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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:00 pm 
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Okay, we need to talk about today's short story 'The Talented Captain Vraska'.

https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/a ... 2017-09-20

1.) That's not how the Meditation Plane works. The fact that Bolas's other associates (or at least Sarkhan) and Bolas himself have been depicted physically entering the plane at all can be handwaved by saying Bolas knows Tetsuo's secret technique of doing it and has passed it on to his servants. BUT Vraska doing it just like that is not okay, and it's even less okay that she enters directly from the Blind Eternities. Champion's Trial makes it clear that the Meditation Plane can only be entered from Dominaria.

2.) Can we take this story as in-text confirmation that Creative thinks all gorgons have to actively switch on their gaze by magic and that it takes conscious effort? Because that is demonstrably false, see The Wild Son, 'Xathrid Gorgon' and the first Ravnica novel.


If there are no convincing objections, I'll put both those things on the list.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:09 pm 
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Honestly, on either point, I think there's an argument to be made.
The first being that Vraska directly had directions plugged into her head by Bolas means there's as likely a chance they took as granted that it included all necessary steps and they just skipped them because they ARE extraneous.
Even further argument, there's no telling how Bolas might have altered the place beyond sticking horns on everything, because it was NOT like it is now anyways.

Second, I'm not that upset about the gorgon alteration. It might buck against traditional depictions, but having it function equivalent to a dragon's breath is an acceptable change given the setting.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:10 pm 
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Maybe the Azorius developed some kind of spell to make Ravnican gorgons less capable of using their death magic on other people, requiring them to focus their petrification magic in order to do much of anything? I mean, the Azorius themselves use :u: even though :w: seems to be their primary role in Ravnican society. If they experimented on convicts and civilians it would develop more of the bad-guy element to the organization.

It could also be the reason why Vraska was captured and tortured in the first place, even though before that point she wasn't responsible for any wrongdoing, and the only visible crimes that she committed were after her torture session.

Meanwhile for the Meditation Plane, WotC screwed up. Can we get errata to the story where Vraska goes through Dominaria first?


Last edited by preadatordetector on Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:18 am 
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Barinellos wrote:
Honestly, on either point, I think there's an argument to be made.
The first being that Vraska directly had directions plugged into her head by Bolas means there's as likely a chance they took as granted that it included all necessary steps and they just skipped them because they ARE extraneous.
Even further argument, there's no telling how Bolas might have altered the place beyond sticking horns on everything, because it was NOT like it is now anyways.
I found the relevant passages in Champion's Trial, I'll quote them so that everyone is on the same page:

Many of the empire's more powerful servants practiced a form of mental discipline that allowed them to project themselves into a phantom world. They called this place the meditation plane, and as the emperor was only now discovering, it was accessible only from Dominaria itself. [...] Bolas concentrated on the meditation plane, studying it. It was not a proper plane, but some sort of psychic construct, a dimensional annex connected to Dominaria. He could not planeswalk to it, but now that he had discovered it for himself, he could project his mind as easily as his subjects did. (pp. 290-91)

And the bit about Tetsuo managing to enter it physically:

Tetsuo slashed his soul-sword in a circle behind him. The gleaming blade left a blue-black circle of light in the air. Emperor Bolas lashed out with his gigantic paw, but Tetsuo dived through the circle and vanished even as his exit was obliterated by the great scaled limb. (p. 290)

Tetsuo appeared on the meditation plane. The means by which a person could physically travel to this plane had been lost for centuries, but with Ayesha's help and years of practice, Tetsuo had found it and put it to use. (pp. 291-92)

Then there is that one bit that might provide a way out for Creative if they choose to take it:

The realm of mind boiled and broke under blinding waves of light and pounding tides of mystical force. It would be months, perhaps years before the meditation plane would be fully restored, assuming it could ever be. (p. 301)

So, sure, Bolas could have altered it somehow, but that's guesswork and handwaving as long as it's not made explicit. Deciding what counts as a retcon is rarely an exact science and you always have to leave room for some handwaving, but there are limits. With what information we have right now, it's simply a crass contradiciton of everything that was established about it. It would have been no problem at all to write a paragraph from Bolas's perspective where he's pondering his plans while chilling on the meditation plane and where it's explained what he did to it. Besides, the Mending strengthened planar boundaries rather than weakening them, so it's even more unlikely that you can now planeswalk to a plane you couldn't 'walk to previously. If it's going to be addressed at all, it'll probably happen on Dominaria next year, but I'm not going to sit here and wait for an explanation I know Creative isn't interested in providing. If they do convincingly explain it away as an in-universe change, I can still remove it from the list.

