One of the bestest things about MtG is how you get to visit cool otherworlds, and you don’t have to stay there if you’re bored of it. It’s infinitely wondrous. If you’re into the idea of internecine guild politics on a scale undreamt of, there’s Ravnica. Each guild runs with two colors of magic and has a cool take on what that means for their role in the city.
The Rakdos are black and red… you’d think immediately: chaos and death, huh? What’re they up to, sacrificing the world’s virgins in some dark ritual to a demon who runs their guild? And you’d sort of be right. The Cult of Rakdos is the entertainment on Ravnica… the bloodiest jester shows imaginable. It’s like Heath Ledger’s Joker, only with fire magic and demons and shit.
Anyway if Ravnica’s your jam, they’ve got bioengineering with the Simic, and shadowy spymasters with the Dimir. There’s even a food production and waste removal guild in the form of the Golgari Swarm. And fungus zombies. They have the fungus zombies too.
But that doesn’t begin to cover even one of the many planes in MtG. Anyway Ravnica’s not even my favorite.
My favorite is (presently) Ikoria, because it sounds like Korea and that’s where I live, but also because they have a King Kong and a Godzilla. From what I could pierce together just by looking at the gorgeous art, and the different game mechanics that popped up with Ikoria, the place is a battleground for massive mutated kaiju. Humans live in tiny pockets of civilization, under domes of magical engineering, and the ones who head out are serious badasses who either hunt those monsters, or tame them. Yeah, there’s a pokemon element to all this.
The plane’s 3 mechanics are Mutation, where you smash together two creatures to make a brand new one with the powers of both, Companion, where you compromise with a monster to gain special abilities when it’s in play, and boring-ass Cycling. (Cycling being the ability to throw a card into the void to draw another one).
With Mutation, you could mutate a regular old creature from a different set and only gain the one mutation ability, or you could mutate two creatures with the ability, and you’d get a double effect. The original creature gets doubly strong by increasing its power and toughness, but you’d also get free token creatures, or force your opponent to discard, destroy your opponent’s enchantments or artifacts, or get a free spell from the graveyard… the possibilities were endless.
Companion was less cool, but flavor-wise I loved it. There’s an Ash-like character called Kinnan, bonder prodigy. Essentially this kid went around all over the place collecting them all. From the various other cards in the sets, whenever a Bonder would form a bond with their gigantic mutated monster, they’d get part of that monster’s powers: flight, dark sight maybe, or incredible speed.
So Ash on steroids.
Some of the aesthetics were also pretty great, like the green crystals embedded in the armor of various humans trying to eke out an existence in the world here. All the armor and clothing mirrored after an angular, crystalline look, with green crystals embedded here and there. One particular card, Call the Coppercoats, showed massive green crystals in the city’s buildings suddenly glowing, and those crystals also glowing on the armor of the people on the streets, as a sort of emergency ‘battle stations’ call.
https://www.artstation.com/artwork/N5lQlD by Cristi Balanescu
Different crystals seemed to be the reason behind the crazy mutations. Exposure to crystals turned plain old creatures into insanely dangerous murder machines. A deer with spinnerets shooting webbing out of its face. Cats with wings.
Cats. With wings.
Okay, this is the end of the second installment of whatever this is… shameless shilling for a game that’s not sponsoring me, I guess.
Peace out, until next time.
This is the third segment in a series of articles about MtG:PQ. Come back weekly for more of whatever this is.
Also write reviews for books you read. –Nolan