Thursday, August 10, 2017

Lore Dragons of Commander

With the early spoilers from Commander 2017, we found there were several legendary dragons revealed!  What many do not realize is that all of them are dragons of lore past- Wasitora, Ramos, O-Kagachi have all had their part in the Magic storyline.

Here we give you a brief history of each, with the links to learn more!

Wasitora:

Wasitora was a cat dragon of Jamuraa, on the plane of Dominaria, during the time of the Legends cycle.  She was sent into the jungle at an early age by her mother, and possessed green mana healing abilities.  Isolated from other Nekoru (cat dragon) culture, she grew up wild.  One day, she encountered a group of them gathering one day for their mating ritual, at which she defeated all the other female nekoru, and was thereby crowed the Nekoru queen.  After mating with the king Nekoru, she left Jamuraa, heading to the continent of Madara to raise her litter. 

Details of these events are in the "Monsters of Magic Anthology" novel, edited by J. Robert King.

Later, she is demanding tribute from a fishing village who call on the Imperial Champion of Madara to aid them.  Tetsuo Umezawa, the Imperial Champion, instead appoints her as deputy of the Imperial Champion and guardian of Sekana village port.   She also aids Tetsuo in his campaign against the dragon emperor Nicol Bolas, protecting Umezawa manor against the Kentsu army with her dragon kittens. 

Details of these events can be found in the Legends II novels: Assassin's Blade, Emperor's Fist, Champion's Trial, by Scott McGough. 

Further summary can be found at the mtg wiki: 
http://mtg.gamepedia.com/Wasitora


Ramos:

Ramos was a reprogrammed dragon engine of Phyrexian design originally under the control of Mishra, but upon reprogramming, sent by Urza to protect the people of Terisiare (a continent on Dominaria).

Dragon engines were some of the Phyrexian machines given to Mishra in order to conquer Terisiare (the largest continent on Dominaria), against his brother Urza.  At some point in the Brother's War, Urza captured Ramos and reprogrammed it. 

 Ramos gathered humans and merfolk to protect during the Sylex blast in the Brother's War, and managed to planeshift through Phyrexia and ending up in Mercadia by using a planar portal.  The people he brought to Mercadia ended up being the Cho-Arrim and the Merfolk of Rishada.  Parts of him, the "Bones of Ramos" were five power stones and part of the legacy, which the Weatherlight crew eventually re-acquired during the events of Mercadian Masques, towards their goal of completing the legacy weapon.  Ramos aided the Weatherlight by attacking and destroying Volrath's ship, the Recreant while they battled on Mercadia. 

All of this information can be found in the Mercadian Masques novel, by Francis Lebaron.  

Further summary can be found at the mtg wiki: http://mtg.gamepedia.com/Ramos


O-Kagachi

The spirit world and the physical world are two separate planes of existence in Kamigawa, and spirits protect and guard everything in their world, as well as the physical manifestations. 
O-Kagachi was the great serpent, the spirit of the barrier between the two worlds.   When Konda managed to steal "That which was taken" from the spirit world, it began the Kami war, as "That which was taken" is the daughter of O-Kagachi, though she herself is not a dragon.  O-Kagachi eventually manifested in the physical plane of Kamigawa, in the 20th year of the Kami war three times, finally being defeated by Michiko and "That which was taken" (manifesting herself to a woman, and giving herself the name "Kyodai").  The two women took up the mantle of guardians of the veil between worlds, and ended the Kami war. 

Further summary can be found at the mtg wiki: http://mtg.gamepedia.com/O-Kagachi


So, I'm really excited to see these three classic legendary dragons in Commander 2017!  Who else are we hoping for in the other 3 decks?  And will there be any story about the Ur-Dragon?

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Multiverse of Magic the Gathering

The Multiverse, once known as Dominia (not to be confused with Dominaria), is comprised of infinite worlds.  is considered the Nexus of the multiverse.