And I'm going to disagree on the part where a proper portrayal of entering the plane would have been extraneous. If you give Vraska hoops to jump through anyway, why not the proper ones that should be there already? Besides, we're returning to Dominaria next year anyway, why not quickly bring it up now? Really, a proper use of established rules would have added to this story rather than distracted from it. It's completely beyond me why they would choose to alienate older fans who know about the meditation plane instead of just taking a moment to introduce everyone else to it and make sure they're on the same page. Being a storyline fan pretty much stopped being rewarding years ago.


Barinellos wrote:
Second, I'm not that upset about the gorgon alteration. It might buck against traditional depictions, but having it function equivalent to a dragon's breath is an acceptable change given the setting.
That doesn't make it any less of a retcon, though. Personally, I'm bothered tremendously. It just makes all races more similar and takes away any drawbacks of a gorgon's power. It completely alters what being a gorgon means. Besides, it's a massive retcon that means several scenes from older stories don't make sense anymore. 'Xathrid Gorgon' in particular hinged on the fact that the guy manages to get himself petrified before the gorgon can take his eye out and sacrifice it to a demon. And how are they going to handle Ludmilla if she ever shows up again (okay, they probably threw her under the bus for good, but that's a bad thing in and of itself)? This is a textbook example of the messiest and most cancerous kind of retcon. Creative just has to understand that it's not always about what's convenient for them. They should have thought about that problem before they decided to make a gorgon planeswalker.

What's more, the way gorgons supposedly work now is just counter-intuitive. New players or people unfamiliar with the storyline would expect gorgons to just petrify everyone all the time because that's the concept of Medusa most people are going to have in mind.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:26 pm 
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My quick interpretation would be that the Meditation Plane has been removed from Dominaria entirely during the Mending in the same way that Agyrem, the other planar annex we knew of, was removed from Ravnica. Not identical cases, still doesn't dismiss how it gained its physicality, but we know that an unconscious Tezzeret was being reconstructed there during Enter the Eldrazi, so it is undoubtedly a physical realm that Planeswalkers can visit as of approximately three years ago in-fiction.

As for Bolas reshaping the Meditation Plane, it's probably made easier by the magic of the Pools of Becoming. Sarkhan acknowledges that Bolas usually ignites the Pools if he is present on the plane, so installing Bolas horns in the style of what we saw on Amonkhet is not the unlikeliest thing.

Again, speculation because Bolas does everything off-screen. When the mastermind villain/schemer of your property needs to have assumed off-screen explanations for more than half of the **** they accomplish, maybe it's an issue with you writing the mastermind villain/schemer poorly.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:56 am 
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vronos wrote:
My quick interpretation would be that the Meditation Plane has been removed from Dominaria entirely during the Mending in the same way that Agyrem, the other planar annex we knew of, was removed from Ravnica. Not identical cases, still doesn't dismiss how it gained its physicality, but we know that an unconscious Tezzeret was being reconstructed there during Enter the Eldrazi, so it is undoubtedly a physical realm that Planeswalkers can visit as of approximately three years ago in-fiction.
The signs are certainly pointing there. You'd think Vraska would have noticed that that mysterious plane was attached to the bright, glowing centre of the multiverse, but nope.

vronos wrote:
As for Bolas reshaping the Meditation Plane, it's probably made easier by the magic of the Pools of Becoming. Sarkhan acknowledges that Bolas usually ignites the Pools if he is present on the plane, so installing Bolas horns in the style of what we saw on Amonkhet is not the unlikeliest thing.
Well, whatever the Pools of Becoming are supposed to be exactly, they weren't even there in Legends II. But yeah, Bolas redecorating the place is not an issue, the meditation plane has always been known to reflect the thoughts of those who visit it. He could have reshaped the look of place with ease if he put his mind to it.

