Saturday, 24 November 2018

Magic: the Gathering - Battlegrounds

Following our look back at Battlemage, I want to have a short talk about the other Magic-related video game with "Battle" in the title: Battlegrounds. Just a look though, not a full review. In fact, I haven't even bought or downloaded the game, so I couldn't review it if i wanted to.

Why am I being so lax? Well, let's take a look at the story here, which I have been able to learn through Let's Plays on YouTube. All there is to it are a bunch of cut scenes that have been uploaded here. In the game you play the reincarnation (it's kinda vague, but I think that's what it is) of a planeswalker who was defeated in a duel long ago. You must now defeat the minions and slaves of the dude who defeated you to gather the bits of a magic macguffin to regain your power. Those minions and slaves include Multani, Akroma, Arcanis the Ominpotent, Maraxus of Keld, Ishan's Shade and Tsabo Tavoc. The big bad himself? Mishra.

Regulars to this blog should already see the problem here. But for any new readers, let me explain: Mishra died in the year 63 AR. Multani was not born until 2934 AR. Maraxus died in 4204 and Tsabo in 4205. Akroma was created and destroyed in 4306!

So yeah. Any attempt to put this thing into canon is doomed to failure. At best this is an alternate universe. If any of the player characters ever turns up in the main continuity (which I'm not expecting, but weirder things have happened. This year.) we should consider it as just a reference, nothing more. If anyone at WotC does want to do a cool obscure reference some redesign might be needed though. Let's just say the outfits of the female characters might run into trouble with Magic's "no chain-mail bikinis" rule.

I'm sure the rule extends to chain-mail garter belts as well.
So why do I talk about this game at all? Well, there is actually one interesting lore tidbit that came from it, albeit one of very dubious canonicity considering all the weirdness mentioned above.

Either in the game itself or in the booklet (again, I didn't buy a copy just to check) there are blurbs about the various characters in the game. If memory serves most of them were pretty accurate descriptions of the actual lore surrounding them but, as we discussed in the Onslaught block online article, when this game was released Arcanis the Omnipotent did not have any backstory at all... so the developers just made something up! It's not much, but apparently Arcanis got all his powers by visiting the ruins of Tolaria! This revelation was of course shared on MTGNews back in the day, and from there disseminated into the storyline community at large. When MTGNews disappeared from the internet this tidbit of info seems to have gone with it, thought here and there you can still find (non-annotated) references to it, like on this Italian Magic Wiki.

So is it true? Well, I guess it could be. There is nothing that contradicts it. However, since 2003 WotC has really doubled down on the mysterious nature of Arcanis, with him not getting a species in several creature type overhauls and his later flavor text specifically telling you not to think about his origins. So even if it is true, I doubt we will ever get any kind of confirmation.

With the rest of Battlemage having nothing to do with the regular continuity I think we can safely write off this origin of Arcanis as well. It seems the collective consciousness of the Vorthos community has pretty much done that already, judging from the fact that I had to look at non-English wiki's to find references to this supposed trip to Tolaria. But you never know when these kinds of factoids will resurface. So if you ever see that origin story pop up again, at least now you know where it came from.

If you see anyone saying that Arcanis is actually Ixidor, or even Jace, claims I found on the MTGSally forums and on Reddit while Googling around for this article... I've got no idea. Some people just have a vivid imagination I guess...

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Another Look at Battlemage

A long, long time ago I covered the game Magic the Gathering: Battlemage. Or, to be more precise, I covered the lore stuff that was presented alongside it and the very beginning of the game. I didn't go any further because the game is nigh-on unplayable, even if you get it to work on your computer, and because the game does not have a set storyline. The progress depends entirely on your character choice, the way you play the game and the random actions of the AI opponents. So surely nothing in the game beyond the very opening should be considered canonical, right?

Well, that assumption was overturned, like so many assumptions I have made on this blog, with the release of Dominaria. We were already amazed by references to Carthalions, Epityr's history with Sheoltun and what not, when Ethan Fleisher tweeted the origin of this card's name:

You see, "Time of Ice" isn't just a fancy term "Ice Age". It is actually a reference to an in-universe book, one you can read if you talk a certain NPC in the game Battlemage! Suddenly there is a bunch more stuff in that game that is relevant to continuity!

