barrataria wrote: ↑
Thu Nov 01, 2018 6:27 pm
I know less than nothing about MtG, are there different decks/games/versions that take place in different "worlds"? I had no idea but I suppose it makes sense.
So, every MTG card depicts a single creature, spell, landscape, artifact or the like, and most of these are conceptually designed as coming from specific "planes", which are dreamed up by the MTG creative team. They publish 3 or 4 "expansion sets" a year, each of which contains between 100 and 400 distinct cards. Each year, the creative team either designs a new plane, or decides on a particular theme which will revisit an existing plane while innovating on it in some particular fashion. I'll use the "Random Card" function on the master database of all MTG cards and come up with a few examples of these planes:
Plains (Rise of the Eldrazi)
- One of the five "basic land" types that get reprinted in every year's new "large expansion", a Plains is any landscape characterized by a broad, flat expanse which gathers a great deal of sunlight, and as such is a good source for White Mana, the magical energy source tied to sustenance of life, civilization, monotheistic authority, the sky, and similar interlinked concepts that are integral to White Magic (in the MTG sense). This particular artwork for a Plains was created for 2010's "Rise of the Eldrazi" set, which was a sequel to the expansion set "Zendikar", which introduced the plane of the same name. Zendikar is a D&D-esque setting where the land itself is alive and constantly changing, which turned out to be due to the presence of imprisoned monsters known as Eldrazi which escaped their captivity in the "Rise" set. The 2014 expansion "Battle for Zendikar" returned to this story and showed how the Eldrazi had utterly devastated Zendikar, rendering huge swaths of it uninhabitable. "Rise" however still features a mostly-intact Zendikar, where magical stone objects known as Hedrons often float in midair under their power, and have begun to unfold into spiky star shapes which demonstrate them to have been "activated"; they were created by a Planeswalker by the name of Nahiri the Lithomancer, a member of the albino-esque near-human race known as the Kor (who were originally designed as actual humans, but the artist who painted them used such a stylistic look that they were later reinterpreted as having catfish barbels in place of hair for the males, so they can't be fully human anymore). Nahiri designed the Hedrons to help imprison the Eldrazi, with the assistance of two other Planeswalkers, the amoral vampire Sorin Markov from the "gothic horror" plane of Innistrad, and Ugin the Spirit Dragon, protector of the Mongolian-style plane Tarkir. After Zendikar was destroyed in 2014, Nahiri went mad with rage at the destruction of her homeworld, and intentionally sent the Eldrazi to Innistrad so that Sorin, who she blamed for not trying hard enough to protect her plane, would find out what it was like to see his birthplace ravaged in similar fashion. Ugin meanwhile was nearly killed in battle with another dragon planeswalker, the evil Nicol Bolas, but Bolas's former minion Sarkhan Vol, a native of Tarkir, was catapulted back in time to intervene in the battle between the two dragons, and thus prevented the extinction of Tarkir's resident dragons at the hands of its humanoid empires.
Voice of Grace
- An example of the kind of things that White Mana can summon, this angel is a resident of the artificial plane created by the godlike planeswalker Serra, a realm of floating "islands" of land in an endless expanse of sky, where the air itself gave nutrition and sustenance to the people whom Serra had cultivated as her "flock". Angels such as Gracie here were charged with tending to the citizenry, and for a time life in this realm was utterly paradisical. When the artificer-planeswalker Urza visited Serra's Realm (known by no other name), he admired her greatly, but eventually left, and in his wake was followed there by his enemies, the Phyrexians, a race of machine-spliced abominations from an also-artificial plane that was devoted entirely to Black mana, the antithesis of White. Phyrexia's spies wormed their way into the society of Serra's Realm, disrupting its harmony and sowing genocidal paranoia among the residents, both human and angel; Serra had departed the plane to resume her travels across the Multiverse, and the archangel Radiant proved to be a poor substitute for the near-divine ruler. Under her flawed leadership, and thanks to the expert manipulation of her secretly-Phyrexian chief advisor, War Minister Gorig, Radiant slaughtered her own people under the mistaken impression they were Phyrexian sympathizers, and remained clueless about the corruption within her own court. Thanks to Gorig's activities, combined with the fact that artificial planes are unstable by their nature and can only be sustained by the direct presence of their creator, Serra's Realm began to collapse, and Urza used his flying ship Weatherlight
to evacuate the citizens, both human and angel, back to his homeworld of Dominia, while capturing the last dying embers of energy that had sustained the disintegrating plane and using them to charge the Weatherlight's central power crystal. The millenia-long war between Phyrexia and Dominaria was still just beginning to heat up.... (All of this storyline was written in about 1998, and it features a definition of "planeswalkers" which is very different from the one which has prevailed since 2006, when the writers decided it was too hard to tell stories about beings who were effectively omnipotent. The event in which the "Planeswalker Spark" lost most of its potency is known as the Mending, and is detailed in the companion novels to the 2006 "Time Spiral" expansion.)
Hero of Leina Tower
- I have a bit less to say about this card, because it comes from the 2013 "Theros" expansion, and I pretty much stopped paying attention to Magic for about a full year on either side of '13. "Theros" was a Greek-Mythology plane whose gods were real; the mechanical gimmick of the set was "enchantment creatures", and these invariably represented the gods themselves or their minions, who dwelt in Theros's parallel celestial plane of Nyx. One of the denizens of Theros was a satyr named Xenagos, whose ascension to Planeswalker status left him so severely disillusioned that he became an anarchistic nihilist, instead of merely a wanton reveler like most other satyrs. He sought and achieved godhood, disturbing the equilibrium of Nyx's previous denizens, and the self-styled "heroes" of the Theriad were eventually forced to travel into Nyx and kill the nascent deity before he utterly unraveled their entire homeworld. The planeswalker Gideon Jura, who is connected to the story of Zendikar's destruction as well as to the "iconic" fire-mage Chandra Nalaar, was originally a Theros native named Kytheon Iora, who planeswalked to the world of Bant (one of the five "Shards of Alara") where his name was mispronounced in a way that eventually stuck. His first appearance in the storyline was when he attacked Chandra in the monasteries of the plane of Regatha, the destination of her own first planeswalk; Chandra's homeworld of Kaladesh is a beautiful but rather uninteresting world of steampunk-esque artificers, which came under attack by the sinister metal-fleshed planeswalker Tezzeret, whose homeworld of Esper is another of the Alara "shards". (This is all pretty modern stuff; Shards of Alara was published roughly 2009, describing the five Shards in isolation and then showing how the plans of Nicol Bolas eventually led to them reuniting into Alara Reborn; 2015's "Magic Origins" set was dedicated to spelling out the backstories of five particularly famous planeswalkers, including Gideon and Chandra, and literally everything we know about the plane of Regatha is either from Origins or from the novel "The Purifying Fire", which describes Chandra and introduces Gideon as a character for the first time. Origins also premiered Kaladesh, which was expanded into its own full expansion set about a year later, and it is the only set since 2010 to further detail Alara (touching only on the Bant shard, since that was the only one visited by Gideon or any of the other four planeswalkers it concerned). I don't have much to add about Theros, except that it was the first card-game appearance of the tentacle-obsessed merfolk planeswalker Kiora, who originally premiered in a now-forgotten computer product of some sort (Wotco keeps trying to tap the video game market, and few of their efforts last more than a few years).
There, that should give you some idea of just how deep the lore of this silly "cardboard crack" game actually is. Lots of creative talent being largely wasted on a lucrative gimmick, which I quit wasting my money on with substantial difficulty about five years ago, but I'm always happy to talk about the fluff, which was always my favorite part of it.