12/12/2012 Feature: "A Planeswalker Guide to Gatecrash: Part 2"

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This thread is for discussion of the feature article "A Planeswalker Guide to Gatecrash: Part 2", which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
I quite like this new Simic Combine, especially the imagery.

By the way, is it just me or are there many typoes in this article?

IMAGE(http://i1.minus.com/jbcBXM4z66fMtK.jpg)

192884403 wrote:
surely one can't say complex conditional passive language is bad grammar ?
Is it already time for Gatecrash? It's only been two months since RtR!
Nice name choice, creative team. Borborygmos?

"Borborygmi are audible abdominal sounds produced by hyperactive intestinal peristalsis. Borborygmi are very loud rumbling, gurgling, and tinkling noises heard in auscultation, often without a stethoscope. The increased intestinal activity noted at times in cases of gastroenteritis and diarrhea result in borborygmi that do not have the intensity or the episodic character of "normal borborygmi." Borborygmi that are high-pitched and accompanied by vomiting, distension, and intestinal cramps suggest a mechanical obstruction of the small intestine and often precede complete bowel obstruction."

(From on online medial dictionary...:P)
I hate the way "civilized" appears in the article, because it is implied to mean "European-style urban life," as if other peoples could not be civilized. Couldn't that bit be changed, pretty please? In fact, the whole way the Gruul are portrayed is very problematic, even more so than the Rakdos.
the Orzhov has the coolest knights.

Man, i wish the focus on the Gruul would be on the Zhur-Taa clan instead of the Burning Tree clan. 
Wow, that Orzhov Angel's art is spectacular!

I like the feel of the Simic guild this time around.  I felt like last time they were just 'Izzet, but biology' this time I'm getting a better sense of who they are as conservationists. 
I smell reprints of Viashino Fangtail (fun) and... Angel of Despair? Maybe? Pretty, pretty please? ^^
Rules Adviser, casual tournament organizer, lover of EDH and MtG evangelist.
The Orzhov definitely have the coolest flavor of any of the GTC guilds, but I've been really disappointed with the Simic. With the Orzhov, everything fits together and seems cool. With the Simic, everything seems really arbitrary, disjointed, and, most of all, boring. They're all about conservation... even though they live underground and don't have any contact with the surface world that they're apparently trying to conserve... and they also like to make hybridized life forms (doesn't have anything to do with conservation)... and they're super secretive about all of this (for no apparent reason)... and they have all these clades that have these random functions like "studying movement." You can tell the creative team was phoning it in on this one.
Looking forward to the reveals more and more. Especially Dimir and Orzhov. Gonna be playing 2 of both at the releases this time round methinks. I always thought that the Gruul and the Simic were the most boring guilds, and that hasn't changed. Although something tells me that Gruul in particular is gonna be very popular, and fit right into the current top tier.
I want to be Cultured.
Nice name choice, creative team. Borborygmos?

"Borborygmi are audible abdominal sounds produced by hyperactive intestinal peristalsis. Borborygmi are very loud rumbling, gurgling, and tinkling noises heard in auscultation, often without a stethoscope. The increased intestinal activity noted at times in cases of gastroenteritis and diarrhea result in borborygmi that do not have the intensity or the episodic character of "normal borborygmi." Borborygmi that are high-pitched and accompanied by vomiting, distension, and intestinal cramps suggest a mechanical obstruction of the small intestine and often precede complete bowel obstruction."

(From on online medial dictionary...:P)



Yep, I chuckled at it when he was in the FIRST Ravnica block...because he's been around since the first Ravnica block...

While RTR has my favorite guild in it: the Izzet, I'm more or less impartial to the Rakdos, Azorius, and Golgari.  The Selesnya are one step up from those three, but still don't entice me too much.  On the other hand in Gatecrash I'm very much excited for each of the Orzhov, Boros, and Simic guilds (they are, in order, my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th favorite guilds), so I think I'm going to be having lots of fun come February.  I'm going to have to attend at least 3 different Prereleases so I can go once as each of those guilds. =p

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From Mark Rosewater's Tumblr: the0uroboros asked: How in the same set can we have a hexproof, unsacrificable(not a word) creature AND a land that makes it uncounterable. How does this lead to interactive play? I believe I’m able to play my creature and you have to deal with it is much more interactive than you counter my creature.

