The Aforementioned Ow-Less Wow Revisited

Further thoughts on Chronicles II, and how to do it properly.

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Last week, I said:

"Catacomb Dragon (He takes any dragon from Invasion on the offensive and lives.)"

Oopsie. It turns out that he takes anything in Invasion BUT the dragons and lives. Let’s just replace "Catacomb Dragon" with "Spirit of the Night." I always did love that card.

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Last week, I wrote about a sort of "Chronicles II," in which select cards from Mirage, Tempest, and Urza’s Saga would be reprinted in a white-bordered set with foils. I got more responses to this article than any other that I’ve written… and not one of them flamed me out!

I got a few "good idea" mails, but there were more "I liked it, but this is what I would do…" or "I didn’t like it; here’s what I would have done…" mails. These are the most constructive types of feedback to receive – SO constructive, in fact, that I’ve revised my plan and come up with a new proposal for the Magic community. I’ve taken the separate emails I received and meshed them into a conglomeration of their previous selves to create a newer and better idea. At least, I hope so.

The first thing to go? White borders. Almost everyone told me that white borders would suck in a new set. People don’t like white borders, and if the set were to sell, then they would have to go. But that leaves a problem of the new cards looking exactly like the old version. Here my choices were to change the backs of the cards and take them out of legality, or to change the expansion symbols. I opted to go with the second choice.

So, what did that leave me? A black-bordered Anthologies. That’s something that I wanted to avoid from the very outset, so that wasn’t any good. What to do, what to do… It was then that it hit me. Why not make Verdant Force a Spore Serpent? Spore Serpent: a 7/7 for 5GGG that makes a Saproling token during each player’s upkeep.

Here’s the idea: Wizards would pick the cards that it wanted to reprint. Then they’d rename each one. The cards would receive new artwork, a new expansion symbol, a new name, new flavor text, and a foil version. The play text, however, would stay the same. In that way, players would be opening something equally nostalgic and original.

This set could be just a random collection of cards (like the editions) or it could have some theme (like Arabian Nights). As for the latter, Wizards could pick some event in Magic history (like the sealing of Dominaria in a shard or the ancient battles of the Arena). Personally, I would love to see a chronicle of the Thran war. For those of the uninformed, allow me to enlighten you; if you plan to read the book, I suggest skipping the next several paragraphs:

The Thran were a race who existed eons before Urza and Mishra were even a gleam in their great-great-grandmother’s eye. The capital city of Halcyon was stationed around the caves from which powerstones (the core of Thran civilization) were mined. A strange disease started to crop up, and when it infected the city’s genius, Glacian decided to do something about it.

They called upon an exiled scientist to come to the city to try to help cure the disease. He was a charming young man with ambition and creativity. He made leaps and bounds in learning about the disease, proving himself to be equally as smart as the continually emaciating Glacian. The two were competing for the love of Glacian’s wife (whose name eludes me at the moment), and as Glacian became more decrepit with the disease and the physician became more charming, she began to change her emotional alliances.

The infected Thran were banished to the Caves of the Damned so as not to infect others of Halcyon. It was there that the doctor worked on his patients. Finally, Glacian’s distrust of the physician was proven; he was using unorthodox methods to heal those afflicted with the disease. The zealous and charismatic healer led his persecuted subjects in a revolt against the Thran of Halcyon and the surrounding city-states. The mutated patients of the doctor made quick work of the lazy Halcyon guards and seized the city.

Glacian finally discovered that the physician had long ago discovered the cause of the disease: Powerstone exposure. Horrified, Glacian’s emaciated body finally was gaunt enough that he could tell that the invader had planted a powerstone into his leg. The physician actually put this in all of his patients, and he called it a "heartstone."

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, that physician was Yawgmoth. His patients were the first Phyrexians. Using the powers of a captured planeswalker, Yawgmoth founded Phyrexia and took his first followers there. He was sealed there by Glacian, who had implanted his consciousness into the heartstone in his leg. He had his wife sacrifice her life to seal the gateway to Phyrexian using his "body." Yawgmoth eventually BECAME Phyrexia, thus promising his eternal life and beginning the war between Dominaria and Phyrexia.

This is one of my favorite Magic books, and I would love to see an expansion about it. Giving old cards new names with these themes would perform a threefold service: It would allow players to revisit old favorites, it would please collectors because the cards would belong to a new and separate set, and it wouldn’t mess up the current storyline with a new expansion.

My grand vision (which actually came about in the writing of this article) is this: There could be follow-ups to this expansion, just like a normal base set. In the follow-ups, we could see legendary cards like Halcyon, Yawgmoth, and the Null Moon. (Oh yes, the Null Moon. Did you know that one of Dominaria’s moons was artificial? It is of Thran make, and Yawgmoth ripped it out of the ground to screw up Thran instruments in one of the amazing battles of the book. It flew off into space and became a permanent satellite.) There are also easy-to-follow branches that could come out of this set. For instance, Glacian’s powerstone body was ripped apart by Urza and Mishra, freeing the Phyrexians from Phyrexia. When Urza killed Mishra, the two powerstones stationed themselves in Urza’s head, acting as his eyes. Glacian’s role in Urza’s consciousness has always intrigued me. Also, the planeswalker that Yawgmoth bested took the Halcyon council members offworld before being captured for testing. They ended up on an inverted mountain… A place called Mercadia.

As you can see, the possibilities are manifold, and following this route combining both new and old cards could benefit many people – especially if Wizards enlisted me to help create the set . . .

Well, there you are. I went off on a bit of a tangent, but I’m sure you can forgive me. I thought about making this a two-part article, but it seems that I’ve made this one long enough. My next topic is going to have to wait until next week. (It’s serious, so you might want to check it out.)

Until then!

Daniel Crane