I was already dreading the idea of having to try and get the game to work and do multiple playthroughs just for those lore bits, but luckily April King is a lot smarter than me and just broke into the game's code to fish out these documents. So let's have another blast to the past and dive into some in-universe books!

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Chronicle of Bolas

Writer - Kate Elliot
Originally released June-August 2018

Eh... do you all want me to do a summary? Doing those makes sense when I'm reviewing 20 year old stories that might be tricky to get your hands on these days, but the story I'm covering today has been released this year and is available for free on I suspect most of you have already read it. So I'm just going to drop the link to the beginning of the story... here. You can click on the link to the next one at the end of each chapter. Except for the last chapter, as the link in the second-to-last one is missing for some reason.

Let me know in the comments if you want me to do actual summaries instead the next time I cover something so recent. For now I'm taking the quicker option!

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Artbooks Reconsidered

Just a quick timeline update in between actual reviews.

Back in the Art of Magic the Gathering: Dominaria review I mentioned that I was going to stick to the "~3250 AR" date for the fall of Sheoltun and the rise of Benalia rather than use the 3500 AR date from the artbook, as that later date would contradict a mention of Benalia in Hazezon, and "stories trump background materials" is one of the rules I laid down for myself to be able to weigh contradictions while making the timeline. However, the fact that I also mentioned that maybe readers of the blog could sway me on this showed that I was never 100% happy with this.

Well, I've thought about it some more, and I have concluded that I've misappraised the artbooks as a whole.

Let's go back a bit. I've started this blog in January 2015. That's a whole year before the Zendikar artbook came out. Zendikar was the first of the current series, so they were not something I considered when making my own rules.

What I was thinking of when I said "background materials" were in the first place Savor the Flavor articles, Doug Beyer Tumblr answers and information booklets that came with Duel or Commander Decks. The first of those being weekly, routine productions, the second probably quickly typed out whenever Doug had time, and the third equally likely to have been written by PR people as by the Creative team. In other words, stuff which you would not expect to be very thoroughly researched, and from which you could thus more easily forgive mistakes than from the actual story. Crucially, these kinds of background sources are also much more fleeting than a published novel or anthology. Let's put it this way: if we ever get that Return to Kamigawa story it would be ludicrous to ask the writers to track down everything members of the Creative team ever said about that plane on various social media sites, and with the current state of's archives you can't really ask them to read all the Magic Arcana's either. But I would assume that they, or at the very least their editors, would be familiar with the novels of the original Kamigawa trilogy.

Furthermore, when I began my blog I had no idea that Magic would one day make references to so far back as we've seen this year in Dominaria and Core 2019. I thought the most controversial story/background inconsistencies to figure out would be between Rath and Storm and The Art of Magic the Gathering: The Rath Cycle, and between the various Armada comics and The Story of the Battlemage Ravidel. In other words: between roughly contemporaneous sources where the background material has slipped further into obscurity than the actual story. I couldn't know that Magic would step up its continuity game so much within just a short few years!

Carthalion references in 2018!
When the first few artbooks came out it simply didn't cross my mind that they did not quite match what I had imagined background material to be like. After all, they were all current and I was hanging out in Magic's history on this blog. But then Dominaria came out...

So now I see my mistake. The artbooks are neither quickly written nor PR-pieces, and they are certainly not so easily forgotten. Quite the opposite. They are excellent reference material and compulsory reading for anyone who wishes to write future stories set on the planes they cover. They are going to be the basis for a new generation's knowledge about the storyline, and a throwaway line in Hazezon... isn't.

So rather than simply stating that story takes precedence over background stuff, I should say I'm evaluating how sources where produced (where they a deliberate addition to the storyline like the Art of Dominaria, or a PR publication like The Story of the Battlemage Ravidel) and how likely it is that a source will stick around or fade away. That sounds way less snappy, but it is essentially what my original adage was supposed to do anyway, and by reconsidering the Dominaria artbook in this fashion I will end up with a timeline that does not differ so radically from what the rest of the Vorthos community and the people at WotC are using.

