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PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:22 am 
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So, I've been thinking about this question every once in a while, and since there was a survey the other day that mentioned different locations on and setting aspects of Dominaria, I felt like making a thread about it: When we return to Dominaria and get to see more of New Argive (the entire landmass), how would you approach it?
What creative and mechanical identity would it have? What could be done to set it apart from other parts of Dominaria and make it more recognisable (e.g. visually)?

First, let's take stock of what is already there. I went ahead and had a look at the Dominaria set to see which cards are clearly from New Argive (not including glimpses into the past like Sagas and legendary sorceries):

Spoiler


There is a little bit of everything here. There's a lot of artefacts and archaeology-related stuff with connections to the Ice Age, the Brothers' War and the Thran, plus some name-dropping of geographical features. Baird is the only card here that's explicitly tied to the modern nation of New Argive as such, and we know the art department wanted a look for Baird that reflects the Kjeldoran/Balduvian heritage (imposing walls and classic armour combined with a fur-trimmed cape). Pretty much everything you'd expect there, and nicely distills the major beats of the setting into a handful of cards.

Considering everything that we know about New Argive (history, archaeology theme etc.), here are some more cards from Dominaria that could be from (or connected to) that setting:

Spoiler


To be honest, all of this is very much in line with how I would handle New Argive in a new set anyway. We know New Argive is THE place to be for archaeologists on a plane that's basically an archaeologist's paradise to begin with, and archaeology and artifice go hand in hand there more often than not. All of this lends itself perfectly to Dominaria's new history theme and an even heavier emphasis on an artefact theme than in Dominaria.

I love the idea that there might be a pseudo-civilisation of autonomous artefact creatures that have been around since the Brothers' War and keep repairing or producing copies of themselves somewhere in an unacessible region of the hinterland (Assembly-Workers! All I want is more Asembly-Workers!). I mean, look at Mishra's Self-Replicator and Assembly-Worker next to each other and you'll see that's as good as canon anyway. Add that to the wandering group of Yotian Soldiers that Greensleeves encountered (although those were described as ant-people, or at least that's what the characters thought), and voilà!

The Argivian University* is a major institution in New Argive, and we know people there value education in general. You know which prominent archaeologist-artificer studied there?** Hanna, Ship's Navigator! And I only realised when I made this thread that there is a very distinctive costuming pattern when you put Hanna's card(s) next to Daring Archaeologist and Argivian Archaeologist! That really blew my mind. Major props to all the art people who were involved with any of this if this was even remotely intentional. Those people all wear very practical clothing, which makes sense for their profession. I guess I would confine the old Kjeldoran/Balduvian stuff mostly to ceremonial or official outfits, but some subtle touches might work for normal people's costumes as well, maybe with fur trims or Norse ornaments etc. Speaking of which, I'd also really like to get a card for the current monarch of New Argive, in the proud tradition of Darien, King of Kjeldor.

The recent Magic survey also mentioned the Ice Age as a possible setting element, and while Arcum's Astrolabe is really cute and I'd be hellbent on another Snow set on Dominaria, I'd actually use the Northland for that (I really should make a thread about that someday...). Unless they were just talking about little flavour references to the Ice Age in a regular Dominaria set, or maybe another flashback set like Coldsnap..? I'd be game for both.

Oh, and last but not least, it would be great if they actually did something with that Kor Haven that Ethan told us ended up in the Balduvian Steppe during the Invasion...


*Do we actually know in which city the Argivian University is? I always assumed it was in Argivia, but the MTG Sally wiki says it's actually in Epityr..? Do we know where that info comes from? Maybe the Duelist?

**I might add that Orim, Samite Healer also studied there, so it would be cool if they threw in some Samites as well.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:30 pm 
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Okay, genuine question, did you all turn into elks or is nobody else particularly interested in seeing New Argive in a set to begin with? :paranoid:

#AllTheDominaria

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:29 pm 
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I... didn't have a ton to really add to what you put together. I was working on an analysis of what I'd want to see/do with New Argive, but didn't post it because it felt sparse, rambling, and didn't have a conclusion. I might go back to that idea...

