dangerousdice: This set follows the red panda planeswalker Xiong Mao on a journey around the Multiverse as he searches for... someone. We'll get more actual story down the line.
Mechanics of Multiverse Explorations
Multiverse Explorations fittingly takes place across the Multiverse, but the home hub of the adventure is the Multiverse Academy. Some of you might recognize the name Multiverse Academy as an old set of mine; this is the final Egg glow-up set, where I scrap nearly everything from a previous set and build a better set in the same world. The one recurring theme will be discussed in a little bit as we discuss the mechanics of MVE! Though this set takes place at the Academy, it doesn't spend much time there, so the Academy is referenced on single cards and not through the mechanics. Rather, the mechanics are all picked to represent Xiong's travels through the Multiverse. Also worth noting is that all mechanics in MVE show up in all five colors. Without further ado:
In MVE, Adventures make a return from ELD. The Academy hosts classes and field experience for many young Planeswalkers, most of whom have not yet experienced their spark. One of the core principles of the Academy is that no student leaves the academy unprepared for the Multiverse. Professors at the Academy frequently take their students on adventures across the Multiverse, letting those students see the true nature of the wide world that surrounds them.
Wanderlust makes a return here from WAY, for a similar reason as Adventures. Most students who graduate from the Academy do so with a desire to see everything they possibly can around the Multiverse, represented here by a simple count of four or more differently named lands.
While the Academy itself generally has sunny skies, many of the Planes frequently visited by the Academy's denizens are covered in bleak, harsh, snowy blankets. Xiong Mao travels through these planes extensively during the story of MVE, so their powdery inhabitants show up with the supertype attached. Many thanks to HonchkrowDavid for this delicious Snow frame. (Bonus: Snow Basics make Wanderlust that much easier!)
The one returning mechanical theme from Multiverse Academy is planeswalkers! They make up the majority of the actual Academy's inhabitants, and there are forty-three unique walkers represented in MVE from the Eggverse, the Dodgerverse, and across the MSE-verse as a whole.
This is the big one. I've mentioned that Xiong's journey takes him through multiple planes, and that the set doesn't really take place at the Academy (it's just a hub). Rather, much of MVE's story takes place in:
Hi again MSE message boards, its that GWx obsessed guy again, Lyco! I've been generously offered a few goodies from one of MVE's showcased Planes, and while my last time here on the boards involved Red the color, this time it just involves nostalgia for Redwall!
We've already seen Onora's Token Plane card of Tinyvale and two cards that help you visit it, but theres more where those came from.
Small World tells me a few things about Tinyvale and the plane of Onora - it hits that sweet spot of fantasy genre that I've loved since childhood: a world full of sapient small critters! And speaking of small, Venturing to Tinyvale lets you grab a small creature from the top 4 cards of your deck and Small World lets that happen for just one mana! Just from the art my nostalgia is hit dead center - badger and mice and a squirrel featured. Go figure, thats four friends you could make visiting Tinyvale!
Next up we have a small friend that definitely doesn't skip leg day - its Stalwart Stoat! This kicking mustelid helps protect your stuff and makes it harder for your opponents to buff or protect their own stuff. Just be sure you know the consequences of playing fair! This is somewhat ironic for me because stoats were one of the villainous races in Redwall, but I welcome this martial mustelid with open arms.
Second to last of what I'll be showing off today is Large as Life! Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, but Large as Life makes it so your creatures are no weaker than a 3/3 is at any given time! I love how this can play into token strategies or heatebear types of lists that want to curve out quickly and efficiently. Your manadorks can crack in thanks to this enchantment, which is something I know *I* like from anthem-adjacent things.
Before I show you the final card, I suppose its only right that i share that the Redwall series, which is in the same genre that the plane of Onora seems to draw some inspiration from, was very very important to me as a kid. Getting to preview this next card on my birthday is a present all its own - especially because its exactly the type of card I love running in any type of Magic format. Here it is, Mikkino, Destined for Greatness:
Starting out, Mikkino fits right into venturing to Tinyvale and curves very nicely from Small World. He comes down turn 2 as a 2/3 vigilant body if you want to put the counter on himself and can become very relevant later with an activated ability. Said activated ability brings forth a weapon that few should ignore, because it can hit *any* permanent the defending player controls. Pesky enchantments, creatures, artifacts - or lands. Don't mess with this mouse if you want to make sure you keep your stuff around.