There is one downside to this, and that is that I have to count the 3500 date for the Sheoltun/Benalia stuff as a retcon. After all, both the original The Duelist article and Hazezon require it to have an earlier date, but hey, as a Magic storyline fan you just have to live with ret-cons from time to time and this isn't a very big one. Have some halfhearted finger-wagging and tutting over the mistake, it is all I can muster at this point.

I will keep Hazezon and the rest of the Legends I saga where it is, rather than moving it to a point later than Benalia's founding, as the fact that it happens 400 years after the Ice Age is stated multiple times, and is much more integral to the story than the throwaway line about Benalia, as the changing climate after the Ice Age is the indirect cause for the Tirras aggression. We'll just have to imagine that Benalia reference was actually talking about Sheoltun instead.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Otaria Saga Overview

When I was done with the Weatherlight Saga I did an overview article where I asked questions like whether the saga as a whole worked as a story, and how its continuity held up. For the Otaria Saga I think we can be a bit shorter on that front. Did it work as an ongoing story? Yes. In fact, it only works as an ongoing story, as the books all continue on directly from one another. Is it any good? Nope, the second half is very bad, which kinda ruins the first half for me as well.

So instead this article will cover the main question that this whole saga raises: how did this happen? How could the quality drop so low? Now, as far as I know no one involved in the creation of the saga ever came out to outright tell us what went wrong, but if we take a look at the various sources we do have and compare the Otaria era with other periods in Magic's history, we can can make some educated guesses.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Onslaught block Online

By the time Onslaught block came around was firmly established as the main source of official Magic info, and the Magic Book Archive and The Magic Multiverse... eh... were also still chugging along for some reason. For more details on those you can read my Odyssey block Online article. The one difference with what came before is that there no longer was a dedicated mini-site per block like or

Without these online sources Onslaught block might have gone into history as just having a terrible story, but with them an even more baffling picture emerges, as they seem to tell a quite different story altogether, with lots of altered details, a focus remaining on the Mirari rather than shifting to numena and Karona and some entirely new subplots. Leaving storyline fans to wonder "What if the novels had told that story instead?"

Before we dive in, a little disclaimer. This time there were actually a bunch of articles the Wayback Machine couldn't find. Unfortunately the old internet has a lot of holes in it these days. Luckily I've been able to dig up the most important ones elsewhere. For example, Jess Lebow's making-of of the Onslaught story couldn't be found with my "going through all the numbered URLs" method nor could it be reached from the Featured Article archive, but the version from the Magic Book Archive was still available. Still, there were url's that weren't in the Machine at all, or which kept redirecting me to an "enter your language" screen, so perhaps I've missed a few interesting ones. Despite that, I think I've managed to find enough sources to give a clear overview of the way the Onslaught era was portrayed online.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018


Writer - J. Robert King
Cover art - Ron Spears
First released in May 2003

So Karona has been born and has her proper name now. She flies off into the desert, with everyone at Averru following her in a mad trance. Kamahl is the first to find her and discovers she is a bit of a blank slate, not knowing what she is or what she can do. He then sees the other people arriving and crushing each other in a frenzied attempt to get to their new goddess. She runs off. Kamahl realizes she is an incredible danger, so he vows to go get the Mirari-sword to kill her. Other than him only a few people prove immune to her lure: the numena, the unmen Sash and Waistcoat, and Stonebrow for some reason. He is entranced at first (he just can't follow because his legs are caught under rubble) but when she leaves he comes to his senses and joins up with Averru.