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:33 pm 
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didn't post it because it felt sparse, rambling, and didn't have a conclusion. I might go back to that idea...
*looks at OP*
Sounds about right for this thread then. By all means, be my guest! ;)

But yeah, New Argive seems like the most straightforward part of Dominaria to tackle now that they've cracked that "cohesive identity" they were looking for, doesn't it? Except Zhalfir perhaps, once it comes back. Turns out being frozen in time makes things a bit easier (at least for the look and feel of the setting, perhaps less so for the mechanics)...

I guess a lot of the creative work would really boil down to fleshing out the visuals (costumes, architecture etc.) and deciding which elements from New Argive's vastly different appearances in past sets they want to incorporate how and where. They could also do cool things with the landscape. Those Strip Mines from the Bothers' War would make for great amphitheaters or vineyards. I live in a major wine region in southwest Germany, and the vineyards all grow on terraced slopes that look a lot like strip mines when you look at them from above. Seeing some of those submerged (and possibly Viscerid-infested?) artefact troves and sunken ruins would also be cool.

Oh, and I forgot to mention Prossh, Skyraider of Kher and his kobolds, but I'm not sure a kobold-theme would be worthwhile. Maybe reprint Kher Keep? In fact, if they also reprinted Kor Haven, those two could be part of a new cycle...


Er, something something, Marit Lage? Though more tentacled eldritch horrors don't seem likely anytime soon. Confronting an awakening Marit Lage would be an epic occasion for another Jodah/Jaya team-up, though...


Finally, it's about time we saw more Carthalions. They could tie them to the Juniper Order, which is still around according to the artbook. After all, those guys are going to need an Elder Druid!

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:40 am 
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We did just see more Lage in Modern Horizons with Marit Lage's Slumber, so I wouldn't count her out just yet given that the folks actually making cards seem aware of her (unlike, say, the Carthalions). If the set needs a big conflict (as most seem to), Lage could be it.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:58 am 
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We did just see more Lage in Modern Horizons with Marit Lage's Slumber, so I wouldn't count her out just yet given that the folks actually making cards seem aware of her (unlike, say, the Carthalions). If the set needs a big conflict (as most seem to), Lage could be it.

Don't write off the Carthalions yet, there was flavor text in Dominaria.

Beyond that, New Argive suffers from being placed adjacent to history with Sarpadia, which had a staggeringly longer lasting impact on the game's zeitgeist.

Mind you, I'm even fond of that trilogy with Jodah, but aside from that, my mind almost automatically slips to thinking of Sarpadia instead.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:00 am 
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That aesir glider and the pristine, orderly look of the castle behind Baird is how I view New Argive: you have the past excavated and utilized for further academic pursuits, and you have bastions of learning (versus experimentation like New Tolarian Academy).

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:49 pm 
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That aesir glider and the pristine, orderly look of the castle behind Baird is how I view New Argive: you have the past excavated and utilized for further academic pursuits, and you have bastions of learning (versus experimentation like New Tolarian Academy).
I think that's an excellent way to describe it.


Barinellos wrote:
We did just see more Lage in Modern Horizons with Marit Lage's Slumber, so I wouldn't count her out just yet given that the folks actually making cards seem aware of her (unlike, say, the Carthalions). If the set needs a big conflict (as most seem to), Lage could be it.

Don't write off the Carthalions yet, there was flavor text in Dominaria.
Not only that, they actually wanted to include a card for Jenson Carthalion in Dominaria but decided against it because there were already too many legends and planeswalkers whose name starts with J. Which has to be the silliest reason ever, but at least it makes me optimistic we'll see that guy the next time we visit Dominaria. Plus, there's Fists of Flame in Modern Horizons, and don't forget that Ethan is our secret weapon in R&D who is 100% aware of the Carthalions.

I think WotC's potential problem with Marit Lage wouldn't be a lack of awareness, it would be that Emrakul has usurped Lage's rightful place in the storyline and is now Magic's resident eldritch horror (I'm deliberately phrasing it that way because the Eldrazi sucked and their arc was a mess. They rectified part of the problem on Innistrad, and even then I didn't like how they eldrazified everything in Eldritch Moon). They'd have to find new creative space for Marit Lage to play in, so to speak, something that would feel sufficiently different from the Eldrazi. It's a shame she wasn't the creative hook for Coldsnap, really. Not that the Coldsnap story was terrible, but it would have been more organic than making up an order of ice wizards we'd never heard of and introducing a battle that wasn't mentioned in the historical accounts given by Arkol in the Ice Age trilogy... A flashback set about Jaeuhl's sidequest to stop Tevesh Szat's schemes would have been great, too, but I digress.


