04/09/2012 Feature: "Angel's Rise and Demon's Release"

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This thread is for discussion of this weeks's Feature Article, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Why, hello there, obvious reanimate bait.
1. Is Garruk, just possibly, fighting Gisa and Geralf?

2. So Liliana opened the helvault by using Planar Chaos logic?

3. Will a new version of Griselbrand form, per the Helvault article? 
As much as I like having story on the website, it's kind of disappointing to have everything wrapped up in such a short article. I mean, less than 2,000 words later and an entire year of storyline is just done. Could we at least have had it broken into two or three articles? I enjoyed the article, but it was really a let down to see a conclusion that amounted to "And then Avacyn brought join and happiness to everybody. The end." Liliana's quest that has taken her years was wrapped up in under 400 words. It takes just 163 words for her to kill Griselbrand.

Even if people aren't buying books anymore, there has to be a better balance between a full novel and a single article. 
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
Even if people aren't buying books anymore, there has to be a better balance between a full novel and a single article. 

Oh, I'd venture the guess sales of the books dropped off pretty sharply right about the same time they disappeared from fatpacks.

Aw, Liliana killed Griselbrand! D: I just met him, and he seemed like such a nice guy; gaining me life, drawing me cards. Too bad.
Draw seven cards, lol, wow. Sounds like a great card for reanimator.
I truly miss the novels. These articles have left me wanting so much more, especially specific stories in regards to the setting itself. I started in the original Mirrodin and read the Mirrodin Block, Kamigawa Block, Ravnica Block, Masquerade Block, and a couple of short story books. I own alot of the others as well that I need to get back to reading. What made Magic so interesting to me and my brother was the story and setting, and how it was tied to the cards. I remember making the first connections after reading my first Magic book (Moons of Mirrodin) and seeing how they were then reflected in the cards. The books are what drove me to collect the cards and flip through the card pages of them. I think Innistrad is such a strong setting and deserves a strong story to go along with it. Each set for it, I've been looking through the cards, trying to read what I can of the story from these cards (Pictures, abilities, and flavor text). This article felt like a weak attempt to bring some of the card concepts into the story (Mikaeus going from Lumarch to Unhallow).  Oh well, I'll just imagine the stories of Innistrad in my head, and all the horrors that exist there that the humans have such a hard time surviving against, grasping onto the little hope that they had until Avacyn has now been released.
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So... you build up to Griselbrand's release, show us a card of him depicting his terrible power, with a quote saying that the price of releasing Avacyn was HIM, building him up to be the big villian we expect him to be...and then a minute's worth of text later, Lilliana "destroys Griselbrand utterly."

Great. I seriously hope there's more to this story, that he isn't as dead as we think. I have faith in the creative team that they will make things more interesting as far as this goes, but if this really is all we have, it is abjectly terrible story-telling, and any Magic player with an iota of interest in the plot will be very pissed off at you.
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Epic aesthetics fail on that mana cost. Guarantee someone's going to screw up thinking it costs 7 at some point (wouldn't be surprised if I did it myself), probably many people many times. C'mon, it's a 7/7 that draws 7 cards for 7 life with 7 words of rules next (and a number). As splashy as this card is, that's going to stick out like a sore thumb for me every time I see this card.
Epic aesthetics fail on that mana cost. Guarantee someone's going to screw up thinking it costs 7 at some point (wouldn't be surprised if I did it myself), probably many people many times. C'mon, it's a 7/7 that draws 7 cards for 7 life with 7 words of rules next (and a number). As splashy as this card is, that's going to stick out like a sore thumb for me every time I see this card.

Wait it costs 8? I had no idea.
There are so many things wrong with this block's story, now, that I don't even know where to begin. I'll just pick one at random and go from there.

Mikaeus, once zombified by Liliana, was compelled to obey her, and thus had to tell her the truth about Griselbrand's whereabouts. Okay... so, why couldn't she do the same thing to the demon cultist she just killed? He'd be compelled to answer, too, right?

Thalia single-handedly was able to blow up the Helvault by pointing a single finger at it. Or maybe Liliana did it somehow, but I'm pretty sure the implication here is that Thalia did it. Okay, so... clearly it doesn't take much to blow up this mythical artifact. I get that it is, at the end of the day, just an artifact so Disenchant is all it takes, but that's kind of anticlimactic, and the worst defense mechanism for the most important thing in the world ever. Also, what was stopping a demon cultist with access to white magic from doing this ages ago? We know from the "Alternate Reality Game" story that they've infiltrated the church and have access to the Helvault...

