01/02/2011 Feature: "In These Desperate Times: A Backstory Update for Dark Ascension"

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This thread is for discussion of this weeks's Feature Article, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
"His identity is secret for now, but we will learn what role he has to play in the fate of Innistrad very soon."

*scrolls down*

..... 
I'm pretty sure there is a planeswalker other than Sorin in Dark Ascension.
My money is on Tevesh-Szat.

IMAGE(http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b1/Qilongia/MTG/GuesswhatitsSorin.jpg)

"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
My money is on Tevesh-Szat.



"Having my spark purged to seal the Madara rift, and my body torn apart by the [tidal forces at the event horizon of said] rift was only a setback!"
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
They think things are bad now... just wait till their literally angelic Avacyn descends from the heavens looking decidedly black-aligned... although we have been due for a black-aligned good guy, so maybe she'll be nicer than I think.

But yeah, getting a backstory article before previews was a nice surprise. :D
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"His identity is secret for now, but we will learn what role he has to play in the fate of Innistrad very soon."

*scrolls down*

..... 

My thoughts as well.

But still, nice article with a lot of really good images. So yeah, it was worth it.
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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".
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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!
All this information about how things are getting worse for the humans of Innistrad might be a bit more suspenseful if we didn't already know Avacyn is coming back (possibly not exactly to fix everything, but certainly to put an end of some sort to the current state of affairs).  The past three years have been increasingly proving that Wizards does NOT have any idea how to build anticipation.

Finally, there is another planeswalker .... His identity is secret for now,


No it's not, not even a little.  Seriously, Doug, do you even read the website you're writing for?  It was announced in plain English that Sorin would be in this set more than a month ago.  You're really embarassing yourself with these constant displays of ignorance (many of which have been present in the column, like when you answered a letter about darksteel and said that there had never been an answer to how it was made when one had long ago been established in a source that would not have been hard to find).  Maybe you have too many responsibilities in your position and just don't have enough hours in the day to attend to them all.

Also it sounds like they're hinting at the use of some kind of "gravekicker" ability in this set.
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
I don't care what card has that crazy ghost-pirate and ghost-Conquistidors art (the Peter Mohrbacher image), I want a foil playset of it.

The Karl Kopinski art of the militia dude decapitating a zombie is awesome too, makes me think of Warhammer and the Empire Free Companies (which Kopinski did a lot of artwork for as well).

Innistrad may very be my favourite set in a long while, if only for the fantastic level of artwork. MOAR PWEASE. 
"Waaah there's a few cards I don't like in the latest set! This game sucks now! Everything should just always stay the same because I'm threatened by change! I'm going to quit! I'm quitting! SOMEONE PAY ATTENTION TO MEEEE" - approximately 10% of MtG players on all forums, ever. Read my thoughts, feed my ego! - www.tzaphiel.wordpress.com I'm also a writer! Search for "Gareth Topping" on Amazon!
I love how the flavor of the set mechanics are being hinted at before the spoiling of actual mechanics. 
Goblin Artisans - A Magic Design Blog by GDS2 Contestants and Collaborators
Fail at secret keeping XD. Otherwise an interesting piece with beautiful art.
Felt more like an ad than an article.

Although, a pretty good ad.
blah blah metal lyrics
I hope the card with that guy with the eyepatch fits well in my pirate deck =)

Also, the art about destroying the church and "Statues of the beloved archangel are found toppled, not by the random attacks of rampaging werewolves, but by despondent humans." is a lot like en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iconoclasm which is pretty fitting for the setting. Awesome flavor all around, here's hoping for as little lamers like Balefire Dragon as possible.  
Now that I re-read it, it seems that "His identity is secret now, but we will learn what role he has to play in the fate of Innistrad very soon." means "Up to now, nobody in Innistrad knows about him or what he has to do with anything", not "The audience doesn't know this planeswalker will be in Dark Ascension."
they'll pull a marvelous land of oz and reveal that sorin is actualy avacyn who had been transformed into a man by an evil power (griselbrand?), and once that evil power is defeated (by liliana?) the spell will wear off and sorin will become avacyn again.
Pretty sure we have our art for Faithless Looting in the seventh image down (Gabor Szikszai).
I for one think that a Black/White Sorin would be absolutely amazing... maybe Solar flare might work so i can stop kidding myself as an Aggro player and play some type of control

"Where do you turn when the horrors of your waking life surpass your worst nightmares?