Karona next meets Sash and Waistcoat. After some wacky antics (they are thirsty, so she nearly drowns them, that sort of top-notch humor) the three become friends. Because they are not affected by her she dubs them her prophets. They then convince her to go to the city of Eroshia. There the entire magical infrastructure (streetlamps, cable carts) collapses merely from her presence, but the people worship her nonetheless. Sash and Waistcoat live a life of luxury there, while Karona goes out to explore, leaving chaos and destruction in her wake. She figures out that she can do essentially anything as long as people believe she can. Her prophets test this by having her cause pigs to fly and restoring and re-destroying the Glimmer Moon. At that point another horde of would-be worshipers appears, including a Cabal army headed by Braids. She removes the ground from underneath them, then puts it back, killing them all.

Meanwhile Kamahl enters the Gorgon Mound and retrieves the Mirari-sword, but then the corpse of Laquatus, which has been growing continuously since he was impaled at the end of Judgment, comes to life as a zombie and chases him. Kamahl manages to kill it. While in the Mound he is guided by the ghost of Balthor. Once he has retrieved the sword Kamahl gets seduced by the Mirari again, lashing out and "killing" ghost-Balthor for good. This causes Kamahl to snap out of the seduction and allows him to finally wield the sword in a controlled manner.

Monday, 27 August 2018


Writer - J. Robert King
Cover art - Ron Spears
First released in January 2003

We open on the deathwurms still rampaging. Braids is riding one, but then they all get absorbed into Phage as we saw at the end of Onslaught. Braids plummets to the ground. With broken legs she crawls into a hole in the ground to hide.

Everybody goes home after the war. Akroma rebuilds Ixidor's forces in Topos. Phage heads back to the Grand Coliseum, and Kamahl goes to Krosa, where he retreats into the Gorgon Mound to meditate. Zagorka, Stonebrow and a bunch of other refugees of the war discover a city in the middle of the desert. They start new lives there, calling it Sanctum. As they start attracting more people, ancient glyphs start appearing on the ruins which talk about the rebirth of mysterious "numena".

There aren't any Magic cards dealing with the numena, so have something numen-y from another card game.

Saturday, 18 August 2018


Writer - J. Robert King
Cover art - Ken Walker (Actually Kev Walker, but the colofon calls him Ken...)
First released in September 2002

At the end of Judgment Jeska was left with Seton to heal, but she isn't getting better. Then Braids comes in, kills Seton, and offers Jeska life through the Cabal. Later she turns up in the Cabal Pits as Phage, a remorseless killer whose mere touch causes every organic thing to rot. Later we discover Braids presented the dying Jeska to the First, who tried to kill her with his own deathtouch only for her to be mysteriously transformed. In the pits Phage fights against the lovers Ixidor and Nivea, killing the latter. Ixidor, who was counterfitting Cabal money, is then exiled into a desert.

Meanwhile Kamahl finds his friend dead and his sister gone. With his new green magic he gets himself a staff made of a century plant and heads to Aphetto to retrieve his sister. There he is forced to battle her in the arena, during which she gives him an unhealing belly wound that mirrors the one he gave her while under the influence of the Mirari. He returns to Krosa. The First follows him, intent on killing him, but then decides to corrupt Krosa instead. The forest has already been growing like mad due to the Mirari, with a huge mountain of growth called the Gorgon Mount appearing around the spot where the Mirari sword is pinning Laquatus' corpse to the ground. Kamahl is able to stop the forest's corruption by talking to it.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The Art of Magic the Gathering: Dominaria

Writer - James Wyatt
Release date - July 2018

Wizards has been putting out these Art books for a couple of years now, but as this blog tends to live in the past this installment is the first one I'm covering since The Art of Magic the Gathering: The Rath Cycle, the first book in the series, and the only one released before an 18 year hiatus. Or should I say the only installment in the Art of Magic volume 1, with Zendikar being the start of volume 2? More important question: am I the only person who cares about that stuff? Yes? Okay. Let's move on.

The Art of Magic books are really amazing. For years I had been saying that Wizards should be putting out something like this, as it always surprised me that they did so much world building that didn't make it into the cards. All that lore that was almost never used, only occasionally spilling out to the public in a Savor the Flavor article. It just seemed a waste of time and resources. And of course people have been asking for larger versions of card arts since forever as well, so doing an art book to get some money out of all this stuff they've made anyway seemed like a logical idea. Either that, or use it for a roleplaying game. Just let James Wyatt do whatever he wants, is basically what I'm saying.