Richard Garfield, in the 1994 Pocket Player's handbook, described Dominia:

Imagine a vast beach. The sand shifts constantly, moved mostly by the tide and the wind, but also by the creatures that scurry across it or burrow beneath. Subtler effects, like compression or changes in temperature, also make their mark. Sometimes the grains cling together, weathering as a single stone until they are broken apart by some other force.

Now, imagine that each of these grains of sand is its own world, and you begin to get a picture of how Dominia works. Dominia is a multiverse, a collection of universes. Usually, the inhabitants of a particular world have no interaction with the other universes; the live out their lives believing that their home is the “One World.” Even when some cataclysm on a nearby plane affects the surrounding worlds, the occupants of those worlds can blame the gods, or perhaps invent nonexistent natural laws to explain the changes in their plane.
Dominaria is the center of the multiverse.  It is connected to 11 other worlds, once known as the shard of the 12 planes, and is one of the largest worlds of the entire multiverse.  Imagine it as a large boulder in the center of the beach, with the sands and stones of other worlds shifting around it. 


The Known multiverse (2008) 



The Planechase sets, both 2009 and 2012 introduced many worlds not seen in various block sets.  They are described here for 2009.

Planeswalkers once were some of the most powerful beings in the multiverse- they were able to create and destroy planes.  Some examples of fabricated worlds were Serra's Realm, Mirrodin, and Phyrexia.  Planes have also been revealed to have a sort of spirit, a soul, of senses, which can form into a elemental, or speak with animists.


Recent worlds visited:

Ixilan- Coming soon in 2017.  

Amonkhet - a world with similarities to ancient Egypt, it is a world ruled by Gods and their trials to greatness for the return of the God-Pharaoh.

Kaladesh-A world of wonder and artifice, where Aether fuels the energy of the inventions created by genius designers.  An inventor's fair is held, overseen by the mysterious Tezzeret. 

Innistrad- Two blocks have shown the gothic gloomy world of Innistrad, and while the humans of the plane already face werewolves, vampires, and zombies, they now have to contend with the cosmic horror of the Eldrazi.

Zendikar- A world of intense mana and floating peaks, full of quests and adventures, with danger and temples to explore.  It was invaded by the Eldrazi over 5000 years ago, and they have recently escaped!

Tarkir- A world ruled by 5 dragon lords which was once the battlegrounds of Khans. A time shift has changed it from a world where dragons were once extinct. 

Theros- Greek mythology influences Theros, and the gods of the subplane Nyx are the thing of enchantments.  Gods here can be invoked, and magical creatures are formed of the living sky.  One planeswalker attempted to become a Theros god himself- to what ends, however?

Ravnica- A city world controlled by ten guilds plotting against each other.  They are held to law by the living Guildpact, Jace Beleren.  However, their world is often visited by planeswalkers, and it is an very unstable peace at the moment. The past events. The Recent Events

New Phyrexia- The artificial world of Mirrodin is no more; the world is now ruled by Phyrexia.  This metal world is still forming itself to the new hub of the Phrexian homeworld, to eventually spread further to the multiverse. 

Alara- Alara was once broken into five subplanes, each with their own 3 color shards.  Bant, Jund, Grixis, Naya, and Esper are now areas within this single plane, but their isolation has caused them to clash. 

Fiora- A world of a classical kingdom, Paliano is the hub of intrigue, culture, and royalty

Lorwyn/Shadowmoor- A world alternating between light and shadow, Lorwyn magically changes to Shadowmoor at night through a Aurora, but with inhabitants being able to be in control. 

Kamigawa- The Japanese inspired world of Kamigawa is home to a variety of different races, and has connections to their spirit subplane.  A war between the Spirit and Physical world brought choas to the usually peaceful world. 

Shandalar- A wandering plane, Shandalar is a world ripe with mana, and very traditional fantasy elements. 

Dominaria- The center plane of the multiverse, it is one of the largest worlds.  Spanning multiple continents and cultures, Dominaria has a wide variety of races and history- from an Ice Age to multiple world ending events, including time-related catastrophes.  