Barinellos wrote:
Beyond that, New Argive suffers from being placed adjacent to history with Sarpadia, which had a staggeringly longer lasting impact on the game's zeitgeist.

Mind you, I'm even fond of that trilogy with Jodah, but aside from that, my mind almost automatically slips to thinking of Sarpadia instead.
I get where you are coming from, the two are pretty closely linked in my brain as well. I think the most realistic scenario would be a set that has a strong focus on New Argive (in more or less the way in which Dominaria mostly focused on the Domains) but that also has room for some other places. Most of the things that work for New Argive should also work for glimpses of Almaaz and Gulmany, and Sarpadia could factor into it as well. I think the most relevant parts of Sarpadia's legacy (and presumably the only creatures still living there) are the thrulls, thallids and saprolings (saprolings and thrulls were also mentioned in the recent survey). The set (or preferably several sets) could show us the thallids and thrulls that have spread across Sarpadia. I always imagined Sporoloth Ancient might be from modern day Sarpadia since it's from Future Sight and feels like an advanced version of the basic Thallid. Dominaria completely moved away from the spore counter technology, but reintroducing it for the thallids in Sarpadia would be a cool way to show how they've evolved in isolation. Maybe there were expeditions that went to Sarpadia and never returned, and their journals would make for great found footage style flavour text.

In a nutshell, I think Terisiare/New Argive wouldn't really take away too much from Sarpadia because the latter is presumably overrun by monsters and completely inhospitable, but there could be a thematic link between the two in the form of researchers who went to Sarpadia to study it.

Sidenote to modern day Sarpadia as a setting: As far as we know, some of the islands close to Sarpadia were (and perhaps still are) inhabited long after the Ice Age. The story "Foulmere" in the Distant Planes anthology is set on one of those islands, and the Loot Niptil stories probably are as well. One of the redshirts on the original Weatherlight crew is even called an Icatian, so their culture must have survived somewhere. It sure would be awesome if Loot Niptil's buddy Grover was still alive and showed up in a set, and the same area also has/had a place called Junktown (sorry, Automatown) that is/was full of archaeologists and artificers who were tinkering with old junk from ages past. But I guess most of that would stretch the focus of an actual set too much to become a reality, although I'd be super thrilled to be proven wrong...

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:43 am 
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Jared used RWG, right? I know he had a red mana battery that he inherited from his father, but the rest is hazy.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:44 pm 
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Jared used RWG, right?
Sounds about right. He mostly uses RG, but I had a quick look at some of the comics, and he does summon that D'Avenant Archer he's met before, and maybe he uses some other white spells, too. If I had to design a planeswalker card for Jared, it would just be RG, however. Kristina tells him he has "a heart of earth and fire", and he says at one point that mountain magic is the one he's most familiar with. Heck, the flavour text on Fists of Flame is a real quote from one of the comics (I think it must have been Shadowmage #1). Add that to his Mark of the Elder Druid, and I'd say the character as a whole is pretty firmly in RG territory. The druid part and the fact that he uses stuff like Black Lotus and Red Mana Battery in the comics might suggest a ramp-design. Or maybe a ramp ability, an Elder Druid style tap/untap ability, and a burn ability?

Having said that, I'd really love it if they gave Jared the Jaya Ballard treatment and brought him back as an old geezer. I could totally imagine him with a long mane of full, white hair, a full beard and a cool leather jerkin. Maybe he might want to give his father's old sword to one of those younger Carthalions?
*cough* Foe Cleaver for legendary equipment! *cough*

Bonus points if he drags Jaya, Sandruu and some other former Oldwalkers along and they found their own version of the Gatewatch... the Grey Guardians! :D

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2019 2:30 am 
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...all that is just making me wistful for the idea of Garth One-eye getting a walker card.

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