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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2021 6:16 am 
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Or, a thread that will aggravate Pavor. :D

So, spinning out of the legends creature type thread, I think we haven't resolved our disparate viewpoints on how the various disciplines should be approached or how the zeitgeist has come to define the intricacies of what should or shouldn't qualify as various types.

I'll begin by saying that, first and foremost, I oppose the idea of creating a singular, strict type representation as defined by color. I think it's reductive and some total ****. Then again, I'm the type to incessantly rail against the slavish adherence that dragons are red because fire lol. Hell, I want an entire set with Elves never appearing in green because HIGH ELVES ARE A THING damnit...

But, I digress. I think I'll begin the thread by laying out my views on what flavor should define the casters in the game. I think, in my opinion, the idea that wizard is a good catch all is inherently a flawed position, but will defend the idea that it should not be solely relegated to blue. It just shouldn't be the generic incarnation of a caster.

In my perspective, a wizard is a discipline that casts arcane spells and undergoes scholarly training to understand the methods of spell casting. The one major exception in pop culture that springs immediately to mind is Gandalf. (He's effectively a demigod, so his very nature kind of upsets the entire apple cart) However, for those mortals who learn the arcane arts, it's usually through rigorous study and knowledge, not instruct.
There are, undoubtedly other examples that disrupt that picture, but I think the prevailing sentiment conjures the likes of the learned bookworm. Further, this consequently means I think every damn body in Strixhaven should be a wizard and nothing else.
There's an argument to be made Merlin bucks this trend as well, but... Merlin is an absolute mess when it comes to pop culture. There's even arguments he would qualify as a druid...

Which might as well segue to druid. Druids are a weird hybrid that pick up aspects of multiple other types. They seem to work on a faith system, like clerics, but deal in primal magics like shaman. Further, there is a group/sect/secret society aspect to them, as the druid circle is pretty resonant. There connection to nature, thanks to DnD is pretty hard to shake, and unfortunately WOTC's profoundly reductive approach that green=nature means there's little hope of seeing the type spear natural outside green. (That said, I know there are a few off green druids. It's weird.)

Shamans, I think are largely the least complicated but also most misused of the caster types. Shamans channel primal energies/spirits, but largely only direct them instead of shape them. They are more a lens for greater forces than a scholar that manipulates the forces at their call. As a consequence there are TONS of red shamans that I think absolutely do not deserve the type. I think virtually any instance of the -mancer suffix should be a wizard and nary ever a shaman.

Clerics are a faith based caster, who enact magic with the sheer force of their beliefs. They'd claim it was divinity answering their prayers, but at their core is an ignorance to the way a spell works. It doesn't need an explanation or fleshed out mechanism because it is the belief that makes causes it. Cleric isn't a complicated type either, but it honestly doesn't turn up very often where I feel it means anything.

Now we come to Warlock, the contentious class in the discussion. Warlocks are the only other caster that naturally deals in arcane forces, but unlike the scholarly wizard, they operate on the fringe and the forbidden. That usually means they develop a natural talent or insight for magic instead of hitting the books or playing by rules. I like the description that was brought up that they are shunned by society for their craft, which underlines the idea wizards have a social acceptance enough to pass as scholars in contrast.

Lastly, there's the forgotten creature type that I personally am kind of pissed they've buried. It's one I think had real potential in dealing with an entire quarter of unexplored flavor. I'll lead in with the fact that I don't think alchemists should be wizards, not a one of them. I think they should be Mystics. That's right, the ignored step child of the onslaught block. I think they should bring it back. The place I think mystic would benefit, sand why alchemists for, is that the Mystics have a chance to define the occult study, instead of arcane. The quest to pursue the hidden knowledge instead of the functional.

So .. I'm sure this will get me yelled at, but I thought I'd put it out there. Hopefully we can get some neat discussions or of it.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2021 11:11 am 
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Clerics: Summon god/s. Basically magic by prayer.

Wizards: Study magic. Act like it's a science.

Warlock: Eeeevill_e. Likely just using random power with little intelligence for the ways it might backfire.

Shaman: Essentially acts as a conduit for magic. Might additionally be the antithesis of the wizard in that it achieves power without studying.

Druid: Knows natural sciences. Can sometimes pray, can sometimes use studied knowledge, but I agree that they're mostly a hodgepodge of methods.