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Post #777

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MaRo: One of the classic R&D stories happened during a Scars of Mirrodin draft. Erik Lauer was sitting to my right (meaning that he passed to me in the first and third packs). At the end of the draft, Erik was upset because I was in his colors (black-green). He said, "Didn't you see the signals? I went into black-green in pack one." I replied, "Didn't you see my signals? I started drafting infect six drafts ago."

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MaRo: I redesigned him while the effect was on the stack.

I have to wonder how the Gruul are going to react once they realize that not even the Cult of Yore wants the Utmungr back. The Nephilim, fine. The Utmungr? NO. Maybe even Nature itself (insofar as Nature can ever be a hive mind) wanted the Utmungr gone. What are the Gruul going to do THEN? Chastise Nature itself for failing to worship strength in and of itself, for not wanting to be tormented by fear? What would they call a world where strength and weakness no longer have any meaning? (Important: "Strength" and "life" are NOT perfect synonyms, nor "weakness" and "death".)

(And then there's my pet hypothesis of Mat'Selesnya being an Utmungr. Guess not all the Utmungr are as wild as Ilharg, hm?)
... I've been really disappointed with the Simic. ... You can tell the creative team was phoning it in on this one.



I personally felt the opposite. Most of the guilds in RTR are pretty much the same from the first time around. Some were slightly altered in a few minor details, but for the most part, the guilds are the same today as they were 7 years ago.

On the other hand, the Creative team re-created the Simic from scratch, and I actually found them interesting, because they were new. If it feels like the Creative team didn't spend as much time on the Simic as the other guilds, well, it's because they didn't. They've been working on all the other guilds since the original RTR. They've only been working on the new Simic since RTR.
1. The Simic: they are being characterized now as some form of polity, a secluded racial group (despite composition from the plane's normal races/people). This differs from the original composition of the Guild, which were as bioengineers whose task was to develop a means to urbanize the plane's biota and keep them in equilibrium. If you needed a new body part, you either went to the Golgari who could fix you up with an Igor-esque modification ... or the Simic would engineer one for you from plax. They were accessible, available, and integrated. Apparently, this changes when sinkholes open up in the ground -- for some reason -- and a whole new, otherwise darkness enshrouded underunderunderRavnica comes to light ... and they all become the Simic. This isn't even a guild anymore. There is no discussion on how the old Simic were abandoned, their missions discarded, and this new group rises up and en masse joins this one Guild, not how they integrated themselves among the populace or anything, and just gravitated towards the guild over the decades -- no, it all happened in like one day or something. As if no thought was put into it. Like how you get merfolk on a plane were there were no merfolk before. When you talked of the Simic, they were a guild who engineered, worked with lifestuff; now, you speak of them as a race. Go back and check your grammar on that, you'll see what I mean.

2. The Gruul Clans: More especially, the relation of the "wildkeepers" versus the Burning Tree's primalism goals, and then that whole thing about how the Gruul are all the "giant" races, racially cohesive for some bloody reason, and the Scabs. The Scabs, if anyone cared to go look back at the first Block, were comprised of a very specific subset of the Ravnican populace: They were the rejects of experiements, or the discarded offal of the sewers, or the refuse in the streets -- the victims of the Rakdos and Dimir, the subjects of the Izzet or Simic, those who failed to become thrulls of the Orzhov. They are cohesive because they assembled, their mutilated few, into a band whose only purpose is revenge. It's not about destruction for destruction's sake (pointless exhibitionism? that's Rakdos!) nor is it about "letting one's inner savage out" (primal animism seems to be Gruul, but it seems to be the Burning Tree's credo), but about striking back, and returning in kind what was done unto them ... a thousand fold. Here, it's a pointed, deliberative message. This Gruul is gone, these Scabs are gone; now it's all "our mutilation equals our savagery! yaaar!". Idiotic.

