12/08/2010 StF: "The Nonhuman Cultures of Mirrodin"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Savor the Flavor, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Awesome article! I've been really curious about Kemba and the leonin, who have just bits of an interesting story told on the cards. I'm very happy to learn more, and to have more details about the insurgency and Kemba's appointment as Regent.

I like the plot seed of the insurgents gaining Phyrexian weapons, too--looking forward to something fun in MBS or Action.
The question about a 60-card deck size is interesting.

In practice, of course, the two players in a duel, whatever their experience as Magic players, need to be playing as planeswalkers of equal ability and experience - or the game would hardly be fair. If anything, the newer player should receive a handicap, rather than having fewer spells available.

But, in fact, being allowed to play with a smaller deck is a handicap, in the sense this term is used in horse races or golf, and not a disability.

Originally, the rules for Magic: the Gathering required each player to have a deck of 40 cards or more. And there was no 4-of rule. The change to 60 cards with a 4-of rule came about as the result of it having been found necessary to limit draw consistency in order to have a more balanced game.

So this has to do with the practicalities of game play - to which flavor must defer at times.

One could say that, since the Core Set represents the "basic" spells that work on the pivotal plane of Dominaria - and therefore everywhere else - for flavor reasons, the cards legal in the default Magic format (Standard Constructed) ought to be... the ones in the current block expansion only (why is Zendikar more relevant to Mirrodin than Alara or Mercadia or Ravnica)... and every card in every Core Set in the entire history of Magic. Yes, including Black Lotus and the rest of the Power Nine.

But the decision was made to remove the Power Nine from Revised Edition - with all the disappointment that caused to new purchasers of Magic core set booster packs - because those cards were just too powerful to allow Magic to function properly as a game.

If the game wasn't fun to play, the flavor would just sit there and look pretty... without encouraging people to take an interest in the play. Flavor is important, but it doesn't come first.

Coming up with weird ideas to make everyone happy since 2008!

 

I have now started a blog as an appropriate place to put my crazy ideas.

I love the flavor of the loxodon - a perfect exemplar of the simple-minded, stubborn certainty White mages invariably have that they're doing the right thing, no matter what they actually do.  Covered in green blood from the massacre of hundreds of goblin children?  Shrug, must be an act in service to the greater god, or their cleric would have said something against it.  No need to sit around and decide moral questions for yourself - there's a right answer, and your boss obviously knows it or she wouldn't be your boss, so just lift your righteous hammer or your sword of glory in the name of justice and do whatever you're told.


The Origin Query also interests me.  Given how, um, screwy the contrast between Mirrodin's Vedalken 1.0 (four arms, fishy faces, and serum helmets), Ravnica's Vedalken (blue humanoids with high foreheads, no hair and a little gem in the brow but otherwise exactly the same shape as humans), Esper's Vedalken (disregarding the etherium, they're still more obviously nonhuman with extremely tall, narrow heads, but still only two arms), and the Mirrodin 2.0 version (no serum helmet and a more humanlike face, but at least they have the second pair of arms back), I'd love to know what the truly definitional fact of Vedalkens is, where they all came from and what makes them a single race.  (This is ignoring the fact that they might NOT be the same race; after all, Creature - Cat can be anything from a lynx to a leonin to a lion made of fire, so maybe the Creature - Vedalken label gets slapped on anything that's humanoid, blue-skinned and nerdy without necessarily implying that they're actually one species or capable of interbreeding.)

So the black sun is a smoldering hot coal, while the swamps are green with necrogen...fascinating.

And I am getting so tired of elves.

Agreed that the 60-card and x4 aspects are basically impossible to Vorthosicize; they're just useful abstractions.  Perhaps assume that they represent an average of planeswalker capability, and that younger or older planeswalkers, dullards or prodigies, the exceptionally well-prepared or the scatterbrained and disorganized or just in a rush, can have more or fewer of both.

