of which seems to be pretty popular even though it hasn't been released yet).

  • Stars in what apparently is the best Magic book in the last... what, six, seven years? Goodness. That makes a difference for storyline fans, I would say.

  • Probably has the most dramatic "I am about to do some magic" poses.


So, there's a lot of incentive there for using Jace.

Let's break down the problems with the other characters, in contrast:

  • Liliana Ves--Would be a good candidate, but she kind of looks pretty completely evil in every one of her pictures, making her not so good for Wizards to use her as a poster child. Plus, she's a she. more on that in a moment.

  • Ajani--Not a human. I suspect that he's not as good for showing off the powerful new planeswalkers to new players for that simple reason. Plus, what poses does he tend to show up in? Angry, holding ax or serene, holding ax. Not, badass, doing magic. I think it's pretty safe to say that Wizards wants their posterwalkers to be badass, doing magic to emphasize the way 'walkers fight in-game.

  • Garruck Wildspeaker--Ditto to the above problem of poses, plus the fact that he's kind of older seeming, which goes into the demographic problem. And we don't see much of his face.

  • Chandra--Here's another demographic problem, touched on with Liliana. Chandra Nalaar, for those who haven't been paying attention, is a woman. A strong, magically gifted woman, but a woman nontheless. Unfortunately, a large majority of magic players are not women at this point. Between Jace and Chandra, then, genderwise, which character is a new player more statistically likely to find resonant and relatable? This is just a suspicion, of course. I don't want to accuse Magic's marketing of conscious sexism. There's also another problem of art with Chandra. Jace lends himself to "look at the mystical vision of information I'm about to conjure up for you." Chandra is more "WATCH ME LIGHT EVERYTHING ON FIRE!" which, while cool, probably doesn't work too well for many of the things the home page is using Jace for.

  • Tezzeret--This is a bit of a puzzle, since he could probably take on many of the stylistic roles of Jace. I suspect this might be because, like Garruck, he is older and also, like Liliana, in the storyline he tends to be pretty villainous. Still, along with Chandra, Tezz seems like a reasonable alternate candidate.

  • Elspeth Tirel--Woman. Hated by many storyline fans (irritatingly...). Poses with swords and whatnot. Hates Using Magic. Hates Being A 'Walker. She's got a well loved card (I guess? I don't really pay attention to what people are playing in the big leagues) but that really isn't enough to counteract all the things that make her a lousy choice.

  • Nicol Bolas--Not a human. Evil.

  • Sarkhan Vol--Crazy and evil, but maybe not as visibly so as some of the others... Actually, I'm not sure why they haven't used him more. This one is a bit of a puzzle, honestly.


  • Sorin Markov--Looks pretty freaking evil, regardless of whether or not he is.


  • Show
    PARCHER!!!--He's a little bit crazy.

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Crazy never stopped them before.   Urza was bat-$%!# insane, but he was a good mascot for many a year. 

Although, I sincerely have no idea why everyone hates on Jace.  He's okay, for a neowalker.  I do prefer the black 'walkers, but I can see what you mean about them being less-marketable.  Jace does seem to fit the bill, at least image-wise, for a good mascot for the game.  Yeah, he's a little moody, but that's what's "cool" right now.   Blame the emo kids.
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It is interesting that they've adopted Jace as their lead neowalker, but perhaps not too incomprehensible. Let's look at the marketable aspects of Jace:
  • Young, male, conflicted, powerful and intelligent but not wholly at home with many of the people he interacts with (or at least that's the impression his image and backstory give). Already we have a character that, quite frankly, a good portion of Magic players can probably relate to to a greater or lesser extent.

  • Has the aesthetic of the archetypal modern mage, which is what Wizards wants to promote.

  • Has two popular cards already (one of which seems to be pretty popular even though it hasn't been released yet).

  • Stars in what apparently is the best Magic book in the last... what, six, seven years? Goodness. That makes a difference for storyline fans, I would say.

  • Probably has the most dramatic "I am about to do some magic" poses.


Glittery Vampires are popular now.  Hasbro Marketing is all but obligated to jump all over that as much as possible.