3. The Orzhov? Love 'em. Money equals power (you can buy), faith equals power (over others), thus faith equals money. My only difficulty with the current incarnation is that you guys are trying to make the whole "crime syndicate" angle be less of a dirty secret, perverse perspective as in the first Block, less of a function towards contract-binding, holding others to account, and faith for the polity that was present. Now, all the flavor is going to be filled with in-jokes (like the Orzhov sign-up membership card) about how it's all so ... Sicilian.
"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)
I didn't really like the flavor in how the Orzhov spoke about the other guilds. I was expecting more of a "What can we use them for" kinda feel rather than a literal translation of Ideology to thoughts about others. I mean... when it comes to orzhov. Sure anyone can live forever, but only a few will live in luxery. The rest will be used in undeath until they aren't needed. I mean, Orzhov is just a very terrible organization, not really a religion. When I was thinking orzhov I was more thinking how they will one day control the entire City rather than their literal ideals

Azorious-"They're keeping the city safe for when we can take it from them which is nice. Just wish they wouldn't interefere with our plans so much. They will only get just enough money from us to survive as long as we want them to."

Dimir-"They're good at what they do, but We need to keep our information safer. As it is their eating 60% to 70% of our budget. Killing the leader is an option."

Izzet-"Cool Uncle Niv is smart and all. But we could use the guild for more useful things, like luxery cars. Kidnapping them is a solution"

Rakdos-"How Rakdos keeps bringing people in, who knows. But their easy to convert, very willing and easy to dispense of. We will fund their parties so long as we can keep advertising and converting their people"

Golgari-"Theres no getting through to them. So we must Starve them. This is why Uncleanliness is a high sin. We have plenty of spare thrulls to clean the streets after our battles."

Gruul-"Gaining their Trust is easy, Dispensing of them, not so much"

Boros-"An entire Army is right at our hands. If we just replace the leader. Until then its necessary to distract them from our areas"

Selesnya-"I would gladly trade 3 guildless for a single Selesnyan. Their Loiyalty is unparralleled. they don't like to have joint parties much though"

Simic-"The Eternal life in the flesh is possible in the Simic Hands. If they would stop focusing on breeding new species and focus more on helping the current, we could steal it and sell it as we please. Until then we must fund it and influence it as much as possible. The Ghost Council's orders"

 

This is what I had in mind
More of a "We're freinds? RIGHT!?!?!?" kind of feel rather than a "I agree with them, but they're worthless". Corperations are Opportunitists. They See Money, and they try their best to take advantage of it. Becomes freinds with them. Take them out for dinner, drinks, lunch.

The religious part is more to make loyal drones and making part of the revenue stream free. Free Money. Sounds good right? Thats what churches get everyday. Then when it goes into undeath, its no longer money, its labor. Free Labor. Then you can give money to adertise, or protect or order, or destroy. Or you can have it for free 

I felt they could have a much better job on Orzhov. Though I definitely am Liking the new Simic feel
Nice name choice, creative team. Borborygmos?

"Borborygmi are audible abdominal sounds produced by hyperactive intestinal peristalsis. Borborygmi are very loud rumbling, gurgling, and tinkling noises heard in auscultation, often without a stethoscope. The increased intestinal activity noted at times in cases of gastroenteritis and diarrhea result in borborygmi that do not have the intensity or the episodic character of "normal borborygmi." Borborygmi that are high-pitched and accompanied by vomiting, distension, and intestinal cramps suggest a mechanical obstruction of the small intestine and often precede complete bowel obstruction."

(From on online medial dictionary...:P)



Yep, I chuckled at it when he was in the FIRST Ravnica block...because he's been around since the first Ravnica block...


actually, the meaning there aiming for is a greek word meaning "Riot". the medical term is the derivative (a riot in your intestines).

