A New Age of Magic the Gathering Storytelling?

We’re on the other side of March of the Machine and we are full swing into AFTERMATH! Looking over what’s been spoiled so far, what does it tell us about the future of MTG storytelling? First, let’s look at what we know!


As shown above, much like the ten planeswalkers that were in danger of falling to Phyresis, we have ten more that have outright lost their spark! Wotc promised us it would never be the same after MOM but most of the community was banking on outright deaths. Instead, we have planes hopping heroes stuck in place dealing with the new paradigm.

My first thought was the obvious. Knowing Wizards of the Coast’s blatant cash grabs in the past few years, it seemed that this was a cheesy way to create more Legendary creatures for the Commander Community.

To be honest, many of the cards we get in the ‘Standard’ sets smack useless unless you play Commander. They have tapped into the cash pipeline that is EDH masterfully and there seems to be no end in sight. But it is irritating when you have cards you get in packs, especially on arena, that seem powerless in the current Standard meta.

On the other hand, killing off characters is actually the easy way out. And, although you do get a bit of story mileage out of the grief stricken friends and family left behind (I’m look at you Gideon), the drama left in the wake of losing a huge part of their abilities has much more story fuel.

MAGIC has been notorious for NOT taking the easy route or the vanilla storylines. Their Vorthos, in the last few years especially, has always been well thought out, original and not easily speculated (trust me). Have there been story elements that seemed rushed or botched? Sure. Way back in Zendikar Rising we published alternatives and didn’t agree with a lot of the takeaways of that set. We will probably publish more of these articles that question the decisions Wotc takes in their stories.

But, overall, I’ve been happy with the latest set of stories. And their decision to despark a good many of their planeswalkers actually is the braver decision and, to be honest, will make for some great storytelling in the future.

Just take a look at SHE WHO BREAKS THE WORLD. The passion was real. Nissa struggling even with her connection to the natural order of the planes was monumental and I felt it. Moreover, instead of resting in to the MTG love affair of the ages, Nissa and Chandra, they jumped right into personal conflicts between them. They didn’t make them into vanilla place markers for love interests or just an attention grab for breaking the wall and allowing same sex love affairs. It was natural and made sense.

None of these characters end up being ‘token’ anything. They are real people with real problems, feelings and, thus, the drama that ensues grows naturally from the story.

In BEYOND REPAIR, we expect an angry Nahiri. I mean, she’s always angry. But it actually should have been expected for her to not calm down and lick her wounds, not double down and tell Ajani to F off. It shouldn’t have been a surprise. But we find ourselves almost blindsided by it. Just another example of Wotc letting the story play out to its natural conclusions, all the while, catching us all off guard.

As a writer, I’m always looking for the Pathos, the drama. And it’s good to see that one of my favorite bits of storytelling is taking this serious.


Another takeaway from the Nissa story (Mentioned above), was that there are ‘omenpath’ like portals opening up all over. Now, I know, this is the only one mentioned in story, but in the Aftermath Youtube roll out, they made reference to multiple ‘omenpaths’.

We saw this coming, but, to be forthright, many of you predicted it and it was expected. When the March of the Machine story finished and there wasn’t a Realmbreaker super highway set up, many of us were disappointed. But the natural and random opening of these portals makes so much more sense.

First of all, these ‘omenpaths’ allow the newly ‘desparked’ planeswalkers to continue to participate in other plane’s story arches. This does keep ‘Legendary Characters’ like Nissa present during important stories. But, we had that before.

What’s new here is that, if Nissa can travel these ‘omenpaths’ safely, what’s to stop other fan favorite characters without a spark from plane hopping and causing that much more drama and chaos? Think of the stories! Remember all of those ‘team up’ cards from MOM? Well, like that but multiplanar!

I mean, where was the massive interplanar team ups they teased in the artwork? Was it simply a wink and a nod to what stories were coming down the pike? I believe so and absolutely HOPE so!

I think we’re in for some amazing story telling full of passion, adventure and many of our fan favorites who, up till now, could not traverse the planes safely. What was your take? Do you share my optimism? Did I miss something? Am I fanboying WAY too much? Yeah, probably, but let me know in the comments below or on our social media!

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