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Scars of Mirrodin, Reflections of Phyrexia

Here are all the flavor and storyline guides for the backstory for the Scars of Mirrodin, Mirrodin Besieged, and New Phyrexia sets.  These were released in 2010-2011, so there may be gaps and things missing at this point.  Please comment if anything else can be added.

Welcome to Mirrodin!  World of Metal, created by Karn, planeswalker of Dominaria.  Mirrodin has been infected by the Phyrexian oil, spread by Karn himself, likely from the corruption still present in the phyrexian heartstone within him, given by Urza Planeswalker, once owned by Xantcha. 




Three planeswalkers gather- Here are the three sets of webcomics!

Gathering Forces

Scarred

Dark Discoveries


Scars of Mirrodin:
Convincing Elspeth and Venser to aid him, Koth, a native of Mirrodin, returns to his home plane to join the battle against newly forming Phyrexian forces.  Elspeth had faced Phyrexians as a child on her homeworld, which was invaded as well.  Venser, a native of Dominaria, had lived in their ruins and aided in the Mending with Teferi.  He was still working on interplanar portal and teleportation devices. 

Trailer (We will endure), Trailer (All will be one)

Phyrexia and the Vaultlord 

Mirrodin's Human cultures.

A tale of two clone shells.

Non-human cultures of Mirrodin.


Mirrodin Besieged:

Corruption

Phyrexians...

Public Aggression.

War!

Why the Mirrans will endure










New Phyrexia:

Mirrodin falls, and the phyrexians have won. 

Underling Ethu's 263rd report read simply "Yes, my lord. Overwhelmingly, my lord." This marked the end of the Mirran-Phyrexian War.  -War Report, Card 26/174, New Phyrexia.

Trailer

Planeswalker's guides: Part 1Part 2: The Swarm, Part 3: Machine Orthodoxy, Part 4: The Quiet Furnace, Part 5: The Progress Engine, Part 6: The Steel Thanes.

The Praetors



Aftermath:

Elspeth escapes with her life, and describes what happened after the Quest for Karn novel in a letter to Ajani. 

There is an Ezuri, card, with him Phyrexianized in Commander 2015.  He has been compleated. 



Other stories from New Phyrexia:



Individual Character descriptions. 

Farris of the Anvil

Unctus of the Synod

Roxith, Thane of Rot

Kessla, of Temple Might

Ria of Bladehold




Basic information on the plane: Wiki

The terms of Mirrodin.

Not much lore is told of the world otherwise, though the novel, Quest for Karn exists.  It cannot be recommended by this blog.  



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Hours of Devastation Arrive

Magic is about to show us the defeat of the Gatewatch, and so the Hour of Devastation comes nigh!

If you haven't seen the stories, you can find them all in the Amonkhet world article, found here.

The prophesies of Amonkhet tell of 4 hours, and each is winding up to be a Magic card of large power and explosive strength! Each week we've seen a story progressing through them as we approach prerelease. Want to be the expert on what they were said to be, and what they brought?  Here's a basic summary for you to quote the prophesy.


This can be your guide to discussing the prophesied hours!

The Accounting of Hours:
"When the Second Sun rests between the horns on the horizon, so begins the Hour of Revelation. Then the Hour of Glory, the Hour of Promise, and finally the Hour of Eternity."
—The Accounting of Hours (Throne of the God-Pharaoh)

"And thus the sun reached its zenith behind the horns of the God-Pharaoh, and the promised Hours began. And the last of the people of Amonkhet fell to their knees, and there was much gnashing of teeth for fear of what was coming in the world, and wailing from babes and children, and the gods did mark the moment with solemnity, all as foretold."

The Hour of Revelation
"All questions will be answered during the Hour of Revelation." (Naga Oracle, blue)


"And so the Hour of Revelation broke upon the land, and the promised time arrived when all questions would be answered. And lo, the Gate to the Afterlife opened, and from behind its gleaming walls, the true visage of the coming tide poured forth."
-From the story, Feast.