But on the simic:
They TOOK nature from the gruul. and now, in the most condescending of ways, they offer to "help these poor souls" they're stripping the skin of us and trying to sell it back. And why do they suddenly care about everyone? when was that part of their dogma? they want to make you better, they just don't want your permission.
Also, the gruul have social rules, just they all have to do with war. In the story about ruzi and kuma, he pleads to the gruul for vengeance for his sister, killed in an assault on her settlement. The gruul respond with "yeah so? thats war". then ruzi tells them the rakdos killed a child. This is enough to make the gruul swear that they will never stop fighting the rakdos until they are nothing. Does that seem heartless "strong survive"?
all in all, this guide has been pretty basic and bland. Read matt cavotta's originals, they are far superior.
1. The Simic: they are being characterized now as some form of polity, a secluded racial group (despite composition from the plane's normal races/people). This differs from the original composition of the Guild, which were as bioengineers whose task was to develop a means to urbanize the plane's biota and keep them in equilibrium. If you needed a new body part, you either went to the Golgari who could fix you up with an Igor-esque modification ... or the Simic would engineer one for you from plax. They were accessible, available, and integrated. Apparently, this changes when sinkholes open up in the ground -- for some reason -- and a whole new, otherwise darkness enshrouded underunderunderRavnica comes to light ... and they all become the Simic. This isn't even a guild anymore. There is no discussion on how the old Simic were abandoned, their missions discarded, and this new group rises up and en masse joins this one Guild, not how they integrated themselves among the populace or anything, and just gravitated towards the guild over the decades -- no, it all happened in like one day or something. As if no thought was put into it. Like how you get merfolk on a plane were there were no merfolk before. When you talked of the Simic, they were a guild who engineered, worked with lifestuff; now, you speak of them as a race. Go back and check your grammar on that, you'll see what I mean.

2. The Gruul Clans: More especially, the relation of the "wildkeepers" versus the Burning Tree's primalism goals, and then that whole thing about how the Gruul are all the "giant" races, racially cohesive for some bloody reason, and the Scabs. The Scabs, if anyone cared to go look back at the first Block, were comprised of a very specific subset of the Ravnican populace: They were the rejects of experiements, or the discarded offal of the sewers, or the refuse in the streets -- the victims of the Rakdos and Dimir, the subjects of the Izzet or Simic, those who failed to become thrulls of the Orzhov. They are cohesive because they assembled, their mutilated few, into a band whose only purpose is revenge. It's not about destruction for destruction's sake (pointless exhibitionism? that's Rakdos!) nor is it about "letting one's inner savage out" (primal animism seems to be Gruul, but it seems to be the Burning Tree's credo), but about striking back, and returning in kind what was done unto them ... a thousand fold. Here, it's a pointed, deliberative message. This Gruul is gone, these Scabs are gone; now it's all "our mutilation equals our savagery! yaaar!". Idiotic.

3. The Orzhov? Love 'em. Money equals power (you can buy), faith equals power (over others), thus faith equals money. My only difficulty with the current incarnation is that you guys are trying to make the whole "crime syndicate" angle be less of a dirty secret, perverse perspective as in the first Block, less of a function towards contract-binding, holding others to account, and faith for the polity that was present. Now, all the flavor is going to be filled with in-jokes (like the Orzhov sign-up membership card) about how it's all so ... Sicilian.

i agree with all of this, save that thing about the orzhov being cool. The orzhov have taken everything away from the poor. ts like a KarlMarx world run by Donald Trump if they were in charge. THAT IS WHY THEY MUST BURN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There is no discussion on how the old Simic were abandoned, their missions discarded...



They died. This was covered in the books and summarized in www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...

Simic - Momir Vig is killed by Kos before Novijen/Kraj is destroyed. With the destruction of the Simic guildmaster and the guildhall in one giant catastrophe, the Simic as a guild is all but destroyed.



