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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:28 am 
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So Dominaria really does worship the mythological Aesir?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:47 am 
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So Dominaria really does worship the mythological Aesir?

I'm sure in the same way they recite Shakespeare

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:06 am 
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I don't really want to talk Kaldheim to death before I've seen all the cards and all parts of the worldguide and until we know more about what's going on in the story, but I can never resist a good discussion about the Big Old D...

I’m now convinced that sometime during the Legends era there was some form of interplanar migration between Kaldheim and Dominaria, probably resulting in a human and elven settlement in the Northlands, and various individual adventurers settling throughout the plane (Halfdane on Tolaria, giants establishing Hammerheim on Bogardan, etc.).

When the Ice Age arrived, Northland refugees poured into Terisaire over an ice bridge and transformed the culture of the continent.

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I really, REALLY hope they don't draw that connection, and I don't think it's needed to explain anything. In fact, it would probably lead to more inconsistencies and open questions rather than tying anything together in a meaningful way. For instance, you have to keep in mind that the only elves on Dominaria that we definitely know to be from the far north are the Garan elves, and those look completely different from the elves in Kaldheim, and they don't have nordic names either. What's more, a lot of the stuff from the Legends set has been used in the two novel trilogies of the same name, which are both set after the Ice Age, and at this point it seems pretty clear that the nordic sounding places and characters don't have a lot of connective tissue betwen them. It's pretty clear from Legends II that Halfdane started his existence on Tolaria (being a shapeshifter and all that), and that the name "Halfdane" was given to him by the sailors who picked him up there. Hammerheim is in Aerona, not Bogardan (which, admittedly, doesn't really matter for the point you're trying to make), and there is some evidence that the name Hammerheim has been around for at least as long as the Brothers' War (one of the Wayfarer comics mentions "the actions of the Hammerheim Order during the Brothers' War" or something like that). It's also worth noting that Bartel Runeaxe and Hammerheim Deadeye look nothing like the fire- and frost-giants from Kaldheim. Interestingly enough, there also seem to be people in Sarpadia who have nordic names like Ivra Jursdotter, which is pretty odd, all things considered, but wouldn't really click into place if we dragged Kaldheim into it either.

I guess all my hairsplitting above doesn't really preclude the possibility of Kaldheim's influence on Dominaria if it happened early enough to establish a common linguistic root for all those nordic names that keep popping up there. I guess you could even argue that Kaldheim might have touched Dominaria in several different places to explain why the cultural influences in question are so scattered, but at the end of the day, I'm just not comfortable with Wizards being all "That 25-year-old stuff on Dominaria that you are invested in? Yeah, it all came from this one-dimensional new plane that we're releasing this year and that was nourished on the grey, cold milk of corporate culture and shaped by market research and focus-testing".

Granted, we have things like Suq'Ata having roots on Rabiah, and there are a lot more vaguely Middle-Eastern influences on Dominaria on pretty much every continent that you could probably explain with that as well (not to mention Ancient Egyptian ones) because the connection is already there. And yeah, I'm all for establishing that the first Madarans arrived on Dominaria from Kamigawa and came though the time rift (although I'd have to look into all the possible ins and outs of the timeline there to check whether that's even possible and what else it would affect. Squirle has done a lot of great work on that topic on his blog), because the time rift has already been established and because the two are similar enough that it would be a ridiculous coincidence if the rift had nothing to do with it and Toshi just happened to end up in another place that's vaguely Japanese-inspired.

But once you start going down that route with Kaldheim, you might as well say Dominaria has a connection to Torrezon on Ixalan (both the Spanish part and the French part) because Jacques le Vert and Ramirez DePietro exist, or that the Hyperion Blacksmiths originated on Theros. I agree that Dominaria is more likely than most planes to have been influenced by others, but it's also the one that's the most likely to have developed a huge number of diverse cultures and languages on its own.

More evidence that elements of the Norse mythos (presumably related in some way to Kaldheim) exist somewhere in Dominia:
As intriguing as it is, I agree with Barinellos that this piece of flavour text probably falls into the same category as all the real-world quotes on old cards (even though it's not technically a quote). I mean, if you really wanted to force it, you could say that it exists as an obscure religious belief somewhere on Dominaria (as do many other things that are similar to real-world cultures), or that Hel is the name of one of the Thousand Hells mentioned in some of the old stories (and those are actual planes that really exist in-universe, but it's complicated). Barrin also namedrops Hades and Sheol in Time Streams, so I guess you could throw them all on the same pile.

