Rarely does a block in Magic: the Gathering cause me to think twice about it – Pirates vs Dinosaurs in Ixalan? I’m way on board. Vehicles in Kaladesh? Sounds exciting! Oh, a new Un-Set? Even better. However, this is one of the few rare moments when Wizards of the Coast have caught me off guard – and for once, I don’t know whether I like it or not. Naturally, I’m on about the newest block, Dominaria.
Magic: the Gathering is fairly well balanced – It has a fast pace game style, but it can be slowed down by some decks. Having said this, it’s always down to the user to develop their own play style, as well as up to players to build their own decks. The game is very lore heavy, so knowing a bit about the lore of the game sort of helps, in its own weird way.
So then in comes Dominaria, the latest block for Magic: the Gathering. This is basically an old story being brought back, meaning a lot of the individuals involved are that of legends. Karn comes back, Urza is made reference to, all legendary beings in terms of Magics past. Indeed, for the old hats of the game, this set is going to be exciting, as it brings back established characters. I’m not great at explaining the story, however Channel Fireball has a great synopsis of the events!
However this time round, the legendaries of the set make it feel more like a joke than a real set. Legendary isn’t a term that should be thrown around haphazardly, even if in story these are characters from the past. No, legendary should imply these characters did something that only legends speak of. When we have characters like Adeliz, the Cinder Wind with the term ‘Legendary’ snuck onto it – Is it really legendary? As far as I can tell, this is Adeliz’s first card.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not disputing the usefulness of Adeliz, but this is part of the problem of storytelling. You can’t simply stick ‘Legendary’ onto a card and tell us we need to accept that, why is it legendary? What legend spoke of Adeliz? I can tell you that no legends ever spoke of Adeliz, as great as the card is. But, naturally, every block gets a legendary whom is never spoke of before or after.
The issue I have is when everything’s ‘Legendary’, you are forcing people to sort of forget what ‘Legendary’ means. As nitpicky as this seems, they have a reason for why they are throwing lots Legendary cards in this block. First off, let me explain that I’m happy we’re getting Dominaria back, as well as the reintroduction of Karn.
The stupid Jace card.
Cards that are Legendary, or are an Artifact or Planeswalker are now considered ‘Historic’. So now, let’s ignore my issue of Adeliz being Legendary, which in turn makes it Historic. Now, there are cards that specifically trigger off of Historic cards, which means you can bring in cards from previous blocks. Coupled with the rule that stupid Jace card brought in, where every Planeswalker is legendary, it all falls in place.
The combinations you can now pull off, especially when added with previous blocks, are going to be excellent. Okay, so we’re using a term that frustratingly doesn’t fit anymore, because everything and its dog is now legendary. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, even though this is part of why I left World of Warcraft.
This is the Oprah syndrome (Sorry Oprah, you’re lovely!) By saying “everything is a legendary”, it diminishes the value of them. Fortunately I’m not playing Magic for the value of cards, else I may have to seriously protect everything about my Masterpiece cards. When I played World of Warcraft, I had to work for a good 20+ hours just to get one item. Now everyone gets items of similar value for completing a quest, that sucked the fun away for me.
Fortunately, Magic doesn’t suffer this fate. I don’t work hard to get a legendary – It’s luck! So now that everyone gets legendaries, it’s actually quite a nice idea. I get miffed at the language behind it – But actually, it’s a good thing. I for one am optimistic about this, even though I’m annoyed at the terminology. But what do you think? Are Wizard’s just throwing the term Legendary away, or are they onto something here? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.
P.S: If this subject interests you, check out Hipsters of the Coast’s article about the Legendary Sorcery cards introduced this block!
Dominaria will officially be released on Friday 27th April.