vronos wrote:
Again, speculation because Bolas does everything off-screen. When the mastermind villain/schemer of your property needs to have assumed off-screen explanations for more than half of the **** they accomplish, maybe it's an issue with you writing the mastermind villain/schemer poorly.
This. And when they basically change or contradict every single thing we knew about the meditation plane without ever addressing it, they just can't expect people to handwave it and assume it makes sense somehow. Either you call that thing the meditation plane and make sure to portray it exactly like the meditation plane in the novels, or you make up a new place for Bolas to hang out and don't call it the meditation plane. Anything else is just vague and frustrating.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:22 am 
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Actually, on further examination, I'm left to think that perhaps Bolas is not responsible for the meditation plane breaking off. It's well possible that Tetsuo's ploy had an effect on it. Similarly, the closing of the Madaran Rift might have done it.

Seriously, it makes sense that the Meditation Reason might have only existed because of the rift in the first place. The comparison to Agyrem might be far more apt than just its removal.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:51 am 
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Barinellos wrote:
Actually, on further examination, I'm left to think that perhaps Bolas is not responsible for the meditation plane breaking off. It's well possible that Tetsuo's ploy had an effect on it. Similarly, the closing of the Madaran Rift might have done it.

Seriously, it makes sense that the Meditation Reason might have only existed because of the rift in the first place. The comparison to Agyrem might be far more apt than just its removal.
That would actually be a pretty cool explanation that I could accept, especially the second part. If it was canon and not just fans trying to make sense of it. With what we have, it simply looks like "Creative doesn't know how the meditation plane works because they didn't bother to check the books". Just like they don't know how gorgons work or that Karn's heartstone is inside his head. It's not that they couldn't provide a decent explanation, but they simply won't.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:49 pm 
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Barinellos wrote:
Actually, on further examination, I'm left to think that perhaps Bolas is not responsible for the meditation plane breaking off. It's well possible that Tetsuo's ploy had an effect on it. Similarly, the closing of the Madaran Rift might have done it.

Seriously, it makes sense that the Meditation Reason might have only existed because of the rift in the first place. The comparison to Agyrem might be far more apt than just its removal.
That would actually be a pretty cool explanation that I could accept, especially the second part. If it was canon and not just fans trying to make sense of it. With what we have, it simply looks like "Creative doesn't know how the meditation plane works because they didn't bother to check the books". Just like they don't know how gorgons work or that Karn's heartstone is inside his head. It's not that they couldn't provide a decent explanation, but they simply won't.

In creative's defense, on this subject alone, its not simply an instance of creative not checking the books. It'd also that they had nothing to do with its creation too. Not just a generational instance, but that Scott McGough likely just did whatever he felt like with no supervision either. He made up the rules and likely didn't ask.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:57 pm 
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And then they published it and made it canon. Besides, wasn't McGough a member of Creative himself? The meditation plane was probably his idea to begin with, and why should they have objected? It fulfilled its function in the plot and then collapsed, it's not like anyone planned on reusing it at that time. If current Creative doesn't like it and just ignores the books, it's them who look bad, not McGough.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:13 pm 
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And then they published it and made it canon. Besides, wasn't McGough a member of Creative himself? The meditation plane was probably his idea to begin with, and why should they have objected? It fulfilled its function in the plot and then collapsed, it's not like anyone planned on reusing it at that time. If current Creative doesn't like it and just ignores the books, it's them who look bad, not McGough.

McGough was not in creative.
While it might be canon, you're vastly overestimating the amount of input creative had in the books at that time and the oversight publishing gave... Well, anything that wasn't DnD. This is particularly important since the Legends II cycle was published outside any block format.

What I'm getting at, to all this, is that the ONLY one who made any of the rules regarding the plane was McGough.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:23 pm 
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Probably, but that doesn't make them inherently bad rules. It had to be the way it was in the books, it wouldn't have worked as a normal, separate plane that you can easily enter physically. The fact that any incarnation of the Creative team didn't have full control over something doesn't give them a carte blanche to change that thing on a whim. They could have given Bolas a new hidden plane that fits their current needs more.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:36 pm 
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Probably, but that doesn't make them inherently bad rules. It had to be the way it was in the books, it wouldn't have worked as a normal, separate plane that you can easily enter physically. The fact that any incarnation of the Creative team didn't have full control over something doesn't give them a carte blanche to change that thing on a whim. They could have given Bolas a new hidden plane that fits their current needs more.

