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 Post subject: Re: A tumblr thing.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:04 am 
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silverkite19 asked:
Was there any talk about having the Chained Veil storyline come full circle, with one last confrontation between Garruk and Liliana? As good as Eldraine's story was, Garruk being cured like that seems a bit... anticlimactic.

markrosewater said:
The original de-cursing of Garruk took place in Dominaria and involved Liliana. We had to lose the subplot when Soup & Salad got condensed down to one set.

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 Post subject: Re: A tumblr thing.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:50 pm 
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AzureShade wrote:
Quote:
silverkite19 asked:
Was there any talk about having the Chained Veil storyline come full circle, with one last confrontation between Garruk and Liliana? As good as Eldraine's story was, Garruk being cured like that seems a bit... anticlimactic.

markrosewater said:
The original de-cursing of Garruk took place in Dominaria and involved Liliana. We had to lose the subplot when Soup & Salad got condensed down to one set.

You know, when I first read this, I briefly turned into a seething mass of anger and hatred. Sure, I'm still angry about how this whole Soup & Salad situation turned out in general even a year later. And I guess I'm finally done caring about Garruk after a decade of waiting for the story of his curse to progress in any meaningful way, only to have WotC throw it away like that.


BUT on the other hand, let's consider what we know about the original story of that hypothetical Soup & Salad pair for a moment. So they wanted to throw Garruk into the mix and have him be de-cursed while also adding more to Liliana's plate, and in addition to that they wanted Zhalfir to return somehow, plus tell the parts of the story that we ended up seeing in Dominaria (at least more or less). Rrrright.

If you look at the issues with the Dominaria story we got, it's clear that even this basic, stripped-down version of the story suffered from a lack of space and had pacing issues due to the ommitted parts (and that's not even mentioning all the continuity errors that kept cropping up because Nic Kelman apparently refused to do his job). And when I imagine a visit to Dominaria in which the return of Zhalfir gets both the narrative and mechanical space it needs to feel remotely satisfying, I daresay you can't do that without at least one set that revolves almost exclusively around this one thing. You'd also need a lot more space to properly cover just the material that Dominaria tried to juggle, like one or two novels or something like that. And then you still haven't touched the triumphant return and de-cursing of Garruk or Liliana's part in that story...

So the bottom line is, I highly doubt that WotC's original story for Soup & Salad would have been significantly less disappointing than the Dominaria story was, or probably even more so. With all the major things they ended up cutting and the lack of space the story still suffered from after that, I think they were just trying to do too much, even for two sets.


In fact, their original concept might have worsened another problem that was already apparent in Dominaria: At its core, it wasn't a Dominaria story, not really. It was a Gatewatch story. The story was centered around Belzenlok as the main antagonist, and Belzenlok only existed because of Liliana - who, in turn, had no connection to Dominaria until recently (and didn't make me feel that connection once she was there either). The same is true about Josu, the other antagonist she had to overcome on Dominaria, or even the skin-witches. And sure, they tried to tie all that together with the Cabal somehow, but they ended up turning them into something unrecognisable in the process. I highly doubt more Garruk and more Chain Veil would have done anyone any good, especially since it wasn't just Liliana but also Gideon and Chandra that she dragged along with her. I mean, you suddenly have Jaya Ballard show up alive and well, but the person we see her talking to after all those years isn't Jodah, it's Chandra (a character whose mere existence should be pretty much obsolete with Jaya's return)??? And Chandra is also the person who gets to wake up Multani, when we had Karn, or Jhoira, or Teferi around who actually have a connection to him? Or, you know, that Carthalion guy who got cut from the set and who could very well become the next Elder Druid of the Juniper Order and bring peace to Yavimaya again, like his ancestor did?

Then you have Teferi getting his spark back, which I still think was a terrible idea, only so he can join the Gatewatch. Sure, it might have been somehow connected to the Zhalfir arc as well, and that arc would have very much been a Dominaria story in itself, but it still would have had to compete for space with all that other stuff, when it should have become the main focus of the entire Soup & Salad story instead.

And yeah, we got the Weatherlight back, along with Jhoira and a whole new crew, plus a cameo by Karn and Jodah, but when it came down to it, all those characters were pretty much sidelined before the climax. Didn't help that they just randomly tossed Radha in there only to have her not matter in the slightest. I really hope we're done with this Gatewatch nonsense now so that our next visit to Dominaria will get both the space and the focus it deserves.


Long-winded late night sermon over.