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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
I don't think any of the races on any plane are truly the same as the ones on any other. While, for example, the Mirrodin goblins might have some similar traits and features as a Zendikar goblin or a Jund goblin, they certainly aren't the same race. There's no reason to think the Mirrodin elves or the Mirrodin vedalken are any more closely related to their kin on other planes. I mean, due to the origin of life on Mirrodin, the Vedalken obviously have the answer to their Origin Query on one specific plane, but it's probably not one of the other place we've seen Vedalken based on the number of limbs. As for fishy-helmets versus alien-hatless vedalken, I bet that's just stylistic, like the change in how Goblins on the plane look, rather than anything story-related, and in fact probably never happened officially.

All this, though, is a distraction from what I really wanted to say: WHERE ARE THE VAMPIRES? Surely they are a non-human race, so why no flavor tidbits on them?
Rules Nut Advisor
3. Legendaries. How can I have more than one of each legendary spells in my memory? How can I possibly claim that I know THREE ...Emrakul, the Aeons Torn? How can I have made mana bonds with two places, both of which are ...Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth? Legendary cards are LEGENDARY!! They only EXIST as one-of-a-kind. So how can I remember two?



This is exactly why people argued against changing the text on the cards from "Summon X" to "Creature—X" back in 6th Edition. The card is not a creature, but a spell that summons a creature. We use the card to represent the creature itself once it's been cast, but that's a concession to the fact that it's a card game (which is also the reason getting rid of "summon" was the right decision in the end).

With Legendaries, they're a spell you know, so you can cast one more than once and pull the same entity to you from a different point in their timestream. Of course that doesn't make a lot of sense, but the whole Time Spiral block was specifically about the paradoxical repurcussions of doing this.

All this, though, is a distraction from what I really wanted to say: WHERE ARE THE VAMPIRES? Surely they are a non-human race, so why no flavor tidbits on them?



Because they aren't a well known "race" on Mirrodin, unlike on Zendikar.

IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
All this, though, is a distraction from what I really wanted to say: WHERE ARE THE VAMPIRES? Surely they are a non-human race, so why no flavor tidbits on them?


They don't have flaor built around them because they weren't supposed to be in Mirrodin. They were just introduced to allow to keep saying that Vampires are their "new" everyday creature type. I hate them in Mirrodin, though. Thye have nothing to do with anything.

