Did you have a good Valentine's Day Planeswalkers? Nothing quite says I love you like a friendly game of Magic, or, alternately, nothing quite gets out those V-Day blues out like crushing your opponent mercilessly. Either way, Magic the Gathering is in a bit of a lull until the next major set coming in April and Masters 25 in March. Luckily, Wizards of the Coast provided us with some announcements to tide us over and delicious hints about where the story of Magic the Gathering will take us in Dominaria.
Let's Start at the Very Beginning, A Very Good Place to Start:
For those of you who may not have been keeping up with Magic news or haven't played in a while, the next major set for Magic the Gathering is titled Dominaria and will take players back to the very first plane ever created in Magic the Gathering in celebration of Magic's 25th anniversary year. Dominaria is the place where the original storyline of the card game began back in 1998 and where early cards, sets and characters came from. Everything you've known from Magic's story started in Dominaria, but ever since the story expanded to other planes in the Magic Multiverse we haven't seen or heard from Dominaria since 2006. When we last left the plane, it was in ruins and torn apart by rifts in time combining creatures from past, present and future sets. How the plane fared after this disaster and what its inhabitants have been up to since then is unknown until the set releases April 27th:
Veteran players, however, will recognize the three characters of Karn, Teferi and Jhoira in the promotional art. These three appeared way back in the earliest Magic storylines, and while they've made some appearances since the story left Dominaria, it's exciting for long time fans to see theses classic characters take front and center in a new adventure. For those of you new to Magic, however, its storyline can be overwhelming. It's filled with different planes, hundreds of main characters and villains and convoluted over-arching plotlines. No sweat though, if you really want to get into it you can read a short summary of all of Magic's lore, or head to the official site to read older story chapters and read up on different planes and planeswalkers.
The reason for delving into the Magic story goes beyond just getting caught up for the newest set. It will take someone special to merge the old and the new. To take these characters and stories from two decades and merge it all together successfully. That's why, this week, Wizards of the Coast announced Martha Wells as the writer for the upcoming Dominaria story. Wells is a well known science fiction and fantasy novelist who has had experience writing story tie-ins to other big name fictional universes like Star Wars and Stargate. If you'd like to view the announcement with Wells as well as a podcast where she drops hints of what to expect in Dominaria, head here. Also check out a cool interview with the author on crafting the story for Magic the Gathering.
Meanwhile, for those who are up to date with the current story, the finale of Rivals of Ixalan was also released this week and can be found here.
Shiny and New:
Time for the other announcements that came out this week. One of the coolest is the official Magic the Gathering Companion App for iOS and Android phones. This thing will be a god send for those of you who play casually at home with friends. From the app you can set up custom at home tournaments, look up card information and rules, keep up to date on Magic news and (finally) keep track of life totals all on your phone. Before you had to download third party apps to track life totals on your phone if you were stuck without dice and most of the time they were filled with annoying ads or just didn't work well. While there's no official date yet, the app will roll out sometime in 2018 so stay tuned.
For those more interested in upcoming products, I haven't forgotten about you. Several new products will be headed your way this summer and you can catch the announcements for all of them here. The big ones include Signature Spellbook Jace, a collection of cards, including a foil, all themed around the Planeswalker Jace Beleren who has been a major player in Magic's story for years, including, most recently, in Ixalan. No doubt he'll have another significant role in Dominaria as well. For those of you who are a fan of blue creatures and spells, as well as using tricks and carefully crafted strategies to outwit opponents and control the flow of the game, this product is for you.
Fans of Commander will also be pleased as August welcomes new Commander decks as well as a Commander Anthology which includes several older decks from previous Commander releases. If you've never played in the Commander format, it's a new way to play that finally gained official recognition from Wizards with products only a few years ago. Each player builds a 100 card deck with NO DUPLICATE CARDS. That's right, only 1 copy of each card and one creature operates as a, "Commander." You can play this card at any time, even if removed from play, but each time it leaves the battlefield it costs more mana to play again, so you have to actually strategize on when best to use it. The format is great because it allows for a wide variety of decks and some interesting strategies in picking your Commander card. The products come with a complete 100 card deck ready to play right out of the box. If you're interested, keep a lookout on August 10th or June 8th for the Anthology.
That's all for this week folks, thanks for reading!