04/16/2012 MM: "Avacyn City, Part 2"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Making Magic, which goes live Monday morning on magicthegathering.com.

"My drivers are trustworthy.  I removed their tongues myself."

..."Good guy", you claim?  Huh.

Cats land on their feet. Toast lands peanut butter side down. A cat with toast strapped to its back will hover above the ground in a state of quantum indecision.

So you kept changing the idea for the final set, and the way the story went... That certainly explains why it's such a mess.

Oh well. Flickering is cool.
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"My drivers are trustworthy.  I removed their tongues myself."

..."Good guy", you claim?  Huh.



Just because he takes proper security measures doesn't mean he's a bad guy. Can't have those vampires catching wind of the Church's top secret plans, now can we?
So I'm thinking that soulbond is a shelved mechanic that could have been for Allies. Is that correct? It certainly has the feeling of "fellas that show up and help out," even thought they don't help everyone.
So you kept changing the idea for the final set, and the way the story went... That certainly explains why it's such a mess.


I agree.  The more I read about the story the worse it gets.   Griselbrand's introduction and destruction was pathetic.  Avacyn's restoration to full power has so far only been explained by the card mechanics of the Helvault - she's a new permanent with no damage on her - but nothing in the story explains it.   Prior to her imprisonment in the Helvault, Avacyn had been having increasing difficulty ridding her world of demons.  Those she was unable to kill, she imprisoned in the Helvault.  At the time, her priests, cathars, magical wards, and angels were in full strength and the numbers and strength of the other monsters was balanced.  At the time of her restoration, humanity has suffered great losses while the ranks of vampires, werewolves and zombies have grown considerably.  With her restoration came the release of all the demons she had been unable to destroy before.

So I'm thinking that soulbond is a shelved mechanic that could have been for Allies. Is that correct? It certainly has the feeling of "fellas that show up and help out," even thought they don't help everyone.


Mark Rosewater says, in this article, that Soulbound began as a riff on an abandoned mechanic for New Phyrexia.  Perhaps it was something for the Mirrans joining together at the last?  Or maybe it was for the Phyrexians?  Now I'm imagining a version of the "Bind" mechanic where your creatures would bind to an opponent's creature and give detrimental effects.
The one tweak we made is that we chose to do what R&D refers to as "instant flicker"



A major change is that the card is now returned under your control, rather than owner's control. This hasn't been done before a lot, if at all, right? 
I hope they have alot cards with ETB effects in this set.
So you kept changing the idea for the final set, and the way the story went... That certainly explains why it's such a mess.


I agree.  The more I read about the story the worse it gets.   Griselbrand's introduction and destruction was pathetic.  Avacyn's restoration to full power has so far only been explained by the card mechanics of the Helvault - she's a new permanent with no damage on her - but nothing in the story explains it.   Prior to her imprisonment in the Helvault, Avacyn had been having increasing difficulty ridding her world of demons.  Those she was unable to kill, she imprisoned in the Helvault.  At the time, her priests, cathars, magical wards, and angels were in full strength and the numbers and strength of the other monsters was balanced.  At the time of her restoration, humanity has suffered great losses while the ranks of vampires, werewolves and zombies have grown considerably.  With her restoration came the release of all the demons she had been unable to destroy before.



I could bother writing up something, but this is basically everything that's wrong with Avacyn Restored. I completely agree with the design team on this one: this set should've been about angels vs demons more than about humans winning. I really hope that this is not all there is to it (my personal favourite remains "Avacyn and Griselbrand switched bodies in the Helvault" because this story does not make any sense.

There has to be a twist, or this is the most godawful story WotC has ever come up with.
76125763 wrote:
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While I like the individual cards revealed so far, the flavor is definitely lacking. It's extremely dissapointing to see the Innistrad tribes abandoned. Double-faced cards will especially suffer. It was such a big risk, but now you risk letting them be forgotten because, 1) You didn't include them in AVR, and 2) You failed to support the tribe they enabled (Werewolves) in the last set of the block (and most players agreed the Tribe still needed help). Overall the cards from AVR feel like they could be from any plane, and don't have a lot of connection to Innistrad. 
Friggin love that art! :D

Card is nice too, another lover for my Reveillarks.. :P

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I don't get why people are saying the tribes aren't getting supported and that werewolves are dead. Sure we aren't getting any werewolf cards, but most of their good support also works on normal wolves, and thats what they now are in the set. As for the rest, we have hardly seen anything from the "monster" side yet. It has been said many times that the total disconnect from the other 2 sets during Rise wasn't a good move so they will add in some stuff for the tribes this set.
Well-written article. I do like flickering so I'm curious to see how that could work as a major set theme and you did a good job explaining the process the creative design of this set went through.