All of these should be found in all colours, with the appropriate bias towards one color. However, even can pray and even can use dangerous magics for the greater good, so clerics and warlocks can and should exist.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2021 11:21 am 
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Types are typically a mix of flavor and mechanics. So it's not just flavor that needs to get "pinned" down. I put that in quotes, because, like the sciences, the edges bleed into each other (like flavor-wise, kannushi bleed into both Druid and Cleric). There will always be exceptions, but there will also be a general tendency.

Cleric: generally the go betweens from the worshippers and a deity, healers
Power source - granted as maintainers of a collective contract between a collective and powerful entity
Mechanical - Save you and your critters: Lifegain, protection, toughness boosting, beneficial Auras;
Expel what hurts the collective: Disenchant, very selective destruction, quarantining (Oblivion Ring), very specified tutoring/digging/recursion for artifacts/creatures/enchantments

Wizard: Spellcasters who learn through an almost academic method
Power source - Rigorous study and disciplined study of arcane arts
Mechanical - Researchers: card draw, looting, instant/sorcery focus, spell control (as peer review);
Specialized study: activated or triggered abilities for a particular "spell"

Warlock: those who made a deal with the "devil" to gain specialized privileges
Power Source - the individual's pact
Mechanical - Dealmaking: resource trading (discard or life payment as cost), life drain
Delve into the forbidden: reanimation/raise dead, negative card advantage (opponent discard, removal, etc)

Shaman: Innate spellcasters whose instinct allows them to channel forces of nature
Power Source - talent, some self-directed training, but not as formally structured as a Wizard's
Mechanical - Spellcasting: activated abilities/triggered abilities;
Rough idea: generally more "basic" concepts like mana rituals, burn, simple tokens, destroy effects, etc

Druid: Those who draw magical strength from the local nature and society around them
Power Source - Familiarity with the energies of the world around them
Mechanical - Knowledge of the land: Ramp/land search, some creature digging abilities, possibly shapeshifting or boosting, life gain;
Enchantress - Enchantment based boosts, disenchants

Mystic: Those in tune with the very presence of magic itself and immediately sense its effects
Power Source - alignment with the magical field directly, bypassing the need for an intermediator (Diety for Cleric; scientific study for Wizard; Pact for Warlock; Self for Shaman; or Nature for Druid)
Mechanical - Sensitivity handling: Hexpoof, Protection, other general spell immunity;
Threshold: A tendency more to passive effects that boost under certain criteria, like Threshold, Metalcraft, Ascend


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2021 11:53 am 
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Barinellos wrote:
Or, a thread that will aggravate Pavor. :D
What, for me? Oh you, you shouldn't have! :love: :-P

Barinellos wrote:
So .. I'm sure this will get me yelled at, but I thought I'd put it out there. Hopefully we can get some neat discussions or of it.
Yelled at? Not by me at least, I think it's an interesting and important discussion. What aggravates me isn't people disagreeing with me, it's WotC doing dumb stuff that impacts my enjoyment of the game (and there has been a lot of dumb stuff accumulating over the last few years on various fronts). Looking at your OP, there isn't even that much in there that I'd disagree with.


Barinellos wrote:
I'll begin by saying that, first and foremost, I oppose the idea of creating a singular, strict type representation as defined by color. I think it's reductive and some total ****.
Yep, agreed.

Barinellos wrote:
Then again, I'm the type to incessantly rail against the slavish adherence that dragons are red because fire lol.
Yep, same camp.

Barinellos wrote:
Hell, I want an entire set with Elves never appearing in green because HIGH ELVES ARE A THING damnit...
I guess I could see myself being on board with that if it's executed well and they don't try to shoehorn it into an existing setting where it doesn't fit. I've been quite happy to see more :b: elves recently, for what it's worth.

Barinellos wrote:
But, I digress. I think I'll begin the thread by laying out my views on what flavor should define the casters in the game. I think, in my opinion, the idea that wizard is a good catch all is inherently a flawed position, but will defend the idea that it should not be solely relegated to blue. It just shouldn't be the generic incarnation of a caster.
I mean, for the record, that's not really what I've been arguing for. At least not if you take "catch all" and "the generic incarnation" to mean "just make everything a Wizard". As I said in the other thread, I think Clerics, Druids and Shamans all have their place in Magic and their own unique flavour. It's Warlock that I have a problem with and that I think is already covered by the other caster types, so it doesn't add anything relevant or meaningful. But yeah, I'd argue that Wizard has the biggest established space to play in, and I'd like to see the full range of that acknowledged at least once in a while, instead of being completely absorbed by other types.

