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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:45 pm 
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astarael7 wrote:
I'm curious to hear why the twist "shouldn't have been" Azor. If not him, what should it have been?


No twist and better developed factions.

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:31 pm 
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astarael7 wrote:
(Especially since I think it points to Ravnica III in the fall.)

I would not be happier with any plane falling into the Blind Eternities, to never be referenced again except as the reference for "11" on the 1-10 scale of planar obliteration, than I would be with Ravnica meeting such a fate -- honestly, such an end would be my only reason to pay attention for the duration of Rav 3. I have no good will left towards the plane such as it is.

What's going to happen, another Guild War? Unless Bolas (or some other nefarious force) actually manages to subvert all the factions by giving the whole place the Serra's Sanctum treatment and crushing it into a powerstone, there's not anything we haven't seen before, including outcome.


As for Azor, count me in with Hidetsugu and Lily. I wanted the City of Gold to be doing its own thing. There didn't need to be a thinking entity, just the constructs we'd already seen and a race between all the characters and factions to claim their prize. I appreciated the portrayal of the City in Ixalan in part because it reminded me in a good way of Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky -- A story about a race for control of a fantastical city the path to which is revealed by a mystical artifact, between plucky heroes, pirates, a sinister military, and a manipulative villain. There didn't have to be a "King of Laputa" sitting around when they all got there, the competition between Musca and his troops and Pazu, Sheeta, and the pirates was enough.

The competition between Angrath & Huatli; Jace, Vraska, & the Pirates; Elenda & the Conquistadors; and Kumena & the Merfolk would have been enough for Rivals. Azor was unnecessary.

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:56 pm 
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You know thinking about it the race for Azcata and the Immortal Sun, this almost seems like the race in the Dragon's Maze, take two. And we all know who we have to thank for that mess... I'm hoping they can at least tie together a few plotlines off in the stories though.

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:59 pm 
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astarael7 wrote:
(Especially since I think it points to Ravnica III in the fall.)
What's going to happen, another Guild War?
Bolas distracts the guilds by playing internal factions of each against each other, leading to widespread power struggles (which we already know he is doing in at least two of them) and then invades with his Eternal army in the ensuing chaos, using the Kaladeshi planar bridge powered by the Immortal Sun. (With a side benefit of the Immortal Sun preventing any meddlesome planeswalkers from being able to escape.)

I completely agree that Azor is unnecessary for Ixalan as a story unto itself. But Ixalan is not only a story unto itself. Azor is unnecessary for this story, but (hopefully) very necessary (in ways we don't know) for the meta-story.

(EDIT: This, by the way, is absolutely the right way to do tie-ins and references to old continuity. The right way is not, for example, perfectly-preserved details from a widely-unread novel about how to enter a minor demi-plane. The right way is just to do new stuff, but layer echos and resonances of the old stuff on top of it.)

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Last edited by astarael7 on Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:10 pm 
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Sounds like every villian except Bolas

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:39 pm 
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I'd prefer Bolas use his Eternals to restore peace to a war-torn Ravnica than him doing the rote alien invasion villain thing.

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:58 pm 
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It shouldn't have been Azor because it dials the coincidences up to absurd proportions. The chances of all these characters coming together is already a headache of statistics, but that's the nature of the beast. But adding Azor actively reduces the scope of the multiverse. It's a contrived development that makes everything feel that much smaller in that it all ties together.

It hurts the breadth of possibility by making it all one narrow group responsible for everything.

Also, I've no faith in returning to Ravnica again without them fumbling things like they did the last time.

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:49 pm 
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Yeah, I get what you mean. I can buy that maybe Bolas running through the possible henchmen chooses someone from Ravnica while working on how to use a piece of an old Parun, but then also having the new guildpact land here is crazy... As is his memories returning post rock smack.

...But yeah RTR wasn't exactly a story success and probably the number one contributor to the end of MTG novels...

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:55 am 
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In respect to Ravnica, I'd like to think that once you're at rock bottom (RTR), you can only go up from there.

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:34 pm 
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Quote:
dougbeyermtg said:

I’M GLAD YOU FINALLY FOUND A HOME, PARROT GRIFFIN CONCEPT!

So when I was at Archon St. Louis last year, I talked about how sometimes, cool ideas in the world guide don’t always end up making it to cards. The world guide is a resource for concepting, a toolbox of possibilities to help give flavor to the eventual mechanics of the set. Sadly, not every one of the awesome tools in the box gets used every time.

In particular, the Ixalan world guide had this sweet, super-colorful, parrot-inspired griffin concept in one of its creature sections:

Image

…and then no Ixalan cards showed off this pretty beast. There just wasn’t a use for it. But then along came a flyer in Rivals of Ixalan that was just an excellent spot for it the idea. Magic art director Dawn Murin tapped artist and sculptor Sam Rowan to take it the rest of the way, and he did so in style:

Image

Resplendent Griffin by Sam Rowan

And the card came together, finally making use of that really fun creature concept.

Image

When we’re building the world guide, we never know all the creative problems that will eventually need to be solved. We fill the guide with all our best ideas, hoping that they’ll help fill the creative gaps that arise in the eventual card set. Sometimes it takes a while for a problem of exactly the right shape to pop up, to make use of the sweet tool that you already have waiting in your hand. But when it works out, it’s SO SATISFYING AUGHGHH

Also, FYI, the full Rivals of Ixalan card image gallery is up, y’all. I wish you a great prerelease next weekend!