What actually happened:  The people and gods gather at the Luxa river, where the Gate to the Afterlife opens.  Only Razaketh the demon arrives, and he casts a spell that turns the Luxa to blood and begins to dry.  The Gatewatch gang up on him, and with Liliana's animated animals, tear him apart.

Analysis: So this prediction was a flat out lie.  No questions were answered, other than the Razaketh revealing himself.  The "coming tide" is definitely shown, though- devastation. 



The Hour of Glory
"In the Hour of Glory, the gods and the untested will prove their worth before the God-Pharaoh."

—The Accounting of Hours (Nimble-Blade Khenra, Red)

Beginning of the article:
"And as the Luxa, the lifeblood of Naktamun, turned to the foul blood of the great shadow Razaketh, the Hours turned to that of Glory—the promised time when the gods themselves would prove their worth before the God-Pharaoh."

What actually happened: The three missing gods appear, as the Scorpion God, the Locust God, and the Scarab God.  The Scorpion God approaches and attacks Rhonas.  He defeats it several times, but it surprises and overwhelms him, killing him with its sting. 

Analysis:  The gods were tested, or at least, Rhonas was, their strongest and best fighter.  He lost, and an immortal was killed on the plane- meaning, perhaps, that the world's leylines can reform gods.  Amonkhet's leylines and heart is damaged and killed, as we learned from Nissa, however, so there may be no returning gods after this set. 



Hour of Promise

"When the Hour of Promise arrives, the God-Pharaoh will tear down the Hekma, for its protection will be needed no longer." —The Accounting of Hours (Winged Shepherd, White)

Beginning of the article:
"And lo, the three dark divinities returned, and as they felled the gods, the Hour of Promise arrived. And so the great locust god fulfilled the great promise, and thus the Hekma was torn asunder, its protections cast aside before the return of the God-Pharaoh."

What actually happened:  Kefnet and Oketra fall to the might of the recurring Scorpion God.  Hapatra and others physically feel the death of their gods.  The Locust God released his locust summoning spell, and the locusts tore and ate the magical barrier protecting Naktamun apart, allowing zombies and horrors into the city.

Analysis:  Two other gods fought the Scorpion god, and died.  Their goal was the prevent the Hekma from being destroyed at this point by the Locust god, but failed.  The prophesy was correct, and the gods failed to stop it. 





The Hour of Eternity
"When all doubts have melted away, the worthy will meet the Hour of Eternity and earn a place at the God-Pharaoh's side." —The Accounting of Hours  (Dissenter's Deliverance, Green)

What will the Hour of Eternity bring?  That comes next week on July 2nd, 2017, and this blog will update thereafter.

What we expect:  The Scarab god will create or bring forth the eternals, zombified and lazotep covered minions to be controlled by Bolas.   Bontu and Hazoret are the two remaining Naktamun gods, and they will either fight each other (as some spoilers suggest) or stand against the Insect Gods.  Bolas may finally appear, and we may see a battle with the Gatewatch.  The hour is called eternity, so we definitely should see the Eternals (zombies) arrive at very least. 



Some fun speculation at this point- there are only 4 hours listed in the "Accounting of the Hours", and the set's name is Hour of Devastation.  There have also been 4 cards revealed with the hours' names, so I would now fully expect an "Hour of Devastation" card in Red (the color missing). 

Also interesting, each of these quotes of the Hours (listing what actually happens instead of the prophesy) are written in past tense.  So someone must survive these hours, and live on Amonkhet beyond this story.  Perhaps we'll see a survival of desert-folk in the future.

Update:  As expected.  There is an Hour of Devastation.  And Bolas meets the Gatewatch!


Monday, June 5, 2017

Magic Story, where to start?

A question players often come to, when regarding the magic storyline, is where to start? 

Magic: the Gathering has a rich history of 24 years, and with it comes a lot of lore, from books, articles, stories, and Q&As.  There are ebooks and hard to find novels, short stories, and AR games.  Compilations gave some insight, and podcasts now add more. 