But yes, you are right in that they never explain how the new Simic formed. I'd guess since they were all one big community to begin with, they decided to stay one big community when they opened up to the rest of Ravnica. Not sure if that makes sense or is a satisfying answer though.
@Qilong, Viltris: I guess there's a question of how much of the Creative Team from 2005-7 was still about for 2011-12. As in, who'd still have firsthand memories of what was going to be happening with Ravnica, and how it worked. Perhaps also how many of the current team read the original trilogy recently. Then again, given the recent hiccup of one of the members forgetting a particular important accomplishment of Jace's in AoA, I'm wondering how much stock is being put in thematic continuity, even at the cost of Rule of Cool. Please note that I do not regard "coolness" as real, or worthy of consideration. Depth is much more dependable for attracting and maintaining interest. I don't think either planeswalkers are normatives are inherently more interesting than each other; as long as we get a good, satisfying, complex story with one or both, I think that'll suffice. (I wouldn't mind a block whose story's protagonist is a planebound whose spark awakens at the set 2/set 3 juncture, though. I'm thinking legend in set 1, planeswalker in set 3.)

Back to the Gruul (maybe the Utmungr's worshippers have more influence over the Gruul's overall mentality than even Borborygmos is aware of), I wonder how much they'd like pre-restoration Jund, since that seems to be what they're determined to (allegedly) restore Ravnica to. The philosophy, meanwhile...I think I have a hint of what's going on. They're all about earning your existence through brute struggle, which doesn't sound like the sort of thing that would accept much in the way of lasting happiness. But I'd guess that to the Gruul, happiness is nothing compared to the REAL ultimate emotion--triumph. I've heard about the idea that happiness is actually a kind of mild brain high of some sort of chemical. The Gruul have taken a sense of triumph over hardship to be an even better high. Only problem is, this high depletes VERY quickly (happiness is usually slow to deplete, and is probably replenished long before the depletion point), and you find yourself hunting for yet more triumph to reinstate the high. Put bluntly, it doesn't take long to scorn the rest of the populace's acceptance of happiness as horribly lacking in substance. Hence the near(?)-addiction to battle that could probably look like the first phases of Jund after the initial sundering of Alara.

I somehow don't think they'd like Vorinclex, though. No triumphalism there, just endless hunger. (Does Vorinclex even know WHAT the point of eating is?)
There is no discussion on how the old Simic were abandoned, their missions discarded...



They died. This was covered in the books and summarized in www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...

Simic - Momir Vig is killed by Kos before Novijen/Kraj is destroyed. With the destruction of the Simic guildmaster and the guildhall in one giant catastrophe, the Simic as a guild is all but destroyed.



But yes, you are right in that they never explain how the new Simic formed. I'd guess since they were all one big community to begin with, they decided to stay one big community when they opened up to the rest of Ravnica. Not sure if that makes sense or is a satisfying answer though.



This is not how it worked out. With the death of Vig (and with him his whole elfin' race) and the descruction of Kraj/Novijen, the Simic as a Guild were all but gone, but not its members; it's a fair thing to say the Guild was destroyed, but not that it was simply "gone." There was apparently enough of the Guild left to function that it could be developed, expanded, grown again. Nothing that lives truly dies ... that would be a credo for the Simic as a whole, and is indeed an aspect of holism.

What happened was that the Simic came under scrutiny for their role on the fight with the Nephilim and the descruction of the Tenth District, but not that they were disbanded, annihilated, or someone extirpated them from history: They survived, enough indeed to be part of the re-establishment of the Guildpact in both instances (Teysa's first, nonmagical one, then the magical third Guildpact). Who exactly was there to introduce new individuals to the Guild? A Guild all but dead? If the dwellers of the subterranean, sunless caves of shadow and darkness that lay beneath the oldest Undercity ruins that not even the Dimir knew about them, were suddenly to arrive in the sunlit, magically controlled atmosphere of the surface, then do you think they'd just come up, 10,000 years or more separated culturally, organically and lingually from the surface and say "Yo! We see you have a missing Guild. That's us. We're 'the Simic' now!" And all cheered and had their pizza together in harmony or something. This is what in stories is called an "asspull."