Avacyn was fatally wounded by her own spear when she was trapped in the Helvault. The Helvault kept her in stasis, as we were told when they said that Mikaeus was afraid to break her out because the stasis of the Helvault was the only thing keeping her alive. So... how did she heal in there? Let alone the fact that you don't tend to heal from fatal wounds...

Humanity has been taking a beating. Their numbers are extremely reduced, while (due to the contagion aspect of the monsters) the monsters' numbers are bolstered. Couple that with the fact that all of the demons are free again. So how in the world has the simple fact that Avacyn is now free allowed them to so quickly and easily turn the tides? Before Avacyn's entrapment, with far greater numbers of humans, most of the demons sealed away, and a reduced number of monsters, humanity was still just barely holding its own, not reclaiming territory from the monsters, just coexisting. Now, with so much more having gone wrong since then, they're doing this much better? I don't buy it.

Way to play up the importance of Griselbrand, wait until now to give us a card, and then kill him mere minutes after he's freed. That was incredibly disappointing and anticlimactic.

So what was the point of having Garruk and Sorin here, then? Garruk acted as a glorified alarm clock, one that never went off -- he gave Liliana a reason to "hurry". He didn't play a part in the story at all, other than that, which never came up. And Sorin, while he did play an important part millennia ago when he created Avacyn, did absolutely nothing in the current story. He was just kind of there, apparently.
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Where Der Fark is Sowin!?
Wow, so I guess Hasbro found that they could cut costs on the story side aye. This block's story offered so much and absolutely failed in delivering anything worthwile. There is so much stupidity in this story that people have already pointed out already and there's still so much more.

So basically whenever the Hellvault was to be broken the humans would "win". So you're telling me that the greatest demon of them all, Griselbrand, decided to basically sacrifice himself to capture Avacyn in the Hellvault so that his subjects could take over the plane? Are you serious? Wouldn't he give that job to one of his lower subjects?

This is just another ridiculous point in the story that makes me feel stupid for actually enjoying it. I usually don't care for story but this one drew me in and I feel like I got absolutely zero pay off at the end.

I'm going to stick to being a Spike from now on because caring about story seems like a painful experience these days.
Where Der Fark is Sowin!?


He went to join Garruk in the "we existed solely because every block needs some planeswalkers" corner.

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192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
Angels, the most beautiful and pure beings in Magic... turned to charred skeletons...   I haven't seen such disturbing art since Mortal Flesh Is Weak... Excuse me while I go weep in a corner...
It feels like planeswalkers are just becoming to big of a focus in the story/game. It seems they include planeswalkers just for kicks and may barely mention them so they have a reason to throw them into a set. It wasn't sensible how the original planeswalker cards were thrown into Lorwyn, but I guess that is better than a weak attempt to attach them to a different set's story/setting. I miss the stories where planewalkers were not less of the focus of the stories and instead the story focused more on the struggles happening within the setting itself. I do not like how most of the recent story material (novels, comics, and these articles) have become all about the planewalkers. I'd rather keep the idea of the players as planewalkers and minimize the degree to which these other planeswalkers influence the stories. Or at least put some depth behind it.
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Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
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I am both rational and instinctive. I value self-knowledge and understanding of the world; my ultimate goal is self-improvement and improvement of the world around me. At best, I am focused and methodical; at worst, I am obsessive and amoral.
So... you build up to Griselbrand's release, show us a card of him depicting his terrible power, with a quote saying that the price of releasing Avacyn was HIM, building him up to be the big villian we expect him to be...and then a minute's worth of text later, Lilliana "destroys Griselbrand utterly."

Great. I seriously hope there's more to this story, that he isn't as dead as we think. I have faith in the creative team that they will make things more interesting as far as this goes, but if this really is all we have, it is abjectly terrible story-telling, and any Magic player with an iota of interest in the plot will be very pissed off at you.

I found it terribly anticlimatic as well. Oh well, at least the card is pretty cool.