Doing a blog is nice and all, but now I get to use all this Magic trivia in a D&D campaign!

Thursday, 12 July 2018

The Secrets of Magic

The Secrets of Magic
Editor - Jess Lebow
Cover Art - Kev Walker
Released May 2002

Like The Dragons of Magic this anthology divvies up its stories in 4 parts. This time this is especially interesting for my project, as the the four parts are "Ancient History", "Pre-Invasion", "Invasion Era" and "Post Invasion". (Yes, with a hyphen after Pre and a space after Post.) We don't get introductions from the editor with additional information this time, but the headers are pretty self explanatory. The only vague one is "Pre-Invasion", but it seems clear those stories are supposed to go in the "original present" between 4000 and 4200 AR. We'll see in the discussion of the individual stories if these placements can be made any more specific. Lets dive in!

Monday, 25 June 2018

Odyssey block Online

A long, long time ago I reviewed the last issues of The Duelist, in which it was promised that the publication would be replaced by a website. Well, it took 3 years, but in early 2002, around the time Torment was released, was finally changed to its now famous magazine format, becoming a true successor to The Duelist. Don't get too excited though, as there was little for us lore fans on it yet. Only with Kamigawa block would we start getting actual stories and weekly flavor articles on the website.

No, we are still in the era when the book department seemed fairly vestigial to WotC as a whole. Which meant there wasn't much lore on the main website, but also that interesting bits ended up on hidden nooks and crannies of the Wizards' site, away from the daily magazine page. Today we'll look at all the stuff I've been able to unearth from webarchives for the Odyssey block period.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Legends of Dominaria & Magic Story Podcasts

The story may have ended, but I'm going to do two more posts on Dominaria. In this first one I will cover two sources released in the past few weeks: the descriptions of the new legendary creatures released on Twitter and the five Magic Story Podcasts about Dominaria. The next post will come out at least a month from now, by which time a) The Art of Magic the Gathering: Dominaria will be out, and b) I will have celebrated my birthday, so hopefully someone will have gifted me the book. Oh, and I assumed that by then my copy of the Dominaria Player's Guide will have come in the mail AND that the Dominaria D&D supplement will be out. So if you're still not sick off Dominaria (I know I'm not!) you still have that review to look forward to. For now, let's look at some legends and listed to some podcasts!


Writer - Will McDermott
Front cover art - r.k. Post.
Back cover art - Matthew D. Wilson (Uncredited. The art is Silver Seraph)
Internal art - Brian "Chippy" Dugan, Dana Knutson, Todd Lockwood, Anson Maddocks, r.k. Post, Mark Tedin & Anthony Waters
First released in May 2002

We open on Kamahl burning Chainer's body at the end of Torment. In this version things play out slightly different though. Most significantly our hero initially tosses the Mirari away, but when he digs his sword out of the rubble the orb has mysteriously merged with the pommel. He wont leave his sword, a family heirloom, so takes the Mirari anyway. After fighting the people who challenge him over the sword in Cabal City he decides to go back to his home, Auror village in the Pardic mountains.

Dominarian Annotations, episode 12 & review

The Dominaria story has wrapped up (in fact, the entire Battlebond preview season has already come and gone!) but I still have to cover episode 12 and do the review, so let's quickly jump into it!
"I am Radha"
Radha was a half-elf half-Keldon warlord who we first saw in Time Spiral. She was the great-granddaughter of Astor, the warlord whose exploits we saw in The Myths of Magic, The Dragons of Magic and Planeshift. When Rath merged with Dominaria the Skyshroud Forest was plopped right in the middle of Keld, and clearly some mingling between the Keldons and the newcomers happened. She was the first person we saw with the new kind of spark, and she joined Jhoira and Teferi on their quest to save Dominaria from its temporal instability. Unfortunately her spark burned out when Jeska used it to close several time rifts on Dominaria. Thus it was not her but Venser who became the first of the new crop of non-godlike planeswalkers.

