article on the Planes of MTG

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Post by willpell » Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:48 pm

I see a lot of the Piazza's denizens effectively using this message board like a social media site, just posting a link to every cool thing they've encountered which is vaguely on-topic, and have probably done this myself once or twice in the past, but today I feel like I'm being exceptionally obvious about it. Hopefully the subject matter will be worth it. ... 2018-11-12

I got it into my head randomly to look back at the Magic website for basically the first time in several years (I look at the list of cards for each new set once, just to see any cool art or flavor text for the first and only time; other than that my involvement in the hobby is pretty thoroughly dead). This article from a few months back caught my eye; it goes through all the planar setings MTG has created, with an eye to how likely the game is to return to that environment in future card sets. While few if any of us Piazzans are very interested in the card game, The Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica makes the subject very relevant to our interests; if the GMGR sells well, and next year's set turns out to be a visit to Innistrad, we can probably count on seeing a "Hunter's Guide to Innistrad" on the D&D shelves of our FLGSes at about the same time. In particular, the fact that this article calls out Innistrad as one of their "top three" settings, in terms of the fanbase's enthusiasm, made me think about the fact that Innistrad is pretty definitely also in the top three for how often the Piazza discusses it, compared to other MTG settings (with Ixalan taking the place of Dominaria in this community only, because one means almost nothing to the card game and the other means everything to it).

I will continue reading through the article for the next hour or so, and may post additional such observations as they occur to me.

EDIT: Done. For the benefit of anyone who wants to TL;DR this, I'll append a quick list of all the planes mentioned, in order of where Mr. Rosewater puts them on the scale. I am tempted to say what I think of his statements, but I'll wait until I find out whether anyone is interested in hearing it (and then I'll wait a couple more weeks after that because my RL is about to get insane). I'll append fractional components to the ranking, as appropriate to what the text says about them, so that the bullet points will read more distinctively; where no such ranking is employed, I'll leave it as multiple instances of a number, and the sequence is arbitrary).

1 - Ravnica (medieval ecumenopolis with warring magical guilds)
1.1 - Dominaria (original setting of MTG as a whole, retroactively designated as "history world")
1.1 - Innistrad (gothic horror world, partially destroyed)
2 - Zendikar ("adventure world" with living lands, partially destroyed)
3 - Theros (Greek mythology world)
4 - Ixalan (colonialism-vs-dinosaurs tropical world)
4 - Tarkir (Mongol clan-war world with dragons)
5 - New Phyrexia aka Mirrodin (all-metal artifact world, later conquered by evil and turned into a hellscape)
5 - Kaladesh (loosely-Hindi artifact world, original homeworld of Chandra)
5 - Alara aka the five Shard worlds (artificially color-divided world, hard to summarize).
5 - Amonkhet (Egyptian world with an evil dragon as Pharaoh, now destroyed).
6 - Vryn and Regatha (erstwhile homeworlds of the iconic planeswalkers Jace and Chandra, otherwise all but nonexistent as creative designs)
6 - Fiora ("commerce world" version 2, the "political intrigue" setting)
7 - Shandalar (retroactively a generic-fantasy setting, its original creative identity forgotten by all but me, seemingly)
7 - Lorwyn aka Shadowmoor (fairy-tale world which alternates between "dream" and "nightmare" modes)
8 - Kamigawa (Japanese mythology world)
9 - Ulgrotha (Homelands setting, low-key classic fantasy world)
9 - Rath (weird fantasy world, hard to summarize)
9 - Phyrexia (the original MTG version of the Nine Hells, now destroyed)
9.5 - Mercadia ("commerce world" version 1, the "everything's crazy" setting)
10 - Rabiah (setting of the Arabian Nights; Rosewater says this is the least likely setting to be reused, and thus named the scale for it).

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Re: article on the Planes of MTG

Post by DialMforMara » Sat Feb 09, 2019 8:31 pm

Some notes on this list from an active Magic player:

* Ravnica is no longer a medieval plane; it's closer to urban fantasy without the Masquerade--everyone knows the weird stuff is out there. They have both magical and electronic technology; the best example right now is the electric teakettle in the flavortext of recent card Cosmotronic Wave.
** Related: you'll probably enjoy Bylaw And Order, a D&D adventure set on Ravnica that the D&D Twitch channel is streaming every Monday evening PST. Our heroes have been charged with getting signatures from high-ranking members of each of Ravnica's ten guilds on a new piece of food safety legislation. In this adventure, Ravnica has fancy coffee shops and a subway system, and the part of the city the players spend most of their time in looks like a Pacific Northwest suburb. Episode 1:
* I wouldn't expect the next return to Innistrad to happen soon; the last time we were there was only about three years ago and somebody let a massive eldritch horror trash the place.
* Dominaria was last visited about a year ago, so ditto.
* Rath no longer exists. It was an artificial extension of Phyrexia that was overlaid on Dominaria the second time the Phyrexians invaded Dominaria.

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