There's also the fact that people in Estark believe in several concepts that resemble real-world religions and mythologies (monotheism, putting coins on dead people as payment for the ferryman, belief in the end of the world that they refer to as Ragalka etc.), and of course the Keldon Twilight is also a riff on Ragnarök. That's not even going into the mention of Neptune in the Greensleeves books, or Hyperion Blacksmith's name, or the fact that Magic has things like Heaven's Gate, Armageddon, Glyph of Reincarnation (note the artwork) and a ton of Christian symbolism, among other things (e.g. lots and lots of crosses in old pieces of artwork). Heck, even real-life numbers and letters as well as Latin numerals that probably aren't supposed to exist in-universe, and if you really want to open a can of worms, look no further than Rabiah...


Barinellos wrote:
So Dominaria really does worship the mythological Aesir?

I'm sure in the same way they recite Shakespeare
I hear nobody fills those lecture halls at the Argivian University like Albert Einstein does. His new formula sure is groundbreaking.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:57 am 
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So, thinking about how Starnheim is the realm of angels and the glorious dead and how there are male valkyries, I was wondering if maybe on Kaldheim, the glorious dead actually ascend into becoming valkyries. Which would explain male valkyries.

I just saw this card, which may imply my thought was correct, or it's just a one-of with no lore implications. I'm sure we'll know with the next part of the planeswalker's guide.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 11:45 am 
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One thing I wanted to note about Kaldheim is the backgrounds in the art. The skies are overcast and cloudy in a way that you rarely see in magic art, and it really adds to the plane's atmosphere.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:11 pm 
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Planeswalkers Guide to Kaldheim, Part 2

Interesting that so many realms have significant magic pools. The demons have a blood volcano that births a new demon every time the blood hits the rim. The angels have a lake that new angels come out of and has twelve longboats waiting for the gods to die. The shapeshifters have waters they return to when it's time to die. The dwarves have an endless fount of molten gold.

I wonder what is happening in the Gods' Realm now that it's lost the Hall of the Gods. I expect the next Kaldheim set will look at some of the other or lost realms.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:32 pm 
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Well it is on brand with Norse mythology, in which there are several mysticals, the most famous of which being Mimir's.

Like the archons of Theros and Amonkhet angels the valkyries apparently do not serve the gods. They also explain the reason for the existence of valkyries, apparently to be the bad cops in a good cop bad cop scenario.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:35 pm 
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I feel like having two valkyries hovering over you would spur on a lot more brave/foolhardy actions because you know that if you act cowardly, you would face not just your current foe(s) but also the reaper coming after you.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:20 pm 
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Kaldheim is Amonkhet's suicide culture but mEtAl.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 3:18 pm 
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Upon thought, I'm actually a little surprised we haven't seen any pegasus given the pop culture proclivity of the valkyries riding winged stallions.
Sure, pegasi are greek, but then again Kraken are Norse, so... For that matter no kraken yet either.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:55 pm 
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I like that this actually feels like a sea god. Thassa's cards have always felt more generic blue. I was hoping that Cosima would be a sea monster or otherwise look weirder than she does here.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2021 6:22 am 
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I mean, the fact that she's on a boat kind of detracts away from being a sea god, but its true enough to Vanir deities being associated with longboats.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:17 pm 
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Kaldheim: I'm the most Metal plane in the multiver-

New Phyrexia: Am I a joke to y-

Dominaria: FOR THE GLORY OF KELD!

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So, after careful consideration (and, like, spending two days outside in the snow or inside drinking mead and listening to Amon Amarth), I've come to the conclusion that Kaldheim is actually pretty awesome. There, I said it.

Yeah, it doesn't win a prize for originality, but considering it's another culturally/mythologically inspired top-down plane with gods and stuff, it could have been a lot worse (I'm looking at you, Amonkhet). It covers all the expected things, I like what it's doing aesthetically, I love the set design as a whole, and it's great that they actually took the "Vikings are Metal" route. All the actual marketing I've seen for this set was super cringey and uncomfortable (and I'm now convinced that Jimmy Wong is the least "Metal" person in every room he's in, ever), but it looks like the people who actually worked on the set knew what they were doing. In terms of set design, I love how much stuff they were able to cram into this set and still make it feel like a cohesive, organic whole.

I've had some concerns after we got the overview of the realms and the first installment of the Planeswalker's Guide, but after reading the second part, I've been able to put most of those concerns to rest or rationalise them away. That said, it still vexes me to no end that Valla isn't mentioned anywhere, but at least they dropped some hints that those ten realms aren't all there is, and we know there are "lost realms", whatever that means. So I guess there's enough wiggle room to somehow explain Valla's place in the canon somehow. It might have split off from the World Tree and exist indepently from it now, or maybe it always was a separate plane that had a connection to Kaldheim in pre-Mending times. Either of those options would explain why there is a Planechase card called Immersturm whose type is "Valla" instead of "Kaldheim". Just erasing or retconning it and going full "Valla doesn't exist, has never existed and will never exist" would have been completely unacceptable in my book. It's still really, really dumb that the ten realms as a whole are called "Kaldheim" when Kaldheim isn't actually a place. Heim basically means "realm" and is a part of several of the realm names in Norse mythology (Vanaheim, Niflheim, Alfheim...). Why couldn't they just give a name to the World Tree that also functions as the name of the set, then have Kaldheim and Valla be their own realms among the ten? Boom, problem solved. I really don't get why it needed to be that convoluted and counterintuitive. At least they remembered to put Skybreen somewhere...