I'm very much looking forward to playing using Mikkino and his friends or rivals from Onora, and excited to see what the other planes MVE will showcase have to offer! Lyco out.
Post by foureyesisafish on Jan 29, 2021 21:13:10 GMT
THE first Magic the Gathering product I ever obtained was the Stampeding Hordes starter deck for Fate Reforged. I originally was a Boros player, and I remember getting absolutely wrecked by a friend's dragon statue deck a few times. Those were the good old days, well before my modern Magic career. So, why bring it up now?
Welcome to Al Tabaq, Multiversal Exploration's RW plane. Al Tabaq is, of course, returning from one of Canterbury Egg's earlier sets, and while I am not too familiar with the original set, I still like where this plane is going.
Blade Savant shows off Al Tabaq's role in the set perfectly. RW is all about equipment aggro in this set, and this Mutant Warrior will be a welcome addition to any Boros equipment deck, especially in voltron decks
Next up, another Al Tabaq rare! If you noticed, Ahaban Temple's chaos effect gives double strike, and increasing combat damage seems to be another theme of this plane. Djinnis of Man's Trials seems great in general and especially in vol- wait, didn't I say that before? What could it mean..? Could it be?
HIM Behold Qayim, God of Valor, an extremely powerful card built around a voltron playstyle. Since he can't participate in combat unless he's buffed, the best strategy with Qayim is to put as many equipment on him as possible and abuse that trample to get massive damage. Give Qayim double strike with the plane and double his player damage with Djinnis and you got a Commander threat right here.
Qayim is one of my favorite types of legendary creature, a build-around commander who is extremely powerful in a certain deck. I'm sure a lot of my fellow EDH players are going to like him.
...but that's not all folks! We got one more card to show off, and this one is a doozy.
Now this is the type of planeswalker I like to see! Iapetus here is great in a lot of white decks, but could be a very surprising splash in a deck running fly-removal cards such as Archetype of Imagination and Invert the Skies. That +1 is extremely cool and prevents Iapetus from being removed short of being exiled or bounced, which, combined with the cards mentioned above, can be scary
That's all for now everyone. I will see you all... soon.
OTTER OUT OF WATER Pilot, Script Treatment (FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY)
[INT. The Multiverse Academy, Yorbrin the Reckless Memorial Dorm Complex]
HARRY: “Hello? Anyone home?”
CASSIN (from offstage): “Oh, didn’t realize you’d be here so soon, shoot. Just sit your stuff down on the bed.”
HARRY: “Which bed?”
CASSIN: “The one with all my garbage laying on it. Can’t miss it.”
HARRY: “Oh, yea, I see it.”
CASSIN: “Sorry, I’ll be out in a moment, I’m just trying to get something out of my fur here.”
HARRY: “Ha! Y’know, after seeing all these Humans and Elves and whatever that robot thing in the elevator was, it’s nice to be rooming someone else who has to deal with fur.”
CASSIN: “Heh, yeah. I’ll try not to leave too much of a mess.”
CASSIN: “Oh wow, certainly didn’t expect you to be an Otter as well.”
HARRY: “Wow, yeah! What a nice surprise!”
“Oh, where are my manners, I should introduce myself. Harold G. Ransbottom. You can call me Harry! Pleasure to meet you!”
CASSIN: “First name’s Cassin. Last name’s not important. Pleased to make your acquaintance and all that.”
“Probably not a coincidence us only two Otters got roomed together. The folks they’ve got manning those paper-sorters know their stuff. All sorts of wacko magics they use ‘round here.”
HARRY: “Wait, only two? We’re the only ones on the whole campus?”
CASSIN: “Mhm. I can count the number of Otters I’ve met in my time on one paw. And none of ‘em have stuck around for too long.”