L1 Judge

I tend to agree with the sentiment that the planeswalkers are starting to overtake the cool concept of visiting a plane and seeing a new way that races/colours/mana interract or develop.  Whilst Ravnica had a storyline, it was subservient to the Guilds.  And whilst I understand why Innistrad is the reverse, it also shows up the weakness of that approach.  (And I'm someone who is in favour of "creative" having more of an input into the overall structure; Weatherlight is still one of my favourite sets for the storytelling aspect, simply because you didn't need external resources to tell you what was going on.)

This piece felt to me like listening to a D&D player - and a dangerously "munchkin" one at that! - telling me about their last game session.  Sure there are some nice plothooks and some carefully unanswered questions, but ultimately it felt unsatisfying.
Hmmmm.... after a couple of thousand words, the story of Innistrad is completed?

This is terrible.  So many questions have been left unanswered.  Though I'm sure Doug didn't intend for it to be like this, I feel that you should do some follow-ups, an aftermath of sorts

Questions:

-So the point of Garruk being in Innistrad is to be on a wild goose chase?  Isn't he brute enough to handle mere ghouls and walking corpses?

-Sorin.... Ah.... the lord of Innistrad.... has simply no say in this particular passage of time?  His only contribution in Innistrad was to make BW tokens viable again???  C'mon!!!  What about his dispute with his grandfather, Edgar?

-And poor Griselbrand.... the preview card.  A mighty 7/7 that cost an epic fail 8cmc meets his immediate demise when Helvault shattered?  Where was Avacyn?  You mean she had literally no time to play catch up with her nemesis, that Liliana caught hold of him first?

-Where was the wound on her chest?  The spear??? Heck, Griselbrand doesn't even have hands!  How did he wield a spear, not to mentioned stabbed Avacyn with it?

-Lastly, what's up with Helvault?  The things inside get frozen in time?  Shouldn't Avacyn be still bloodied and stuff?  And if things do get frozen, when Helavult breaks open, wouldn't both Avacyn and Griselbrand simultaneously come out together?  They should be mere metres away from one another at worst.

This story needs a dramatic explanation, a good cleanup. 
my 12 year old niece could write a better ending. where is sorin, where is garruk. it feels so rushed, not even mediocre.
Griselbrand probably died trying to gather 8 mana, while Lili started beating him turn 3. Haha.
Where Der Fark is Sowin!?


He went to join Garruk in the "we existed solely because every block needs some planeswalkers" corner.



*Flips a table* ... At least it can't get as bad as Mass Effect 3. Ha it isn't like Wizard to pull a indoctrination theory on us.... Right?... RIGHT?! :o
So... you build up to Griselbrand's release, show us a card of him depicting his terrible power, with a quote saying that the price of releasing Avacyn was HIM, building him up to be the big villian we expect him to be...and then a minute's worth of text later, Lilliana "destroys Griselbrand utterly."

Great. I seriously hope there's more to this story, that he isn't as dead as we think. I have faith in the creative team that they will make things more interesting as far as this goes, but if this really is all we have, it is abjectly terrible story-telling, and any Magic player with an iota of interest in the plot will be very pissed off at you.



This is about how I felt after reading it. It felt very rushed and anticlimatic. Hopefully there is more to the story... 
Is anyone else dying to know the spell that goes with that art that is presumably Lilliana "destroy[ing] Griselbrand utterly"? It better be a monstrous new look at completely vicious removal of some kind.
Well....

That sucked....

BRING BACK THE 3 BOOKS PER BLOCK!!!!

The story telling on the website is soooooooo disappointing that you might as well not even have a story for the block....

Two Planeswalkers show up on a plane. Planeswalker A apparently gets lost while Planeswalker B makes a b-line dash to her objective.

A third planeswalker shows up and then just quietly sits in a corner for the rest of the block (after being the marketing face of a full set).

Planeswalker B destroys a powerful and extremely old prison by more or less blinking at it. Then proceeds to kill one of the most evil creatures in the MTG universe by about the same methods.

I think that the Planeswalkers have killed the MTG books....

I want Ixadors and Agurs' to become the story focal point again.... Those made great stories (I have the Onslaught and Ravnica block books sitting right next to my Shakespeare collection).
Eh. I'm not gonna blame Planeswalkers for killing Magic Storyline. It's been more of a progression from the desire to make absolutely every story element show up on cards. (If Kamigawa had been printed now, O-Kagachi would've been printed as Progenitus) They seem to be willing to sacrifice story in favor of "Look! This character is cool! AND HE'S A CARD!"

It's not the Planeswalkers themselves, it's the changes that caused them to become the focus.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
They discontinued the novels because they didn't sell well enough.

