10/12/2011 StF: "Costuming"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Savor the Flavor, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
If there were a clothing store that sold all of those awesome coats and other clothing (and the hats!) I think I'd never wear anything else ever again. I'd move to the North Pole so it'd always be cold enough to wear them, if I had to! Awesome work, guys; the fashion of Innistrad is far and away my favorite part of the block.
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
Hats!
I'm calling it now- Sorin and Avacyn are connected in some way. Siblings? Lovers?
Good article and beautiful art, as always, but I have to admit that I think you missed a real opportunity to clothe game mechanics with a good lore explanation in your response to this week's letter.

If Avacynian relics and magic don't carry over to other planes, that suddenly causes a huge conflict with how we can summon Avacynian priests, for example, to other planes and times and still make use of their abilities.

I'm sure your explanation is necessitated by events that happen later in the cycle, but I think it would have been more consistent with game mechanics to say that faith in Avacyn powers the magic but that as Avacyn's absense continues and rumors begin to spread about her disappearance, the faith of the people of Innistrad is wavering and their fear is mastering them and this is what's causing the failures in Avacynian protections. This way, it would still make sense for Avacynian magic to work on another plane when a planeswalker summons a faithful devotee of Avacyn or employs one of her artifacts; the strength of the belief of the wielder is what powers the spell or activates the artifact, no matter how far away in space or time Avacyn herself may be.
sorin killed avacyn, you heard it here foist
I love the hats!
I'm sure your explanation is necessitated by events that happen later in the cycle, but I think it would have been more consistent with game mechanics to say that faith in Avacyn powers the magic but that as Avacyn's absense continues and rumors begin to spread about her disappearance, the faith of the people of Innistrad is wavering and their fear is mastering them and this is what's causing the failures in Avacynian protections. This way, it would still make sense for Avacynian magic to work on another plane when a planeswalker summons a faithful devotee of Avacyn or employs one of her artifacts; the strength of the belief of the wielder is what powers the spell or activates the artifact, no matter how far away in space or time Avacyn herself may be.



Faith in Magic is... complicated. Soul's Attendant says right in her flavor text that her faith was shattered by the coming of the Eldrazi, and that she truly believed all she knew was a lie. Yet at the same time she retains her power, and continues to use it to help in the fight and bolster those who still believe. It's possible that "divine" magic is based on faith -- for example, clearly some still believe in Emeria -- but it doesn't seem to be based on faith alone.

There's a weird interplay of invoked power, faith of the wielder, and the simple fact that white spells (and abilities) just seem to work. At some point, "it just works, even though it probably shouldn't" is at the heart of the notion of magic (little m), so we can't be too surprised when logic starts to break down. At the same time, there's no reason what's true in one case should be true in another. Mabe some white magic is based on invoking higher powers, some is based on the faith of the wielder, some is based on the strength of the convocation acting in unison, and some is based on interplay between them. All of those are consistent with what we know of white. There's nothing wrong with saying that there are no simple, immutable rules for this sort of things, aside from the fact it's not a particularly satisfying answer.
Sweet, I got my question answered, with an unexpected hint of things to come...!  It could be that Sorin is just flat out older than Avacyn? It's never really stated how long Avacyn had been around before her disappearance.

I really do like the look of Innistrad overall, costuming included.  I really love the oppulent vampire costuming, it's nice to have some 'regal' looking clothing in Magic.  And hats.
There's a weird interplay of invoked power, faith of the wielder, and the simple fact that white spells (and abilities) just seem to work. At some point, "it just works, even though it probably shouldn't" is at the heart of the notion of magic (little m), so we can't be too surprised when logic starts to break down. At the same time, there's no reason what's true in one case should be true in another. Mabe some white magic is based on invoking higher powers, some is based on the faith of the wielder, some is based on the strength of the convocation acting in unison, and some is based on interplay between them. All of those are consistent with what we know of white. There's nothing wrong with saying that there are no simple, immutable rules for this sort of things, aside from the fact it's not a particularly satisfying answer.



I agree with you. I definitely see the spells presented in Magic as spanning a very broad continuum between hieromantic, divinity-powered prayers, to shamanic and diabolic spirit-channeling, to straight-up, hermetic manipulation of reality itself. The brilliance of the coarse-grained nature of the mana system allows for that kind of conveniently sliding scale.

I just think that since they're making such a big deal about a very specific kind of channeled magic on Innistrad, Avacynian prayers, it would have been nice for creative to have made some special consideration of how to make this work in the greater context of the Magic universe, beyond just Innistrad itself since, even if you're only playing standard, it's definitely possible for you to say that you're casting Avacynian spells on New Phyrexia. But, according to Doug's explanation, it shouldn't really be possible for an Avacynian priest to stun a Phyrexian rager or, I suppose, for an angelic overseer to ever have her powers blossom while protecting an auriok refugee camp.

I suppose one argument could be that these are the personal abilities left to these creatures even after Avacyn's power has faded from them and that they're fed by their own, internal strength or by some other magical source. Like I said, just seems like a bit of a missed opportunity. Although, I suppose if Avacyn really is dead and won't be coming back later in the cycle, then it's a moot point because we're never really on Innistrad in time to see any true Avacynian magic at all.

Edit: Also, I completely failed to notice this until I went back and looked at what Doug said again, but does it seem to any of you like he's confirming that Avacyn is just an archangel, even though a "mighty" one, and not a planeswalker? I'd always assumed that Avacyn was sort of a Serra figure, a planeswalker who got herself into a position to be worshipped as a goddess. However, it really seems like Doug is confirming that Avacyn is just an archangel and indirectly suggesting that her magic is weaker than Markov's. That might be reading far too much into what he said, though, especially if he's trying to dance around the big planeswalker reveal if Avacyn does end up coming back in Roll.
Edit: Also, I completely failed to notice this until I went back and looked at what Doug said again, but does it seem to any of you like he's confirming that Avacyn is just an archangel, even though a "mighty" one, and not a planeswalker? I'd always assumed that Avacyn was sort of a Serra figure, a planeswalker who got herself into a position to be worshipped as a goddess. However, it really seems like Doug is confirming that Avacyn is just an archangel and indirectly suggesting that her magic is weaker than Markov's. That might be reading far too much into what he said, though, especially if he's trying to dance around the big planeswalker reveal if Avacyn does end up coming back in Roll.



Of course Avacyn isn't a planeswalker, she's an Eldrazi that Bolas kidnapped to infect with Phyrexian oil. Tongue out

Edit: Also, I completely failed to notice this until I went back and looked at what Doug said again, but does it seem to any of you like he's confirming that Avacyn is just an archangel, even though a "mighty" one, and not a planeswalker? I'd always assumed that Avacyn was sort of a Serra figure, a planeswalker who got herself into a position to be worshipped as a goddess. However, it really seems like Doug is confirming that Avacyn is just an archangel and indirectly suggesting that her magic is weaker than Markov's. That might be reading far too much into what he said, though, especially if he's trying to dance around the big planeswalker reveal if Avacyn does end up coming back in Roll.



If anthing, I think this article supports the planeswalker idea. If people in Zendikar couldn't use Avacyn's power because avacyn's power resides with her in Innistrad, that would mean that if SHE went to Zendikar (or wherever), the people in Innistrad wouldn't be able to use her power because her power would be elsewhere.