“First one was, well, it was the buddy I first came here with. ‘Bout 15 years ago. Both of us showed up here from our old backwater home plane, probably haven’t heard of it.”
HARRY: “Oh, I might have! I’ve done a lot of reading about this sort of thing.”
HARRY: “...Okay, no, you got me.”
CASSIN: “‘’Bout what I thought. Wasn’t a bad place, for what it was. Still miss the cooking sometimes. But I wouldn’t trade living here at the Academy for the world.”
“Anyways, me and my buddy showed up here, but he didn’t stick around for long. I think he appreciated the change of scenery short term, but he wasn’t a real book-smarts kinda guy. He really more liked living on the run, riding whatever wave picked him up along the way.”
“So he got hitched with some guy and they left in some portal to Gods-know-where. That was about five or so years ago.”
HARRY: “So your friend just ditched you like that? How awful!”
CASSIN: “Eh, it wasn’t so bad. I’ve met plenty of folks here, they come and go.” “Next Otters I met, well I don’t even know if they even count. This Human fellow somehow snuck his pets into the dorms without the staff noticing. And they were… oh how do I put this…”
“They were… sort of Otters? But they weren’t, like, Otters like us. They were little and quadrupedal and they couldn’t talk or anything. I mean, they were pets.”
HARRY: “That sounds unnerving.”
CASSIN: “I try not to think about it too much.”
“Moving right along from that, there’s only one other Otter I met here, only a couple months back, actually. Pam, I think she went by. Real stern kind of lady, took her work very seriously. She was only here for a bit on some sorta research grant.”
HARRY: “Do people really just show up here for a couple months and then leave? I can’t even imagine that! I’m sure you couldn’t see everything this place has to offer in just that time.”
CASSIN: “She wasn’t here just as a student, she had a mission. Worked for a big-time sea captain from, oh where was it… Orna? Noroa? Something like that.”
HARRY: “Onora? No way! I’m from there too!” “Wait, sea captain. You don’t mean… the legendary Admiral Otto von Whiskers!?”
CASSIN: “Yeah, that sounds about right. Why, did you know him?”
HARRY: “Oh, I wish! Otto is only the most famous explorer in the whole multiverse! I’ve heard he can travel between planes like it’s nothing! And he’s got fleets of ships everywhere. I bet he had a fleet in Bakembo or wherever too!”
CASSIN: “Ha, good luck finding a place to sail a ship on Kahembo.”
HARRY: “Oh, I’ve read all of his books. He keeps great journals of his adventures, y’know. He’s gone all over the place. Oh, oh, oh, you’ve gotta read The Trials of the Valorant! He talks about exploring these vast frontiers of a place that’s totally iced over. He’s got a ship, it’s called the Valorant, that breaks through that ice like it’s nothing! He’s great at reinforcing his ships with protective magic too, y’know. And he-”
CASSIN: “Yeah, yeah, I get the picture. Sounds pretty cool. Point is, Pam was on this crew with your Otto guy. Was his top research consultant or something of that sort. One of their ships got in a big wreck, and she got sent here to research better materials for building ‘em. Wasn’t as good as you say he was at warding his ships, I guess.”
HARRY: “Aw, no way! It was just ‘cause he wasn’t there. If Otto was on board there’s no way it would’ve sunk. Cause he woulda… Say, do you have the time?”
CASSIN: “Yeah it’s like… quarter ‘till?”
HARRY: “Aw crabapples! I’m gonna be late for my first class if I don’t get going! Don’t wanna make a bad first impression, after all!”
CASSIN: “Yeah, I guess you would be that type. I’ll see ya around.”
[HARRY quickly grabs a book from his bag, then makes for the door.]
“Oh, and one last thing, Harry.”
CASSIN: “I think we’re gonna get along real well.”
Well, I was hoping that someone else would chime in and save me from having to follow Chillbrain’s spectacular post, but in the words of someone very purple: Fine, I’ll do it myself.
Living up to the “Multiverse” in its name, MVE has a plethora of custom walkers from across the customverse, and today I’m excited to be able to show you a few of them.
First up we have Jorah, Great Profaner, returning to us from Ghariv!