The simple truth is that The Planeswalkers are succeeding where Gerrard Capashen utterly failed - they are giving Magic a long-term continuity and "brand identity".  You can (quite legitimately) hate it all you want, but dammit there's all manner of marketing goodness ensuing.

Ah, Qmark, what part of my post are you replying to there? I don't really see the connection.

Also, I'm not sure what you're getting at with Gerrard Capashen. He did give Magic a long-term continuity right up until his story was done. In seven years I expect that the Neowalkers will be pretty much replaced with new characters also. Plus, I don't really think there was an actual cohesive attempt to turn Gerrard into a "brand identity" in the same way that they're working with the Neowalkers. That isn't a failure on the part of Gerrard or any older characters, that's simply a mark of Wizards gaining greater marketing sophistication. As with many other aspects of the game, they have matured.

You are right, though, that Jace is pretty much the perfect marketing tool. I think that does, to some extent, strongly legitimize early criticism of the Neowalkers as primarily a rather slapdash marketing ploy that really just kicked storyline fans in the teeth. In the long term, yeah, Jace has really come into his own, thanks primarily to Ari's talent as a writer and the effective placement of Jace as a believable icon.

I think they're still going to avoid glittery vampires, though. I think you'll find that while glittery vampires are popular with some, a sizeable portion of Magic players are members of the sizeable backlash against vampire popularity. (Witness, for example, the nitwits who periodically come through the forums claiming that the vampires of Zendikar are exact ripoffs of the Twilight vampires. Man, people make me want to light things on fire...) Putting Sorin Markov up as a main spokesperson at the moment wouldn't be too wise from that perspective.
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Alright now that just pisses me off. Twilight vampires did not, i repeat, DID NOT start the whole vampire species. In fact, i say that twilight is KILLING the vampire legend. Vampires are not sappy teenagers who 'glitter' under the sun, NO, vampires in magic were VERY prominent BEFORE twilight (baron sengir, skeletal vampire, heck, vampire bats). To all those saying that zendikar vampires are rip-offs from twilight, twilight is a rip-off of just some teenage movie. And for the record, im a teenager
Alright now that just pisses me off. Twilight vampires did not, i repeat, DID NOT start the whole vampire species. In fact, i say that twilight is KILLING the vampire legend.



Gotta disagree on that point, when you look at how much the vampire legend has actuslly evovled over history. It might be destroying the modern vampire legend, but thats only a couple of hundred years old. Go back 500 years and vamps weren't what they were in Stroker's book, and the cool, seductive thing they became in that era. This is just a continuation of that, and its not destroying vamps anymore then me watching The Lost Boys did. And if you think it IS, well then you have to just realize that its all a giant cycle of legends being built up and changed to fit the current world. Besides vampires aren't real. 
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It is interesting that they've adopted Jace as their lead neowalker, but perhaps not too incomprehensible. Let's look at the marketable aspects of Jace:
  • Young, male, conflicted, powerful and intelligent but not wholly at home with many of the people he interacts with (or at least that's the impression his image and backstory give). Already we have a character that, quite frankly, a good portion of Magic players can probably relate to to a greater or lesser extent.

  • Has the aesthetic of the archetypal modern mage, which is what Wizards wants to promote.

  • Has two popular cards already (one of which seems to be pretty popular even though it hasn't been released yet).

  • Stars in what apparently is the best Magic book in the last... what, six, seven years? Goodness. That makes a difference for storyline fans, I would say.

  • Probably has the most dramatic "I am about to do some magic" poses.


So, there's a lot of incentive there for using Jace.

Let's break down the problems with the other characters, in contrast:

  • Liliana Ves--Would be a good candidate, but she kind of looks pretty completely evil in every one of her pictures, making her not so good for Wizards to use her as a poster child. Plus, she's a she. more on that in a moment.

  • Ajani--Not a human. I suspect that he's not as good for showing off the powerful new planeswalkers to new players for that simple reason. Plus, what poses does he tend to show up in? Angry, holding ax or serene, holding ax. Not, badass, doing magic. I think it's pretty safe to say that Wizards wants their posterwalkers to be badass, doing magic to emphasize the way 'walkers fight in-game.