 

Goblin Artisans
a Magic: the Gathering design blog
This whole set, almost this whole block has just been ruined for me.

I love the card game, but without solid story to back it up, we just get cards without any real context. The legendaries
Feel like some sort of inside joke, and frankly I miss the old three books per block.

I realize many of you haven't liked any of the stories recently, one book per block, and a pretty poorly written one at that.
Wizards or Hasbro or whoever seem to have stopped caring, and frankly this is insulting to the players who keep trying to care about
the setting and people and their struggle.

It doesn't cost an awful lot to write said books, and i'm even sure some more talented fans would be happy to write them for a discounted price just so they'd exist. Its not even that hard to think out the plot of each book either, and even easier to find 300 pages worth of material per set.

Innistrad could have taken three perspectives,
Liliana who arrives on the plane and begins her search.
Garruk who arrives, and wants to help the humans, but as the curse takes hold slowly becomes crazy.
Some native to the plain losing hope in the church, such as someone who comes in contact with people such as Thalia or Mikaeus. Or perhaps maybe a native of kessig who is seeing the increase in monsters firsthand and daily.

Darkascension would then continue the story of these people, with the possible subtraction of Garruk, and the addition of Sorin.
Liliana would continue her search, with the climax of the book being her confrontation with Thalia.
Sorin would arrive and focus less on Demon threat and the Helvault and more on destroying the Vampire houses.
The native of the plane would try to keep hope and keep fighting while many of his friends may die or join the darkness.

Avacyn restored is harder to comment on because we don't know all the story, but:
Liliana would pursue and ultimately kill Griselbrand while eluding the increasingly crazy Garruk,
Soring would confront Edgar Markov and the power of the vampire houses could either end, or declare allegiance to Sorin.
The native of the plain would then witness Avacyn's triumph, and see hope restored(Theres already enough planeswalkers so we don't need any spark igniting non sense.)
Also Garruk, should probably die...Cause we are getting like a ton of planeswalkers as well as an addition of tradgedy and tear shedding could add value to the story.

Please Wizards, we are about to return to Ravnica, whose original storyline and flavor was one of the greatest in Magic History, and almost every fan knows you'll give us about 8000 words to sum it up.

Please find it in your budget to print books again, and put them in the fat packs. If someone just wants pure packs(Essentially what a fat pack is now) then they would literally just buy packs of cards. Stories need to be told, otherwise people may just stop caring and the concept of legends(Creatures we CARE about) becomes redundant.
Epic aesthetics fail on that mana cost. Guarantee someone's going to screw up thinking it costs 7 at some point (wouldn't be surprised if I did it myself), probably many people many times. C'mon, it's a 7/7 that draws 7 cards for 7 life with 7 words of rules next (and a number). As splashy as this card is, that's going to stick out like a sore thumb for me every time I see this card.



It also has 6 lines of text and 11 characters in the name Grieselbrand. It's really only a coincidence that there are seven "words" of rulings. There could have been many more, of course, like additional ruling hints, but then there wouldn't have been room for the flavor text. And of course, it could have said, "You draw 7 cards," but that is already implied. It could have said, "Pay 7 life, target player draws seven cards," but that wouldn't make any sense. It boils down to it just being 7 words and a number because that's what it took to list all the information needed. The cost is to discourage it from ever being splashed, kind of like Phyrexian Obliterator.

What I do like about the card though is the lifelink. Very few demons (if any) have lifelink, but I think it fits well. The demon takes the souls of humans (and other creatures I suppose) and it empowers him. Attack, steal 7 life.

The card could effectively read:

"Whenever Grieselbrand deals combat damage to a creature or player, draw 7 cards."
I will admit Griselbrand seems to have been thrown under the bus...


But seriously, do you guys not know how MtG Daily works? This is just the first article... I remember reading articles weekly for 3 months about Innistrad...

This article is only maybe an hour into the new tale of Innistrad. They could still drop the ball, sure, but give it some time instead of being impatient.

The only thing I really care about is what's going on with the Wolfir; one flavor text so far isn't enough (hopefully). 
Well, I guess it's a good thing I wasn't too worried about the ending of the Liliana/Griselbrand story...:p

However, I'm psyched to see the cards that go with the awesome art in the article. Especially the one that seems to be incinerating angels - gruesome, but it has my spike senses tingling!
I will admit Griselbrand seems to have been thrown under the bus...


