10/06/2010 StF: "Spreading the Infection"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Savor the Flavor, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I like how Doug threw in how ridiculous it is that Bolas shows up in every recent plot and always has a scheme in motion.

A solid article.  I like the differentiation of ways to spread the infection.
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Great article today.  "Big, clanky heel calluses"...."A Vulshok before he's had his morning coffee"....priceless.

"Phyrexia is a civilization of constant evolution, of self-betterment"....er, for certain values of "better", I guess.  It's always been sort of amusing to me when a Virus force is portrayed as trying to convince people to sign up, when they look like the Borg - obviously evil, and more to the point, *uncomfortable*.  Once in a while, just to be different, we need to see a Virus made up of happy shiny people, hot chicks and beach studs, or some other force that actually has a chance of winning people over without using an infection probe.

The match talked about in the end text sounds like an epic Archenemy format in the making.  Round up about twelve people to play representatives of the plane itself, have them fight four Archenemies (Phyrexia, Nicol Bolas, the Eldrazi, and whoever you think makes a good fourth nemesis - my vote would be Oona from Shadowmoor, on the assumption that the end of the Eventide book turns out a little more realistically in her favor), maybe with 60 life instead of 40, and then the winning sides of each match immediately jump into each others' games, except that ally players don't fight each other.  With the unfair advantage going to the villains, chances are good they'll end up fighting each other.  (Of course, no matter how well you build the decks, they won't truly represent the forces in question and thus won't really "count" in terms of determining who would really win, but it's still an epically awesome way for sixteen people with lots of time on their hands to entertain.)
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
Once in a while, just to be different, we need to see a Virus made up of happy shiny people, hot chicks and beach studs, or some other force that actually has a chance of winning people over without using an infection probe.

That actually happened once.


The match talked about in the end text sounds like an epic Archenemy format in the making.  Round up about twelve people to play representatives of the plane itself, have them fight four Archenemies (Phyrexia, Nicol Bolas, the Eldrazi, and whoever you think makes a good fourth nemesis - my vote would be Oona from Shadowmoor, on the assumption that the end of the Eventide book turns out a little more realistically in her favor), maybe with 60 life instead of 40, and then the winning sides of each match immediately jump into each others' games, except that ally players don't fight each other.  With the unfair advantage going to the villains, chances are good they'll end up fighting each other.  (Of course, no matter how well you build the decks, they won't truly represent the forces in question and thus won't really "count" in terms of determining who would really win, but it's still an epically awesome way for sixteen people with lots of time on their hands to entertain.)


hm...  Nicol, Phyrexia, Eldrazi... Gonna have to go with The Slivers as the last nemesis, assuming they gain the ability to travel the planes.

Meanwhile, the 12 heroes?  Let's see if we can get them to run themed decks by plane(/shard)...
Dominaria
Kamigawa
Ravnica
Lorwyn
Shadowmoor
Zendikar
Mirrodin
Bant
Esper
Grixis
Jund
Naya

I'd cut the dupes for alara and Lorwyn/shadowmoor, but no one wants to get down to playing the defenders of Ulgrotha... at least not until/unless the plane gets a revisit.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
On Worldbuilding - On Crafting Aliens - Pillars of Art and Flavor - Simulationism, Narritivism, and Gamism - Shub-Niggurath in D&D
THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

but no one wants to get down to playing the defenders of Ulgrotha...

Ulgrotha had defenders?

The match talked about in the end text sounds like an epic Archenemy format in the making.  Round up about twelve people to play representatives of the plane itself, have them fight four Archenemies (Phyrexia, Nicol Bolas, the Eldrazi, and whoever you think makes a good fourth nemesis - my vote would be Oona from Shadowmoor, on the assumption that the end of the Eventide book turns out a little more realistically in her favor), maybe with 60 life instead of 40, and then the winning sides of each match immediately jump into each others' games, except that ally players don't fight each other.  With the unfair advantage going to the villains, chances are good they'll end up fighting each other.  (Of course, no matter how well you build the decks, they won't truly represent the forces in question and thus won't really "count" in terms of determining who would really win, but it's still an epically awesome way for sixteen people with lots of time on their hands to entertain.)


hm...  Nicol, Phyrexia, Eldrazi... Gonna have to go with The Slivers as the last nemesis, assuming they gain the ability to travel the planes.

Meanwhile, the 12 heroes?  Let's see if we can get them to run themed decks by plane(/shard)...
Dominaria
Kamigawa
Ravnica
Lorwyn
Shadowmoor
Zendikar
Mirrodin
Bant
Esper
Grixis
Jund
Naya

I'd cut the dupes for alara and Lorwyn/shadowmoor, but no one wants to get down to playing the defenders of Ulgrotha... at least not until/unless the plane gets a revisit.



