01/26/2011 StF: "Phyrexia: The Strong and the Scattered"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Savor the Flavor, which goes live Wednesday on magicthegathering.com.


Obviously, part of Mirran's problem is the 85-pound Spice Girls leading the army.
I'm expecting a cycle of Praetors in the next set - seems pretty obvious.  
I don't know, they don't always make legend cards for minor story characters like that.

That said, I think going by flavor texts we can identify who these praetors are.  It looks like:

White - Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Blue - Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
Black - Sheoldred, Whispering One
Red - Urabrask the Hidden
Green - Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger

The four non-red ones are fairly obvious; I'm guessing Urabrask for red because he's one of only two Phyrexians to be quoted on red cards (seeing as there only are two red Phyrexian cards), and he is quoted on multiple cards (including one in SOM), while Kethek isn't.


Obviously, part of Mirran's problem is the 85-pound Spice Girls leading the army.



Agreed.  They keep using this art, and it's frankly pretty terrible.  Somehow the bizarre proportions of this version also made it into the prerelease card art as well.

Wizards - there are so many better pieces of art in this set to use over and over again; was this the best Mirran one you could find?

Agreed.  They keep using this art, and it's frankly pretty terrible.  Somehow the bizarre proportions of this version also made it into the prerelease card art as well.

Wizards - there are so many better pieces of art in this set to use over and over again; was this the best Mirran one you could find?


It doesn't help that her hair looks like a palm frond.
Wizards - there are so many better pieces of art in this set to use over and over again; was this the best Mirran one you could find?





I feel somewhat disappointed that the Magic staff seem to have a fairly pro-Phyrexian stance, judging from the articles over the course of the preview weeks.  (Most of them seem to have come out in favor of Phyrexia...)

As much as I can understand the whole "evil is cool" appeal, it does seem to make a Phyrexian victory look like a foregone conclusion.  Even the factionalization of Phyrexia as explained in the article seems to be leading towards how the final set can incorporate battles between the different colors within Phyrexia.  I suppose it's possible that a Mirran victory could lead to Mirrodin factionalizing again and fighting over the remnants of the Phyrexian technology (thus keeping Phyrexian abilities in the game), but it still seems less likely than a Phyrexian victory.

A bit disappointing to know the end of the story by the middle of the book, especially when they're still trying to hype it up!  XD
The feeling I get from Phyrexia Vs. The Mirrans is that we have the Phyrexians, because they are really awesome villains, and we have the Mirrans, because the Phyrexians need something to fight. I'm not really feeling the war at this moment, and with the prerelease in a couple of days, I should be feeling it.

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The feeling I get from Phyrexia Vs. The Mirrans is that we have the Phyrexians, because they are really awesome villains overused and mostly just a Borg ripoff mixed with steampunk for some reason...


Fixed, for the sad truth.
The feeling I get from Phyrexia Vs. The Mirrans is that we have the Phyrexians, because they are really awesome villains overused and mostly just a Borg ripoff mixed with steampunk for some reason...


Fixed, for the sad truth.



Calling an enemy in any genre piece a "Borg ripoff" is tantamount to calling a first person shooter a "DOOM clone" (or more accurately a "Wolfenstein clone"). There are a litany of villains in that mold both long before the Borg and quite frequently since. You don't knock every zombie movie ever made for ripping off Romero, do you?
You don't knock every zombie movie ever made for ripping off Romero, do you?

On that note, aren't the Borg (and thus the Phyrexians) little more than robo-zombies?

Actually, the original mono-black Phyrexians were much closer to a Borg equivalent then the ones on Mirrodin.
IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
You don't knock every zombie movie ever made for ripping off Romero, do you?

On that note, aren't the Borg (and thus the Phyrexians) little more than robo-zombies?



They're much more like vampires, down to the symbolic pair of puncture wounds.

I don't appreciate this disturbingly common attitude that a work you like that takes elements from older works is a bold new reimagining of a classic and a work you don't like that does the same is petty thievery.

"I know it when I see it" is not how you distinguish "homage" from "ripoff," if such a distinction really exists. I think Tarantino's movies make great use of the former and Avatar is a shameless example of the latter, but if yuo ask me why I hate Avatar I have plenty of reasons other than "lol dances with wolves."

And to get back to your original point: they have "steampunk elements" (which absolutely aren't steampunk, but that's close enough for the purpose of this discussion, I guess) because they're in a fantasy setting. If they were pure sci-fi in the middle of Magic's setting you'd just be complaining that they didn't fit with the aesthetic of the game.
Actually, the original mono-black Phyrexians were much closer to a Borg equivalent then the ones on Mirrodin.



Since they posted that Karn story I've been talking about nothing but the fact that the block's storyline is the exact plot of Final Crisis, but that doesn't mean that it's some derivative mess and the Phyrexians are lame villains.

The Borg, by the way, were ripped off from the Cybermen from Doctor Who. But they became something very distinct because the writers developed them into more than the individual concept or two they borrowed from elsewhere. Then the new Doctor Who brought them back and they were accused of ripping off the Borg, that's how this works.
If they were pure sci-fi in the middle of Magic's setting you'd just be complaining that they didn't fit with the aesthetic of the game.

No.  No I would not.
Hell, something clearly "not Magic" would actually be a great idea for a villain.
The Borg, by the way, were ripped off from the Cybermen from Doctor Who. But they became something very distinct because the writers developed them into more than the individual concept or two they borrowed from elsewhere. Then the new Doctor Who brought them back and they were accused of ripping off the Borg, that's how this works.

Now that's classy.
But they became something very distinct because the writers developed them into more than the individual concept or two they borrowed from elsewhere.



This was kind of the point here.

They keep mentioning that Elspeth's plane was overrun by Phyrexians, but I thought the Phyrexians disappeared after they were defeated during Apocalypse?  My understanding was that this occurred hundreds of years ago, and I wasn't under the impression that Elspeth was that old. 

Or are there other pockets of Phyrexians developing on other planes?

They keep mentioning that Elspeth's plane was overrun by Phyrexians, but I thought the Phyrexians disappeared after they were defeated during Apocalypse?  My understanding was that this occurred hundreds of years ago, and I wasn't under the impression that Elspeth was that old.  

Or are there other pockets of Phyrexians developing on other planes?

An excellent point. In his short story, Karn mentioned his fear that he may have seeded the Phyrexian Oil on other planes as well.  Perhaps Elspeth's home plane is one he visited and accidentally corrupted.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the design of the plane of Golamo in the Great Designer Search 2!
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Actually, the original mono-black Phyrexians were much closer to a Borg equivalent then the ones on Mirrodin.



I agree. And even there, I think they were Borgish but I don't think they were problematically derivative, personally. The Borg are pretty white; the old (and the new, in many ways) Phyrexia is clearly black. It's been way too long since I watched anything Trek, but I can't really think of anything that quite correlates to compleation either. The Borg always struck me as about absorbing everyone, where the Phyrexians are much more about transforming it all and about discovering new ways to root out what they see as weakness.

Is that derivative? I guess so, depending on how forgiving you are about people using that archetype in the first place. Personally I'm pretty forgiving.

And intrigued by the branching out into all colors, and sort of bleeding this very black philosophy into other colors. I really like the whole idea of creepifying all the colors at once.