I have always been drawn into the lore of magic. Reading about the Multiverse on the Wizards website along with seeing stories and scenes unfold as games are played was always the greatest lure. Let me start off by giving a little history about where and when I entered this vast Multiverse…
My first port of call was Zendikar. Original Zendikar was the set currently being played when I returned to magic. I had played originally at 12-13 but had no understanding of the game and no community to learn (Heck I recall having a deck with 120 cards, many of which were forests because I thought Blanchwood Armor was the coolest thing ever). I had no local games shop and only dial up internet to look at cards, and perhaps worst of all, practically no one to play with. I quickly lost interest and despite keeping my cards (many of which I still cherish to this day) I didn’t play for another five years until I saw a video by Loading Ready Run, a Canadian comedy troupe who had just got back into magic that year as well and made a funny video about it. I have followed them ever since and they now work closely with Wizards of the Coast going so far as to run online streams of a pre-pre-release a week before the public pre-releases.
As I returned to MTG I was immediately dropped into a roiling landscape, a beautiful and lethal world known as Zendikar. Home to only the hardiest of races and beasts who could survive its ever changing landscape, not to mention live with the entrapped Eldrazi. To be frank I remember very little about the Eldrazi the first time round because I focused mainly on the Kor. For those who are unfamiliar, the Kor were a creature type introduced in Zendikar. They were nomadic, used hooks on chains or rope as their main tool for hunting, fighting and travelling (with many of Zendikar’s land masses hovering many miles above the ground). I thought they were incredible. 18 year old Giles was enthralled by their spirit guides who could cast auras or summon beasts, their kitesails made from animal skins plus whatever they happened to find and of course the, now infamous, stone forge mystic, seen on their card sitting, calmly floating a boulder behind their head, then splitting it in two revealing an ornate sword within, still red hot from the magical forging process, all seemingly without effort. I knew this card was incredible just from its art and in fact didn’t learn just how busted it was until many years later when a friend paid a hefty sum for a playset.
It was shortly after I had created my first tribal deck that I learned of the Kor planeswalker Nahiri. Nahiri’s story is fascinating. I won’t replay all of it for you here, I simply recommend you go read it here, trust me it’ll be worth it.
Nahiri’s character drew me in and I added her to my deck. She wasn’t totally necessary in the deck, in fact she slowed the mana curve by quite a lot, what with her being a four drop in a deck that is otherwise ones and twos and by not bringing the instant damage where usually this deck will deal 6 damage on turn two and only ramp that up as the game goes on. But I knew that she had to be there. Nahiri is the Kor planeswalker, in lore she is the ultimate stoneforge mystic, reaching into a rock and pulling out a sword that in game gives you +5/+5 and double strike and of course costs 0 to equip because it’s as easy as pulling it out of a rock. She lives eternally and spends many years encased in the rock itself, by choice, to become one with her plane and feel all of Zendikar. Her interactions with the Kor range from her existing with them as a young mortal to influencing their existence countless years in the future. She belonged in the deck even if her stats didn’t fit exactly. I even found myself, while playing with the deck, thinking of games where she never came into play or even into my hand, still buried in the deck as she was in the earth for so many years. Perhaps that is a bit of a stretch but those moments are the exact sort of game mechanics as metaphor that Wizards is so good at creating.
Some elements in magic go beyond mere rules you must follow to play the game correctly and become ways of telling a story, for example, the graveyard is usually a literal graveyard for you to put your dead creatures into but in some scenarios it can have cards come directly from the library into the graveyard to signify a character going mad, or perhaps you move a card from the graveyard to exile, to signify you flinging a corpse at someone (Magic is a great game isn’t it). This allows those of us who choose to, to see so many more ways in which this game tells a story.
That is just a snippit of my experience as a young MTG player, coming to grips with an incredible expansive multiverse and the flavour within. But I haven’t yet seen all the worlds. I only came into this multiverse 5 years ago and have loved what I’ve seen since but I have never looked backwards, to worlds previously visited. I was so excited when Zendikar and Innistrad came back in the last few sets but I worry that perhaps an old storyline will return in the future and I’ll not know its beginning or glean the full meaning of what’s happening.
So as Vorthos I shall be fearlessly time-travelling into the past and looking into the lore of past sets from the very beginning and check out some of those worlds that were before my time, as well as looking at sets as they are released! I doubt I’ll be reviewing them exactly, moreover it will be an exploration of these planes, making connections within them and seeing how the place functions on a day to day basis. I’m hoping it will be an enjoyable look into many different cultures along with fascinating flora and fauna. So I shall ask that any and all of you who are interested, Casuals, Vorthoses and anyone else who is willing...
Come with me on this journey.