War of the Spark introducing both walker statics and minus-only walkers opened up a plethora of new design space for custom designers (or, in the case of designers who were already experimenting in that space, validated their efforts) and Jorah makes great use of both of those tools. A Platinum Angel static is powerful and attractive - however, Jorah is also carefully designed that there’s interesting tension around maintaining this effect. For starters, unlike Platinum Angel, Jorah doesn’t need a removal spell to take care of it; instead, he’s vulnerable to the most common win condition he’d otherwise be stopping, combat damage! Of course, he can mitigate this by removing problem permanents using his -2 or making blockers using his -3, but both of those come with additional problems - by using his abilities, he ticks down on loyalty he can’t get back, making him more vulnerable to burn or other surprise sources of damage. Over and above that, both abilities lose you life - you can even get greedy and go to 0 or beyond for the value, but if you do, you instantly lose to planeswalker removal. Overall, Jorah is an explosive design that creates lots of interesting avenues to counterplay.
Next up we have Pustulus Domino!
As we just established, the main issue walkers have is protecting themselves; to that, Domino says “lol.” If you drop it on curve, you can take out everything else played before him, while also drawing a card thanks to his static. His +1 is just icing on the cake, allowing you to loop death/etb triggers or simply to regrow cards of your own that were wiped, as well as ticks him up to potentially wipe again!. (If being a cantripping, permanent agnostic wipe once wasn’t enough.) In the end, Domino just oozes classic GB value, and any grindy midrange deck should keep an eye out for him.
The last walker we’re going to be looking at today is Boxue, In Search of a Friend.
And what an apt name for a walker that wants you have another planeswalker! Her plus finds another planeswalker for her static OR a spell for her -X, while also giving her two loyalty that can potentially be used to tick up the ult of a walker that only has a +1 themselves. That last point is going to have all of the Johnnies brewing up a storm, which in my book is always a sign of a successful design.
And with that, those are my spoilers for MVE! I want to thank Dodger and Egg for this opportunity; as someone whose favorite parts of custom magic design are “the community” and “the shared multiverse that community creates,” MVE is a set that hits home for me. Congratulations on making such an exciting product, and I can’t wait to see and play with the full set!
Post by FLAREdirector on Feb 11, 2021 17:50:01 GMT
“The call of birds is the clarion of heavens. And nowhere on Cirrusea is closer to the heavens than our very own Citadel. As the Magnate of the Blue Sky, I have been chosen by our ancestors to rule over all of fair Cirrusea, though the other Magnates do work with me and, occasionally, offer something akin to advice. Such has been our world for millennia, and will be for millennia more, no doubt. The time is nigh for you to ascend to the throne as well, young...
Ahem. I’m talking to you.
At least pretend to pay attention to me. Your *father,* the *Magnate.*
Akaji sighed. The Citadel’s crown prince was, not for the first time this week, too interested in the skies outside the ornate classroom than the lessons his father was attempting to impart.
“Aku, pay attention! Need I remind you that your inheritance will be arriving in a matter of days?!”
For his part, Aku continued to stare idly out the window. He could see a raven from the Black Storm hard at work instructing two more ravens--well, fledglings, practically--at the fine art of swordplay. The sun beat down on the three of them. Even from this distance, Aku was transfixed at the graceful way that the teacher guided his students along.
Not like this teacher, Aku mused to himself. Finally he turned back to look up at his father. “No, I haven’t forgotten it. Besides, I *am* paying attention to you.” Akaji seemed unconvinced. “You were talking about how noble we are, how so much of this world is our--our birthright, *my* birthright. It’s just…” Aku stood up from his seat and unfurled his wings fully. “I’m not so sure it’s… right. For me.”
His father’s face grew stern. “You--do you mean to say that you are rejecting your inheritance? Now, just a few short days before the ceremony?!” he spluttered.