Ulgrotha
Rath
Mercadia
Rabiah (real men bring a Rabiah deck)
Serra's Realm (forgot the name)

Yup someone's gotta play Ulgrotha Tongue out

Maybe Mishra as the 4th?
I definitely liked this article.  I liked the flavor given for proliferate.  I thought the description of proliferate for Thrummingbird was pretty good.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
I liked the article I have however a smal question about the Replica cycle of creatures.
The Replica cycle all have the Mirran watermark. They can however all sacrifice themselves for an effect. Creature sacrifice has been asigned as a Phyrexian thing. Why aren't they Phyrexian? The Moriok Replica even makes you lose life for the effect it gives (comparable to Necrogen Scudder).
I liked the article I have however a smal question about the Replica cycle of creatures.
The Replica cycle all have the Mirran watermark. They can however all sacrifice themselves for an effect. Creature sacrifice has been asigned as a Phyrexian thing. Why aren't they Phyrexian? The Moriok Replica even makes you lose life for the effect it gives (comparable to Necrogen Scudder).



Because there was a cycle of Replicas in the original Mirrodin block and they had nothing to do with Phyrexia.  The new Replicas, as with the old ones, are patterned after a Mirran race.  This makes them more closely aligned with the Mirrans than the Phyrexians.  Thirdly, the artwork doesn't indicate any tampering by Phyrexians.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
I sent this in an email to Doug, too, but maybe some of you can answer it for me.

Doug's article indicates that the Phyrexians see machines as perfection and organic matter as inferior:

"Phyrexia is a system founded on the power of the machine. Machines are not just tools for Phyrexia to manufacture their civilization and accomplish their goals; machines are fundamental to their beliefs. Phyrexia is a civilization of constant evolution, of self-betterment, of personal and global advancement, and artifice is the key to a Phyrexian creature's freedom from the confines of its organic origins."

Makes sense, as long as you assume that anything Phyrexian begins as organic (or part-organic and part-metallic, as many Mirrans are.) But why then do we see Ichorclaw Myr developing sinews/fleshy bits that are not present on uncorrupted Myr? I can certainly see why Phyrexia would wish to corrupt non-Phyrexian machines, but why give them flesh, if flesh is to be evolved past? It's been niggling at me for a while now, as awesome as I find Ichorclaw Myr's flavor.

My personal attempts to finagle that into making sense yield the idea that perhaps Phyrexians' quest to transcend the flesh is actually an impossible goal. Perhaps being Phyrexian necessarily implies being both, and thus although they aspire to become fully machine, even things that begin as machines can't end that way?

Anyone else got any thoughts? They've taken such care with all this that I have difficulty believing it's a plot hole. I'm sure someone out there knows the history of the Invasion and all better than I do and thus has the answer to all this...
hm...  Nicol, Phyrexia, Eldrazi... Gonna have to go with The Slivers as the last nemesis, assuming they gain the ability to travel the planes.



This is indeed perfect, thanks!

I'd cut the dupes for alara and Lorwyn/shadowmoor, but no one wants to get down to playing the defenders of Ulgrotha... at least not until/unless the plane gets a revisit.



I'm fine with regarding Lorwyn and Shadowmoor as separate planes, but Alara is a bit of a sticky wicket given that Conflux has blurry distinctions as to what belongs to what shard, and ARB has no distinctions at all.  You'd kinda have to eyeball it.  But personally, I'd rather bend the rules on what's allowed in terms of "generic" spells - for instance I've always thought Ravnica's Izzet Guildmage needed a Volcanic Hammer and an Unsummon to be any good, instead of having to deal with the block variants that are too expensive for his ability.

Serra's Realm (forgot the name)



That IS the name; there never was any other.  At least not on any Urza-block card or in any of the four novels associated with it.

Yup someone's gotta play Ulgrotha



It's debatable whether Ulgrotha was really under attack, the Baron was about as sedate an archfiend as you could hope for, but in at least a technical sense Autumn Willow was the chief defender against his depradations, with Rashka the Slayer also being in there and several others.

(It occurs to me, with all those Legends being the point of the whole thing, Homelands was sort of Kamigawa 1.0.  I guess they're still ironing out the kinks, but it was definitely an improvement; can't wait to see the next Legends Matter block!)

Maybe Mishra as the 4th?



Mishra's machines were Phyrexian-fueled.

I liked the article I have however a smal question about the Replica cycle of creatures.
The Replica cycle all have the Mirran watermark. They can however all sacrifice themselves for an effect. Creature sacrifice has been asigned as a Phyrexian thing. Why aren't they Phyrexian? The Moriok Replica even makes you lose life for the effect it gives (comparable to Necrogen Scudder).



Self-sacrifice isn't Phyrexian, other-sacrifice is.  Losing life isn't specifically Phyrexian either - indeed, Moriok Replica is a lot of fun when your opponent is only attacking you with Infecters.

