The second set of the Shadows over Innistrad-block, Eldritch Moon, started off with a spoiler card with tentacles. Emrakul, the third and lost Eldrazi titan emerged as the shadow over Innistrad. Discussions and rumors were true, the clues were there, but nobody actually believed or wanted to believe this happening. The response to this supersecret revelation that of course nobody saw coming, was a mixture of “Ah, I knew it! Awesome!” to “Well dang, a third Zendikar :(” Here are my thoughts on it all.
Sigh, more Eldrazi…
Alright, you know, I don’t have anything against the Edrazi. Their lore is quite mysterious and feels perfect for the Magic: the Gathering universe. They remind me of the Tyranid alien race from Warhammer 40,000, who I really love. Mindless, ravaging creatures with a single purpose: carnage and destroying with a hive mind or Eldrazi titan leading the fray.
With that said, I sure had my share of Eldrazi nonsense. They were pretty insane in their own expansion, Rise of the Eldrazi. Sure, they could use some additions, something that they got in Battle for Zendikar. After that, another dose of Eldrazi staples entered the battlefield in Oath of the Gatewatch with the Modern drama of banning Eye of Ugin and so leading to the death of all those overwhelming Eldrazi decklists as a result.
New titans, gimmicks and different tricks with processing and ingesting. Eldrazi’s had better and more versatile cards than before and, with the addition of Wastes, felt complete. For me, I was kind of done with all those slithering tentacles and floating triangles. It felt great to return to a plane were that immense horror feeling of Magic was so well designed. The return to Innistrad sure changed the setting up again.
And so the clues began. People did not want to believe in the Emrakul theory. Marit Lage, Nicol Bolas and even New Phyrexia all passed among the theories of what it could be. It can’t just be that obvious right? Even I began to lose my mind. S-H-A-D-O-W-S has the same amount of letters as E-M-R-A-K-U-L! Emrakul is secretly Tibalt! Another Master Eldrazi joins the fray called Ulazikul!
Any hardcore story and lore fan of Magic sure knew it could only be Emrakul. All the clues and hinting’s were in the art, the solved Tamiyo puzzle on all those clue cards and the involvement of those old Oath of the Gatewatchers Sorin, Nahiri and Ugin. (Be sure to google that Clue story by the way, that was some serious business!) The expansion symbol of Eldritch Moon was long kept secret. And seeing it now, I can understand why. Seems that the Eldrazi even took the Avacynian logo away…
Next up was the big reveal; the new and redesigned Emrakul in her card frame! Forums exploded with some players being utterly disappointed, whilst others embraced it. It was a bad card (we are spoiled), it’s nowhere near the original (thanks designers!) or simply dies to other-than-instant-removal (because that argument never gets old).
I guess they didn’t have enough madness in the previous block. But I can understand that ‘off’ feeling and sort of hatred to a spoiled card with this big of an impact. There were going to be more Eldrazi or Eldrazi fusions running around in Eldritch Moon, on the plane of Innistrad were ghouls, zombies, werewolves and humans were residing. Again! Is this plane also forsaken? Who is next? Tarkir? The next spoiler Coax from the Blind Eternities showed that there also will be more Eldrazi related cards, and this basically shows a tutor/Wish for any Eldrazi card.
This sure sounds like Innistrad is bound to have EVEN MORE Eldrazi cards, again! Pff, this is hardly creative, right? Is Eldrazi really getting even more support? What else is left? Booo! Mark Rosewater helped shush the worries on his blog:
“You’ve acknowledged it was a mistake for BFZ to focus on Eldrazi when it was ZEN as adventure world which helped make it such a popular set. Now we’re seeing the Eldrazi muck up another beloved world. Will this apparent contradiction be explained?”
“Innistrad’s core identity is the horror genre. On the return, we focused more on cosmic horror as a way to change things up. Emrakul is playing directly into cosmic horror.
Also, be aware that Eldritch Moon is more about the impact of Emrakul on the plane (aka the cosmic horror) than about Eldrazi.”
Alright, as I’m typing this not much of Eldritch Moon is spoiled yet, but I’m feeling slightly sceptic about that. To come back to my mixed feelings, I actually like the design of the new Emrakul titan. It has some reference to the Shadows over Innistrad with her mega-delirium and weird ability. She felt more fair than any other titan so far and for that I like her the most. If you are used to play all those Ulamogs and Kozileks in your Commander deck, then this maybe looks like a bonafide failure. If it keeps like this, with only a few real Eldrazi cards, it might turn out pretty awesome. Merged angels, walking Eldrazi Ooze towns and who knows what else? That sure sounds pretty cool to me.
Maybe it still could work out, if only the design does not fail us. Let Innistrad be Innistrad and let those Gatewatchers and Planeswalkers finally close that Eldrazi Chapter. The creation of new horrors on a horror plane fits like a glove. And if we can believe those promised “Eldrazi are on the background” quotes, then yes. I do like this obvious take on the story.
Let me write down a few extra things that are on my mind about this happening in a short list for you.
- New horrors that truly look gruesome! + Finish Emrakul and be done with the Eldrazi!
- Intriguing first spoiler.
- This INSANE art:
- Even more Eldrazi support…
- Can’t we just be done with them?!
- Feels like a same sort of scenario as in Battle for Zendikar.
- Is there anything left for sidestories with Geralf, Gisa and other things happened on Innistrad besides the Eldrazi onslaught (note: again, maybe this will be clear in future spoilers)?
I’m curious about your point of view on the Eldrazi matter on Innistrad. Was it a bold and amazing move by Wizards? Or was it a lame, uninspired continuation of the Eldrazi madness that we’ve seen already? What do you like or dislike about it?
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