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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:03 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
I was in general agreement, obviously, with the fact that we're finally getting a good idea of Bolas's aims, but then something reared its ugly head that more or less ruined the good will the wonderful Ixalan stories had been generating. It's a pretty big problem too, one that I had managed to bury, but it's too prevalent a plot hole not to be addressed.

Kaladesh's plot makes no sense with the continuing narrative.

Tezzeret's job there was to get the planar portal so that Bolas's 60 years worth of a zombie army can march on Ravnica, right?

The problem is, the damn portal didn't EXIST until the Inventor's fair began. Beyond that, it's only because Saheeli essentially BRIBED one of the judges that the elf got to show off her invention after having missed her first damned audition. Additionally, the fact it couldn't transport organic matter was a bug they JUST discovered about it.

Kaladesh's contributions to all this just break a LOT of what's necessary to make it work.
I've seen this objection elsewhere. Tezzeret's job was to find any mass-scale (or scalable) interplanar teleportation method or technology at all, and alert Bolas when he had found or acquired it. Bolas would then advance the Second Sun and collect his zombie army from Amonkhet: that schedule was infinitely flexible, so he can just wait for Tezzeret to report success. If Tezzeret hadn't found this planar portal (or if it had had a different flaw that rendered it useless for Bolas's plans) Tezzeret would have reported another blind alley and nothing would have happened on Amonkhet.

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:30 pm 
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astarael7 wrote:
Barinellos wrote:
I was in general agreement, obviously, with the fact that we're finally getting a good idea of Bolas's aims, but then something reared its ugly head that more or less ruined the good will the wonderful Ixalan stories had been generating. It's a pretty big problem too, one that I had managed to bury, but it's too prevalent a plot hole not to be addressed.

Kaladesh's plot makes no sense with the continuing narrative.

Tezzeret's job there was to get the planar portal so that Bolas's 60 years worth of a zombie army can march on Ravnica, right?

The problem is, the damn portal didn't EXIST until the Inventor's fair began. Beyond that, it's only because Saheeli essentially BRIBED one of the judges that the elf got to show off her invention after having missed her first damned audition. Additionally, the fact it couldn't transport organic matter was a bug they JUST discovered about it.

Kaladesh's contributions to all this just break a LOT of what's necessary to make it work.
I've seen this objection elsewhere. Tezzeret's job was to find any mass-scale (or scalable) interplanar teleportation method or technology at all, and alert Bolas when he had found or acquired it. Bolas would then advance the Second Sun and collect his zombie army from Amonkhet: that schedule was infinitely flexible, so he can just wait for Tezzeret to report success. If Tezzeret hadn't found this planar portal (or if it had had a different flaw that rendered it useless for Bolas's plans) Tezzeret would have reported another blind alley and nothing would have happened on Amonkhet.

There's still an issue with it, regardless of if the Amonkhet plot was flexible or not.
The zombie harvest alone isn't an issue, but preparing them with Lazotep supposes a forward thinking consideration that specifically addresses the issue with the elf's portal. Regardless of timeliness, which I still honestly have an issue with (though not a substantial one) that just comes together too conveniently. Almost as conveniently that Saheeli could ensure the success of the elf's audition to even qualify for the fair, and doubly since her discovery was totally accidental.

But in addition to this, there's yet another problem with how everything lines up. Bolas deployed Vraska BEFORE Tezzeret learned of the portal. Ral directly tells Jace that Vraska had blipped off the radar prior to Kaladesh. If that was to the Meditation Realm or to Ixalan, it doesn't matter. She was in play before Bolas had a way to retrieve her.

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:40 pm 
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Maybe Bolas can see the future, but only on Kaladesh.


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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:50 pm 
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Bolas has fourth wall breaking foresight.

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:58 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
But in addition to this, there's yet another problem with how everything lines up. Bolas deployed Vraska BEFORE Tezzeret learned of the portal. Ral directly tells Jace that Vraska had blipped off the radar prior to Kaladesh. If that was to the Meditation Realm or to Ixalan, it doesn't matter. She was in play before Bolas had a way to retrieve her.


