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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 7:29 pm 
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I enjoyed Amonkhet more than I did Kaladesh or the prior two return blocks. My main critique of Amonkhet is the same I've got for Kaladesh, RTInnistrad and RTZendikar: it all feels too small. Compare this to our first trip to Ravnica and Zendikar, to Alara. Those planes felt vast in scope, and that's something I find lacking in the recent sets.

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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 9:05 pm 
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Looking into it, the term "jackal" refers to multiple species that aren't as closely related as shared etymology would suggest. The golden jackal is more closely related to dogs than the Ethiopian wolf and African wild dog, but less closely related than the African golden wolf or coyote. They're all canids though, which I figure is what counts. The takeaway here is that the canine family tree is complicated(ly named) and they should all be typed "hounds".

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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 1:30 am 
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AzureShade wrote:
I don't think Naga was a mistake. I just think they should have planted that flag on Kamigawa instead of waiting this long and allowing there to be snakes and snake people.

Yeah, the Orochi were the mistake, not the Naga, in my opinion.

Why, you think the snakes needed more arms? Oh, or bigger breasts?

I mean, I... kinda get what they were alluding to, but there weren't 8 limbs to start with, and that's not even covering that limbs aren't heads. (some argument could be made for tails)


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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 1:44 am 
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Further to TPmanW's point, the 'wolves' of Lorwyn look just like African wild dogs, which are less related to wolves than jackals and true dogs. Yet, they get to be wolf creature type whilst true dogs and jackals don't.

Taxonomy usually divides canids into foxes and wolves, so I'd be fine with all foxes being foxes and the rest being wolves.

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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 4:19 am 
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TPmanW wrote:
Looking into it, the term "jackal" refers to multiple species that aren't as closely related as shared etymology would suggest. The golden jackal is more closely related to dogs than the Ethiopian wolf and African wild dog, but less closely related than the African golden wolf or coyote. They're all canids though, which I figure is what counts. The takeaway here is that the canine family tree is complicated(ly named) and they should all be typed "hounds".


Worse. Golden jackals may actually be a subspecies of wolf.

Its clear that accurate taxonomy is irrelevant compared to what it "feels right" in-game.

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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 6:56 am 
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Yes, I do agree with Maro that Amonkhet as an archaeological setting is weird, and I appreciate Magic for taking egyptian fantasy and making it into a living, dynamic culture. Even creatively at that - using the afterlife concerns concept to create an unique civilization.
I think nobody's arguing they should have based the setting off of Ancient Egypt as the dead culture it is now and turned it into a playground for archaeologists. But that doesn't mean there would have been no room for people raiding old tombs full of traps and curses and Vengeful Pharaohs. As I said, most Egyptian tombs were plundered in ancient times (which is why King Tut's mostly intact tomb was such a big deal), so the distinction that Maro is drawing is completely artificial. Even a living, sunny world should have its dead, gloomy corners.

TPmanW wrote:
I feel that Amonkhet delivered on Egypt world much better than Theros delivered on Greek world. Theros brought back plenty of sepcifically Greek things, but I felt the overall tone was off. They hit the notes but dropped the tune*.
Genuine curiosity, what bothered you about the tone? I thought it was fine, but I guess it was a bit polarising, wasn't it? Over the years, I've seen several people say they weren't that happy with the execution for one reason or another.

TPmanW wrote:
The mummies of Amonkhet were a flavour home run for me. The Egyptians didn't ritually prepare their corpses to come back as undead killers.
Sure, but they didn't exactly prepare them to sweep streets or empty chamber pots either. To me at least, one feels a lot more right than the other.

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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 11:18 am 
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Hazoret is love, Hazoret is life.

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They work like leylines, she thought. A different mana source, but the same principle.


I swear they're screwing with us at this point.

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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 2:20 pm 
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If they ever wanted to explore the tomb-raiding angle, it could happen in a return to Amonkhet. There's a bunch of ruins in the desert like Cradle of the Accursed, right? After getting freed from Bolas, the Amonkheti could begin to explore the desert to try to reclaim their lost culture.

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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 8:02 am 
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For those still holding out hope for a Desert reprint:

Quote:
blairwitchgreen asked:
In an interview Ethan Fleischer mentioned that Desert got cut from Amonkhet when it proved too powerful for Limited. Why not add it to the Amonkhet Planeswalker deck so it would be Standard legal without messing up Limited? All the Desert flavor without the bad Limited aftertaste!

markrosewater said:
Desert puts a lot of restrictions on the environment. We felt we could make other deserts to support the theme.

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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 8:29 am 
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Yeah, Desert not being in the block really bums me. The new deserts are cool looking, but mostly pretty weak. They could at least reprint it in Commander decks or something. I mean, it's not really an expensive card, but it could need a reprint. Maro promised us more deserts and a stronger desert theme in the upcoming set, though, so here's hoping something good will come from it.

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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 11:18 pm 
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...

TPmanW wrote:
I feel that Amonkhet delivered on Egypt world much better than Theros delivered on Greek world. Theros brought back plenty of sepcifically Greek things, but I felt the overall tone was off. They hit the notes but dropped the tune*.
Genuine curiosity, what bothered you about the tone? I thought it was fine, but I guess it was a bit polarising, wasn't it? Over the years, I've seen several people say they weren't that happy with the execution for one reason or another.

TPmanW wrote:
The mummies of Amonkhet were a flavour home run for me. The Egyptians didn't ritually prepare their corpses to come back as undead killers.
Sure, but they didn't exactly prepare them to sweep streets or empty chamber pots either. To me at least, one feels a lot more right than the other.