...and that is it! As could be expected the last chapters of the story are all referenced out. So let's move on to the review.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Dominarian Annotations, episode 9, 10 & 11

Sorry this installment of Dominarian Annotations is a little late. Real life things came up. I haven't been able to write about the Magic Story Podcasts either, so that's still coming up in a future article, but I did cover the references in today's article, so these annotations will cover episode 9, episode 10 and episode 11 of Return to Dominaria.

Episode 9 was a bit of a controversial one, as it contained a bunch of continuity errors. With all the continuity references in Dominaria one or two of those were bound to happen at some point, but to see a whole bunch of them pile up on top of each other at once is a bit surprising. Let's run through them and see if we can't come up with some explanations for them. And let's not forget about the regular references!

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Chainer's Torment

Writer - Scott McGough
Cover art - Mark Zug & Greg Stapels (back art is Laquatus's Champion)
Interior Art - Brian "Chippy" Dugan, Dana Knutson, Todd Lockwood, Anson Maddocks, r.k. Post, Mark Tedin and Anthony Waters
First released in January 2002

Our story begins before Kamahl leaves his mountain home and ends a while after Braids makes off with the Mirari, thus the entirety of Odyssey fits inside it, Russian nesting doll style.  

We open on a young cabalist named Chainer finding the Mirari in an abandoned villa outside of Cabal City. He feels its immense power, but as his greatest desire is to serve the Cabal, he returns home and hands it over to the organization. Before he can though, he is accosted by some Order soldiers led by Major Teroh, who want to confiscate the artifact. With the help of his mentor Skellum he gets past them and hands the Mirari to The First, the leader of the Cabal, who from then on takes a personal interest in Chainer's development.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Dominarian Annotations, episode 7 & 8

As I predicted last time, the number of annotations for the stories have decreased dramatically now I don't have to explain the backstory of all the main characters. So today, in addition to covering episode 7 and episode 8 of Return to Dominaria, I will also talk about the map that was released alongside episode 1!

Sunday, 29 April 2018


Writer - Vance Moore
Cover art - Kev Walker and Donato Giancola
Internal Art - Matt Wilson, Arnie Sweckel, Darrell Riche and Glen Angus
First released in September 2001

100 years have passed since the invasion, and our story visits a continent of Dominaria we haven't seen before: Otaria, where gladiatorial battle between magic users is the main form of entertainment.

The barbarian Kamahl leaves his home in the Pardic Mountains, where there are no more challenges for him, and heads to Cabal City, where he hopes to become champion of the pits. While there he befriends a streetwise youngster named Chainer and a huge centaur named Seton, who is fighting in the pits to get a chance to talk to the Cabal about the creatures they are capturing in the Krosan Forest. Also in the city are lieutenant Kirtar, who fights to win artifacts that his religious order, imaginatively called The Order, then destroys, and ambassador Laquatus. This last character was exiled from the court of the Mer Empire by emperor Aboshan and is now plotting to return and claim the throne for himself. He has been sneaking military forces into the underground caverns that stretch from the ocean under most of the continent.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Dominarian Annotations, episode 5 & 6

Welcome to the next installment of Dominarian Annotations! This time we'll take a look at episode 5 and episode 6.

It feels a bit like the number of things I have to explain is decreasing now that all the main characters have been introduced and the plot has started in earnest. I do want to stick to this schedule, so if this trend continues I'll probably include looks at other lore stuff released for Dominaria, like the article on making the map of Dominaria or the podcasts. For now though we've just got two new chapters to go through.

Monday, 16 April 2018

The Hazezon review has been posted!

...but for some strange reason Blogger thinks it was released back last september, and thus displays it lower on the page, underneath my The Dragons of Magic review... very odd. Anyway, you can scroll down, or follow this link to find it!

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Dominarian Annotations, episodes 3 & 4

Two weeks on, with two new episodes of the Dominaria story released. High time to see what old lore has been referenced in them, so let's just dive into the annotations for Return to Dominaria episode 3 and episode 4!