Hrm... Even if Bolas couldn't retrieve her johnny-on-the-spot once she found the Sun, he'd undoubtedly have something set up to alert him in case she died on another plane. Maybe the compass? If it has extra functions like how I suspect, it would probably also have a recorded message on there explaining something along the lines of: "You will undoubtedly have learned that escape is impossible from Ixalan. This message is set to play if you find the Sun before I have the ability to retrieve it, and thus secure your release. If so, I am deeply impressed. In the absence of any workable course of action until circumstances change, your orders are now to keep the Sun secure and under your control for as long as possible. Rest assured that you have earned every scrap of the gold I promised you before your departure, and your position as the new guildmaster of the Golgari Swarm - indeed, of any guild that strikes your fancy!- is guaranteed upon your return to Ravnica."

TL;DR Bolas probably has the compass rigged to cover those contingencies. The only problem in that eventuality is Vraska, and he relinquished any real control over her once she went to Ixalan.

EDIT: RE: the portal's invention and the number of coincidences involved: Bolas probably has multiple such science teams across multiple planes, meaning the odds are much better of someone making a breakthrough. (He definitely has a few Izzet working on the problem under Ral Zerak, for example) Tezzeret still got amazingly lucky that the breakthrough happened on his watch, but if it wasn't him it would have been another catspaw of Bolas' on another plane, neither of whom the audience had heard of.


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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:45 am 
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Lazotep Zombies seem MUCH more effective than plain old zombies. So either way it seems to be worthwhile to go through the process.

Maybe Bolas was aware that planar portals could no longer transport living things? Maybe he found an old Phyrexian one, tried to use it for a plan, and learned the hard way? Or he tried to personally transport someone to another plane and found out it doesn't work so well?

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:10 am 
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Now there's an official quiz for the finale.

Pity, because this story feels like a good concluding piece. The vampires have gone, Huatli and Angrath have planeswalked away and the emperor has predictably acted like an expansionistic ****.

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:18 am 
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Today's UR (Magic Story): Who Tells the Stories?

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:30 am 
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Unexpectedly, I really liked Elenda. After the full on cackling evil of most of the other vampires, it was really nice to see that at least she represented the better values that seemed to lie dormant within the Legion.

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:55 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
There's still an issue with it, regardless of if the Amonkhet plot was flexible or not.
The zombie harvest alone isn't an issue, but preparing them with Lazotep supposes a forward thinking consideration that specifically addresses the issue with the elf's portal.
Others have said this, but Bolas was making Lazotep zombies because they were better zombies. That they neatly avoided the flaw in Rashimi's portal was a convenient accident.
Quote:
Regardless of timeliness, which I still honestly have an issue with (though not a substantial one) that just comes together too conveniently. Almost as conveniently that Saheeli could ensure the success of the elf's audition to even qualify for the fair, and doubly since her discovery was totally accidental.
Her discovery was lucky, but absolutely not accidental. Tezzeret and his agents had been talking up matter teleportation among Ghirapur's inventor societies as a hot-button topic, and as Tezzeret would well know, if you get an entire city of inventors and engineers working on impressive contest-winning teleportation devices, it's pretty likely one of them is going to stumble on something that uses the Blind Eternities and could be adapted to work across planes. She succeeded at her audition because her device was genuinely impressive, which is completely believable for the first ever teleportation device; all Saheeli did was ensure that Rashimi got her audience with the Vizir.


Today's story was great. I've really enjoyed the character development we've seen for Huatli and I like her a lot more now than I did at the beginning. They've handled her much better than they have Arlinn Kord or Saheeli Rai.

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:46 pm 
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Here's some Flash Fiction from the MTG Tumblr:

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http://wizardsmagic.tumblr.com/post/170653773442/hello-planeswalkers-for-todays-throwback

Hello, Planeswalkers! For today’s Throwback Thursday the Social Team has put together a piece of flash fiction about a card from Ixalan. We hope you all enjoy this very short story about Captivating Crew.