But I liked the article a lot.
OMG click HERE! OMG! How to autocard and use decklist format
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Real signature, Sblocked for space:
57817638 wrote:
I like storm crow because I really like crows in real life, as an animal, and the card isn't terribly stupid, but packs a good deal of nostalgia and also a chunck of the game's history. So it's perhaps one of the cards I have most affection to, but not because "lol storm crow is bad hurr hurr durr".
Listen to my SoundCloud while you read my signature. The Island, Come And See, The Landlord's Daughter, You'll Not Feel The Drowning - The Decemberists by vimschy IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/rkvR.gif)IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/L3es.gif) IMAGE(http://dragcave.net/image/m71H.gif)
Quotes
56747598 wrote:
57295478 wrote:
Although I do assume you deliberately refer to them (DCI) as The Grand Imperial Convocation of Evil just for the purposes of making them sound like an ancient and terrible conspiracy.
Now, now. 1994 doesn't quite qualify as "ancient".
56734518 wrote:
Oh, it's a brilliant plan. You see, Bolas was travelling through shadowmoor, causing trouble, when he saw a Wickerbough Elder with its stylin' dead scarecrow hat. Now, Bolas being Bolas took the awesome hat and he put it on his head, but even with all his titanic powers of magic he couldn't make it fit. He grabbed some more scarecrows, but then a little kithkin girl asked if he was trying to build a toupee. "BY ALL THE POWERS IN THE MULTIVERSE!" he roared, "I WILL HAVE A HAT WORTHY OF MY GLORY." and so he went through his Dark Lore of Doom (tm) looking for something he could make into a hat that would look as stylish on him as a scarecrow does on a treefolk. He thought about the Phyrexians, but they were covered in goopy oil that would make his nonexistant hair greasy. He Tried out angels for a while but they didn't sit quite right. Then, he looked under "e" (because in the Elder Draconic alphabet, "e" for Eldrazi is right next to "h" for Hat) in his Dark Lore of Doom and saw depictions of the Eldrazi, and all their forms. "THIS SHALL BE MY HAT!" he declared, poking a picture of Emrakul, "AND WITH IT I WILL USHER IN A NEW AGE OF DARKNESS -- ER, I MEAN A NEW AGE OF FASHION!" And so Nicol Bolas masterminded the release of the Eldrazi.
57864098 wrote:
Rhox War Monk just flips pancakes, and if games have told us anything, it's that food = life.
56747598 wrote:
76973988 wrote:
This thread has gotten creepy. XP
Really? Really? The last couple days have been roughly every perverse fetish imaginable, but it only got "creepy" when speculation on Mother of Runes's mob affiliation came up?
76672808 wrote:
57864098 wrote:
57531048 wrote:
Nice mana base. Not really.
Yeah, really. If my deck was going to cost $1000+, I'd at least make it good.
99812049 wrote:
I like to think up what I consider clever names for my decks, only later to be laughed at by my wife. It kills me a little on the inside, but thats what marriage is about.
56816728 wrote:
56854588 wrote:
Of course, the best use [of tolaria west] is transmuting for the real Tolaria. ;)
Absolutely. I used to loose to my buddy's Banding deck for ages, it was then that I found out about Tolaria, and I was finally able win my first game.
70246459 wrote:
WOAH wait wait wait
56957928 wrote:
You know, being shallow and jusdgmental aside, "I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people"
56957928 wrote:
"I later found out that Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates with at least two other people"
56957928 wrote:
Jon infiltrated his way into OKCupid dates
56957928 wrote:
OH MY GOD
109874309 wrote:
The only way I'd cast this card is into a bonfire.
82032421 wrote:
The short answer is that there's no rule barring annoying people from posting, but there a rule barring us from harassing them about it.
56747598 wrote:
Browbeat is a card that is an appropriate deck choice when there's no better idea available. "No better idea available" was pretty much the running theme of Odyssey era.
56874518 wrote:
Or perhaps it was a more straightforward comment indicating a wish for you to be bitten (Perhaps repeatedly) by a small yet highly venomous arachnid.
70246459 wrote:
58280208 wrote:
You're an idiot, and I'm in no mood for silliness.
57817638 wrote:
57145078 wrote:
You just... Vektor it.
That's the answer to everything.
70246459 wrote:
58347268 wrote:
I think the problem is that you don't exist.
This would sound great out of context!
56965458 wrote:
Modern is like playing a new tournament every time : you build a deck, you win with it, don't bother keeping it. Just build another, its key pieces will get banned.
57864098 wrote:
57309598 wrote:
I specifically remember posting a thread when I was just a witty bitty noob.
You make it sound like that's still not the case.
58325628 wrote:
Rap is what happens when the c from crap is taken away.
Doug Beyer:
But sometimes it's also challenging. Because sometimes OH MY GOD, WHAT THE HELL IS THIS THING?
141434757 wrote:
Flashforward five thousand years (Click for atmosphere) :
57927608 wrote:
to paraphrase Jeff Goldblum, Vektor finds a way.
58347268 wrote:
when in rome **** AND PILLAGE
143229641 wrote:
I always find it helpful when im angry to dress up in an owl costume and rub pennies all over my body in front of a full body mirror next to the window.
Dymecoar:
Playing Magic without Blue is like sleeping without any sheets or blankets. You can do it...but why?
Omega137:
Me: "I love the moment when a control deck stabilizes. It feels so... right." Omega137: "I like the life drop part until you get there, it's the MtG variant of bungee jumping"
Zigeif777:
Just do it like Yu-Gi-Oh or monkeys: throw all the crap you got at them and hope it works or else the by-standers (or opponents) just get dirty and pissed.
57471038 wrote:
58258708 wrote:
It's true that Alpha and Beta didn't contain any cards like Tarmogoyf, Darksteel Colossus, or Platinum Angel. It just contained weak, insignificant cards like Black Lotus, Mox Sapphire, and Time Walk.
Normally it's difficult to pick up on your jokes/sarcasm. But this one's pretty much out there. Good progress. You have moved up to Humanoid. You'll be Human in no time.
91893448 wrote:
94618431 wrote:
I didn't know Samurai were known to be able to cut down whole armies...
They can when they're using lightsabers!
57129358 wrote:
97980259 wrote:
My wife brought home a baby black squirrel they found on a horse track and cared for it for a few days. We named it Grixis, but it died.
Unearth it!
70246459 wrote:
[/spoiler] And I'm on Magic Arcana. How about you? Oh, by the way, I'm also on From the Lab now. Twice, actually. And now with my own submited decklist!
I mean, due to the origin of life on Mirrodin, the Vedalken obviously have the answer to their Origin Query on one specific plane, but it's probably not one of the other place we've seen Vedalken based on the number of limbs.