“No, nothing like that. Um, you see… it’s complicated.” Aku felt the Magnate’s stare penetrating him more and more as he kept speaking. “I’ve been reading up on the history of this land--” at this, Akaji snorted in further doubt-- “and I’ve made certain conclusions that, uh, maybe…
“Is there even value in a Magnate anymore? It just seems so outdated. I think Cirrusea deserves better than a quintet of rulers who--who don’t even fly around anymore! Who don’t know anything about the world around them!” He could feel his heart swelling up in his chest. Was the fireplace crackling louder now? But he shook his head and pressed on, despite his father’s best efforts at intimidating him to stand down.
“Knowledge through unity. That’s the way. That’s how I want to rule. And if anyone has a problem with it--” now the crown prince drew himself up to his full height, almost on eye level with Akaji-- “then they’ll have to settle for not being Magnate, because I fully intend on taking the throne.”
For several seconds the only sounds in the room were the crackling of the fire.
Just then came a rapping of talons at the door. Akaji glared at the crown prince, snarled, “This conversation is *not* over,” then quickly crossed the room and threw the doors open wide. A messenger stood on the stoop, a crane with a red ribbon tied around one arm. “Sir! A message for you from the Magnate of the Red Sun, sir! Highly urgent, not to mention confidential as well! Burn after reading, sir!” With that, she handed over a parchment scroll which had been sealed with the Red Sun’s wax emblem, saluted Akaji, and took off.
Akaji stared after her as she flew away, then carefully removed the wax emblem with one talon. He unfurled the scroll and began to read his fellow Magnate’s message. His face grew long and his eyes widened, but he remained silent all the while. Then he strode to the fireplace at the far end of the room and threw the scroll into the dancing flames.
Aku rose and walked to the Magnate’s side as the parchment burned its way into smoke. “What news, father?”
“A storm is coming. There are winds of change on the horizon… I don’t like it. Nor should you, Aku.”
Aku tilted his head quizzically. “What do you mean? That scroll--does it have to do with the inheritance ceremony? If something happens, I need--”
Akaji turned to face his son. Their eyes met, and he put a feathery hand on the inheritor’s shoulder, the talons pressing ever so slightly into Aku’s shoulder. “What you *need, boy*, is to learn from your ancestors--and moreover, your betters. Our system of governance works just fine.” Later that night, Aku was reading about the Magnate of the Green Air in his bedroom, having, ahem, *borrowed* a number of books from the Citadel’s library without Akaji’s permission, or, indeed, his knowledge. (At least, Aku *hoped* without his knowledge.) He had just started a particularly interesting-looking chapter about the Magnate’s efforts to map the whole of Cirrusea long ago when he heard a crash in the front hall.
Immediately he stood up from his desk and ran to the balcony outside, leaping off of the ledge. Time was of the essence. Going the long way around, through the Citadel itself, could spell doom.
As he approached the entrance to the Citadel, he saw what had made the crash. The door was splintered quite messily. In front of it lay a bird on her back, one wing splayed at an unnatural angle. Aku recognized her as the crane messenger from before, but the color had drained from her face. She coughed up a little blood and looked up at Aku. There was something like recognition in her eyes as she spoke. Her voice came out as a trembling, horrified whisper.
“Something crimson this way comes.”
Then she gave a piercing gasp as Aku knelt down beside her. All was silent. She moved no more.
It was the day of the Blue Sky inheritance ceremony. True enough, the heavens above were a brilliant, piercing azure as Aku took off from the Citadel’s front steps. The clouds, Aku admitted to himself, were in his own head. He had spent the last three days deep in his studies trying to figure out what the crane messenger had meant in her dying words. Akaji was of little help, naturally. But nothing was clear.
Still, he had other matters to attend to. Waiting for him as he arrived at the ceremony grounds was Kenara, standing on the ornate marble staircase, looking regal and sharp and, *oh gosh,* beautiful as ever, Aku couldn’t help but think as he approached.
The eagle woman greeted Aku with a wave. Aku landed and hugged her. “Have you considered my offer, Kenara? I have absolute faith in your abilities.”
Kenara smiled wistfully. “I… I’m sorry, Aku, but I don’t think the political world is right for me. Or, rather, I don’t think I’m right for it.” Then she closed her eyes and shook her head, as if to dispel such thoughts. When she met his gaze again, she chuckled. “I know that twinkle in your eye, friend. What are you thinking?”