I remember when I first met the captain.

It was in a tavern in High and Dry, one of the grimy ones that have barnacles growing on the floor. The ship I’d been crewing for had recently gone down in a storm. One harbor master said it was the leeches that sunk it. But I wasn’t on it at the time, on account of I’d overslept and missed the boat. Bad luck turned into good, I guess.

It can be a tricky thing for an orc like me to get a job on a crew. Sure, I’m strong. And real good at fighting. But, well…not a lot else.

So there I was in the Crooked Bilge tavern, drinking away my troubles, and in swaggers the handsomest fellow I’d ever seen. Long black braids decorated with golden bits of treasure, skin the color of rum that glowed in the dim torchlight, and the fashionable clothes of a pretty man who knows he’s pretty and wants other people to notice it. I was captivated.

“Oy, ye lot!” he bellowed. “I’m looking for a couple of new sailors for my crew. It’s hard work, but I promise there’ll be lots of treasure in it for the brave.” He smirked with a mischievous glint in his eye. “And we’ll have some fun along the way! Who’s interested?”

A few older, salt-crusted sailors grumbled, while a couple of the young ones perked up at the mention of treasure. A young woman with orange hair and only one eye studied him with suspicion. He was too gutsy—it was clear they didn’t trust him.

Before I knew what got into me, I stood up and cleared my throat. “I want to work,” I said.

Dumb. You sounded dumb, I thought.

But the captain smiled at me and I couldn’t help but smile back.

My rash decision turned out to be a lucky one. I worked for the captain on his ship, the Dandy, for months after that. He was as good as his word—the work was hard, but the treasure was plentiful. I figured out quick how he could afford such fancy clothes and golden beads for his braids. And he was a good captain too, everything a leader should be: clever, charming, and confident. His crew was right loyal. We all loved him.

We had a few close calls with bloodsuckers from time to time, but me and the other gunners always managed to blast them to smithereens.

Life on the Dandy was never boring, and I did everything I could to make the captain proud, to get him to notice me. I even started wearing nicer clothes, the fancy kind, made of soft materials and colors bright as the feathers on one of those dinosaurs onshore. He laughed at me, though, told me the colors I picked didn’t match up well. Of course, only I’d do something that dumb. I gave up on trying to be spiffy.

After a while I got an idea of how I could earn the captain’s respect for sure—I’d become his first mate! But proving my worth could take years. So I came up with a scheme. For over a month I snuck important bits of loot from the captain’s quarters and hid it away. Eventually he noticed and searched the whole ship. To his shock and rage, he found his missing loot in First Mate Gorrey’s cabin!

It wasn’t in my plan to fight Gorrey, but in the end I had to, on account of him accusing me of being the real sneaky thief. So I tossed the blaggard straight off the ship.

That’s when the captain looked at me with pride in his face and patted me on the shoulder.

“Won’t be any more thieves with ye by my side. They’ll all be too afeard of ye!”

And that’s how I became the first mate of the Dandy.

Not long after that, we docked at Rapscallion Wharf to celebrate my new title and spend our recent spoils. Our crew put on a great many parties, thanks to the captain’s motto, “We sail. We plunder. Then we dance.”

The whole crew drank and sang and danced till their faces turned red. But I just sat alone with my mug, sighing and daydreaming. I always get sappy when I drink.

Just then, I looked over to see the captain swagger my way, hunting for his next dance partner.

How lovely it would be to dance with the captain, I thought. To be close enough to see the color of his eyes and smell his hair…

But he passed me by and picked Belinda, the navigator. He always did pick the pretty ones. Sigh.

