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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

M:TG.COM - Why the Mirrans Will Endure

02-23-11 - What it Means to be Mirran - Pick a Side Week - Savor the Flavor - Doug Beyer

A brief history of Mirrodin, what it means to be a Mirran, and why you should be cheering for them.

Letter of the Week (Doug's response in the link above):

Dear Doug Beyer,

As I am quite certain you are aware, every story needs a hero and a villain. Recently we have had the Eldrazi, the Phyrexians, as well as continuing Bolas machinations. That covers the villains pretty soundly, but I'm wondering about the heroes. The last we saw of Garruk, he was churning out zombies. Similarly, we saw Karn being corrupted, and Elspeth covered in ichor. Nissa is focused on elves, and red walkers like Koth or Chandra really aren't going to play the hero role for long. That leaves Ajani, Gideon, Venser, and possibly Jace. That isn't (presently) a force that can hold back the forces arrayed against it.

I am aware that the general demographic of Magic skews to the young male, and they tend to like a bit of darkness, and many like the comic book flare. That isn't a problem, if you have a true hero to take it all on, but I don't see that developed to this point. Moriarty needs his Holmes, and Venom needs his Spiderman. (That last comparison fits the Phyrexians well.) So what I am really wondering is when we will see one or more walkers develop to the point that they are that true hero.

Thank you and best regards,
George Z.

Mark Rosewater wrote a good article in favor of the Phyrexians.  I think Doug wrote a better article.  I'm looking at this from a flavor perspective.  Like I said in the other article, I was already on board with the Phyrexians being the winners.  Maro was spot on about the Phyrexians are the villains of the Magic Multiverse.

And that's what makes Doug's article so impressive.  While I thought Mirrodin was pretty cool visually.  I never made an emotional connection to the setting.  I need to do a reread of the Mirrodin block books before I give it an official score, but what I remember feeling is that I liked the third book, but the first book (or two) felt too cookie cutter to me.  Glissa is introduced, then she takes a tour through the five terrains of Magic searching for something.

This is the time when I was getting sick of reading about our hero on the hero's journey ready to discover he or she had the planeswalker's spark at the end of the book.

(I need to hurry up and finish this article database so I can get to reading the books.  Glissa was corrupted in Mirrdin Besieged!  Obviously she's not a planeswalker anymore.  I need to get to the Time Spiral books.)

So back on track.  What makes Doug's article impressive is that he made me care about the Mirrans.  Mirran.  It's a new and unfamiliar word describing the natives of a plane that left me tired of the Magic storylines as I finished the trilogy vs the return of the greatest villains of Magic, whose creation is brilliantly laid before us in J. Robert King's The Thran.  And Doug makes me care that they might lose.

It's often said (especially about comics) that the villains make the hero.  Well the opposite is also true.  We could watch the Phyrexians assimilate a hive of ants on a planet devoid of any intelligent life, but all the better if we watch them overwhelm a band of heros that just might find a way to win all the way up to the final moment.

Great job Mr. Beyer.

P.S. - The Thran is one of the best Magic books.  If you're interested in the Magic novels, there is almost no better place to start with the exception of perhaps The Brothers' War.

Especially since Phyrexia is invading Mirrodin.  Read their origins here.

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