Aku’s smile grew even wider, if such a thing were possible. “I have plans for my Magnateship. Perhaps a trifle… ah, ambitious, but I believe the future of Cirrusea depends on it. I have a responsibility to us all.”
Kenara gave a dismissive snort. “I don’t think your father would approve.”
At this, Aku feigned shock. “No! I can’t believe it!” He sank to the floor, knees buckling backward, in mock horror. “What would I ever do without my father, the *ex-*Magnate’s approval?!”
He was still on the ground when he heard Akaji’s voice from above and behind him. “Is that really how a Magnate ought to behave? Especially one of the Blue Sky. Why, if your grandfather could see you now!”
Akaji landed imperiously next to Aku and hoisted him up to his feet with a grimace. “Might I remind you, child, that you are not Magnate yet. And even when you do ascend to the throne, I expect better from you, now and forever.”
Aku dusted himself off, scowling slightly. Then he reached a feathered hand out to Kenara, which she gladly reciprocated. “Three words, Kenara: Knowledge through unity. That’s my plan for the future. It’s going to be wonderful--for all of us. I just know it.”
Kenara replied, "Knowledge through unity, you say? Ambitious indeed. But don't get carried away, old friend. Some people have nothing to teach you."
Aku took to the open-air stage at the ceremony grounds. The other inheritors had already taken their respective Magnateships, but, much to Akaji’s shameless glee, the inheritance of the Blue Sky was reserved for last.
The wind was at his back now, calming his nerves.
He spoke with the loud, measured voice of someone who had been rehearsing a speech for weeks, knowing that if they slipped up even once, all their courage would evaporate on the spot. "I know who I am and what I must do. I am Aku, child of Akaji, grandchild of Akijura, High Emperor of Cirrusea and Magnate of the Blue Sky. By my force of will shall the very heavens part before me.”
Aku glanced over at Akaji--was that *pride* on his father’s face? Aku had never seen that expression before. “All that exists between cloud and rock has a name. It is my holy duty as emperor to learn all these names--and the names of realms beyond. Gone are the days of isolation and ignorance by my father and my father’s father. Now and forevermore, the call of birds--*all* birds--shall be the clarion of heavens! The Citadel of the Aerie shall unite Cirrusea under a banner of profound enlightenment. Such is my decree!”
Founder of the MSE Forge Database: Create playable versions of your favorite custom cards for Forge!
Post by Dravos Argentium on Feb 11, 2021 22:54:43 GMT
Hello and welcome to the Proliferate Show, with your host Dravos Argentium, and today’s guest star Multiverse Explorations, made by CanterburyEgg! We’ve got a lovely lineup of returning mechanics, new spins on classic side formats, characters from across the MSE community, and generally quite a lot of very hype things here for you today, so without any further ado, let us begin Dravos Argentium’s Set Preview of Multiverse Explorations.
A simple vanilla common, but I’m still a fan for reasons that should be clear if you read the FT attribution. If you’ve been watching the MSE discord, you’ll probably also recognize the even bigger reason I’m a fan: Simul! Now, why is the name of a character of mine in an Egg set, is the question no one is asking because the answer is obvious. But before I move on, I do feel the need to note that I actually wrote this flavor text mostly by accident. Apparently I’m just that talented!
Simul! Woo! She’s in a set! I’m so happy to see my favorite OC finally make her way into a finalized project like this. And she even gets to proliferate! Unkeyworded but even so. Really, it’s hard to put into words how happy this makes me. The previous FT probably gives it away, but she’s here at the academy in a teaching position, as a part-time instructor of both planeswalker studies and many forms of biology. As for the design itself, she’s a very good token generator in limited, making a 1/1 every turn with an already solid base loyalty for the cost. After making a few of them, you can -2 her to proliferate and buff those plants she’s been churning out, and that only gets stronger if you’ve got other planeswalkers for her to help out. Probably a very good pick in draft, especially if you have means to synergize with her.
