In this game, it's not just a moment that lets you enjoy the flavor. It can also lead to some powerful combos.
In Return To Ravnica, the Azorius were given an entire runic alphabet, as seen in many of their cards. It's quite an interesting embellishment, until you realise that "rune" comes from the Indo-European root "reu", which is also the root for Ouranos and Varuna. Both are sky deities; which colour pair focuses on flying and the sky again?
Examine the art work for Dimir Charm. It's not a stone or medallion like the others, but actually an arrangement of windows that will only look like a Dimir symbol from a certain angle. Perfect imagery for a guild of secrets that few know the existence of.
Do you know why the Innistrad pack was delayed into 2011/2012? Think about it; wouldn't a world where all hope is being lost fit well into an year were everyone is paranoid about the end of the world? And now with Avacyn Restored, the up-beat ending after so many downer endings sounds like reassuring that good will triumph in the end.
Even better, add up the number of cards in the Innistrad block and you get a grand total of 666. Makes perfect sense that there are 666 cards to collect in a set based around demons, vampires, werewolves, zombies, and Sealed Evil in a Can.
Many cards contain subtle shout-outs to other cards that fall under this trope. For example, it's easy to notice that Fortune Thief is a throwback to the Arabian Nights card Ali from Cairo, but if you look closely at the art, you can see that the Fortune Thief has the same ability because she stole Ali's magical amulet. There are numerous other examples, most of which are pointed out on the official website's "Magic Arcana" feature here.
In the Scars of Mirrodin set for Magic: The Gathering, the Phyrexians' logo is a circle with a line through it. To put it in other words, it's the lower case Greek letter Phi. As in Phi-rexians.
Also note that phi is the symbol for the golden ratio... an antiquity mathematical value often attributed to perfection.
For many people, the realization that trading one life for one card is actually an absurdly good deal marks a huge step in their understanding of the game.
Hell, even Greed was awesome back in Fourth Edition, and that was 1 black mana and 2 life for every card drawn. With the right deck, even this was a bargain, allowing you to rapidly outpace your opponent while mitigating life loss.
Also note that the new White Phyrexians have as their defining feature the fact that their skin was flayed and replaced by white, porcelain covering. The end result is that many of them look somewhat skeletal, specially when combined with their exposed muscle tissue. This is likely a call back to Kamigawa, in which several villains were White since that is the colour of death in traditional Japanese culture, and indeed some Red and Black spirits of the same setting were also naturally coloured that way (specially Yuki-Onna and Kemuri-Onna).
My basic thought upon seeing the various "seals" of Ravnica (which were basically instants like Terror and Shock redone as enchantments that would have the effect when sacrificed) was "hmm, vaguely interesting, but it does mean the opponent knows what's coming". Then remember, one of the guilds of Ravnica thrives on having no cards in your hand, meaning that having a spell sitting out in the open in enchantment form waiting to be used is actually a tactical advantage.
Oddly, they didn't print the entire Seal cycle — only the black Seal of Doom, and the red Seal of Fire. Hmmm, what colours was the guild that cared about having an empty hand again?
Necrogen Scudder was the only Phyrexian card in Scars of Mirrodin that didn't feature infect, proliferate, -1/-1 counters, or other Phyrexian mechanics and was not legendary like Geth. But it does require you to pay 3 life. The Mirrans got all the life gain, and a card which prevents life loss altogether, while Phyrexians got most of the life payment. But then you realize that Phyrexians don't care about life (since they win by poison counters) and are happy to pay it, as shown by Phyrexian mana cards.
The Phyrexian factions were shown out of place in the Planeswalker's Guide; instead of the usual WUBRG, it was WBUGR. While it was arguably to make the Red Phyrexians' goodness an epic reveal, it can also be indicative of which colours are more naturally Phyrexian, starting with the highly dogmatic and organised White and ending with the freedom-loving Red.
Going along with the White-aligned Phyrexians, Elesh Norn has curb stomped Sheoldred and Urabrask but has left Jin-Gitaxias and Vorinclex alone apparently. Aside from the fact that the former two are her enemy color and the latter two are allied color, it also brings up how the other Preator would affect her plans, Sheoldred is a known backstabber and would derail her long term plan while Urabrask's decree of forbidding others to his territory would make her paranoid. Meanwhile, Jin-Gitaxias is okay if someone else becomes leader of Phyrexia as long as they are competent which can be assumed that this is how he sees Elesh Norn while Vorinclex is a Darwinist and after Elesh defeated the two Preators, would see that she has earned the right to lead, not to mention that both their philosophies aren't that different at the end of the day.
Bronze Bombshell seems to be a fairly obvious pun on "blonde bombshell" that happens to actually be a bombshell. But why is it an artifact creature? It's an objectified woman.
The Helvault is like Pandora's Box. It contains all the evil in the world. Once opened, all the evil comes out along with hope. Which in this case means Avacyn.
The Dark Ascension set brought in the red/green "Immerwolf," a Wolf creature which gives a boost to all Wolves and Werewolves, and, while it is in play, non-Human Werewolves cannot transform. So any Werewolf that has transformed into its stronger monster state stays that way. Why is this brilliant? It's all in the name. "Immer" is the German word for "always." So "Immerwolf" means "Always Wolf," as in, "Your Werewolves will stay Wolves."
The Dimir-colored 20-sided die is blue and black, which are very difficult to read from across the table unless the light is just right. How fitting for the guild of secrets and sneaking...