But where to start, you ask?

This article is here to help be a guide for where in time, and where in the multiverse, are good places to begin reading.  There is a very long timeline for magic's events for the card game, so there are, of course, a variety of options. 


Old:

The Brother's War by Jeff Grubb

Most people who play Magic have heard of Urza, and sometimes of his brother, Mishra.  This is the story of how the brothers grew up, and found to hate each other, leading to war across the entire world of Dominaria.  This is a good story starting point for those who want the old stories- from Revised era sets, with Ice Age, Mirage, and Tempest being relevant to this starting era. 

or

The Thran by J. Robert King

Thousands of years befor Urza and Mishra, there were a race of people, a country, known as the Thran.  They possessed amazing artifacts and countless wonderful machines- but there was a sickness spreading among them.  They call upon an exiled surgeon, Yawgmoth, to cure the disease, and this tale shows the slow downfall of their civilization.

This is a prequel to the Brother's war, and tell the story of a race far before Urza or Mishra.  You'd want to start with this book if you plan on reading the entire sage of Urza, the Tempest block novels, all the way to Invasion. 




Old-ish:

Rath and Storm, edited by Peter Archer. 

This story begins with the Rath cycle, the tales of Gerrard Capashen, Sisay, Squee, and Mirri, among the rest of the crew of the Weatherlight flying ship, on the journey against the evincar Volrath. 

While this is a middle ground starting point for story, it allows the reader to find a good set of characters to go with, and then delve deeper with Urza, or the Thran, and lead up to the Invasion.  Readers can then go back in time and see how Urza or the Thran began, or continue from there, following the crew of the Weatherlight. 



New 2015 Story:
Magic Origins stories, of planeswalkers (aka: neowalkers) Jace Beleren, Chandra Nalaar, Nissa Revane, Liliana Vess (alternate comic origin story), and Gideon Jura.  This begins the neowalker storyline, and introduces us to planeswalkers after the mending has occurred, a shift in the magic in the multiverse, and making the main characters much more relatable. 

From there, read the novel: Agents of Artifice, by Ari Marmel, which is the beginning of interaction between Jace, Liliana, and Tezzeret. 

Other important early stories:  Ajani's Spark igniting

The neowalker plot is described further with articles and stories, books and lore pages, which are mostly summarized here

The more structured Gatewatch story starts with Battle for Zendikar, directly after Origins, which you can find here

No matter where you begin in these tales, there are many books, articles, and stories from there on out.  Please comment for further information, if you're curious for more. 



Saturday, May 27, 2017

Ancient Kamigawa Secrets

There are many "lost" tales from the world of Kamigawa, which are reposted here for ease of access. 


These tales are all owned by Wizards of the Coast, and were published around 2005.  A full snynopsis of the events of Kamigawa will soon be posted below. 


Contents:
Mountain Secret (Kumano)
Duty Bound (Takeno)
Everything (Azami)
Eight and a Half Tales
Security (Horobi, Death's Wail)
The Dragon's Errand (Kiki Jiki)
Thankless Child (Iname)
Bonds of Ice and Fire (Brother's Yamazaki)  This story takes place many years after the Kami war in "Champions of Kamigawa".
The Dragon Shield (Jugan)
Told in Whispers (The Unspeakable)
A Servant's Mission (Ink Eyes)
Patron of the Akki (Patron of the Akki)
Personal Battles (Iwamori)
Redemption Smiles (Kentaro)
The Sound of Crickets (Higure, the Still Wind)
War's Wage (Kataki)
The Face behind the Mask (Sakashima, the Imposter)
The Meeting
Iizuka the Ruthless
The Last Visitor (Ayumi, the Last Visitor)  This story takes place 6 years after The Dragon's Errand. 


All these can be found on the "wayback machine", of the archived Wizards Magic site: http://web.archive.org/web/20080314191532/http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=magic/kamigawa/vignettes

(Warning, that mess is pretty awful looking due to the archiving)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Sands of Amonkhet

Welcome to the Plane of Amonkhet.