Sunday, 25 March 2018


Writer - Clayton Emery
Cover art - Michael Sutfin
First released in December 2001

At the end of last book Johan set of east across the Sukurvian Desert on the back of a drake to look for Efrava, the home of the tiger warriors. Now his drake crashes at the edge of the desert and Johan is saved from being eaten by sand wurms by Jedit Ojanen, the son of Jaeger. Using some sorcery Johan manages to convince the tigers not to kill him, and he is allowed to wander the Efravan oasis accompanied by Jedit and his friend Hestia. While this goes on Jedit's mom has a vision about the Prophecy of None, One and Two, which convinces her that Johan must be imprisoned. But the mage escapes, and with some lies about having fought side by side with Jaeger he convinces Jedit to come along with him back to the human realms.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Dominarian Annotations, episodes 1 & 2

Wizards has just started its previews of a new set that seems tailor made for me, a historian/archivist who has been a fan of the Magic storyline since 1998. I can't not talk about Dominaria on this blog! So welcome to the first installment of Dominarian Annotations, where I explain all the references to old lore in the latest Magic Storyline articles!

I'm not sure how frequent this series is going to be, that depends on the reference-density of the future episodes. The first episode was almost nothing but references, but the second was more plot focused and added little more to talk about, so I'll probably save these up until I've got a decent collection of things to discuss. I do intend to annotate all episodes of Return to Dominaria though, and I'll do a full review of the story after the last part has been released. Keep your eye on this blog, or on my Twitter or Tumblr, for future updates! Oh, and stick around for the regular articles of course. The Jedit review will be up tomorrow!

Now, let's dive into Return to Dominaria: Episode 1 and Episode 2!

Saturday, 10 March 2018


Writer - Clayton Emery
Cover art - R.K. Post
Cartography - Rob Lazzaretti
First released in April 2001

Hazezon Tamar, the ruler of the city-state Bryce, goes into the desert to meditate. There saves a starving tiger-man called Jaeger Ojanen from jackals and vultures. On his way back he runs into a druid who gives a very cryptic prophecy:
"When none meets one, only two shall remain."
The druid then also tells him Bryce is under attack by the forces of Tirras, a city-state ruled by Johan. Hazezon mounts a counteroffensive, during which Jaeger reveals himself to be immensely quick and strong. Afterwards the two go to Palmyra, the city-state in between Bryce and Tirras, which is ruled by Hazezon's estranged wife Adira Strongheart, leader of the Robaran Mercenaries. The city initially refuses to take a side in the war, but then Johan sends assassins after both Hazezon and Adira, Those are easily defeated, and Palmyra accepts the alliance with Bryce. Adira goes on a pirating trip with her elite troops, the Circle of Seven, to pay for the war effort. (She and Hazezon were both pirates before becoming rulers.) Jaeger joins the Seven to "experience humanity".

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

The Dragons of Magic

The Dragons of Magic
Editor - J. Robert King
Cover Art - Eric Patterson
Cartography - Dennis Kauth
Released August 2001

This anthology revolves around the most popular creature type in Magic (and the most popular fantasy creature in general). An obvious choice perhaps, but you might be surprised how little the dragons in this book actually have to do with the card game. But before I get to the stories themselves, some notes on the format of the book.

The book is divided into four parts, with three stories each. These are "Lord Dragons", "Slave Dragons", "Wild Dragons" and "Warrior Dragons". The division doesn't matter much though, and the placement of the stories sometimes seems a little random. What is interesting for us is that each part starts with a small introduction that gives some hints about where the stories fit on the timeline. Future anthologies will develop this further and outright divide their stories into sections labeled "Ancient" or "Pre-Invasion".

Oh and yes, this book gives credit to its cartographer in its colophon! But don't get too excited, it's just the map from Aerona we've already seen in Invasion. Only this time it is just labeled "Dominaria Before the Invasion". A bit odd to include this very minimalist map when many stories in the book happen on locations not on the map (and none of them happen in Hurloon or Shanodin). Still, it's nice to see the creator of the map credited!