Are you sure about that? ;P

All this, though, is a distraction from what I really wanted to say: WHERE ARE THE VAMPIRES? Surely they are a non-human race, so why no flavor tidbits on them?

So far, Magic has followed the common model that vampires are people born as other humanoid races, mostly human, turned undead by a curse-disease which can be transmitted. Even for the example we have of a relatively large vampire society, the one on Zendikar, reproduction is exclusively performed by bloodchiefs turning people of other races. I suspect this is no different for Mirrodin vampires, the alleged very small number of them making it even less likely that they reproduce by means other than infection.

What would be interesting to know is the origin of the curse-disease for the vampires of each plane, what's the story of the first of them... The only one such origin story I know of is the one of Baron Sengir.
Magic The Gathering DCI Lvl 1 Judge Don't hesitate to post rules question in the Rules Q&A forum for me and other competent advisors to answer : http://community.wizards.com/go/forum/view/75842/134778/Rules_Q38A
I mean, due to the origin of life on Mirrodin, the Vedalken obviously have the answer to their Origin Query on one specific plane, but it's probably not one of the other place we've seen Vedalken based on the number of limbs.

Are you sure about that? ;P



Heh, nice catch. So they may all be Simic mutants.

Can anyone tell me why they decided to do 2 races for white and 1 for each other color? Personally I would have preferred one or the other with more deeck options for either tribal, prefarably cats unless they would make some cheaper Loxodon.
As for fishy-helmets versus alien-hatless vedalken, I bet that's just stylistic, like the change in how Goblins on the plane look, rather than anything story-related, and in fact probably never happened officially.



Actually, as near as I can tell (and keep in mind that it does not seem to be stated anywhere officially), it seems that the Vedalken Space Suits of old were actually filled with Serum.  The change in the appearance of Vedalken is due primarily to the relative scarcity of Serum at this point in time on Mirrodin. 
"We will all be purified in Wurm. What is good will be used to heal Wurm, or grow Wurm, or to fuel Wurm's path. What is vile will be extruded, and we will be free of it forever." --Prophet of the Cult of Wurm
Gotta disagree with Vektor, I like the Mirrodin vampires and am sad to only have one card for them in SOM since the Phyrexians bogarted most of black.  And I'm not sure I buy that these vampires do turn other beings, as it seems more of a stretch than usual with the weird metal anatomy on top of everything else.  You could say that the stomach-pipes grow in and things like the copper hands of an elf or the tusks of a loxodon are absorbed by the body of the newly-turned, but I dunno if I buy it.  It's not inconceivable that vampires could simply be a naturally occurring (well, not in this case, there not being any nature on Mirrodin originally) hemophagic race which reproduces the same way any other breed of creature does.  (Of course there are numerous very interesting questions about how that is, particularly for folks like the Vedalken, but kids play this game so I imagine the details will always remain sketchy there.)

Actually now that I think about it, we know that the Mirrodin vampires are an infection, as their origin is detailed in the Fifth Dawn book, but my point still stands, they could originate naturally on some or another plane.  Perhaps the infections nature of vampirism is due to some necromancer's meddling with the original natural species, which were simply humanoids that evolved from bats and evolved to blood because it was a good nutritive source in their ecology.  Black doesn't have to be all abominations against nature, all the time, though it admittedly has a tendency to go in that direction the moment there's an advantage to doing so.
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
Regardless of your position on Vampires on Mirrodin in the first place, Bleak Coven Vampires is obviously showing Vampires as less of an abomination and more of a race. I'd like to know more about them in this role.
Rules Nut Advisor
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