Bounce a graviton particle beam off the main deflector dish
That's the way we do things lad, we're making s*** up as we wish
The Klingons and the Romulans pose no threat to us
'Cause if we find we're in a bind,
We're totally screwed but nevermind,
We'll pull something out of our behinds...
We just make some s*** up

Voltaire, "The USS Make S*** Up"
(Censored 'cause this is a bit of a kiddy site, too.)


There are many ways to say that the Simic redeveloped from their former selves, regrew into a new whole from disparate but similar parts, without pulling Merfolk out of one's butt, and thus try to make a completely foreign organism integrated as though there all along. It's like Rav's version of Giorgio Tsoukalos going "I'm not saying it was aliens but ... it was Merfolk [aliens]."

It strains credulity beyond the point a fantasy setting needs: you have to feel that, aside from the existence of the organisms themselves, the story can occur. If cannon says "there are no oceans on Ravnica," if nothing but mythology can claim "oceans recede into the earth," and that "the races have all been known and even the omnipotent who tread the plane before it was Ravnica say they are all that are there," one has to get to Illuminati level conspiracy theories to reach another conclusion. This may be possible, but the explanation was otherwise:

The Simic are all but gone ... then sinkholes open up, reaching so far beneath the ground that the Undercity never got that far ALL OVER THE PLANE. Out from the sinkholes arise ... creatures which appear as though they dwelt not only in water but in sunlight expanses, not in the supreme darkness that such subterranean oceans require. And then they spoke "We are the Simic! Hi!"

A problem that feds into this ludicrousness is that WotC is trying to collapse races for colors, and so required Merfolk for blue ... but there were no real "blue" races already extant -- shut up you Vedalken scum! So the racial collapse and desire to keep things "simple," while also promoting antagonism among the guilds was to make each of the guilds essentially racially distinct. This meant you had a LITTLE overlap, but nothing else to reject saying "that creature only comes from that Guild." It makes the Guilds not only polities, but races themselves. It's difficult to say even that a human who joined the Rakdos was the same race as a human who joined the Azorius; nor even that a person can "join" a Guild as if it were a job, or profession, but instead that you would be "born into" a Guild, as if there was something genetic about it.

It's all easier this way to pretend that this inherent racism is "good."
"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)
Definately liking this new incarnation of the Simic; expecially the lines about trying to appear more public-friendly and not repeatinh Momir Vig's mistakes. After Kraj and the cytoplasts, people would probably be distrusting or outright hostile towards the guild.
The merfolk's existance is a little shaky, but without them there probably wouldn't be any more Simic. They likely didn't have much left in the way of membership by the time the sinkholes opened up, but when the merfolk joined them, it makes sense that they'd end up taking control, as they were probably more orgaized than the rest of the Simic.

I do miss the old version of the Scab-Clan and their quest for revenge, but other than that the Gruul looks pretty good. The info on Skarrg is nice, as it helps give the guild a sense of being an actual guild, rather than a bunch of similar clans. I'm hoping whe'll see more of the Utmungr in the future.

The Orzhov are just as cool a guild as ever, though they did seem to push the religious aspects a bit, and covered up some of their corruption (maybe Teysa bribed Wizards :P ). The angel and knight are both awesome, though I'm curious as to why they changed the characterization of the angels. Before, the Orzhov angels were loyal, but empty beings made to serve powerful patriarchs; now they're just Boros defectors. I don't know, I kind of liked the old version better, but the new one makes sense, so I'm willing to let it go.

This is not the post you're looking for.

@Skynightxi on what the gruul are thinking- REVENGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

thats what they are thinking. Everything-their guild identity, their wealth, their societal positions, their protections by the laws, in the scabs even their bodies- was taken from them. By force. Because the other guilds had no need for their function (preserving the truly wild places in ravnica, which apparently existed at the time of the guildpact). Because cities make more money. they were killed and maimed and enslaved for MONEY!!!!!
they are a slave revolt. They have seen all the guilds (ALL) become vicious means to control and kill the normal people- so they discarded structure. They became feral, intent on destroying the city that took everything from them- they will demand no less.

