To many people the lore (or story) of Magic the Gathering is what they love about the game. Dare I say, some fans of the game don’t even know how to play the game itself, but instead they only like Magic, for the story in lore articles and the comic book manga. I personally enjoy learning about the story, as it explains some of the changes in cards, such as Garruk turning evil, and the Gatewatch being a Pseudo-Justice League. I personally want to describe some of the planes in the future. For this post though, I will be talking a little bit about some of my favorite things about the lore.
1. Interesting Characters: When it comes to most stories, many characters can seem like they are one-sided personalities who either don’t do wrong, or can’t do any right. However, in the Magic the Gathering story, almost every character represents something that has real world connections. For example, Jace Beleren is a prevalent character in his mid 30s who has taken on too many responsibilities, yet can always come through. Another example lies within Sorin Markov, a vampire planeswalker who has tried to help all life, yet time and time again is hunted because he is a vampire. A personal favorite of mine is Lilliana Vess. Overall, her story starts as a heretical teenager who was tormented for years until she eventually could leave her home world. Once she did she had God-like powers, until one phenomenon known as the mending happened. She lost most of her powers, and she felt like she was going to die, so she sold her soul to demons in hopes of gaining power. However, her personal wishes generally coincide with those of her demon masters. I particularly like this character because she shows how everyone makes mistakes, and tries to fix them. These are just a few of the examples of characters that appear in the lore of Magic the Gathering.
2. Deep Conflicts: Although the oversaturated good vs. evil conflict is included in some stories, most of the time readers will be left wondering whether the actions done by the characters in the story are the appropriate ones. For example, in the Theros story Elspeth was tasked with killing a newly risen god because he “did not belong there.” She had to make a decision as to whether or not she should kill the newly risen god because on one hand she was destroying a piece of the Theros Pantheon, but on the other hand that god was not a god for too long, and still was mortal despite being called a god. Conflicts like these make it so that audiences will actually read the stories. Ideas of licentiousness vs. rules and traditionally held beliefs vs. the hope of something new.
3. The Loss: Sometimes things don’t happen the way everyone planned for. For example, the Romans were defeated by barbarians showing the world that all great things must come to an end at some time. This idea of the heroes not always winning is a huge part of the Magic the Gathering lore, as sometimes evil does win. Sometimes, our currently followed hero makes a heroic action, and that proved to not work out the way they had hoped. In these stories, well designed characters often times die, and worlds are lost to the forces of evil tyrants, and that’s okay. It shows a sense of accomplishment for when the heroes do succeed. Overall I believe this to be a good thing, and something I hope will not leave the lore.