Jester’s ReCap 16: Dominaria, Booster Box Promos, Representation, A25 Cards Blake Treleaven March 27, 2018 Jester's reCap Hello Magic Community, Welcome back to the Jester’s ReCap, that place where I cover Magic News in a comedic fashion without a modicum of shame or talent. Imagine if “The Daily Show” had a baby with a Limited Resources podcast but then the baby suffered a massive head injury and you’ll be in the ballpark. And if you laughed at the idea of a baby suffering a head injury, shame on you for being so much like me. My last article was eaten by website gremlins so let me give you a quick summary: Masters 25 was bad and we should feel bad. I have some card ReCaps that I bothered to remember shoved in at the end of this article. Try to enjoy them as much as you would have if they were at all timely. This week will be mostly about Dominaria but I’ve found plenty to bitch about with my unexpected time off. Real quick though, let’s do the thing: MTGO is… Sub-Optimal. After reviewing my recent work, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ve been too soft on Magic Online lately. Undoubtedly, it is time for a few of my trademark scathing reprisals. Ahem. Magic Online’s user interface is… unpalatable. It lacks both flair AND panache. It is not intuitive to use, and does not create a visceral experience of joy for its’ end users. I would describe playing in a Magic Online event as…occasionally tedious. No. I retract that final reprisal. I did not intend to become so unhinged. I apologize for my lack of decorum. (Side Note: Did you guys know “Brooklyn 99” is back on TV? I’m so jazzed) Now then, where was I? Dominaria Story Chapter 1 So this Demon guy, Belzenlok, is the 4th demon on Lili’s hit list and he’s taken over Urborg and the Cabal. He is rewriting all of Dominaria’s history to say that he was responsible for all the nightmarish, truly heinous, shit that’s ever been pulled on this plane. And given this plane’s history, that’s some serious revisionism. As evil villain plans go though, “steal the credit for other people’s evil villain plans” is pretty weak sauce. Is our big bad villain on this plane really going to be so insecure he’s doing the “Canadian Girlfriend” thing and just lying about all the schemes he’s had? “Oh yeah, I totally killed an Elder Dragon. No, not that one. Yeah, one of the other ones. You probably wouldn’t know it, it was on a totally different plane. Yep.” WOTC, listen, no one thought it was particularly intimidating when Kim Jong Il claimed he invented basketball or golfed 40 under par or rode a unicorn or whatever. That was the goofy shit we laughed at him for. Shameless self aggrandizing is for petulant schoolyard bullies, insecure man children and most politicians. Not immortal, plane-conquering demon lords. Up your villain game, WOTC, before you start drawing unfavourable comparisons to the MCU. A brief interlude where Jhoira lifts the remains of the Weatherlight out of the water. Certain old school fans get a rush, and everybody else wonders why that’s exciting when a couple planes ago we were racing Aether-powered dragsters or riding 3-headed dinosaur gods. Then we cut to the Gatewatch landing on the plane, moments after we last saw them. Refreshingly, after getting curbstomped by Bolas, the Gatewatch does a full series of completely appropriate things. First, everybody flips off Lili for being a massive bitch. Shortly thereafter, Nissa becomes haughty and self-important the way only an Elf can before storming off. Then, Chandra leaves on a whim with a half-cocked plan to “get stronger” which feels right. Gideon spends these moments doing what he’s best at; Standing still, bleeding out and repeating everyone’s names. Lili’s options being somewhat diminished, she hauls his punctured pile of abs over to the town she grew up in and begins mending her last remaining meat shield. WOTC seems to be setting up Liliana for a redemptive arc, and surprise, I am not on board. They’re implying that she cares about this town, at least a little. She felt compelled to check out her old family estate. Oh, and her brother, whom she accidentally turned undead has been transformed by Belzenlok into a Lich General subordinate s just to mess with her head. Sorry Creative Team, but I am not buying what you’re selling. I haven’t even forgiven you for Vampires yet, and now the 4300 year old Necromancer is feeling “nostalgic”? Bullshit. Lili may look like she’s in her thirties, but her age is measured in millennia and this Manipulative Bitch // Evil Seductress schtick isn’t the equivalent of some mean girl high school student lashing out because she has a bad home life. Liliana Vess’s name is an anagram of Villainess. She’s EVIL. She’s SELFISH. Not all Black planeswalkers are, as you’ve illustrated beautifully, but Lili is. Let your bad guys be bad! Let her be wicked! Let her be treacherous! And if that’s not sympathetic and she’s tiresome as a lead then use a different Black Planeswalker for the Gatewatch. Booster Box-Only Promos Goddammit. Ok….just- Just be cool for a minute ok? Just give me a minute. I swear WOTC, sometimes you do stuff just to see if you can mess up my personal health. Is rage cancer a thing? Or should it be like…cancer of the rage? Like…Brain Fire-itis or something? I got this. I got this. Not just gonna mash home row. I’m going to type real words, which express my thoughts clearly. Deep breath… GO TO HELL. DIRECTLY. SUFFER. You Monsters. I don’t care that the cards you’ve made available solely through the purchase of a booster box don’t seem overly impactful. I don’t care that I’ll probably end up buying a box anyway. This is garbage-person behaviour and I really thought it was beneath you Wizards. This is the Path of Nightmares. You’ve essentially added another rarity, which depending on how you look at it is either just above, or just below, rare. Then, it will be special “case” promos, or special prize cards, or Super Mythics, or Super-Mega-Ultra-Death-Quantum-Had-To-Give-A-Wizard’s-Employee-A-Handjob Rares and suddenly we’re all playing YuGiOh. No. No, I say. I am Picard-ing this shit. THE LINE MUST BE DRAWN HERE. THIS FAR. NO FURTHER. Now, some of you might say that that reaction is somewhat overblown. And to you I say, that just proves you’re a part of the massive conspiracy to ruin this great game. I might not have evidence so much as conjecture and