@qilong- i think the merfolk met the surviving simic, who educated them as to the guilds ethos. however, they were probably to low on the totem pole to tell them about the guilds grandiose designs on Rav. So the merfolk decided "hey that sounds like us" and recreated the simic- like DNA based transformation (vig would approve of the metaphor)
The Orzhov definitely have the coolest flavor of any of the GTC guilds, but I've been really disappointed with the Simic. With the Orzhov, everything fits together and seems cool. With the Simic, everything seems really arbitrary, disjointed, and, most of all, boring. They're all about conservation... even though they live underground and don't have any contact with the surface world that they're apparently trying to conserve... and they also like to make hybridized life forms (doesn't have anything to do with conservation)... and they're super secretive about all of this (for no apparent reason)... and they have all these clades that have these random functions like "studying movement." You can tell the creative team was phoning it in on this one.



The new Simic seems better than the old one at any rate - the old guild was Blue dudes abusing green critters. Nothing Green mindset-wise in the guild whatsoever. WotC has done superb blue-green flavour in the past in the form of Vedalken Heretic and Lorescale Coatl, though.

Still, reading RtR/Gatecrash flavour, something just feels wrong about it. The flavour feels a tad, dunno. Odd. But the worst part is the art. Old Ravnica was awesome. High fantasy, sure, but there was something proper about it.
This new one is some ripped-out-of-4th-ed-D&D high fantasy thing. All the ornamentation is absurdly over the top, everything is squicky clean, we have ****ing huge structures in the shape of anvils. A side by side comparison of the lands really reveals the extent of visual decay.
Trying to help "I'm original" people build better decks is self-sabotage: Good advice will inevitably be ignored because someone did it before. The gist of Magic is going to MWS/MTGO, playing Island, Ponder and watching the opponent ragequit.
The Orzhov definitely have the coolest flavor of any of the GTC guilds, but I've been really disappointed with the Simic. With the Orzhov, everything fits together and seems cool. With the Simic, everything seems really arbitrary, disjointed, and, most of all, boring. They're all about conservation... even though they live underground and don't have any contact with the surface world that they're apparently trying to conserve... and they also like to make hybridized life forms (doesn't have anything to do with conservation)... and they're super secretive about all of this (for no apparent reason)... and they have all these clades that have these random functions like "studying movement." You can tell the creative team was phoning it in on this one.



The new Simic seems better than the old one at any rate - the old guild was Blue dudes abusing green critters. Nothing Green mindset-wise in the guild whatsoever. WotC has done superb blue-green flavour in the past in the form of Vedalken Heretic and Lorescale Coatl, though.

Still, reading RtR/Gatecrash flavour, something just feels wrong about it. The flavour feels a tad, dunno. Odd. But the worst part is the art. Old Ravnica was awesome. High fantasy, sure, but there was something proper about it.
This new one is some ripped-out-of-4th-ed-D&D high fantasy thing. All the ornamentation is absurdly over the top, everything is squicky clean, we have ****ing huge structures in the shape of anvils. A side by side comparison of the lands really reveals the extent of visual decay.

the missing element is plot. Its just an "ooh this world is cool because we know you like this world and don't want us to change it" set. nothing has changed but the simic, and even then just a little
I imagine that that is the main quandary. They may well be afraid of alienating the old guard by even a micron. This kind of ties in with why we suddenly have merfolk who, by all rights, should have gone albino over the centuries (granted that Grozoth had to be swimming SOMEWHERE, and since it's a leviathan...). Remember the kerfluffle in Odyssey about the "new" signal races for the colors? Blue cephalids, red dwarves, green centaurs? That gave way in a hurry, at least with red and green (blue had illusions for a time). It's a bit like how I remember correctly recognizing some grumblings over WoW changes when Lich King came out; some of the grousers, essentially, exactly wanted more of the same, just with bigger numbers. Unrelenting nostalgia, in a way. Although in this case...The point I made about triumphalism being an attempt to constantly recapture a high of old? I'm wondering if that's why the sharpest-line of the old guard would dislike change or progression; they're fearful that any new format would fail to contain all the old delights.