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Art: Captivating Crew by Winona Nelson

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:42 pm 
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astarael7 wrote:
Barinellos wrote:
There's still an issue with it, regardless of if the Amonkhet plot was flexible or not.
The zombie harvest alone isn't an issue, but preparing them with Lazotep supposes a forward thinking consideration that specifically addresses the issue with the elf's portal.
Others have said this, but Bolas was making Lazotep zombies because they were better zombies. That they neatly avoided the flaw in Rashimi's portal was a convenient accident.
Quote:
Regardless of timeliness, which I still honestly have an issue with (though not a substantial one) that just comes together too conveniently. Almost as conveniently that Saheeli could ensure the success of the elf's audition to even qualify for the fair, and doubly since her discovery was totally accidental.
Her discovery was lucky, but absolutely not accidental. Tezzeret and his agents had been talking up matter teleportation among Ghirapur's inventor societies as a hot-button topic, and as Tezzeret would well know, if you get an entire city of inventors and engineers working on impressive contest-winning teleportation devices, it's pretty likely one of them is going to stumble on something that uses the Blind Eternities and could be adapted to work across planes. She succeeded at her audition because her device was genuinely impressive, which is completely believable for the first ever teleportation device; all Saheeli did was ensure that Rashimi got her audience with the Vizir.

The absurd level of coincidence involved beyond shatters the capacity for suspension of disbelief, in at least two ways, if not more.
Kaladesh was, quite honestly, a terrible section of story. Not quite as bad as Tarkir or Battle for Zendikar, but still a ridiculously low point.

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 6:47 pm 
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I like Huatli a lot more now than at the start too, but I was a bit confused by her Planeswalk. I thought it was supposed to be an intensive concentration effort but it just seems so casual for her. I also thought it was hard to return exactly to where you walked away from. I always had the impression you kind of "crash land" when you arrive on a plane and can only pick the general area you land in. Isn't that why Jace couldn't just 'walk to Sea Gate?

Elenda was really great too. I liked her characterization and it really showed what I wanted the vampires to be. My one thought as Huatli was gearing up for her little vacation was "Shouldn't she tell Tishana that there's no alliance? You led her to believe there'd be an alliance, please correct her before a bunch of Merfolk die =/".

I never noticed the orc gazing adoringly at the captain in the card art so I thought it was cute how it brought that gay orc to light. I'm always a suck for LGBTQ representation and moreso so interspecies gay romance.


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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:29 pm 
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I think planeswalking accuracy is effected by how well you are connected to the location so it shouldn't be too hard to return to her family's home.

I did think it was strange that she was going on a vacation right before the emperor was about to use her accomplishment to lie to the people and escalate a war but he did say that they were weeks away from attacking a vampire fort so maybe things take a while to happen there. Also after Samut (and to a lesser extent Saheeli Rai) I think they were getting complaints about walkers that don't leave home.


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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:51 pm 
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I liked Elenda a lot. I was honestly hoping the vampires would be like that in general. Shame we got so little of it.

This story felt very short. Also agree it is awkward that she left for a week when she was supposed to be at the ceremony tomorrow. Doubt it will matter in the long run for the story. I never thought I would be more invested in the Gatewatch aspect of the story than the story of individual planes, but I just have been lacking a real attachment to Ixalan.

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:31 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
The absurd level of coincidence involved beyond shatters the capacity for suspension of disbelief, in at least two ways, if not more.
Kaladesh was, quite honestly, a terrible section of story. Not quite as bad as Tarkir or Battle for Zendikar, but still a ridiculously low point.
There is no coincidence there at all; at least, not beyond the base level of "we're telling the story about the plane he found the planar portal on, not the 50 planes he didn't". All of those elements are characters acting in pursuit of their goals, or plausible consequences of those actions.

I'll give you Rashimi and Saheeli being friends as a coincidence, but that's about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:49 pm 
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astarael7 wrote:
There is no coincidence there at all; at least, not beyond the base level of "we're telling the story about the plane he found the planar portal on, not the 50 planes he didn't". All of those elements are characters acting in pursuit of their goals, or plausible consequences of those actions.

I'll give you Rashimi and Saheeli being friends as a coincidence, but that's about it.