furious paranoia, but that’s just because I’m so clearly right. Next Topic. Some Idiot Bugged Maro on this Blog About Representation Yeah, this in no way qualifies as “news” but I thought I could spare a few words about it since it was notably stupid. I want you to keep in mind, before I start in on this tool, that I just spend a few minutes in a spittle-drenched frenzy at the thought of a new kind of promo card. I am as over-committed and as short on perspective as anyone. But even I had to roll my eyes at this piece of work: phyrexiathings asked: In the ongoing representation efforts by Wizards, left handed midget serial killers born in Croatia named Steve seem to have been left out. When is the discrimination going to end?!?! Maro did his usual company line thing and mentioned how gratifying it was that people always thanked him for making them feel included in the game, and how a little empathy goes a long way and how we should all just try to be good to each other or whatever. Sure, great. Sounds peachy. But seriously dude? THAT is your big complaint with Magic? Too many girls and black people in the art? I write a semi-monthly bitching about design, narrative, production, and marketing, to say nothing of my Eternal War against MTGO, but your problem was “Man, Magic is fun, but I sure wish it was less inclusive and more dickish to people who aren’t like me.”? Assuming that after you sat down at a computer, wrote that, and posted it publicly for people to see you didn’t immediately immolate out of shame, what was your end game there? If the next set was just 400 pictures of white dudes and the occasional dragon would that have notably improved your gameplay experience? Representation in a card game is the easiest, lowest impact, lowest opportunity cost ever for a little goodness in the world. It literally could not matter less. Until an asshole like you comes and decides we need to narrow the focus to be all about them and people like them. And then suddenly my knee-jerk reaction is to make sure every set looks like a goddamn casting call for the Planeteers just to spite your stupid, ignorant ass. (For my younger readers, that’s not a typo but a reference to Captain Planet and the Planeteers. I have no idea if young people are still aware of Captain Planet. Enjoy what Ted Turner thought diversity should look like in the early 90’s. ) Brawl Announcement Brawl had been teased before this, but now that we actually know the details I can talk about this a bit more forcefully. First, the TL;DR version: It’s Commander except 60 standard legal cards instead of 100 vintage legal cards. Also, you start with 30 life instead of 40. There, you now know everything about Brawl. I have a lot of thoughts about this, most of them profanity-laden, but let’s just start with how I assume this went down at WOTC HQ: Observant Employee: “You know, I think people are getting a little tired of us wasting between 4 and 5 Mythic slots every set on big, bombastic cards that cost way too much to be played in any competitive format.” Creative Employee: “True, but newer players like opening them, Johnnys sometimes like building around them, and there’s always Commander.” Observant Employee: “Yeah, except, the card quality available in Commander is incredible. 99% of these cards will never even make an impact there. At this point we’re making multiple cards each set that are fun to read, but almost never played. Maybe we should make a change.” Creative Employee: “You’re right, let’s make a new super narrow format, specifically to give those cards somewhere to be relevant!” Observant Employee: “Oh, wow, no that’s not even close to what I -” Creative Employee: “Sorry, can’t hear you over the sound of me acting on this great idea we had! Now we just have to name it. Bad-mannder? Com-Standard? Wow, this part is hard. Oh well, Marketing will come up with something cool and evocative.” (Editor’s Note: They Didn’t) Brawl is not worthy of official support. It sounds like it will be pretty fun to play in the short term. Planeswalkers being Commanders is cool. The deckbuilding restrictions will absolutely help find some bulk rares and mythics new homes. But, I have some serious concerns. For one thing, while Dominaria will definitely help this format out with it’s tons and tons of the Legendary creatures, is that going to be the new model moving forward? Because this format’s diversity is going to live or die on the number of legendary creatures, since one assumes WOTC isn’t going to start tossing a ton of Planeswalkers at us (Let’s hope they aren’t). For another, one of the nice things about Commander as a format is that it is both casual AND eternal. There aren’t a lot of options that check both those boxes. Basically just Commander and Pauper as far as I know. And the advantage there is even if a Commander deck just sits 90% of the time, you can always dig it out for a game. Not so for a rotating singleton format. Essentially, I accuse WOTC of creating an entire format to give a home to a type of card they liked. That is irresponsible. It’s like having a human child just so it can carry groceries in from the car. Yes, it can probably do that for you eventually, but since you never hugged it or educated it and you named it “Grocery Lugger”, it will one day murder you in your sleep. A25 Cards From My Lost Article Some stuff from last time I figured were worth recycling, if in slightly shorter form: Oh man! They reprinted Umezawa’s – Oh. Oh nevermind. Look WOTC, we all think it’s very impressive that in the ensuing two decades you managed to turn all that text into one word. But this card is not that great. It might clear up the occasional board stall but this is more Peter Criss than Kieth Moon. Dark Ritual at COMMON?! Are they out of their mind? I mean, what happens in draft when someone gets a couple of these in their opener and powers out a black six-drop on turn 2? Oh. Yeah, that’ll probably be ok. And there we have it. What did you guys think? If I missed anything important, mention it in the comments. Maybe I’ll try to cover some stuff on demand. Or you could just say nice things about funny and cool I am. Or you could tell me I’m worthless garbage rolling down a hill of other garbage, snowballing into a crushing trash-boulder.Whatever you like, really, it’s all fuel for the fire. Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.