A 7/7 for 7 that buffs things by 7. And it can take you on a very worthwhile training adventure as well! It’s big, it’s green, it’s dumb, it curves into itself, the flavor is great, and it even has trample! What more could you want? The Timmy in me says “absolutely nothing”. No really, there’s nothing else to say about this. It’s just super splashy. Big fan of the big hydra.
I gotta say, of all the “Sword of [thing] and [thing]” variants that have been done, creatures and planeswalkers is one of the more unique combinations. That alone is incredibly strong, effectively providing unblockable and immune-to-combat damage, and while it may cause issues with your own planeswalkers who buff, the immunity to whatever tricks your opponents can pull out with their own walkers will likely prove incredibly useful, in this set’s limited especially. And all of that is just the static! The saboteur trigger has quite an impact itself, at worst making a 2/2 flyer. If you have any hardened scales effects, planeswalkers, or even just a creature that makes especially good use of buffs, it can quickly get out of hand. And it’s even colorless, making it slot into a huge variety of decks. An easy early pick in any draft, and all in all a creative concept and very fun design.
Last Edit: Feb 11, 2021 22:58:16 GMT by Dravos Argentium: Spoilers just don't work right.
Post by ThatDamnPipsqueak on Feb 15, 2021 20:13:49 GMT
It's been a hot sec since I wrote one of these previews, and this one that I have is something you love to sea. I'm getting a chance to preview one of the planes of the set that Egg isn't directly responsible for, but is in fact a returning plane to Dodger's Elmare, which also happens to be MSEM's newest set. So let's start with the plane card itself:
The power level of the Planes within the set are a little bit of a toss up. Very few of them provide actual card advantage, but most of them provide an effect that feels roughly worth a card when stapled to a creature's ETB. Elmare's initial trigger does not. It's some decent card selection, but probably not better than Shiryen's initial looting. However, when it comes to CHAOS, Elmare excels. Let's start by giving you a small sample, an uncommon that will whet your appetite:
At first glance, this effect feels roughly in line with Surveil 1, Draw two. While Glimmer of Genius effects are historically playable, Tide Over isn't quite as good as those. However, if you're already on Elmare, this effect is a 4 mana instant speed draw "three". Or at least is +2 card advantage. While the inherently temporary nature of Elmare's chaos means you can't go actually infinite with two copies of Tide Over, you still can easily bury your opponent with the advantage this gives, especially in a game of limited. Attaching a Snapcaster Mage trigger to your draw spell is likely going to play a little clunky, but the upside is fairly alarming. And speaking of Snapcaster.....
Runepearl Diver is infinitely more appealing to be as a player, because the fail case of Surveil 1 on a 2/1 flash creature for two is much higher than the fail case on Tide Over. And if your deck is focused on Elmare, congrats, you've drafted a strictly better Snapcaster Mage (because it can snag planeswalkers) at uncommon. This gets even scarier with Kolaghan Command style loops where you play a Diver which casts a Raise Dead which picks back up another Diver and then and then and then and then.
Anyways. The last venture card I have to show off is my favorite type of counterspell, a modal one:
Maritime Order reminds me of a card that has seem a fair bit of MSEM play (Reconsider) and canon play (Miscalculation). The 2 mana tax 2 mode (ie the Quench) isn't ideal in late game scenarios, but it is fairly solid in the early turns of the game. The stifle mode is highly situational, and one that I think will come up very infrequently. Your inability to pinch mana with it (can't tag fetchlands) means that it is just here to counteract planeswalker activations and the like, which isn't reliably worth spending a card on. Sometimes it'll come in clutch, especially the triggered ability portion, but more often than not its just flavor text. I think the Venture on this card is somewhere inbetween Diver and Tide Over in terms of power level; you never ever want to spend 2 mana and a card surveiling 1, but you'd love it if your Quenches became Mission Briefings late game.