#worldbuilding#world guide#art#sam rowan#rivals of ixalan#also there's a pretty consistent visual cue in the art of cards with#ascend#so that's something we should talk about too at some point#let me know if you see what's in common to the art of all the ascend cards

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:35 pm 
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Also has a raptor-like sickle dewclaw. Neat.

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:59 pm 
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astarael7 wrote:
(EDIT: This, by the way, is absolutely the right way to do tie-ins and references to old continuity. The right way is not, for example, perfectly-preserved details from a widely-unread novel about how to enter a minor demi-plane. The right way is just to do new stuff, but layer echos and resonances of the old stuff on top of it.)
You can say about Azor's involvement with Ixalan whatever you want, but for the record, I 100% stand by my opinion about the Meditation Plane. Whether Legends II is widely-unread or not is irrelevant, it's the origin story of the main villain of the current storyline (and by "current" I mean "the one that has been aimlessly meandering for way too long without making a whole lot of sense"). Demanding an explanation for a change to the thing that was a crucial plot point in said origin story is perfectly fair and reasonable, not to mention the fact that the whole place should be gone according to Time Spiral. If mere echoes and resonances are what you'll settle for as a fan, fine. But if all you do as a creative team is punish the people who care about established material and make having read the novels feel like a detriment, you shouldn't be shocked if some of those people are going to turn their backs on you and stop buying your stuff. Echoes and resonances aren't the real thing, and if we can't have the real thing, what's the point? I don't see the fun or appeal in that.

As to that Azor thing, yes, it IS a pants on head dumb twist, no, it shouldn't have been Azor, and no, Azor shouldn't even be a sphinx. I just don't really care anymore since most of Ixalan's central plot points feel like they're coming straight out of a bad fanfic anyway and I'm aware serious storytelling doesn't seem to be a thing anymore. None of the potential hooks we've seen for Ravnica III makes me want it to happen. I don't hate Ravnica anywhere near as much as Tevish does, but Creative just doesn't know what to do with it.

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:55 am 
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Barinellos wrote:
It shouldn't have been Azor because it dials the coincidences up to absurd proportions. The chances of all these characters coming together is already a headache of statistics, but that's the nature of the beast. But adding Azor actively reduces the scope of the multiverse. It's a contrived development that makes everything feel that much smaller in that it all ties together.
The whole point of having a continuing narrative is for everything to tie together.

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:41 am 
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astarael7 wrote:
Barinellos wrote:
It shouldn't have been Azor because it dials the coincidences up to absurd proportions. The chances of all these characters coming together is already a headache of statistics, but that's the nature of the beast. But adding Azor actively reduces the scope of the multiverse. It's a contrived development that makes everything feel that much smaller in that it all ties together.
The whole point of having a continuing narrative is for everything to tie together.

Not in a way that's so blatantly contrived.
Especially when we're dealing with random elements as are present in Magic.

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:52 am 
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astarael7 wrote:
(EDIT: This, by the way, is absolutely the right way to do tie-ins and references to old continuity. The right way is not, for example, perfectly-preserved details from a widely-unread novel about how to enter a minor demi-plane. The right way is just to do new stuff, but layer echos and resonances of the old stuff on top of it.)
Demanding an explanation for a change to the thing that was a crucial plot point in said origin story is perfectly fair and reasonable,
There was no change. There was only omission of an explicit acknowledgement. There is plenty of room in the context of that story for all of the old details to be true.

Quote:
not to mention the fact that the whole place should be gone according to Time Spiral.
Then they probably shouldn't've printed it on a plane in Planechase.

Quote:
If mere echoes and resonances are what you'll settle for as a fan, fine.
That's not settling. That's how you can keep the old stuff relevant, without having your continuity swallow itself in a detail-swollen Ouroborosean nightmare where every story requires eighteen paragraphs handling all the weird exceptions and specialities attached to every single person, place, or thing.

Barinellos wrote:
astarael7 wrote:
Barinellos wrote:
It shouldn't have been Azor because it dials the coincidences up to absurd proportions. The chances of all these characters coming together is already a headache of statistics, but that's the nature of the beast. But adding Azor actively reduces the scope of the multiverse. It's a contrived development that makes everything feel that much smaller in that it all ties together.
The whole point of having a continuing narrative is for everything to tie together.

Not in a way that's so blatantly contrived.
Especially when we're dealing with random elements as are present in Magic.
This is why they shouldn't really talk about the infinite multiverse concept. It's not really true. It exists so that design can make whatever card set they want, but its absolutely not real as far as the plot goes.

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:42 pm 
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astarael7 wrote:
AzureShade wrote:
astarael7 wrote:
Then again, we never really got enough explanation of why Amonkhet Nissa gets to be part blue, so....
For game color balance considerations and as a bit of leftover flavor from her meditative swimming with the Kaladeshi sky whales.
I remembered the character development from Kaladesh, but that was not nearly enough. So it really is just because we had back-to-back Nissa and they couldn't both be mono-Green?

Ugh. I'm all for planeswalker color identity being almost entirely about color balance for competitive play, but ugh.


The fact that there was a UG planeswalker in Amonkhet was for competitive color balance reasons. The fact that it was Nissa was for story reasons. We have these plans, see? :evil:

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:34 pm 
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Eh, Nissa is essentially a blank avatar anyways.

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:49 pm 
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Wow, this really is the internet, isn't it?


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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:10 pm 
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Compared to the rest of it, not really.

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 Post subject: Re: Ixalan flavor thread
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:19 pm 
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Oh, well that's a relief.


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