How do you pray when you're not sure the angels have even been listening?


What do you do when the last sanctuary is breached, the last holy symbol loses its shine, and the last candle flickers out?"


I grab my Phoenixes and Snapcasters, load up on burn and counters, and BEAT THE FLARG out of the Zombie Werewolves!

Did anyone else get really excited by the references to the unearth-like mechanic that MaRo implied was in this set?

"Now even the bonds of death no longer hold. Apparently slain werewolves have begun to stagger back to their feet, their hunger only renewed by their seeming destruction. Geists return after being exorcised by the clerics' most powerful banishment spells. Vampires laugh off stakes and fire, rising in spite of every trick and country secret known to kill them."

There's no way that Kev Walker zombie doesn't have this mechanic. 

IMAGE(http://steamsignature.com/status/default/76561197995631463.png) No longer a commander as of 7/29/13.

I don't get it.
"The horrors of Innistrad have learned the weakness of their prey."

The weakness was that human defences were worth nothing, and just walkin in and doing whatever they feel like is really easy?

Yxoque wrote:
This forum can't even ****ing self-destruct properly.

IMAGE(http://img.pokemondb.net/sprites/black-white/anim/normal/plusle.gif)

I am somewhat hoping that this set which is focusing on the "Horror's" of innistrad, would have a few more Horror cards.


Maybe even one horror tribal card to be nice?
Now that I re-read it, it seems that "His identity is secret now, but we will learn what role he has to play in the fate of Innistrad very soon." means "Up to now, nobody in Innistrad knows about him or what he has to do with anything", not "The audience doesn't know this planeswalker will be in Dark Ascension."



Well, that doesn't quite jive either, since the Markov bloodline is not exactly a secret to the people of Innistrad. True, Sorin himself hasn't been home in a while, but I don't think we can quite make the leap from there to no one from Innistrad knows about him.
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Now that I re-read it, it seems that "His identity is secret now, but we will learn what role he has to play in the fate of Innistrad very soon." means "Up to now, nobody in Innistrad knows about him or what he has to do with anything", not "The audience doesn't know this planeswalker will be in Dark Ascension."



Well, that doesn't quite jive either, since the Markov bloodline is not exactly a secret to the people of Innistrad. True, Sorin himself hasn't been home in a while, but I don't think we can quite make the leap from there to no one from Innistrad knows about him.



Consider that Sorin has been 'walking for centuries, not just a few years or so. He's quite old. It may be that the current spate of vampires are way too young to actually remember him. He may also be one of the progenitors of the Markov line, rather than just one of its errant scions. So, no one alive may remember him much at all.
"Possibilities abound, too numerous to count." "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969) "Ever since man first left his cave and met a stranger with a different language and a new way of looking at things, the human race has had a dream: to kill him, so we don't have to learn his language or his new way of looking at things." --- Zapp Brannigan (Beast With a Billion Backs)
"With the exception of the elder dragon Nicol Bolas, the vampire Sorin Markov is older than all other planeswalkers described here—older than all of them combined. His multiple millennia have brought him detachment and easy confidence. Unlike Bolas, Sorin doesn't concern himself with gathering power or control. He is content to follow his whims, even when those whims are cruel or deadly."

That is a quote from the Planeswalker page, it's not as though we don't know of Sorin Markov, we don't know about Sorin.

He is a very strange character, why would such a dark soul attempt to seal away the Eldrazi when he could have just walked away from the plane and had nothing to do with it, yet he even returned to the plane when the Eldrazi were released. Sorin's spark may have ignited as a direct result of becoming a vampire, maybe at one point he was a human fighting these same horrors, but he is undoubtedly far older than any creature that inhabits Innistrad, and that includes Avacyn.

Can't wait to see what happens!
I want the card for that first image! I don't care! I want it. 
"With the exception of the elder dragon Nicol Bolas, the vampire Sorin Markov is older than all other planeswalkers described here—older than all of them combined. His multiple millennia have brought him detachment and easy confidence. Unlike Bolas, Sorin doesn't concern himself with gathering power or control. He is content to follow his whims, even when those whims are cruel or deadly."

That is a quote from the Planeswalker page, it's not as though we don't know of Sorin Markov, we don't know about Sorin.