Barinellos wrote:
In my perspective, a wizard is a discipline that casts arcane spells and undergoes scholarly training to understand the methods of spell casting. The one major exception in pop culture that springs immediately to mind is Gandalf. (He's effectively a demigod, so his very nature kind of upsets the entire apple cart) However, for those mortals who learn the arcane arts, it's usually through rigorous study and knowledge, not instruct.
There are, undoubtedly other examples that disrupt that picture, but I think the prevailing sentiment conjures the likes of the learned bookworm. Further, this consequently means I think every damn body in Strixhaven should be a wizard and nothing else.
There's an argument to be made Merlin bucks this trend as well, but... Merlin is an absolute mess when it comes to pop culture. There's even arguments he would qualify as a druid...
I'd say that describes the centre or baseline of the Wizard type well enough. But that doesn't mean they should entirely ignore the examples that disrupt the picture and deviate from that baseline. Or more precisely, I'd argue what counts as a scholarly/academic/learned bookworm outside of the archetypical centre can be a bit fuzzy and bleed out at the edges. It can be hard to draw a clear-cut line. And it's this perspective on the one hand and the idea of exploring the scholarly Wizard in colours other than :u: on the other hand that paints the full picture of what Wizards in Magic can be. I'd also point out that Magic's magic system makes the different caster types closer to each other than, say, D&D does. Mana usually comes from the land, regardless of what colour it is or what you are using it for, and there is no real 'divine magic' because D&D's idea of what gods are doesn't exist in Magic (and I like that). Which also makes the division into arcane and divine magic pretty tricky in Magic. The importance of mana bonds also implies a minimum of a hands-on approach even in the most scholarly Wizards. Sitting in the same tower on the same island day after day doesn't get you new mana bonds, so you've gotta go out there and travel a bit every once in a while.

And yeah, I agree about everyone in Strixhaven being a Wizard. Granted, that freaking archaeology college might have a few Artificers, but apart from that... But assuming that's the case, that would make Strixhaven a good example of the scholarly Wizards outside of :u:. That would actually be an addition to Magic's IP that I'd approve of, even if I hate pretty much every other creative aspect of Strixhaven that we've seen so far. And I think you could apply that to a ton of existing Wizard cards in Magic that aren't :u:, or even to all of them. Mangara's Tome (I love that card) tells us that Mangara of Corondor (that card, too) is keeping a spellbook where he writes stuff down, and we know he came to Zhalfir originally to investigate the temporal energies released by Teferi's Isle. That's a good example of a non-blue Wizard with a somewhat scholarly nature travelling long distances to gain knowledge, so I'd say Mangara seamlessly merges several cool things that a Wizard in Magic can do or be.

Barinellos wrote:
Which might as well segue to druid. Druids are a weird hybrid that pick up aspects of multiple other types. They seem to work on a faith system, like clerics, but deal in primal magics like shaman. Further, there is a group/sect/secret society aspect to them, as the druid circle is pretty resonant. There connection to nature, thanks to DnD is pretty hard to shake, and unfortunately WOTC's profoundly reductive approach that green=nature means there's little hope of seeing the type spear natural outside green. (That said, I know there are a few off green druids. It's weird.)
Again, I agree that pretty much describes Druids in Magic well enough. I guess I wouldn't overemphasise the faith aspect because it can be hard to disstinguish from the nature-revering aspect, but it can certainly be there. Druids were Celtic priests, after all. That said, I actually like seeing the occasional :w: or :b: Druid as long as they don't overdo it. Blends of other colours with :g: are also cool, I think that could help to express how broad a concept "nature" can be, especially in a universe where magic comes from the land. I hope we'll get a card for Ezrith, druid of the Dark Hours eventually, or at least learn who that guy is/was (you know, the one from Cradle to Grave, Premature Burial etc.). I guess they might end up making him :b::g:, but I think he'd work great in mono-black, too. I guess getting him as a Partner alongside a :g: Aznaph, greenseeker would be cool, but I digress... (God, there are so many cool flavour text characters from Time Spiral block that I'd love to see as cards).

Barinellos wrote:
Shamans, I think are largely the least complicated but also most misused of the caster types. Shamans channel primal energies/spirits, but largely only direct them instead of shape them. They are more a lens for greater forces than a scholar that manipulates the forces at their call. As a consequence there are TONS of red shamans that I think absolutely do not deserve the type. I think virtually any instance of the -mancer suffix should be a wizard and nary ever a shaman.
Yeah, I agree about the broad concept of Shamans, and also about the -mancers being Wizards. I'd like to see a little bit more emphasis on the spiritual/religious aspects of Shamans every now and then, because real-world shamans are basically priests in tribal societies who commune with ancestors or the spirit world in general etc. That's also what distinguishes :g: Shamans from Druids in my head.