Theros gave me a pint by numbers vibe. You could trace most cards (and even the locations) back to a specific Greek myth, but the whole didn't really come together in a Greek mythic way. It was full of Grecian stuff, but it didn't feel mythic. It also felt a little unoriginal.

That's a good point; it's a little weird that the mummies do everything. Still, for me, mummies as servants feels like a better take on Egypt-but-the-mummies-are-alive.

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PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2017 8:53 am 
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Quote:
namelessjace asked:
Maro! It's my b-day may I have some obscure trivia on Amonkhet? Or zombies in general? Thank you

markrosewater said:
Originally, there were just three trials and the two other colors had different roles.

Happy Birthday!


Neat.....actually, I wonder if that's why we only got three stories about Bolas color trials (Blue, Black, and Red) and never really got anything for Green and White.

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You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in an thread with GM_Champion" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go in against AzureShade when card design is on the line!"


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PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2017 12:31 pm 
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AzureShade wrote:
we only got three stories about Bolas color trials (Blue, Black, and Red)
I had not realized this until you said it. O.O

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PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2017 12:37 pm 
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Yeah, I hadn't really made a full connection until MaRo mentioned that there were only supposed to be three originally. Then I was like....yeah, the two that were missing from the story were the ones not in Bolas' shard. Since the stories and such are probably planned out and written alongside R&D's development schedule, it would then make sense again that those two are missing if the change to five trials came about mid-to-late in Development.

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You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in an thread with GM_Champion" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go in against AzureShade when card design is on the line!"


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PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2017 4:05 pm 
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Here's a little bit about how creature types were chosen:
Quote:
WilliamH. Shouse @Ty_Sylicus
@maro254 I'm a fan of Minotaurs. Why did you decide to include the creature type here on Amonkhet?

MaRo said:
Here's how creature types work in design. We figure out what we might want to mechanically care about. For Amonkhet, we knew, for instance, that we wanted Zombie tribal with mummies. Our early work led us to believe we wanted white and black mummies, so we worked with the creative team to make sure that was okay. Luckily, it played perfectly into the world they were building, so we were able to institute it without much problem.

We also wanted a little Cat tribal, so we made sure that the world was going to have Cats. The ancient Egyptians revered cats, so that was also an easy sell to the creative team. There are a few other requests that were made that you all will see in Hour of Devastation. I don't believe any of those led to a fight either.

Minotaurs were not brought up at all during design. We were more focused on tribes that seemed to fall naturally out of Egyptian mythology. One of the cool things the creative team does though is to take staple Magic creature types and find ways to make them fit into a particular environment. I'm not sure what prompted the inclusion of Minotaurs, but I know I was happy to see them.


And on Vengeful Pharaoh:
Quote:
Starch @starch255
@maro254 Why not Vengeful Pharaoh? I love that card. And it's very egypty.

MaRo said:
We wanted to put Vengeful Pharaoh in the set. In fact, I believe there was a short period of time in design when it was in the set. Yes, it's a perfect fit for a top-down Egyptian world. Just one small problem: it's also a top-down Nicol Bolas world, and Bolas being the God-Pharaoh is a key story point. So, I guess the argument is there is a vengeful pharaoh, but it isn't Vengeful Pharaoh.

We did argue for there being more than one pharaoh. The top-down Cleopatra and King Tut cards (Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons and Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun, respectively) were originally designed as pharaohs, but the creative team felt strongly that it was important there was only one pharaoh, so Hapatra and Temmet became viziers and Vengeful Pharaoh had to go.


On top-down designs:
Quote:
Jaymic Madson @JMicUnyielding
@maro254 We know that Ramses was in the set for a while. Are there any other top-down Egypt designs you had to scrap?

MaRo said:
There were a bunch. Here's a few I remember:

Cursed Mummy—If you do a top-down association with mummies, it doesn't take long to get to curses. A mummy that curses you was super resonant, so we made one. I believe when it entered the battlefield it tutored for a Curse. You shouldn't have woken it. At the time, the set had a lot of Curses in it. Then we made the decision that we were focusing more on sunny, living Egypt than dead, dusty, tomb-raiding Egypt. As such, we pulled way back on those kinds of tropes and the number of Curses dropped to two. That became not enough to justify a Curses-matter card and Cursed Mummy went away.

Chariot and Funeral Barge—At one point, we had Vehicles in the set, so, of course, we made some cool top-down Egyptian Vehicles. We later realized we were making the set a bit too complex, so we were looking for things to cut, and as we only had a few Vehicles, we chose to cut those.

Canopic Jars—These were very important to ancient Egyptian embalming practices. These were the jars that internal organs were placed into to preserve them for the afterlife. We never had a great design for them (other than knowing it was an artifact, I don't even remember exactly what the card did), and as most players wouldn't get the reference, it ended up not making the cut.


Creative and Creature Grids:
Quote:
Chris Ingersoll @Vyolynce
@maro254 Were there ever Leonin in the set? Viashino (or equivalent lizard-folk)? Aven, Khenra, and Naga all resemble gods but W and B get Zombies.

MaRo said:
No, neither Leonin nor Viashino were ever in the set. Here's how the process works. The creative team is responsible for filling out what is known as a creature grid. The grid covers all five colors for small, medium, and large creatures in both non-flying and flying versions. Certain grids like small red and green fliers is usually scratched off, as it isn't needed.

Once the creative team fills out the grid, they stop because there's no need to design things that there won't be space for in the set. Because mummies were playing a major role in white and black, there wasn't a need to create unique races for those colors.

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