  • Garruck Wildspeaker--Ditto to the above problem of poses, plus the fact that he's kind of older seeming, which goes into the demographic problem. And we don't see much of his face.

  • Chandra--Here's another demographic problem, touched on with Liliana. Chandra Nalaar, for those who haven't been paying attention, is a woman. A strong, magically gifted woman, but a woman nontheless. Unfortunately, a large majority of magic players are not women at this point. Between Jace and Chandra, then, genderwise, which character is a new player more statistically likely to find resonant and relatable? This is just a suspicion, of course. I don't want to accuse Magic's marketing of conscious sexism. There's also another problem of art with Chandra. Jace lends himself to "look at the mystical vision of information I'm about to conjure up for you." Chandra is more "WATCH ME LIGHT EVERYTHING ON FIRE!" which, while cool, probably doesn't work too well for many of the things the home page is using Jace for.

  • Tezzeret--This is a bit of a puzzle, since he could probably take on many of the stylistic roles of Jace. I suspect this might be because, like Garruck, he is older and also, like Liliana, in the storyline he tends to be pretty villainous. Still, along with Chandra, Tezz seems like a reasonable alternate candidate.

  • Elspeth Tirel--Woman. Hated by many storyline fans (irritatingly...). Poses with swords and whatnot. Hates Using Magic. Hates Being A 'Walker. She's got a well loved card (I guess? I don't really pay attention to what people are playing in the big leagues) but that really isn't enough to counteract all the things that make her a lousy choice.

  • Nicol Bolas--Not a human. Evil.

  • Sarkhan Vol--Crazy and evil, but maybe not as visibly so as some of the others... Actually, I'm not sure why they haven't used him more. This one is a bit of a puzzle, honestly.


  • Sorin Markov--Looks pretty freaking evil, regardless of whether or not he is.


  • Show
    PARCHER!!!--He's a little bit crazy.





OK, I see where your coming from, but at the same time, it's boring to see the same person over and over, it would be much more fun if they just randomised alot. Showing diffrent Planeswalkers at diffrent times.
Alright now that just pisses me off. Twilight vampires did not, i repeat, DID NOT start the whole vampire species. In fact, i say that twilight is KILLING the vampire legend.



Gotta disagree on that point, when you look at how much the vampire legend has actuslly evovled over history. It might be destroying the modern vampire legend, but thats only a couple of hundred years old. Go back 500 years and vamps weren't what they were in Stroker's book, and the cool, seductive thing they became in that era. This is just a continuation of that, and its not destroying vamps anymore then me watching The Lost Boys did. And if you think it IS, well then you have to just realize that its all a giant cycle of legends being built up and changed to fit the current world. Besides vampires aren't real. 



But back in stoker's book, vampires were not all that emo. In fact, the vampires took what they want, when they want, and when they can. What im saying is that when people start saying that vampires in todays fantasy games are all rip-offs from twilight, they have to realize that vampires in today's pop culture is not the same as the vampires in modern legend. Also, i know vamps arent real, its jts sad to see vampires changing from the really cold, manipulative, and bad-ass creature to a really emotional, self-conflicting, pretty boy
@Paladin of Sunhome:

Well, I can't say I disagree with you. Really, those reasons are just what I suspect the Web Team is thinking about the issue. I suspect that some of the pages would be impossible to rotate efficiently, due to the coding and the design. Still, it would be cool if we could, say, choose an overall theme for the website based on our favorite Planeswalker. I think it was the second generation of the site that included an option for users to choose which one of the five colors was used for the overall theme... bringing that back would be nice (although the site is kinda slow as it is).

@M1:

Well, to some extent, you don't have a whole lot to worry about. Emotion and self-conflict imply a certain level of personality and individuality, neither of which appear in the cardboard cutout people that pass for characters in those horrible, horrible books.