He is a very strange character, why would such a dark soul attempt to seal away the Eldrazi when he could have just walked away from the plane and had nothing to do with it, yet he even returned to the plane when the Eldrazi were released. Sorin's spark may have ignited as a direct result of becoming a vampire, maybe at one point he was a human fighting these same horrors, but he is undoubtedly far older than any creature that inhabits Innistrad, and that includes Avacyn.

Can't wait to see what happens!



I thought it was mentioned in a recent Savor the Flavor that Sorin grandfather is actually still the head of the Markov line at this point. 
I don't get it.
"The horrors of Innistrad have learned the weakness of their prey."

The weakness was that human defences were worth nothing, and just walkin in and doing whatever they feel like is really easy?

Think of it as "they've learned how weak their prey truly is."
Sorin being a BW planeswalker in this set would actually be pretty sick.

I haven't gone too deep into the lore/flavor around the planeswalkers, but from what I've seen/heard, Sorin doesn't seem THAT bad.

However, I could be horribly mistaken by saying that xD

He could help the humans based off of one of his "whims" too ;P
Something like, "Vampires nowadays, I tell ya. Back in my day..." *Sorin's vengeance straight into Olivia's heart*

Also, the first piece of art looked like something of "mythic" quality ;) A legendary creature, perhaps?
Now that I re-read it, it seems that "His identity is secret now, but we will learn what role he has to play in the fate of Innistrad very soon." means "Up to now, nobody in Innistrad knows about him or what he has to do with anything", not "The audience doesn't know this planeswalker will be in Dark Ascension."



...Sorin himself hasn't been home in a while, but I don't think we can quite make the leap from there to no one from Innistrad knows about him.



"A while" is quite the understatement when it has been a couple of millenia. I think it's identity as in personality and motivations rather than his name. Did they mention anything about Sorin's major effects on Innistrad before? "His past is woven with the history of this world" Also, I know he's old, but is he really older than Avacyn??


 Also, the first piece of art looked like something of "mythic" quality ;) A legendary creature, perhaps?


 
Well, 75% of Jason Chan's art is Rares and Mythics.
My money is on Tevesh-Szat.

...And so it begins.



In before someone says Urza.
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Clearly, this is Thomil's doing.
"With the exception of the elder dragon Nicol Bolas, the vampire Sorin Markov is older than all other planeswalkers described here—older than all of them combined. His multiple millennia have brought him detachment and easy confidence. Unlike Bolas, Sorin doesn't concern himself with gathering power or control. He is content to follow his whims, even when those whims are cruel or deadly."

That is a quote from the Planeswalker page, it's not as though we don't know of Sorin Markov, we don't know about Sorin.

He is a very strange character, why would such a dark soul attempt to seal away the Eldrazi when he could have just walked away from the plane and had nothing to do with it, yet he even returned to the plane when the Eldrazi were released. Sorin's spark may have ignited as a direct result of becoming a vampire, maybe at one point he was a human fighting these same horrors, but he is undoubtedly far older than any creature that inhabits Innistrad, and that includes Avacyn.

Can't wait to see what happens!



I thought it was mentioned in a recent Savor the Flavor that Sorin grandfather is actually still the head of the Markov line at this point. 



Ya, after I typed this I did some reading you appear to be correct, Edgar Markov, Sorin's grandfather is still the head of the Markov bloodline... I find that a bit troubling, they went out of their way to note Sorin's age only to find out his grandfather is still alive? That's not very flavorful at all...

Sorin is definitely in Dark Ascension, but I don't think this paragraph is referring to Sorin.


Finally, there is another planeswalker whose presence will impact—and already has extensively impacted—the tale of Innistrad. His past is woven with the history of this world, and his return after an extended absence will uncover long-buried secrets. Although his humanity was cast off long ago, his purpose on Innistrad will reveal surprising allegiances. His identity is secret for now, but we will learn what role he has to play in the fate of Innistrad very soon.


Was Sorin ever human? If Sorin's grandfather was the head of the Markov bloodline of vampires, surely that implies Sorin was born a vampire. Therefore I find it somewhat plausible this paragraph is referring to some other once-human 'walker.