As to the last post, Phrexia's objective isn't to turn everything into a machine, it's to turn everything into the perfect synthesis of machine and lifeform - to eliminate the distinction, remove the weaknesses of both while keeping the strengths, and improve the functionality of the result.  What they don't deal with at all is the spirit - they're ultrapragmatists, caring nothing about suffering you don't remember or atrocities you don't survive.  Anything you can get away with is fair play, ergo you should strive to be immune to prosecution by virtue of having enough power to be untouchable, as this is the only way to guarantee your freedom.  Black ethos at its finest, even if they're no longer black-exclusive.  (I like how there are currently black and green Phyrexian creatures and blue Phyrexian cards of which most are not creatures - it's appropriate that Blue would be where its influence would spread covertly with few identifiable minions.  If there's a red or white Phyrexian card at the moment, I don't recall it.  Fascinating, really - reminds me of my Ketheraad design where I resequenced the color pie, as the "Dissentius" setting with its WUGBR color pie was very similar to what Phyrexia is doing here.)
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
As to the last post, Phrexia's objective isn't to turn everything into a machine, it's to turn everything into the perfect synthesis of machine and lifeform - to eliminate the distinction, remove the weaknesses of both while keeping the strengths, and improve the functionality of the result.



That makes a lot of sense. I read some of the flavor text as implying the objective was (at least in part) to transcend the flesh, but if that's not so, things make a lot more sense. I really like the idea of striving to merge them both so closely there's no longer a distinction. Like you said, very Black of them. :-)
It's so ironic we go into some details when Doug fails to explain some basic concepts like how come Venser is so young?
As to the last post, Phrexia's objective isn't to turn everything into a machine, it's to turn everything into the perfect synthesis of machine and lifeform - to eliminate the distinction, remove the weaknesses of both while keeping the strengths, and improve the functionality of the result.



That makes a lot of sense. I read some of the flavor text as implying the objective was (at least in part) to transcend the flesh, but if that's not so, things make a lot more sense. I really like the idea of striving to merge them both so closely there's no longer a distinction. Like you said, very Black of them. :-)



They want to transcend weakness, and flesh in general is a little weaker than metal, but also stronger in certain ways.  The phyrexians want metal that grows and regenerates, but they also want flesh that can be tempered and annealed.
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
What they don't deal with at all is the spirit - they're ultrapragmatists, caring nothing about suffering you don't remember or atrocities you don't survive.  Anything you can get away with is fair play, ergo you should strive to be immune to prosecution by virtue of having enough power to be untouchable, as this is the only way to guarantee your freedom.  Black ethos at its finest, even if they're no longer black-exclusive.  (I like how there are currently black and green Phyrexian creatures and blue Phyrexian cards of which most are not creatures - it's appropriate that Blue would be where its influence would spread covertly with few identifiable minions.  If there's a red or white Phyrexian card at the moment, I don't recall it.  Fascinating, really - reminds me of my Ketheraad design where I resequenced the color pie, as the "Dissentius" setting with its WUGBR color pie was very similar to what Phyrexia is doing here.)




+2 Vorthos points

to transcend the flesh, but if that's not so, things make a lot more sense. I really like the idea of striving to merge them both so closely there's no longer a distinction.




+1 Vorthos point
What they don't deal with at all is the spirit - they're ultrapragmatists, caring nothing about suffering you don't remember or atrocities you don't survive.  Anything you can get away with is fair play, ergo you should strive to be immune to prosecution by virtue of having enough power to be untouchable, as this is the only way to guarantee your freedom.  Black ethos at its finest, even if they're no longer black-exclusive.  (I like how there are currently black and green Phyrexian creatures and blue Phyrexian cards of which most are not creatures - it's appropriate that Blue would be where its influence would spread covertly with few identifiable minions.  If there's a red or white Phyrexian card at the moment, I don't recall it.  Fascinating, really - reminds me of my Ketheraad design where I resequenced the color pie, as the "Dissentius" setting with its WUGBR color pie was very similar to what Phyrexia is doing here.)



+2 Vorthos points

Only 2?  I'm insulted, that was worth at least 3000. 
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
It's not a Flores reward.

Fraid the reference escapes me, I think the last time I read Flores's colum was in 2005....
My New Phyrexia Writing Credits My M12 Writing Credits
As far as the benefit of the rest of Magic is concerned, gold cards in Legends were executed perfectly. They got all the excitement a designer could hope out of a splashy new mechanic without using up any of the valuable design space. Truly amazing. --Aaron Forsythe's Random Card Comment on Kei Takahashi
floresrewards.com/

He's been yappin' about them on Twitter.



Anyway, the concept of Phyrexian's color is intriguing.
They aren't necessarily black, but are influenced by black.
So, a non-hybrid, Vorthos-hybrid.

+1 Vorthos point



Whee! I get points! (Well, one.)

I can't go into too much detail, as they'll unfold throughout the entire block, but the culture/virus/civilization/thing situation will be explained more via....puppet shows.
Apparently it's the best way to explain it, who knew.