A plane of sand, and death.  A plane ruled by Nicol Bolas.  A plane for building monuments, striving through challenges, and a plane, of Gods.


The Gatewatch has arrived here to attempt to strike back at the dragon planeswalker they see as their enemy, Nicol Bolas.  He had meddled with Chandra's homeworld of Kaladesh, and so the Gatewatch is attempting to catch Bolas by surprise.

Trailer

Player's guide, with lore behind the 5 gods. 

Plane Shift: Amonkhet; The DnD adaptation to play in the world of Amonkhet.

Amonkhet Stories:

They arrive with some impact.

The Gatewatch find the city, and find there is some strange elements.  Will they decide to trust these new gods?

Nissa and Chandra find some writing on the wall

Jace and Liliana discover much about servants in Naktamun.  And "someone" discovers Liliana's presence. 

Having discovered the hieroglyphs, Nissa goes to Kefnet for advice, and finds a trial instead

Gideon finds the trials more Brazen than he thought.

There is some history of Trespass for Samut. 

The gatewatch discovers Samut, and they decide to help her plan to receive judgment.  The hours are nigh!



Hour of Devastation

The hours of have begun.  The second sun is between the two horns of Amonkhet. 

Trailer

"When the Second Sun rests between the horns on the horizon, so begins the Hour of Revelation. Then the Hour of Glory, the Hour of Promise, and finally the Hour of Eternity."
—The Accounting of Hours (Throne of the God-Phaeroh)

The Hour of Revelation
"All questions will be answered during the Hour of Revelation." (Naga Oracle)

The feast.
"And so the Hour of Revelation broke upon the land, and the promised time arrived when all questions would be answered. And lo, the Gate to the Afterlife opened, and from behind its gleaming walls, the true visage of the coming tide poured forth."


The Hour of Glory
"In the Hour of Glory, the gods and the untested will prove their worth before the God-Pharaoh."
—The Accounting of Hours (Nimble-Blade Khenra)



The Hour of Promise
"When the Hour of Promise arrives, the God-Pharaoh will tear down the Hekma, for its protection will be needed no longer."
—The Accounting of Hours (Winged Shepherd)

Some desire the Favor of the God-Pharaoh.

The Hour of Eternity
"When all doubts have melted away, the worthy will meet the Hour of Eternity and earn a place at the God-Pharaoh's side."
—The Accounting of Hours  (Dissenter's Deliverance)

The God-Pharaoh has returned, and the [four] Hours have arrived as foretold. The Hours of Revelation, Glory, and Promise unleashed disaster upon Naktamun, and now the Hour of Eternity brings an unimaginably personal terror to the city's denizens.

The people of Amonkhet must somehow Endure.


The Hour of Devastation"The world crumbled beneath the heel of the mighty God-Pharaoh, and an unnamed hour dawned as the blood red sun drowned the land in crimson. And thus, the Hour of Devastation reigned, and, the God-Pharaoh completed his great plan, leaving behind ruin while darkness consumed and unmade the entirety of the city."

Notes:

From the Magic Story Podcast:

  • Mother's don't raise their children on Amonkhet- the mummies do.  A person who is pregnant can still train throughout their pregnancy; there is time within the trials to have kids; there are several years training up to Rhonas' trial of strength. 

    Kids have no basic sound of language around them, raised by mummies, and only formal education.  This was stated as not originally natural to the plane.
  • The gods were the ones to confirm the Gatewatch is ok.  Curiosity isn't a valued train on Amonkhet, because there is "no where else" beyond Naktamun.  The city is all there is, so if the Gods say these strange looking people are fine, then it must be so.  
From the Amonkhet art book:
Bolas' plans to release the Eldrazi were made in order to determine if there would be a planeswalker response to such an interplanar threat- which the gatewatch was.  It was in order to test the abilities of neowalkers working together, in order to be ready with his Amonkhet army. 
More lore and tales will be added as it is released.  Come back to find more built towards the dual suns' light.