THE MANA DORK—PLANESIEGE, MANASTRIKE, AND MORE, OH MY!
Last time, I promised baseless speculation but first, we’ll talk about two mysterious trademarks filed by Wizards of the Coast earlier this year, Planesiege and Manastrike. So I’ll get back to the speculative stuff—but Wizards has apparently decided to announce All The Things, so there are a few bonus rounds for you! I will also give a quick rundown of everything else we know Wizards has on the docket, including Project M, Battlebond, the Signature Spellbook series, Commander Anthology II, Commander 2018, and Portal (no, not that one) (or that one).
Let’s go! (But first, a warning—story spoilers ahead!)
Now, this is a name.
Of the two as-yet-unexplained trademarks linked above, this is the one that currently feels more open-ended. We know Wizards is working with Cryptic Studios on a Magic: the Gathering MMO (presumably for overseas markets, where MMOs remain popular) and so much of the discussion I’m seeing speculates that Planesiege will be the name of that MMO.
However, I have another, much more awesome idea.
We also know that in the current Magic storyline, arch-villain Nicol Bolas is Up To Something. While this is almost always true, Bolas’s plots have been much more visible of late.
Consider the following:
In Kaladesh and Aether Revolt, Nicol Bolas sends Tezzeret to the Inventor’s Fair in order to secure the Planar Portal from the inventor Rashmi. The Planar Portal is described as “large enough to fit a Gearhulk though”, and is capable of traveling between distant planes. Presumably, Nicol Bolas will need to transport something large between planes—or, a large number of… somethings.
In Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation, we see a plane that Bolas has shaped over decades to be a factory for thousands upon thousands of Eternals, lazotep-covered super-soldiers honed by a lifetime of martial training. Presumably, Nicol Bolas will need something large to transport all of those Eternals somewhere.
In Ixalan and Rivals of Ixalan, Nicol Bolas sends Vraska to explore Ixalan and recover the Immortal Sun, an object of immense power that has the ability to prevent planeswalkers from leaving the plane (among other things). Presumably, Bolas will need this to prevent various meddling goody-two-shoeses from messing with his plans.
So here’s my theory: Bolas is planning to lay siege to Ravnica with legions of Eternals, and take military control of what is currently the most influential plane in the Multiverse. I think Planesiege is going to be the name of a Standard-legal set in the near future where he attempts to do this. And, knowing Bolas, probably succeeds.
MANASTRIKE and PROJECT M
On the other side of the coin, I would be very surprised if this were the name of a card set at all.
This feels like it’s going a game or mobile app of some type. My first instinct is to say it will be a Match-Three game in the tradition of Bejeweled—but we already had that, with Magic: the Gathering Puzzle Quest.
Here we come to “Project M”, depicted in the trailer above. Wizards is working with Netmarble, a game developer known mostly for mobile MOBA games (think League of Legends, but on your phone), and this trailer looks a heck of a lot like a mobile MOBA game featuring Liliana, Garruk, Gideon, and all of our favourite tragedies with points of view.
My theory on this one: I think “Project M” is actually Manastrike, and it will be a MOBA game releasing on various devices sometime in 2019.
A plain prediction? Probably. But all our prognostications can’t be as phlogistically perspicacious as the Partners premonition was.
BATTLEBOND, SIGNATURE SPELLBOOKS, AND MORE
Wizards showed they truly loved us with a mini-Announcement Day on Valentine’s Day this week. While we still know little about the upcoming Standard-legal sets beyond Dominaria, we have new information on a bevy of supplementary products.
Of these, Battlebond probably excites me the most. A Limited-focused booster set built around the Two-Headed Giant game type, Battlebond will have players competing in teams of two in either Draft or Sealed events. The 254-card set features 85 new cards—more than a Commander release! And speaking of Commander, designer Gavin Verhey says in the article linked above “are designed specifically with formats like Commander, Cube, and Legacy in mind”. Much excite!
Wizards has knocked it out of the park with their designs in non-Masters supplementary sets recently—I find it difficult to imagine a better track record than Conspiracy, Conspiracy: Take the Crown, and Unstable!—so to say I am hyped for Battlebond is a severe understatement.
Signature Spellbooks are replacing the From the Vault series for the moment, beginning with Signature Spellbooks: Jace later this year. Each Signature Spellbooks product will feature one premium foil card and eight non-foil cards specially selected to fit the eponymous Planeswalker’s identity, and will sell for an MSRP of $19.99 USD (which will vary once it reaches stores in Canada).
Personally, I like that we’re getting a less-expensive fancy-reprint product and I like that we’re ditching the problematic FtV foiling process—although I do hope that this remains a love-letter to LGSes like From the Vault was, and not a mass-retailer product. As for predictions… probably at least one or two of these.
Commander Anthology II is en route, looking much the same as the original Commander Anthology. I have to admit though, I’m much more excited about Commander 2018. Featuring four new decks, just like last year, the blurb on the product page currently states that we will “call on powerful planeswalkers and deploy their signature strategies to make sure [we’re] the last player standing”. More planeswalker commanders? Eh? Eh? Yeah, you’re hype. I see the hype there.
Finally, Magic: the Gathering Portal is the new official companion app for the game. On top of the usual life-counter and rulebook functions, it looks like it’ll function as a mini-social network for the game, letting you plan tournaments with your friends. What I can’t understand—and I’m sorry to be harsh here—is why Wizards would name their app “Portal” when there are already three whole sets of cards also named Portal. Still, it looks like it’ll be handy—we’ll have to see once it’s live!
I AM GOING TO HAND THIS PART OVER TO JONNY AND HIS AMAZING PROMOTIONAL IMAGES FOR THE STORE
Look, they’re dope, okay? You can have these, or you can have three thousand more words. These are much prettier than my boring word text phrases. You probably want these.
See? Wasn’t that better?
Jesse Mackenzie is a regular contributor to A Muse N Games. When he’s not sloughing off and handing the conclusions of his articles off to Jonny, he’s writing the Mana Dork, his column about all things Magic. And getting seriously hyped about Battlebond.