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 Post subject: Re: A tumblr thing.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:31 am 
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Keep in mind, the store from Core 2020 with Bolas and Ugin's retcon (which by the way, I guess makes the Tarkir elders actual Elders now, I guess?) as well as like, a 2 months span of no stories after that, and months of story silence during RTRTR and Gatewatch II, during which they could have easily fit the entire story for Dominaria.

I do think having Garruk show up would make sense, but would have probably been too many plot threads going on.

IDK how much of a set needs to be Zhalfir focused to emphasize the return of Zhalfir, but I imagine that it wouldn't be the entire set. Maybe 2 or 3 of the core colors have Zhalfir focused cards. Like, blue/white Zhalfir, red/green Radha/Keld, black has a bunch of Cabal/Josu stuff still.

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 Post subject: Re: A tumblr thing.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:42 am 
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I'm willing to bet Zhalfir is coming back soon, considering the one sentence teaser for the next core set was "Do you like Teferi?"

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 Post subject: Re: A tumblr thing.
PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 11:58 am 
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Jman22 wrote:
Keep in mind, the store from Core 2020 with Bolas and Ugin's retcon (which by the way, I guess makes the Tarkir elders actual Elders now, I guess?) as well as like, a 2 months span of no stories after that, and months of story silence during RTRTR and Gatewatch II, during which they could have easily fit the entire story for Dominaria.
Now that you mention it, yeah, that's true. I had completely supressed any memory of the huge gaps we had last year... They didn't actually use that space, though, so it's hard to say how the timing of the story content would have looked like with Soup & Salad. Maybe we would have had similar gaps there, too, or maybe they would have used the available space 100% optimally.

Jman22 wrote:
IDK how much of a set needs to be Zhalfir focused to emphasize the return of Zhalfir, but I imagine that it wouldn't be the entire set. Maybe 2 or 3 of the core colors have Zhalfir focused cards. Like, blue/white Zhalfir, red/green Radha/Keld, black has a bunch of Cabal/Josu stuff still.
Admittedly, I could very well be very biased when it comes to that topic. But I just feel that the moment we visit Dominaria and Zhalfir returns, that's what should draw almost all the attention. It was the biggest unresolved plot hook going into Dominaria, long before we'd even heard the words "Gatewatch" or "Belzenlok", or, heck, the names of any of the Origins Five. Don't get me wrong, I think it's fine that they ended up saving it for later, given that Dominaria was only one set and it was our first real visit there since Future Sight. Using that one set's space and focus to give us an establishing shot of the plane as a whole and setting up the new history theme (which I'm a huge fan of, btw) was the right thing to do in my opinion. Give it the space and attention it needs and don't rush it, is what I'm saying. Because the moment you drag Zhalfir's return into it, the whole thing automatically turns into Mirage II, at least in my head, and then I'm going to be disappointed when it's not the centre of attention. And when we get to see Zhalfir again, I hope it'll show up in all five colours. I'll also riot if it doesn't come with Flanking, but I might be in the minority here...

Looking just at the story side of things, I think there's a lot of build up you'd need to get out of the way first. Teferi finding a way to return Zhalfir in the first place should feel earned and be part of the journey. Then you'd have to deal with the actual execution of the return and then with the ensuing short-term consequences. I guess you could show all that more or less in one set cardgame-wise, if you really had to (though you could also stretch it over two or three sets), but I think you'd need one or two proper novels to tell that story in a satisfying way.

At the end of the day, I'm always going to disagree with the current plane hopping direction as long as they pretend Dominaria is a plane just like any other and has to compete for space with other returning planes. Sidelining Dominaria like that is and always will be a mistake to me, no matter how good the sets revolving around it are (Dominaria is virtually the only thing I still care about in Magic, if that hasn't been clear). We were gods once... :alone:


But hey, at least I'm gearing up (ever so slowly...) to run a D&D campaign on Dominaria. They'd better not wait too long with more official Dominaria stuff, because sooner or later my version of Dominaria might be the only one I care about...

Edit:
Aaarrrgh wrote:
I'm willing to bet Zhalfir is coming back soon, considering the one sentence teaser for the next core set was "Do you like Teferi?"
Well, given that 1.) they used the last two core set storylines (Magic Origins and C19) only as vehicles for more retcons, and 2.) there's no way they could pull off Zhalfir's return in a core set, neither mechanically nor story-wise, I'm actually dreading C21... :shudder:

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 Post subject: Re: A tumblr thing.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:16 pm 
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