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 Post subject: Legends of Strixhaven
PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 2:06 pm 
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https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/feature/legends-strixhaven-2021-04-13

The legends article for Strixhaven is up.

I need time to read through it, but I scanned it right away for info about the Elder Dragons...and it's the exact same text from the Planeswalker guide....that is both lazy and disappointing. I mean, we don't even know the pronouns for four of them!

EDIT: I can't for the life of me imagine why any student would join Silverquill. Apart from Shaile, all the professors (and Felisa as well) seem aweful. All the colleges have a dichotomy, sure, but the difference between the two sides of Silverquill seem by far to be the most extreme. And it seems Shaile is in the vast minority in representing the College's white ideals. Even Nils, the other white professor, seems a total @#$€.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2021 5:09 pm 
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Vaevictis wrote:
https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/feature/legends-strixhaven-2021-04-13

The legends article for Strixhaven is up.

I need time to read through it, but I scanned it right away for info about the Elder Dragons...and it's the exact same text from the Planeswalker guide....that is both lazy and disappointing. I mean, we don't even know the pronouns for four of them!

EDIT: I can't for the life of me imagine why any student would join Silverquill. Apart from Shaile, all the professors (and Felisa as well) seem aweful. All the colleges have a dichotomy, sure, but the difference between the two sides of Silverquill seem by far to be the most extreme. And it seems Shaile is in the vast minority in representing the College's white ideals. Even Nils, the other white professor, seems a total @#$€.


I think its likely a similar to "why would anyone join Rakdos" in that they tend to show the most stereotypical/extreme versions of the guild/clan/school/ect since they only have some much space to show them off and they want the non-vorthos to get whats going on. Silverquil as well ended up getting the "cool/mean kid" tropes as part of its black side and I think that trope space is a lot deeper and easy to show off vs the white side.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:33 am 
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I take Languages and Communications in real life so I relate to Silverquill. Granted, I'm more into it for the writing tips, but Silverquill's rhetoric-based curriculum is insanely useful, more so when you can summon Phantom Blot so hang out with.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 6:35 am 
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As for the rest, disappointed with the dragons being one-dimmensional and even more so with Extus. People wonder why anyone would be Silverquill? I wonder why anyone would ally themselves to a petty manchild who sacrifices his own followers because he didn't got to be gangbanged by the dragons.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:07 am 
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In addition to being an accomplished elementalist, Veyran serves as a mentor to many Prismari pledgemages. She advocates enthusiastically for the importance of both raw passion and disciplined technique in any artistic pursuit. If a new student is upset or overwhelmed, she's quick to call forth playful, beautiful elemental creatures to cheer them up.

is this college or kindergarten again I can't remember

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:07 am 
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Eh, therapy dogs. Except made of lava.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 9:56 am 
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Mown wrote:
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In addition to being an accomplished elementalist, Veyran serves as a mentor to many Prismari pledgemages. She advocates enthusiastically for the importance of both raw passion and disciplined technique in any artistic pursuit. If a new student is upset or overwhelmed, she's quick to call forth playful, beautiful elemental creatures to cheer them up.

is this college or kindergarten again I can't remember


In college we had "puppy days" where people brought in dogs for people to play with when people where stressed out.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:04 am 
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Except made of lava.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:12 pm 
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Mown wrote:
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In addition to being an accomplished elementalist, Veyran serves as a mentor to many Prismari pledgemages. She advocates enthusiastically for the importance of both raw passion and disciplined technique in any artistic pursuit. If a new student is upset or overwhelmed, she's quick to call forth playful, beautiful elemental creatures to cheer them up.