But seriously, do you guys not know how MtG Daily works? This is just the first article... I remember reading articles weekly for 3 months about Innistrad...

This article is only maybe an hour into the new tale of Innistrad. They could still drop the ball, sure, but give it some time instead of being impatient.

The only thing I really care about is what's going on with the Wolfir; one flavor text so far isn't enough (hopefully). 



That was when we had a Savor the Flavor column >.>
I will admit Griselbrand seems to have been thrown under the bus...


But seriously, do you guys not know how MtG Daily works? This is just the first article... I remember reading articles weekly for 3 months about Innistrad...

This article is only maybe an hour into the new tale of Innistrad. They could still drop the ball, sure, but give it some time instead of being impatient.

The only thing I really care about is what's going on with the Wolfir; one flavor text so far isn't enough (hopefully). 



That was when we had a Savor the Flavor column >.>



Even then 3 out of 4 columns were more on design side of flavor than story. Looks like wizards gave up on plot.
I don't think we should write off the Griselbrand card just yet.  It is suspiciously close to being a Bargain-on-a-stick afterall, and as I have a sneaking suspicion that there are going to be at least 1-2 cards in the set to get demons into play faster, I can definitely see this being a worthy chase card.  Much moreso than Avacyn at least ^^;;  Better reanimation target too IMHO.  Came out rather similar to what I was thinking it would be rather than what I was hoping it would be, but it does have some nice interaction with his own disciple XD  
Time travel is a crazy thing. Before some of the goofy novels, silver was the only element that can be moved through time. I think if we could toss an earlier version of the Helvault with some nasties into some unsuspecting plane, that would be pretty neat. I'm not creative enough to fill any plot holes, but just thought the concept could get some mileage.
I posted this elsewhere, but it applies just as well here.

Here's what I wish they'd have done:

Reveal that the Helvault can only store demons (and angels) because they are beings of pure mana, and it stores the essence of mana, not actual creatures. So when Avacyn went in, her mana essence got mixed with that of all the demons. When the Helvault is broken, and its magic tries to reform all of those captured within, it reforms Avacyn (and Griselbrand) far more powerful than before, because they've now absorbed so much extra mana. As a consequence, however, Avacyn became corrupted by the Black mana. So she eliminates the old threats, but becomes a new one, a power-hungry tyrant.

See, then we'd actually have a REASON for her to have been healed miraculously, a reason that she is suddenly able to push back the tides of darknesss so much more effectively than before, and have a Griselbrand that could have survived Liliana's assault and still be around for some actual conflict in the story. It also would explain why Avacyn enslaved the werewolves (she'd be seeking more power, a la her new and improved Black side). And would give Sorin something to do in the story: find a way to purify his creation. Since Liliana wouldn't have killed Griselbrand so quickly, she'd have had to stick around, so Garruk too would still have a part to play.
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Even if people aren't buying books anymore, there has to be a better balance between a full novel and a single article. 

Oh, I'd venture the guess sales of the books dropped off pretty sharply right about the same time they disappeared from fatpacks.



Book+ fat pack=I'm buying one EVERY set. No doubt.
I can answer one of the less important questions. Liliana can't destroy the Helvault because she's a necromancer, and black mages can't destroy artifacts. So instead she used her third ability on Thalia and Thalia chose to sacrifice the Helvault. This is made obvious in the video.

Avacyn and Griselbrand are both fully healed because they entered the battlefield as new permanents. Yes, really. I don't know if Avacyn activated the Helvault during the declare blockers step, or maybe damage was on the stack, but neither of them died before being exiled, so they're miraculously healthy.

My really important unanswered questions are:

- Why is Garruk so useless?
- Why is Sorin so useless?
While I agree the basic premise is stupid, Avacyn was fully healed because she was never really wounded to begin with. She was dragged into the Helvault by the spear.

There's pointing out flaws, and there's being an insane nitpicky nitpicker. 
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I can answer one of the less important questions. Liliana can't destroy the Helvault because she's a necromancer, and black mages can't destroy artifacts. So instead she used her third ability on Thalia and Thalia chose to sacrifice the Helvault. This is made obvious in the video.


That's an intuitive idea not many of us have really thought about IMO. For me I didn't think about it because I honestly don't understand what her ultimate looks like. I'd like to see a video of it.