Maybe, but honestly, you're being too hardline about some of these details, and I'm only even arguing about it to make you realize that. There's a lot of things to criticize creative for, but right now, you're effectively complaining about a change probably made TEN YEARS AGO, with a different creative team about something that yet another DIFFERENT creative team let pass without involvement or oversight.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:47 pm 
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If they decided to change that ten years ago (which is absolutely possible), then the full extent of the change was only revealed to us in the new story. Until right before that, they still would have had the opportunity to make it line up with the books as much as possible or at least add a good in-universe explanation. And sure, I won't deny that I've become pretty hardline about continuity in recent years (after the double-punch of Tarkir-Origins, to be precise), but that's a response ro Creative's blatant disregard for it. I want to create awareness that details matter. That's one of Maro's Twenty Golden Rules after all.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:54 pm 
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If they decided to change that ten years ago (which is absolutely possible), then the full extent of the change was only revealed to us in the new story. Until right before that, they still would have had the opportunity to make it line up with the books as much as possible or at least add a good in-universe explanation. And sure, I won't deny that I've become pretty hardline about continuity in recent years (after the double-punch of Tarkir-Origins, to be precise), but that's a response ro Creative's blatant disregard for it. I want to create awareness that details matter. That's one of Maro's Twenty Golden Rules after all.

You know me, I'm hardly one to defend Tarkir-Origins, but at the limit you're operating right now, you might as well be detailing the changes for the pre-revision materials too.

Another aspect to this is that it's important to consider WHY a change might have been made, and in that regards, this is a purely positive one. Space is at a premium, so irrelevant details, and yes, having to go to Dominaria and then to the Meditation Realm is a BAD detail, is something I'm not going to get upset about. It's extraneous information that ultimately doesn't add to the story. It's all just a matter of perspective and such scrutiny does tend to miss the bigger picture as well.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:07 pm 
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This whole meditation realm thing is just a part of an annoying trend that almost nothing in current Magic feels the same as soon as it shows up more than once. And yeah, you could argue there was a reason for changing it, but then what's the reason for using the meditation plane at all? And the possible in-universe explanation for the change that you suggested earlier is excellent, so it would have been possible to have it make sense somehow if they really had to change it.

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:17 pm 
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The point of using it was because someone made a Planechase card for it and it looked cool. It was to throw a bone to Planechase fans and also to be a place where Bolas can sit and scheme while he is off-screen.

Also, we probably know better, but, to be a bit pedantic, "Bolas's Meditation Realm may refer to an actual realm created by Bolas that maybe is like the Meditation Realm he knew of, but is a different animal altogether. (We probably know it's not.)

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:23 pm 
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It's confirmed in 'The Planes of Planechase' that it's intended to be the same plane, it even mentions the titles of the novels (I'm on my phone, but vronos already linked to the article above).

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:19 am 
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I'll wait with putting it on the list until Dominaria actually releases and we get the in-story version of the latest retcon, but I'm dumping the relevant notes here as a reminder.

So, Alara Unbroken established that Oldwalkers started aging at an accelerated rate after the Mending:

For decades he [Bolas] had felt his age catching up to him; his age was an imposing enough figure that he felt deeply invested in eluding the arithmetic. [...] The impact of the damnable Mending had left him broken. His omnipotence was mutilated, and his mind felt like a sieve. He was truly an elderly dragon.

This was contradicted by Kelly Digges on twitter and will probably enable Jaya Ballard to be alive and kicking in Dominaria:

"They began aging again at a normal rate--no "catching up." Liliana took many years to become an old woman post-Mending."

https://twitter.com/kellydigges/status/ ... 4946983936

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 Post subject: Re: List of Retcons
PostPosted: Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:36 am 
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I also thought it sounded like Bolas was aging at an accelerated rate when I first read it but reading it again it could be completely metaphoric-His age was beginning to catch up to him, like he was beginning to feel his age. It’s not necessarily contradictory in that sense.


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