Barinellos wrote:
Clerics are a faith based caster, who enact magic with the sheer force of their beliefs. They'd claim it was divinity answering their prayers, but at their core is an ignorance to the way a spell works. It doesn't need an explanation or fleshed out mechanism because it is the belief that makes causes it. Cleric isn't a complicated type either, but it honestly doesn't turn up very often where I feel it means anything.
I guess that's also largely accurate, although there's the odd wrinkle that Cleric is also a generic stand-in for healers. That doesn't really preclude those healer Clerics from working in the way you described, mind you, I just think it's odd that we basically never see healers that are just Soldiers (if they are field medics) or, I dunno, only get a race type or something. Heck, I'd settle for the occasional Monk. I wouldn't mind seing the equation of "damage prevention ability = Cleric" broken up a bit more, is what I'm saying.

Barinellos wrote:
Now we come to Warlock, the contentious class in the discussion. Warlocks are the only other caster that naturally deals in arcane forces, but unlike the scholarly wizard, they operate on the fringe and the forbidden. That usually means they develop a natural talent or insight for magic instead of hitting the books or playing by rules. I like the description that was brought up that they are shunned by society for their craft, which underlines the idea wizards have a social acceptance enough to pass as scholars in contrast.
I guess I don't really have anything new to add that I didn't already write in the Legends thread, but to briefly re-iterate, I still don't think what is or isn't forbidden or socially acceptable should be a meaningful category here. And if you think of the classic witch tropes for instance, I'd argue there can be a lot of hitting the books or playing by the rules, e.g. spells written down in books, potion recipes or ritual formulas. It may look different from the academic styles of magic, but it doesn't have to be a completely different beast. Plus, I don't think WotC themselves have done a good job of communicating what they want the Warlock type to mean, and if we consider factors like zeitgeist and resonance, I still think there's no point fighting the associations people have from D&D, because that's probably the only major fanatsy IP that uses a clear definition of what a Warlock is. Magic could have developed its own take on that if it had introduced the Warlock type along with the other types, but at this point they are just trying to make room for a caster type that has its space occupied by the established types and that comes with a lot of D&D baggage that they don't seem willing to embrace (and I don't think they should).

Barinellos wrote:
Lastly, there's the forgotten creature type that I personally am kind of pissed they've buried. It's one I think had real potential in dealing with an entire quarter of unexplored flavor. I'll lead in with the fact that I don't think alchemists should be wizards, not a one of them. I think they should be Mystics. That's right, the ignored step child of the onslaught block. I think they should bring it back. The place I think mystic would benefit, sand why alchemists for, is that the Mystics have a chance to define the occult study, instead of arcane. The quest to pursue the hidden knowledge instead of the functional.
I guess I'm not even immediately against bringing back Mystic, although I wouldn't really know what to do with it. I could certainly buy Alchemist coming back as a type (Samite Alchemist was printed as one), and I think there would be a lot of uses for the type in places like Innistrad or the Izzet Guild. I think Alchemist would make more sense as its own type instead of Mystic, because most alchemy in Magic seems to be a lot more formulaic and scientific rather than mystical. Kinda like chemistry, but with magic. I suppose I'd use Mystic more as a type for religious hermits, or maybe some healers or sages, rather than an actual spellcaster type.

And to open a whole other can of worms, I've gone on record saying that I'd like Spellshapers to come back in the right place at the right time. I guess that's going to get me yelled at... :paranoid:


Fake edit: Looks like I've been ninja'd by two people while writing this... I'll look at that later. :doh:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 11:57 am 
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With the Strixhaven spoilers we now know that each house corresponds to a mage type (Lorehold = cleric, Quandrix = wizard, what-its-name = warlock, Prismari = shaman, Witherbloom = druid)

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:23 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:54 pm 
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Yes; I guess its because it has a relatively mundane name compared to the more fantasy ones from the other houses.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2021 6:48 pm 
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How I tend to see it...

Cleric: Trappings of Faith, energy of divinity, casting through ritual
Wizard: Trappings of academia, raw arcane energy, casting through formal mechanisms
Warlock: Trappings of the occult, tainted/nether energy, casting through mysiticism (a mix of formalcraft and ritual)
Shaman: Trappings of the primitive, 'pure' elemental energy, casting through will and/or emotion alone
Druid: Specialty cleric, attach 'nature' to the first two clerical traits. Probably remains distinct because worldsouls and gods are fairly unrelated in M:tG

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