Probelm is, while your story about the frequently-shifiting planning explains the flavor-mess this set is becoming, it doesn't do anything to fix it (I know you're not a major force in Creative, but as we no longer have flavor articles I don't know where else to write this). As many people have and are mentionning, the story behind this set is filled with plot-holes and questionable atmospheric choices. I get that the good guys are having a resurgence, but the pendulum has swung so far to the side of light that it seems unbelievable that Innistrad ever could have reached the wretched state we found it in in the first place. Flavor issues also continue on individual cards and groups: a mutiliating smuggler is considered a good guy while werewolves can now suddenly be fused (and if so, why didn't Avacyn do this before?)

I agree that after two years of having sorylines just drop off to be continued later resolution is appreciated. And the cards previewed so far look great and I'm enjoying the set. But considering this block and your new Fifth Stage of Design is all about flavor and storytelling, I feel this set is punting the finale, jutting out like a sore thumb and looking more like Wizards didn't have three sets worth of horror cards than as a satisfying capstine to the year.
Overall the cards from AVR feel like they could be from any plane, and don't have a lot of connection to Innistrad. 



I thought we've already returned to Ravnica. Yeah!

I actually cannot get the story. Where did the other angels go when Avacyn was locked up? Wasn't
Helvault locking Demons? But from the spoilers so far, more angels are released?! The only Legendary Demon is Griselbrand...
I don't get why people are saying the tribes aren't getting supported and that werewolves are dead. Sure we aren't getting any werewolf cards, but most of their good support also works on normal wolves, and thats what they now are in the set.



Most does, but it would be better if they were consistent and made all do that. Poor Full Moon's Rise.
I don't get why people are saying the tribes aren't getting supported and that werewolves are dead. Sure we aren't getting any werewolf cards, but most of their good support also works on normal wolves, and thats what they now are in the set.



Most does, but it would be better if they were consistent and made all do that. Poor Full Moon's Rise.



Poor Treacherous Werewolf. He was printed with two very weak subtypes (Wolf Minion), and now has actually lost the more relevant of the two to be replaced by Werewolf... which is pretty much never going to be supported again. Lesser Werewolf and Greater Werewolf also can't exactly run with the pack either -- they went from benig Lycanthrope creaturess, to have a glimmer of tribal support as Human Wolf creatures, to being relegated once more to the irrelevant Werewolf creatures -- but at least those two are no worse than when they were originally printed.
I sort of get the sense from some of these articles that Wizards themselves wish they'd done three sets of top-down horror cards. It can't be great to have a creative risk be a massive success after it's too late to fully capitalise on it.
I don't get why people are saying the tribes aren't getting supported and that werewolves are dead. Sure we aren't getting any werewolf cards, but most of their good support also works on normal wolves, and thats what they now are in the set. As for the rest, we have hardly seen anything from the "monster" side yet. It has been said many times that the total disconnect from the other 2 sets during Rise wasn't a good move so they will add in some stuff for the tribes this set.

I know that most of the werewolf tribal cards also support wolves, but that doesn't mean printing more wolves supports the tribe. Without werewolves in AVR, they won't be printing any more cards that AID the tribe, just cards that ARE the tribe, and only the less-cool, mundane half of the tribe at that.
As to the promise that we will be seeing some stuff for the tribes this set... Mark Rosewater has only said that they will be giving "some cards for some decks from Innistrad block"; I don't believe he's ever said which decks. The carry-over of Undying, and the sacrifice theme and death triggers theme in Black is more than enough to support his claim, and I personally think that's all they did include.
Mark claims here that, in AVR, Red, Blue and Green are now "mirrored", being good guys. Which means it's very unlikely to see many, if any, monster tribal cards in those colors, doesn't it? Furthermore, a major theme for the evil side is "loners", which is the exact opposite of tribal support. So until we see some cards that actually DO support the tribal subtheme from Innistrad, I'm not convinced Wizards did any better at connecting AVR to INN than they did at connecting Rise to Zendikar.
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I'm glad to see some monoblue flicker effects. This card is pretty clearly a riff on Mistmeadow Witch, but usable in a monoblue (or blue-red etc) deck. I'm a definite Flicker Lover so I'm going to enjoy that theme greatly.

(When I eventually manage to play with the set... not quite sure when that will be. I'm missing the prerelease due to a scheduling conflict and small prereleases being rubbish. I guess my group might get a box and do a draft.)
I think the humans have more of a chance just from sorin being back. He and liliana fix the plothole. She kills grizzlebrand and Sorin empowers avacyn back to her full strength+ to kick some butt.

I do feel it would have just been better as a 2nd small set that riffs on tribal with a few sweet angels. The traditional 3 set is best. What bothers me the most about the storyline is phyrexia. If one angel + maybe sorin is enough to defeat all the monsters why isnt a TIME TRAVELING PLANESWALKER THAT COULD ALSO COLLAPSE HIS OWN PLANE not strong enough. Cmon HE TIME TRAVELs. Isnt that the whole FLAVOR of Karn the Redeemed? Pretty much showing why time travel is always bad in every storyline ever.