The timing involved given Vraska's deployment, the weakness of the portal not being a weakness, the very fact that the portal even existed and we didn't get an actual matter teleporter that was the thing they were hyping up, that the portal unintentionally tapped into the eternities and there were people there who understood what that could mean...

There are a LOT of coincidences. That's without getting into Dovin Baan inviting the bloody Gatewatch to the shindig either.
Now, yes, I'll certainly agree that much of that just goes into the story that was being told and alone, it really doesn't strain believability. I'll not argue that. The problem is, ALL that adds up on top of one another. In terms of greater narrative especially.

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:50 pm 
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Seems like Kaladesh was a missed opportunity for furthering the Bolas - Tezzeret dynamic. As Barinellos says, the portal didn't come about until well after Tezz had been on Kaladesh. Tezzeret's hitting up Kaladesh and enjoying himself, looking at how far removed it is from the harsh hierarchies of Esper - and Bolas allowing his minion to have a little me time - would've been great storytelling imo.

And the Gatewatch's involvement could only be improved if Jace were hellbent on putting an end to Tezzeret. Since he's seen how cold Tezzeret can be, and given the extent of the mind-wipe Jace dealt Tezzeret at the end of Agents...it makes sense to me that fear of Tezzeret would drive Jace toward Kaladesh to put an end to his old enemy.

^ But that would require AoA's place in cannon.

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:15 am 
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Empyreal wrote:
Elenda was really great too. I liked her characterization and it really showed what I wanted the vampires to be. My one thought as Huatli was gearing up for her little vacation was "Shouldn't she tell Tishana that there's no alliance? You led her to believe there'd be an alliance, please correct her before a bunch of Merfolk die =/".

When she first appeared I was surprised at her characterization, I did not expect her to be that chill. But her part in the recent story? GOT DANG. SLAY, Kween~! :teach:

Makes me wonder if she's gonna go all Uchiha on the vampires back in Torrezon if even Queen Miralda herself admonishes her "enlightenment".

That part with Tishana is indeed weird tho... :/

Barinellos wrote:
The timing involved given Vraska's deployment, the weakness of the portal not being a weakness, the very fact that the portal even existed and we didn't get an actual matter teleporter that was the thing they were hyping up, that the portal unintentionally tapped into the eternities and there were people there who understood what that could mean...

There are a LOT of coincidences. That's without getting into Dovin Baan inviting the bloody Gatewatch to the shindig either.
Now, yes, I'll certainly agree that much of that just goes into the story that was being told and alone, it really doesn't strain believability. I'll not argue that. The problem is, ALL that adds up on top of one another. In terms of greater narrative especially.

Oh, Barinellos... I say you just shill more-er, it'll make your Neo Vorthosi-life lighter. :V

Creative is working REAL HARD okay, They're MIGHTY BUSSEEEY~!!!1!! So it's all good!!! All is well!!! :V

Jace will kill Nicol Bolas in one fell swoop when time comes etc. etc. :V

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 Post subject: Re: Uncharted Realms
PostPosted: Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:15 pm 
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I feel the upcoming "Siege of Ravnica" arc is gonna be one of those arcs where some of main characters get killed* off. Which is honestly fine by me as I feel that a lot of planeswalkers, especially the gatewatch, dont have much going for them combat-wise**. I feel like this arc will force them to get good or die trying.

*No I dont think they gonna kill off Nissa because 1. They have yet to make another mono-green non-human planeswalker. 2. A good narrative kills off characters we care about. Most Old time Vorthosians-which makes up most of us-dont give a damn about Nissa and Wizards knows we dont.

**It maybe because I watch too much shounen anime or perhaps Legends Cycle 2 books showed me "shounen"-like behavior was possible. Either way, I have come to the conclusion that most planeswalkers are not combat-effective when it comes to long-term conflicts. Lets look at Jace for example, he would be an excellent support mage, capable of disrupting the line of command and causing any battle to shift in his commander's favor. This is assuming that everything else is equal or decidely in his sides favor. Any situation that requires him to fight on the front lines is a situation that has gone "FUBAR"


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