And, finally, we have a legendary creature coming straight from Elmare, the wonderful Baroness of the sea:
Abyxya is somewhat reminiscent of Kess, Dissident Mage, except bigger, more powerful, and more expensive. Casting any card from your graveyard is far more powerful than just casting instants and sorceries, and this one doesn't have a "no looping" clause on her. With a single Sleep in hand or yard, you can lock your opponents creatures out entirely. However, 6 mana is too much, especially for a card as mana hungry as Abyxya. But when she costs 3 mana, then we start talking. For 3 mana, you can "flash" suspend Abyxya, and hopefully cast her several turns down the line. Cards entering your graveyard from anywhere will cause her to pop off "suspend" fairly quickly, given a single Oracle's Vision gets you 40% of the way there, a Monkeyshines gets you 30%, and even just "Fetchland plus kill spell" gets you 20%. Figuring out how to best take advantage of her, and maximize the speed you'll get her at her discount, will be the secret to taking advantage of Abyxya.
Planeswalkers. Perhaps one of the most famous, and simultaneously most controversial card types in magic history. To some, their existence in the game is a double edged sword: Sure, they bring in countless new fans into the game just as superhero movies do for their creators. But within the game itself, they can often make the entire dynamic of play revolve around them, and are powerful and prevalent enough that if one of them has a fatal flaw, like taking too long to finish a game, everyone will soon be incredibly aware of it.
I remember when everyone was wondering what did the stained glass windows of the strange teaser for War of the Spark meant. Specifically, I remember being firm in my prediction that War of the Spark was gonna have every one of those 30+ planeswalkers in windows as planeswalkers within the set. Most people rejected my idea at face value, and yet history would soon prove me right, and would gradually start rolling out the consequences for the reality I predicted.
And so, Egg cranks up the planeswalker valve to 40+. Do I think it's gonna go wrong, that no one will like the limited, that MSEM will be ruined?
Nah, not at all.
For all of their flaws both real and potential, I believe planeswalkers are one of the game's greatest strengths. No other TCG or even fantasy media has something quite like them, which contributes towards creating the unique narrative and mechanical identity of the game. Personally, I don't even dislike War of the Spark myself: mistakes were made in it, but they were made in the name of truly bringing the concept of a "planeswalker war" to life. For every Teferi, Narset and Nissa, there's stuff like Tibalt finally getting a good card, new characters making their debut, and other fun and innovative cards like Sarkhan, Gideon and Vivien (don't @ me about these).
And so, when I heard that one of my favorite designers CanterburyEgg was doing a set with lots of planeswalkers, I didn't have any doubt that it was going turn out great. Especially after seeing the planeswalkers shown so far, including the ones I have to show you!
It's Egil's second card! Or is it really his first one? After all, in his first card, someone else was taking the reins of his giant body:
Free from the hat planeswalker Okus, Egil is now trying to recover from the harrowing experience and find his place in the multiverse. And perhaps, his own mechanical identity! Egil's new first card establishes him as a WU "delay" planeswalker, with a whole suite of abilities designed to slowing the opponent down. I find this to be an interesting unexplored space for a planeswalker identity, and I'm especially amused by an emblem that gives your opponents' spells suspend 1.
Next up, another returning planeswalker hops into the scene!
But wait, is that Ruchi? She looks a little... less antropomorphic than what I remember:
And that's because this is a younger Ruchi, from her days at the Academy! But just like her older self, she cares about permanents, protecting them, drawing from them, and putting them on libraries! Boy, that attitude towards magic sure was permanent, wasn't it?
And those are the planeswalkers I have for you today! However, I don't want to be remembered in this forum as the Planeswalker Stan: in truth, I'm a fan of the innovative, the unconventional, and the plain weird: basically any design that pushes the boundaries of what can be done in MTG, and does it well. This is why even if this spoiler article has focused on planeswalkers, my truly favorite thing about Multiverse Explorations is venture: the idea of taking something reserved for "casual" games like planes, and bringing it to the forefront of premium play, is something I truly love, and I hope Wotc does it too, so more people can enjoy it, and so we can all say that Egg did it first. With that in mind, I have one more preview for you all:
Behold! The chaos symbol is finally in a magic card meant for competitive play, a powerful tool for any venturing deck that can afford a colorless land. The days of their only presence being Fractured Powerstone seeing Commander play as a random 2 mana rock are now in the past: Planes are here, and hopefully enough, they'll be here to stay!