Still, you have to understand that the trend towards sympathetic and conflicted vampires does go back much further than the Twilight series. I would be comfortable saying, in fact, that Twilight has very little to do with vampires and the evolution of vampire lore as a whole, compared to other recent works. That's actually WHY placing so much emphasis upon Twilight, whether for good or for ill as in this case, strikes me as incorrect. It isn't fair or reasonable to say that Zendikar's vampires are in any way influenced by Twilight, but that isn't because Twilight is bad, necessarily (although it is, of course, horrendous). It has more to do with the fact that it has nothing at all to do with these vampires, and accusing the Creative team of just cashing in on another work is incredibly disengenuous and disrespectful.

...And this coming from a guy who periodically throws a fit about whatever the Creative Team has done lately. :P
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Just a quick note about skins. While adding additional skins is something that's on WotC's radar, right now it's just a much lower priority than the more functional changes that are in the works, like restoring Quick Reply, fixing bugs, and so on, so it's probably not going to happen right away. It will happen eventually, just not right away.

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Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

@Paladin of Sunhome:

Well, I can't say I disagree with you. Really, those reasons are just what I suspect the Web Team is thinking about the issue. I suspect that some of the pages would be impossible to rotate efficiently, due to the coding and the design. Still, it would be cool if we could, say, choose an overall theme for the website based on our favorite Planeswalker. I think it was the second generation of the site that included an option for users to choose which one of the five colors was used for the overall theme... bringing that back would be nice (although the site is kinda slow as it is).



Yeah, that would be a good idea.

Just a quick note about skins. While adding additional skins is something that's on WotC's radar, right now it's just a much lower priority than the more functional changes that are in the works, like restoring Quick Reply, fixing bugs, and so on, so it's probably not going to happen right away. It will happen eventually, just not right away.



lol, don'y worry. I was not really complaining in the sence that I want it fixed, it was more of a rant than anything esle. ^_^
Oh Zammm, always looking out for us.

Thanks for the information. That does make perfect sense.
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back to the topic, do you think that there'll be newer versions of garruk wildspeaker and lilliana vess? I mean, jace, chandra, and ajani had newer versions, so why not will the remaining original neo-walkers have different versions?
back to the topic, do you think that there'll be newer versions of garruk wildspeaker and lilliana vess? I mean, jace, chandra, and ajani had newer versions, so why not will the remaining original neo-walkers have different versions?



As soon as we get to the plane where Garruk is after Liliana...

Zendikar was technically the plane Jace was after Chandra.

Ajani's was just an origin story.
Hm, was that the original topic...?

Anyway, as to that question, I think there will be plenty of versions of ALL the neowalkers, and probably versions of a few that we haven't seen in card form yet. It's all down to when they come back into the storyline.

I wonder if Gideon would make a good promotional figure... (That was his name, right? I still haven't gotten a copy of The Purifying Fire.)
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i have to say Sarkhan Vol is not evil, crazy yes but evil no, one he saves ajani, two he is impulsive and laws of red and green based not evil but also not good, insane yes because well he worships dragons, the only evil note he has is he becomes misguided by bolas wich if you worshipped dragons he would misguid you aswell
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Those who willingly serve evil, are evil are they not?

Back to the topic of Jace being an Emo.He is, but its not like hes a U/B walker -1 deal damage to Jace and add a "self pity" counter on target player.

 As for the Vamps and twilight, if ppl from now on only think of those 2 sappy lame movies whenever they see a Vampire then I pity them. Vamps have evolved over the past decades and centuries and will continue to change as writers, directors take great liberty with that genre.Just look at zombies! They never used to RUN!! But if everyone thinks it's cannon that vamps glow in the sun shine from now on cuz of those 2 tween flicks...just calm down! Hopefully everyone will find out they're all gay and the girls will lose interest.
lol.

It'll be furries next. Oh wait...
i believe him to just be misguided on the way niether evil or good and ill repoint out he did save another but at i do give that he is insane.

on subject jace does seem to be the emo poster child but it is good marketing i guess in attempts to appeal to target age group
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For gods' sakes, Jace ISN'T an emo. I ignored commenting on the thread title (though it annoyed the hell out of me)
Any complaints he had were completely justified since Tezzeret tortured him, blamed him for not being able to do things that he couldn't do in the first place, and in general hunted him like a fox for a year.