I suppose it also ties in with the arguable (well, not THAT arguable...) Flanderization of red as reckless. WAY back with Beta, red wasn't all recklessness, not when it was supposed to embody earth as much as fire. Wall of Stone, anyone? Or Granite Gargoyle? That seems to be another factor in why Odyssey's dwarves were glared at as ambassadors of red; a certain article of Cavotta's comes to mind. (And honestly...poor goblins. They deserve to have more mental variety than they do...)

But the question becomes, why would such simplification be necessary in the first place? Magic is ABOUT complexity, last I heard. And I find it hard to believe that THAT many people cannot comprehend alloyed things. (Average IQ of humanity is, I'd guess, 120?) So, what's going on that DEMANDS blue be associated with merfolk first and foremost, red with goblins first and foremost?

Anyway...time to check the composition of the Creative Team in 2006, and now...
the missing element is plot. Its just an "ooh this world is cool because we know you like this world and don't want us to change it" set. nothing has changed but the simic, and even then just a little

This is nonsensical; the original Ravnica block did not include plot in its cards. Any plot movement was strictly relegated to the novels. The cards themselves only established the world over three sets. On the other hand, the Return to Ravnica is clearly tied into a developing conflict, with the cards themselves explicitly pointing out that Niv-Mizzet is making motions and the other guilds are reacting.
Wow, Wizards has completely ruined the Gruul.

Just look at the Scab Clan. The Scab Clan were originally described as being made up of the angry souls who had been injured or crippled or mutilated by the other guilds, especially as Orzhov slaves. They worked together to cover each others' weaknesses (Scab-Clan Mauler has a guy without legs riding on and directing a blind giant) and saw their disfigurements not with pride, but with rage. "They inflict pain to forget their own and break foes to feel whole." Now? They're just scarring themselves because they think it's cool and they hate the weak. What the hell?

Originally, the Gruul had a nice internal dynamic between those who had been personally wronged by the guilds, those who were angry over the age-old disenfranchment of the Gruul, those who hated civilization, and those like Boborygmos who used the guild just as an excuse to smash and kill things. Now we've just got the latter two. I was hoping that the Gruul would get more fleshed out, not less! The original Gruul were arguably morally grey because, while they were violent and at odds with most of Ravnica, many of them had been wronged and the guilds were oppressive organizations. Now, I don't see why anyone would join them.

And I'm not acting like the Gruul were well-done the first time, because there's a reason they're the least popular guild. I just wish that din't get worse.

Apparently, Green and Red can only be "dur, civilization sucks, Hulk smash!"
I do have one question: Do the Simic still provide healthcare?
I do have one question: Do the Simic still provide healthcare?


Health ... what? Apparently none of the guilds "provide" anything. There are no roles or functions in Ravnican society, no divisions of the polity. It's all just businesses now. Like Hasbro revises the Guildpact.
"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)
(Average IQ of humanity is, I'd guess, 120?)

Your guess would be way off base. The IQ test is intended, by design, to have an average score of 100. In fact, it is frequently recalibrated so that that remains true, because studies have shown that the use of a fixed scale results in an upward drift in scores as time progresses.

Also, despite stupendous efforts to standardize and democratize the test, the scores retain stubbornly high levels of correlation with A) wealth (the rich test high, the poor test low), B) race (European and East Asian ethnicities test high; African, Hispanic, and Arabian ethnicities test low) C) gender (men test high, women test low) and D) geography (take a wild guess here). And what's especially surprising is the independence of these correlations.

Finally, many psychologists now think that, at best, the IQ tests only a single component of the complex suite of mental processes which contribute to what we call "intelligence". 

"Proc" stands for "Programmed Random OCcurance". It does not even vaguely apply to anything Magic cards do. Don't use it.

Level 1 Judge as of 09/26/2013

Zammm = Batman

"Ability words are flavor text for Melvins." -- Fallingman

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