Of course, it could be just sloppy writing, or cleverly tricksy writing, or some other dodge. But you'd have thought that the author would know that Sorin's face has been plastered across DA ads for months. 
I know world building isn't easy, but there's one logical flaw that bugs me most: writers being too generous with life spans.

So Sorin has been around for "multiple millennia". Ok, he's a Walker and would have found more than enough diversion to keep him from being bored to death, granted. But his grandfather, an ordinary vampire unable to die of age, is still sitting around in his barony? For even more than multiple millennia? And all the townsfolk around him are still fighting with pitchforks? Gimme a break...

It's like expecting humanity to have found nothing better to do than building pyramids after 4,000 years.
Clearly, this is Thomil's doing.

This is the third time in two days that I've seen someone namedrop Thomil. Is Thomil a thing now? Can we make it a thing?

@Jakusotsu:

Is it really that odd? How do you feel about Dracula, in comparison? Keep in mind that the citizens of Innistrad are living in a literal, externally enforced Dark Age, and that, well, immortality is awesome, so I don't see why A. Innistrad should be more developed or why B. Grandfather Markov should be particularly discontent with his existence. I honestly don't understand your criticism. Just what don't you like here?

@alextfish:

He has been implied to be previously human, yes. The details are still pretty unclear, though.


It's also worth noting that we know nothing about the time spans involved here. Grandfather Markov could be 50 years older than Sorin, for all we know, rather than the further centuries that some of you seem to be assuming.
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I know world building isn't easy, but there's one logical flaw that bugs me most: writers being too generous with life spans.

So Sorin has been around for "multiple millennia". Ok, he's a Walker and would have found more than enough diversion to keep him from being bored to death, granted. But his grandfather, an ordinary vampire unable to die of age, is still sitting around in his barony? For even more than multiple millennia? And all the townsfolk around him are still fighting with pitchforks? Gimme a break...

It's like expecting humanity to have found nothing better to do than building pyramids after 4,000 years.



Who says that he was born/created during the Middle Ages equivalent on Innistrad? Maybe he was a caveman who was turned into one of the very first vampires and Innistrad has progressed technologically since.
Is it really that odd? How do you feel about Dracula, in comparison? Keep in mind that the citizens of Innistrad are living in a literal, externally enforced Dark Age, and that, well, immortality is awesome, so I don't see why A. Innistrad should be more developed or why B. Grandfather Markov should be particularly discontent with his existence. I honestly don't understand your criticism. Just what don't you like here?

What I don't like is the "multiple millennia" thing. We can't even start to imagine what an awfully long time that is. Dracula doesn't even come close.

True, the current crop of Innistrad citizens are much to busy fighting their hardships to develop properly, but these circumstances couldn't have lasted for even one millennium. Either Avacyn was strong enough to give them some shelter or the monsters would have quickly gotten the better of them. But as occamsrazorwit says...
Who says that he was born/created during the Middle Ages equivalent on Innistrad? Maybe he was a caveman who was turned into one of the very first vampires and Innistrad has progressed technologically since.

That's a fair point. But the name Edgar Markov implies a decent level of civilization, unless he adopted it later. Whatever the case, I don't envy the (un-)life the creative staff painted for him.

Edit: Oh, and by the way, immortality is far from awesome. Read here:
www.cracked.com/article_18708_5-reasons-...
Who says that he was born/created during the Middle Ages equivalent on Innistrad? Maybe he was a caveman who was turned into one of the very first vampires and Innistrad has progressed technologically since.



Dominaria, Ravnica, and I'm sure there are others where it's explicitly stated people have stayed somewhere around the middle ages for millennia.
...because progressing any farther than some bastard lovechild of Clive Barker and Steampunk just isn't "Magical" enough for Magic.
Who says that he was born/created during the Middle Ages equivalent on Innistrad? Maybe he was a caveman who was turned into one of the very first vampires and Innistrad has progressed technologically since.

 

Dominaria, Ravnica, and I'm sure there are others where it's explicitly stated people have stayed somewhere around the middle ages for millennia.



Well, Ravnica was steam-punk, as Qmark stated, with their interior plumbing, zepellins, etc. But seriously, they haven't progressed from the Middle Ages in millenia?! Even with the help of magic?! Seems that everyone in the Magicverse is pretty stupid. I know that the goblins have cannons but has anyone in Magic even wielded guns yet? It's not that big a leap from cannons...
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