Those are some pretty decent reasons to be discontent with life.
@GrimGorgon:

Why would serving an evil master make you evil? What if you pride loyalty as the greater good? Doesn't that make you more conflicted than evil? What if your leader is in public a respectable figure, and the public face is the only face you see of that leader? What if you serve The State and The State happens to be run currently by a democratically elected bastard? Are you evil?

If you're completely out of your mind and incapable of rationally analyzing a situation, and thereby manipulated by evil, why should you be considered evil?

No, without more evidence, I don't think I'm ready to declare Sarkhan Vol evil.

And uh... what is gay about any of the male characters in the Twilight series? In fact, it seems to me that there's a very telling LACK of non-heterosexual relationships in those... things.

@PaladinofSunhome:

And what, pray tell, is wrong with furries?

@Barinellos:

Yes. To all of that, yes.




Incidentally, what makes him Emo at all? There's not a whole lot that points to either the stereotype or to the reality of the Emo subculture.

Man, we're just on a roll here with the stereotyping these days, aren't we?
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@PaladinofSunhome:

And what, pray tell, is wrong with furries?



Dude. Fchan. 5 minutes. The horror. The horror.
Jace is growing on me. Perhaps it's the the fact that I got a shirt with him on it from the pre-release, and I opened a Jace, the Mind Sculptor too. Or maybe it's just Ari's writing.

I call Ajani Mark III in ROE. Only for the very bad reasons that they're missing a white walker, Doug had him growling about how Zendikar is waking up and trying to eat him, and it hasn't been long enough since Gideon appeared for them to be able to make him into a card.
Evil doesn't always triumph. - Ajani Goldmane

@PaladinofSunhome:

And what, pray tell, is wrong with furries?



Dude. Fchan. 5 minutes. The horror. The horror.



XD

Nothing is wrong with furries I was just making a joke on how there seems to be a more... furry... cultre in MTG.

lol... furries.
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 Vol isn't questing for the greater good. So don't try and twist this into some political arguement about morality. He worships Chaos incanate, Dragons and is under control of some dark power.(bolas/Eldrazi/Ugin??)Yes I do believe in redemption but for now the Nuremburg defence doesn't cut it for me sorry. And in my off colour remark about them being gay, I was referening to the Actors in real life, because obviously i've never seen those movies and am not privy to the homosexual activies they partake within the moives :P

P.S Jace cuts himself everytime he hears Tezz's name.
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@GrimGorgon:

Now just hoooold on here. If you recall, you asked whether or not someone who served evil was evil. I replied with a whole slew of reasons why that isn't the case. I don't even understand what you mean by "don't try and twist this into some political arguement about morality." You asked whether someone was evil or not, so it is an argument about morality (that happens to have zip to do with politics... I really have no idea where you got that from). You will note also that the Nuremberg defense has absolutely Jack to do with this discussion, as I didn't attempt to explain Vol's actions that way. No, the last line, that you apparently missed somehow, was the question of whether or not someone incapable of rationally analyzing a situation can be said to be evil.

And uh, yeah, stop being disrespectful towards homosexuality, dude. It's really freaking juvenile.
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Are you kidding, read your text above! you Use politics to co-realte Vol's situation, so don't try and say I got politics from nowwhere! And the Nuremburg defence does have context, If YOU are insinuating that Vol is just following orders!!!!!! And I can joke about them all I like, my sister is a lesbian, I live in the most progressive province in the most progressive country in the world so don't try twist that as well :P As for being "juvenile" just lighten up bub. I'm not gonna reply so you can waste time if you like on a retort.

 


I call Ajani Mark III in ROE. Only for the very bad reasons that they're missing a white walker, Doug had him growling about how Zendikar is waking up and trying to eat him, and it hasn't been long enough since Gideon appeared for them to be able to make him into a card.



I hope he isn't, I really do. They have more than enough walkers on Zendikar as it is. And I dont see how bringing in more, even Gideon, would help.

They dont need Ajani coming in and saying "Hmmm you there! You are my enemy, I summon your spirit to fight you!!!!"