So all in all, I think that and some of those super derivative gods are probably the weakest part of the worldbuilding. I've never liked gods being a thing in Magic anyway. The planeswalker line-up for the set itself is a total disaster IMO, and I don't really see myself getting back into the storyline if those are our protagonists, even if I'm really liking the set and the plane so far. I'll probably go into why I don't like the 'walkers in a later post.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:52 pm 
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Valla is the exonym for Kaldheim.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:55 pm 
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neru wrote:
Valla is the exonym for Kaldheim.
Wait, is there a source for that? Because I don't really see that making a lot of sense, espacially since they are both subtypes in Planechase.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:17 pm 
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It was a joke.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2021 3:45 pm 
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neru wrote:
It was a joke.
Oops, okay, that's just what text-based communication does sometimes... But to be honest, I wouldn't put it beyond Creative to come up with a lame excuse like that to handwave inconsistencies, so I wouldn't have been surprised if you'd said yes.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2021 11:31 pm 
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I guess they decided that "Valla" wasn't sufficiently marketable? Ok, sure. Maybe copyright issues? Whatever.
But why keep the name Immersturm? It's just one card that could have come from some other vaguely viking-looking world. I bet there's only one paragraph of info on it too, so we're not losing a lot. The name "Immerstrum" also sticks out a bit for sounding more Germanic than the rest of the plane. Were people just that attached to the planeschase plane? I usually appreciate nods to older cards, but this just isn't doing it for me.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:49 am 
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TPmanW wrote:
I guess they decided that "Valla" wasn't sufficiently marketable? Ok, sure. Maybe copyright issues? Whatever.
But why keep the name Immersturm? It's just one card that could have come from some other vaguely viking-looking world. I bet there's only one paragraph of info on it too, so we're not losing a lot. The name "Immerstrum" also sticks out a bit for sounding more Germanic than the rest of the plane. Were people just that attached to the planeschase plane? I usually appreciate nods to older cards, but this just isn't doing it for me.

Immersturm was also mentioned on Warstorm Surge which is a somewhat popular card that they're reprinting in the set.

I agree that it seems like an unnecessary retcon, but maybe they just really wanted to make Warstorm Surge fit in Kaldheim without changing the art or flavor text.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2021 2:19 am 
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I really, REALLY hope they don't draw that connection, and I don't think it's needed to explain anything. In fact, it would probably lead to more inconsistencies and open questions rather than tying anything together in a meaningful way. For instance, you have to keep in mind that the only elves on Dominaria that we definitely know to be from the far north are the Garan elves, and those look completely different from the elves in Kaldheim, and they don't have nordic names either. What's more, a lot of the stuff from the Legends set has been used in the two novel trilogies of the same name, which are both set after the Ice Age, and at this point it seems pretty clear that the nordic sounding places and characters don't have a lot of connective tissue betwen them. It's pretty clear from Legends II that Halfdane started his existence on Tolaria (being a shapeshifter and all that), and that the name "Halfdane" was given to him by the sailors who picked him up there. Hammerheim is in Aerona, not Bogardan (which, admittedly, doesn't really matter for the point you're trying to make), and there is some evidence that the name Hammerheim has been around for at least as long as the Brothers' War (one of the Wayfarer comics mentions "the actions of the Hammerheim Order during the Brothers' War" or something like that). It's also worth noting that Bartel Runeaxe and Hammerheim Deadeye look nothing like the fire- and frost-giants from Kaldheim. Interestingly enough, there also seem to be people in Sarpadia who have nordic names like Ivra Jursdotter, which is pretty odd, all things considered, but wouldn't really click into place if we dragged Kaldheim into it either.



My theorizing was half tounge-in-cheek, but I do appreciate you taking it seriously!

I mostly just miss when there was inter-planar cultural exchange, and a sense that it was all happening in the same multiverse, not just a theme park where bored, insipid planeswalkers moved between ‘dino world’ or ‘Egypt world’.

I do think there’s a weird disconnect in the sudden appearance of Norse cultures and mythology in Terisaire on the onset of the Ice Age that could, at least, be explained by some kind of exchange happening in the Northlands at some point.


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