Return to Dominaria Showcase Oct 26, 2019 16:08:32 GMT
Post by heliumdream on Oct 26, 2019 16:08:32 GMT
Illus: Cun Lo
Set Code: RTD
Set Size: 390
We're proud to present our initial release of Return to Dominaria!
390 cards of nostalgia & justice; 110 common, 110 uncommon, 95 rare, 15 mythic, 18 basic lands, 30 purple timeshifted cards, and 12 tokens
After several years of work, we're moving from design to development! Let the playtesting begin!
Return to Dominaria
Four-hundred years have passed since Urza and the Weatherlight used the Sylex Blast to defeat Yawgmoth & the Phyrexian Invasion. It's been two-hundred years since Teferi was compelled to sacrifice his spark to seal the time rifts. Following the Mending, mana on Dominaria began to stabilize again and new centers of civilization like New Benalia and Tolaria West came into being, though time-lost creatures continue to surface on occasion.
Mishra found himself looking for a purpose, himself having reemerged from the past during the Time Rifts. After learning of his brothers' saga and subsequent demise, Mishra returns to his previous interests - harnessing the power of magic and further pursuing Thran Archaeology. His ultimate goal is the reconstruction of the Thran Mana Rig, in hopes of once again producing Powerstones in Dominaria. Mishra’s magical experiments have begun attracting attention, garnering curious parties from all over Dominaria, including investigators from other planes.
Meanwhile, the Phyrexian compleation was a success. Argentum, better known as Mirrodin, has fallen under New Phyrexian control. Karn departed, and Yawgmoth long-deceased - the Phyrexian consulate seek new leadership to unify the five praetors. Sensing the power surging from Dominaria, they channel the power of the five suns & moons of the New Phyrexian world (Five Moon Zenith), and they reopen the rifts to their ancestral home. They plan to scour for any remaining trace of ancient Thran technology & machinery while searching for a powerful leader - capable of conquering Dominaria once and for all.
Upon exiting the rift portals, the Phyrexians found that rather than directly engage they would be better served by corrupting the locals and using them to fight. The main creature they adopted was the Sliver; taking and mechanically altered them, often in the process severing much of the hive mind connection. Volrath himself created the original Metallic Sliver, and the Phyrexian consulate kept detailed records of his research, calling it the Quicksilver Project.
Additionally, a strange new Purple force has begun to emerge from the rifts, including a new Basic Land, 'Cavern', and creatures and spells exhibiting new purple mana costs. You can look forward to learning more about Purple, the Aetherborn, and the Finori in our follow up set, codename Purple Chaos! More details below.
Similar to Time Spiral, the set has a 5th rarity - purple timeshifted cards (unrelated to the new emergent purple mana). These are kinda like Masterpiece Series Expeditions, Inventions, and Invocations, these reprints don't appear in the main sets themselves. Straight to eternal formats like legacy and vintage. With the exception of the one purple timeshifted cycle of Legendary double-faced lands...a design where I propose a slight divergence from the aforementioned treatment of the Masterpiece Series cards, making the backside legal in the main set. It's not a flip card, there is no transforming it; it's just two different cards.
It's picking up on the dichotomy that was Urza's Block; better than I can say...
"...Urza's Saga's expansion symbol is a set of gears, highlighting the artifacts theme of the set, and meant to symbolize Urza’s experiments in finding a means to defeat Phyrexia. R&D originally envisioned Urza's Saga (and the further block) to be centered on the enchantment theme. But the creative team told them that this block was going to be all about Urza, the greatest artificer of all time. By further referring to the block and the companion books as the "Artifacts Cycle", the original idea disappeared from view. It didn't help that the set contained some very powerful artifacts and artifact-themed cards like Fluctuator and Tolarian Academy..."
Throw in some Time Spiral Block appeal, and the return of Phyrexian (perhaps, Invasion part II) and blam, there ya go! We have the Dominarians with enchantments matter and Phyrexians with artifacts matter. I've got some stuff cooked up with the Thran and the Brothers too perhaps. Oh and I forgot to mention, our special guests, the Aetherborn and the Finori! Representing purple, and 'aether matters'. So really there's three factions, the Dominarians, the Phyrexians, and the Aetherborn. Storywise, the Aetherborn have come thru the same rifts that the Phyrexians reopened to get to back to Dominaria.
Return to Dominaria was inspired by Urza's Saga, although I started playing at a very young age during Ice Age, I really connected with and fell in love with the game when I experienced it with fellow middle schoolers a few years later, when Exodus was the new kid on the block. So Urza's Saga was my first prerelease, and I sought out to create something that captured a lot of the nostalgia I attached to this period. Which is cool, because this is similar to the approach that Wizards took when concepting their 15-year and 25-year anniversary products - Time Spiral block and Dominaria / Modern Horizons.
So I started by examining the history of Dominaria, compiling ~25 pages of notes about the lore, worldbuilding, set skeleton, and a 38 page document detailing the Dominarian history, and also the various planes respective to the chronological set releases to further place that history into the full context of the game.
The set was concurrently developed with the real Dominaria in anticipation of the 25th anniversary, design began more than two years ago when Dominaria was still known as codename Soup. I've worked in spurts, picking it up and putting down again and again. I first started making many, many rares, cycles and designing straight on top of Urza Saga as a skeleton; this wasn't the best approach so I stopped and pivoted focus to the commons.
That set design got intensified when I tried to add purple into it. After a lot of hemming and hawing trying to cram purple into Return to Dominaria, and some wisening up from listening to every Drive to Work podcast, I decided purple would be best served by dropping it into its own set, and making purple the defining feature and theme driving that set...so look forward to a follow up set in the block, codename Purple Chaos. Very much picking up where the rnd team left off when they explored purple for canon mtg back in Planar Chaos, and also embracing the Purple Inquest hoax.
You can preview the latest Purple Chaos stuff here: heliumdream.net/rtdpc/index3.php
And track our progress here: magicseteditor.boards.net/thread/48/custom-set-design-return-dominaria
We intentionally wove a 'preview' of purple mana into RTD, to both introduce the idea to the players, and to relax parasitism within the block environment. Moreover, this was done because of the implications for limited play and drafting under the traditional block paradigm, where the drafting for each second set of a block consisted of two packs of the small set with one of the large.
I already have a number of revisions I would like to make to RTD, based on how the individual cards now look juxtaposed with each other. Notably, I want to reexamine my uncommon and gold cards, to ensure the proper archetypical payoffs are available and awarded to their color pair. Overall, I'm pretty happy with RTD, I just want to further polish and refine the editing and templating, make perhaps developmental changed based on playtesting and theory-crafting feedback, and ultimately make sure it is solid in a foundational way that sets up the following set.
My MSE file has too many local edits to release publicly, we created a number of assets, images, and code changes to get everything working just so.
Thank you and enjoy!