I think the reason Ajani's pic was in Doug's article, is just because the MTG Editor (Kelly Diggs) just decided to throw it in, I dont think it was some kind of hint. He really is the only Planeswalker who has an angry face on the card, which is probably why they used it.
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You know, I'm probably an ignorant yokul or something, but where I come, being progressive means acting in a progressive manner, not living in a progressive nation. Wouldn't be the first time I had some crazy notion like that, though.

Not even going to touch your reading comprehension skills at this point...

But really, I would love it if you failed to reply. The last thing I want is to have to argue with people like you on this forum, since most everyone else here is really quite wonderful.


@Gamma Mage:

I'm with Legendary Name. I think we're probably safe from seeing dear Ajani for a little while. There's just been no real hint from the actual plotline sectors that suggest his appearence. I hope so, anyway.

I dunno, maybe this block will be the one where Wizards breaks the evenly distributed 'walkers strategy. I wouldn't complain if it turned out they were making card choices based on story rather than the other way around.

Of course, I wouldn't be all that shocked if you turn out to be right on this.

@Paladin of Sunhome:

Hm, ok, that does make sense. Sorry, a bit of my irritation at Grim Gorgon probably was deflecting towards you.

I suppose this has been the first time since early Weatherlight saga where we've had a hugely significant anthro character. I mean, there's Lord Windgrace, but he's more of an ensemble character than Ajani or Mirri. And, really, the fact that we've got two non-human (well, not counting our vampire friend) 'Walkers is kind of interesting.

Too bad Ajani is kind of irritating... siiigh.
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At the same time, though, I'm afraid we might see him. Just to fill the five-'walker cycle. We've got one for each color now except white. Unless they've just explicitly said we won't see a cycle this time. So maybe Ajani (hope not, he sucks), Elspeth (hope not, I wanna see her again but this doesn't seem like a good story for her), Gideon (please God please), or a newbie (no thanks, got enough already).
Alara Reborn didn't have a 'walker, but how much of a chance is thare that they'll do a big set without one? And short of Serra and Karn flashing in and going 'OMG LOL Sorin, do you need us to help imprison the Eldrazi again?', we're left with Ajani, Elspeth, or a new w'alker, and Zendikar is not the kind of place Elspeth would want to spend time on.

However, that brings up the question of whether she would like Mirrodin. Would they stretch a cycle over two blocks and do a Elspeth as a white 'walker in Mirrodin Pure, and then throw a colourless Karn in for Scars?
Evil doesn't always triumph. - Ajani Goldmane
Some "old" planeswalker out there who sealed the Eldrazi with Sorin probably is white though. I mean, Sorin's new to us, but he's technically a "experienced" planeswalker.


@Paladin of Sunhome:

Hm, ok, that does make sense. Sorry, a bit of my irritation at Grim Gorgon probably was deflecting towards you.

I suppose this has been the first time since early Weatherlight saga where we've had a hugely significant anthro character. I mean, there's Lord Windgrace, but he's more of an ensemble character than Ajani or Mirri. And, really, the fact that we've got two non-human (well, not counting our vampire friend) 'Walkers is kind of interesting.

Too bad Ajani is kind of irritating... siiigh.



lol. It's fine, dude. But it's just all these changes Wizards make tell me that it's both going wards the emo and furry cultre. I mean, so many new or re-emergance of furry or scaled chracters in such... weird ways.

Hm, I can't really say I agree with you totally there... As far as the emo culture goes, I don't really see a conscious effort going on there besides some superficial visual cues with Jace (and those aren't so much emo as... brooding. Which isn't really the same. At all.) Where furries are concerned... well, the more I think about it, the less likely it seems to me that this is any sort of outreach. After all, as far as real characters go, we basically just have Ajani and Bolas as anthropomorphic creatures, and the main characters are still pretty firmly placed in the category of "human".

It's the same as saying that vampires are just here because of Twilight. I think there are a whole lot of other factors here, you know?
Coming Soon to the Magic: Expanded Multiverse: FRAGMENTS: A Shards of Alara Anthology
(Click through to view the cover and announcement page)Want to get your work in the Expanded Multiverse? Come join the project! Oh, and check out my blog, Storming the Ivory Tower: making sense of academia, media, and culture twice weekly.