is this college or kindergarten again I can't remember

No, that tracks for the absolute **** show that is modern universities.
It only looks like kindergarten because it would have been ten damn years ago.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:46 pm 
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Ten years ago, my university had puppy days too.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:36 am 
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There is absolutely nothing wrong with allowing adults to destress with some "childish" fun. If anything, college students need that a lot more than kindergartners. We are s bunch of adults (I assume everyone involved in this thread is over 21, because I've seen most of you in this community for years), and we're sitting around talking about fantasy fiction written about a card game whose target audience is teenagers. If there's any group which could understand stressed adults needing to turn to something "childish" to relax, it should be us.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 12:57 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 1:01 pm 
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To be fair since they're made of lava it's arguably not childish at all.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 3:05 pm 
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I don't even want to get caught up in Mown's specific example or engage in hairsplitting about how universities should treat their stundents (although I will say that being treated like an adult - and being expected to behave like one - was a thing that I really appreciated during my time at university). But "Is this kindergarten?" is a question I find myself asking a lot these days when it comes to Magic. I stand by my opinion that Strixhaven feels like a parody set that they somehow forgot to put in a silver border.

What I don't get about sets like Strixhaven, Battlebond, Eldraine or Ikoria - sets that are both overly whimsical and derivative - is who they are actually for. I can virtually guarantee you it's not a good strategy if you want to market Magic to kids, because the best strategy to market something to kids is to NOT market it to kids. If we're talking about kids who are actually old enough to grasp Magic as a game and start playing it (around 10+ years or so), then I'm pretty sure they'll be more attracted to sets that look like they were designed with an older audience in mind. I was first exposed to Magic when I was about 7 or 8, and I started learning and playing it in 2001 when I was 10 to 11 (I'm 30 now). The two things that impressed me the most about Magic's aesthetics were its originality and its "edginess". It offered just enough familiarity with things like knights and castles and wizards to be accessible, but what really got me hooked were the things I had never seen before. My early exposure to Magic has forever broadened and redefined my understanding of what fantasy as a genre can be. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get into Magic these days if I was a kid again and the first thing I'd be exposed to was a set based on Grimms' fairytales or something that's just trying to be Pokémon or Harry Potter. That's not even talking about the fact that I LOVED things like Gravedigger (the original printing from Tempest), Phyrexian Reaper (ten-year-old me thought that flavour text was hilarious), Terror, Scathe Zombies... Heck, I even used to collect zombies during my first few years. Now, I totally get that everyone is different, and I think a good balance in terms of tone and aesthetics is necessary, but the packs say "13+", and I don't think this particular segment of Magic is going to be considered "cool" enough by most 13-year-olds to get them hooked.

Edit: On the other hand, I would definitely have been hyped for stuff like Kaldheim or Innistrad as a kid, so I guess there'd still be a chance of me getting into Magic again in 2021.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 3:31 pm 
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The issue of conflicting demographics is one I can see but broadly it seems like modern MTG is aimed at teens. Like things can be light hearted but also serious.

Eldraine's story on paper is pretty dark (fairy tales aimmirite?), containing rape, child murder, mild existential dread and Oko. Ikoria is much lighter but there is still an element of tragedy to Lukka's story. Kaldheim is not grimdark but Vorinclex's scenes are pretty horror-oriented. Only Strixhaven is really for kids per se.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 4:16 pm 
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The issue of conflicting demographics is one I can see but broadly it seems like modern MTG is aimed at teens. Like things can be light hearted but also serious.
They can be, but to me it feels like there's very little in Magic these days that I'd consider "serious", not even the things that are supposed to be. Granted, a lot of that comes from the fact that WotC stopped taking the "storyline" seriously, and I guess quality and tone aren't necessarily the same thing. But it's very hard for me to see anything "serious" in Magic's creative side when the quality of the overall thing is pretty much in the toilet, be it the stories or the shallow worldbuilding. Kaldheim's story was supposed to be "serious" but failed to make me feel that (even though I love the plane and the set) because the story was bad and all of the non-native 'walkers felt completely out of place. And to talk about Strixhaven specifically, I refuse to believe that a magical academy with an absurdly big magical library that was founded by five powerful dragons would have a college dedicated to performance art or students who create Inkling tokens. Sorry, not sorry. Doesn't help that they play Totally-Not-Quidditch and have hairstyles that make them look like they were abducted right from the streets of New York or something.

