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Is magic: the gathering lore worth getting into?

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I've been playing MTG for a long time, but I've never wanted to delve into the lore. The vast number of cards and apparently unrelated creatures always gave me the impression that the lore would be the worst kind of fantasy kitchen sink, with a huge amount of plotlines going nowhere and worldbuilding elements introduced for the sake of cool (and I absolutely hate cool for cool's sake; like introducing a piece of worldbuilding because it's cool and then ignoring it) and then forgotten. I mean, look at the current sets, the main creature types are dinosaurs, vampires and pirates! I consider this the storytelling equivalent of clickbaiting.

then brandon wrote an MTG novel. that is making me question my previous assumptions. Brandon does not write fantasy kitchen sink and chull-pull plot twists. he writes cohesive worlds and solid plots. He definitely would NOT want to contribute to a body of lore that was the awfulness I envisioned.

So i came to ask some feedback on MTG lore. Should I read brandon's story in it? Can I expect other stories to be similar to it?


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  • 3 weeks later...

I have not read Brandon's MTG novella yet, but I can tell you right off the bat that it's not like the normal MTG storyline. From the way he described it in his blog, it sounds like more of a spin-off piece.

Here's what I can tell you as someone who started reading the story with Theros block and stopped reading at the beginning of Dominaria.

  • For the most part, the quality of writing ranges from "okay" to "bad." If you want professionally written fantasy stories, look elsewhere.
  • However, it is kind of cool to know about the lore behind the cards. Even if the stories themselves aren't great, the ideas behind the stories can still be quite compelling .
  • I don't know if you know this already, but Magic takes place within its own "Multiverse" made up of many individual universes, or planes. Each set or group of sets takes place on a different world: Ixalan is the dinosaurs-pirates-vampires-and-merfolk plane, which, yes, is very pulp-fictiony. However, there are some more streamlined worlds. Recently, we've had Innistrad (the Gothic-horror-inspired world that Brandon's novella takes place in), Kaladesh (a world of artifice and invention), Amonkhet (a world inspired by ancient Egypt), and Ravnica (one massive city where ten guilds compete for power). I'm sure the result kind of looks like fantasy kitchen sink, but each individual plane very much has its own feel.
  • Just like the cosmere has worldhoppers, the Multiverse has people called planeswalkers who can travel in between worlds. These characters are the focal points of the overarching story.

If you're interested, I made a guide to the MTG story, since it's kind of hard to figure out from just the website.

Hope this helps!

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