One of the things that first got me interested in Magic: The Gathering was the fact that the game, in addition to being fun and challenging, can tap into the imaginations of the players through stories and art. Somewhere along the line, though, I got so caught up in just learning the game, I didn’t really think about the stories behind the cards. I forgot I could use my imagination and not just my critical thinking skills. And when I watched the San Diego Comic Con panel on youtube a couple days ago, I was reminded of the depth of the lore behind the game.
World-building in Magic has created a “multi-verse” full of worlds (planes) that players are visiting with each set. The idea behind Magic’s gameplay is that players are planeswalkers — magicians who can travel and visit different planes in the multiverse. So basically, really freaking cool. The matches are fights among planeswalkers that use the elements of the plane, and sometimes fellow planeswalkers (ie: Jace), in their fight. In the “Return to Ravnica” block, the fights took place on a plane called Ravnica. Players that had been around a while had already “visited” Ravnica in the original “Ravnica” block. (Imagine that.) The sets revolved around the guilds of Ravnica and their strengths and weaknesses. And in the new set coming out in September, “Theros”, players will be dealing with creatures, spells and enchantments that exist in the plane of Theros, a new plane that the Wizards of the Coast team has created.
Now, I am not an expert on the Vorthos, as it’s called, of Magic. I’m actually not even sure that’s the right term. But I do have an incredible passion for fantasy, and the SDCC panel reignited my excitement to learn more about the Magic multiverse. There was a whole section on the Theros world building process — it’s going to be a plane that takes the themes and motifs of Greek mythology and puts them into the Magic multiverse. There is a whole storyline about the planeswalker Elsbeth, who was is a planeswalker that (I think) was first introduced in the “Shards of Alara” block. She wants to find a new home because, from what I gathered, Alara has been destroyed. She doesn’t want to become a hero, or destroy another plane. She just wants to find a nice plane to stay on.
Just hearing that little tidbit made me want to find out more. I want to know the stories behind the planeswalkers — Jace, Liliana, Gideon, etc. I want to know more about the guilds of Ravnica, and I really want to learn more about the plane of Innistrad, Magic’s take on gothic horror. The cards are cool, full of vampires and werewolves, and according to Mark Rosewater, it’s the closest plane in concept to the upcoming Theros.
As I mentioned before, I want to start posting more about Magic than just my FNM recaps (as awesome as those are). So Fridays will, from now on, be all about the Vorthos. Each week I will research an aspect of the lore and post about it. I’m not sure how successful this endeavor will be, but I’m definitely going to try. And at the very least there is a really neat series on DailyMTG, “Uncharted Realms”, that is a collection of short stories based on the cards. After watching the SDCC panel, I read the short story about the card Experiment One, and it was AWESOME. I highly encourage you to take a gander. You find out exactly how a creature categorized as a “Human Ooze” can exist.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get this idea in time to do a fully formed post this week, but I’m really excited about next week. I’m going to start with the stories behind Innistrad and go from there. I hope you’re as excited as I am!
All for now,
What is your favorite card or character from MTG? Do you know its story?