Eldraine's story on paper is pretty dark (fairy tales aimmirite?), containing rape, child murder, mild existential dread and Oko. Ikoria is much lighter but there is still an element of tragedy to Lukka's story. Kaldheim is not grimdark but Vorinclex's scenes are pretty horror-oriented. Only Strixhaven is really for kids per se.
I wouldn't even consider the story side of each set an important factor here since I was mostly talking about the tone and aesthetics of the cards themselves and about people who are first exposed to Magic. I'll admit that Eldraine is slightly better at this than the rest, mostly because it has a lot of art that's just damn beautiful and generally high quality. Like, I don't even have any strong negative feelings towards Eldraine per se (although it helps that the set design and gameplay are really good), I just think it's a poor fit for Magic's IP. I guess there's a point people reach some time after they are out of their teens where they come to appreciate the non-edgy stuff more. The oldest guy in my playgroup is 42 and started playing during Ice Age and he loves Eldraine, but even he admits it would have been better off as its own game.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 5:15 pm 
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It was mostly just a throwaway joke at the idea of someone going around effectively making the in-universe equivalent of balloon animals to cheer up stressed students, but hearing you talk about puppy days almost makes me want to double down on it instead because that sounds ridiculous to me.

There is probably much to be said on the presentation of the game now compared to 10-15 years ago and I don't think it's particularly controversial to say that while "serious things" might happen in the current story line as well, the tone and presentation of the game as a whole is very different. Compare Kamigawa with War of the Spark and it's like night and day (admittedly Kamigawa has three sets to work with), or New Phyrexia and Hour of Devastation. I'm not going to argue about which style is more lucrative, I don't work in marketing. I was going to say that it's probably currently quite successful considering their profits, but their third party endeavors sounds to me like they have given up on the multiverse as something highly marketable so maybe not. I am pretty clear on my personal preference though, modern magic may have a lot of skilled artists, but their overall presentation just looks cheap to me in comparison to the older sets which did a much better job of establishing a mood.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:14 pm 
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Maro has talked about they like to try to "swing the pendulum" with magic as part of one its strengths as a multiverse is the range of diversity you can have with both game play and story/mood. They did Theros 1 after Ravnica 2 to have a change from multicolor to add some mono-colored play. Similar they will often try to have different moods between the moods. Kaladesh was made (for better or worse) in a more positive and optimist light due to being sandwiched between Shadows Over Innistrad and Amonkhet both of which where pretty dark in its over all tone. Similarly we just came off Zendikar and Kaldheim which where pretty "serious" with Strixhaven which is more whimsical and we gonna head into two sets of Innistrad which while can have humor over all tend to have a dark themes and tones.

Personally I like both, but everything need to be "serious" all the time is boring and with the last year being the mess it was (outside and in of mtg) a whimsical tone is nice for some escapism as much as seeing someone badass or someone nice horror.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2021 6:24 pm 
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I won't argue the idea that magic can be whimsical. It's a major part of the brand identity in fact. What I'll argue over is the idea that the tones should be separated.

I know the modern player probably doesn't have a clue what came before Zendikar, but during the golden age of magic, the Tolarian academy had some grim undertones and serious weight to the story. Digging into it, what was going on was heavy stuff.
But there were beebles in Tolaria. There was a balance of whimsy and strife that were meet with the same ardor, and that balance was good for the game.

Segregating the dark and the light just makes for the same kind of dull, only on the opposite side of the spectrum each time. It's still boring in a world without shades of a thing.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:11 am 
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I forgot all about Shadows Over Innistrad when thinking about newer sets. I definitely feel like that set does a better job of establishing an appropriate mood than anything concerning Bolas.

Also I just want to say that the notes about the deans here does a much better job of representing the concept of the various colleges than the first primer did, even touching upon themes I thought should be there but didn't see. Silverquill is still a meme to me though.

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