With the ascension of Xenagos to the Therosian pantheon, they number 15: 5 mono-color major gods, and 10 multicolor minor gods. But there wasn't an RG god before Xenagos ascended. Why not? Look at what Xenagos does immediately upon apotheosis: he takes an ordinary "Hey we won a war!" festival, cranks it up to 11, and sends it rollicking across the plane like a cross between a hurricane and a bacchanalian orgy. This has probably happened before, possibly with an ancient god of revels born of Nyx, and he was killed too.
More on Xenagos, he's actually a perfect villain for a block inspired by Greek mythology. One of Xenagos' key character traits is that he is ridiculously arrogant even before he ascends (one of the novels has him mocking the gods with twisted versions of their titles), and he ends up ascending to godhood solely because he feels he deserves to be a god and make things the way they 'should' be. Essentially, he feels he is better than the gods. In other words, Xenagos' sin is hubris, very appropriate for a narrative so steeped in Greek mythology tropes.
Keranos' second ability makes perfect sense. It basically amounts to frequent Lightning Bolts. Fitting for the God of Storms.
Both of Keranos' abilities are fantastic flavor. Both red and blue, he's not the god of lightning, but the god of 'storms', as in brainstorms. Being struck by inspiration is often likened to being struck by lightning (think of a pre-19th century lightbulb-over-the-head). So Keranos can both hurl actual lightning and bestow surges of intelligence, i.e. draw an extra card.
Elspeth's spear is revealed to be named Godsend, which can be pronounced in two different ways: God-send or Gods-end. The brilliance comes in the fact that both of these are very Meaningful Names: The weapon is a gift from Heliod to his champion (God-send), but it's also one of the very few weapons strong enough to slay a God, and in fact is used to do exactly that (Gods-end).
Heliod comes across as a complete asshole — jealous, arrogant, ambitious, and cruel — and he barely seems suited to be king of the gods. Who else had all of those traits? Zeus. Heliod's jerkassery is just in keeping with the mythology he draws from.
Adding to this, Elspeth's death and Daxos' fate makes Godsend a Downer Ending. But very few of the heroes in Greek mythology got a happy ending. What, you expected a happy ending in a narrative this steeped in Classical Mythology tropes?
Despite the end of the Theros Storyline, Elspeth has no obligation to stay in the Underworld, unless Erebos bribes her with a hermitage or something. Mastix cannot reach across the Blind Eternities, nor can Khrusor pierce the metaphysical walls that bound the universe of Theros. The planeswalker's soul contains their spark, and has so since the beginning (we've seen this with Xenagos, who by Word of God retains his spark even after his apotheosis). She will not be split into body and eidolon as a Returned is, as the ritual requires that they physically leave. She'll need a new face, as that is the price of entry to the Underworld, but both Lorwyn and Ravnica have magic plastic surgery, as does every plane with a suitably-advanced city. All she needs to do is walk away from the gods that have cheated, abused, and killed her.
Sadly, per Word of God, one does not simply planeswalk out of the Underworld.
Why did we have the "Gainsay Cycle" in Theros? Because the story concludes with Heliod, a White aligned character, murdering Elspeth, another White aligned character. In hindsight, Glare of Heresy makes perfect sense.
Why were Orcs only introduced in Khans of Tarkir despite being arguably a staple of fantasy settings? Tarkir is inspired by Asian cultures, and the Mardu, the clan with the most Orcs, is based on the Mongols. Tolkien said this of the Orcs in Lord of the Rings in one of his letters: "... they are (or were) squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes; in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types." Orcs were finally included in Tarkir because to a degree, the actual Mongols were an inspiration for the Trope Codifier, and so they fit into Tarkir perfectly.
While Orcs have existed in the game since long before Tarkir, they've become much more prominent in this block Explanation not counting reprints, there are 34 Orc creatures in the game. Of these, 14 are from the Tarkir block. so it still fits.
There are a few cards in Khans of Tarkir that support colorless cards. That doesn't make sense (in a set with only 1 artifact creature), unless you remember that it also implicitly supports Morph creatures. Adding another layer: many of the colorless support cards reference Ugin, who a) supposedly taught the non-dragons how to morph, and b) was the one that managed to pump enough colorless mana into the Eldrazi that they became colorless (instead of totally incomprehensible).
Most of them also slot nicely into both the artifact subtheme in Origins and the return of the Eldrazi in Battle for Zendikar. R&D: always thinking ahead!
It makes sense that all the clans of Tarkir are at war with each other. Each clan uses either black or red mana, generally considered the most amoral and violent colors respectively. That could also explain why the Mardu Horde is particularly bloodthirsty, they use both.
Sometime within the story of the Tarkir block, we finally learn why Bolas never addressed Vol as "Sarkhan": on Tarkir it means "High Khan"/"Sky Khan". Bolas, through his rivalry with Ugin, knew some of Tarkirs culture and understood that Vol never earned nor held the actual title of "Sarkhan". Bolas knew that it was not a name but a title, and one that he refused to acknowledge to a minion.
In "Drop For Drop", Kiora swipes Thassa's Bident. Combat damage -> draw cards is traditionally a blue, green, or blue/green ability, and what colours was Kiora again?
Gideon's Belligerent Sexual Tension with Chandra makes a lot more sense when you consider a couple of facts from his origin story. First, we now know that he's from the city of Akros, which is heavily associated with both white and red mana, so red's ethos would have been a part of his most fundamental ideals (which is also why he joined the red/white Boros Legion). Second, before he became a paladin and heiromancer, he was a street thief and vigilante. There's a strong strain of chaos in him, even if he keeps it mostly repressed these days.
Also, Gideon and Chandra each represent what the other most needs for Character Development. Gideon needs someone to get him to enjoy life and embrace his passions, while Chandra needs someone to get her to slow down and consider the consequences of her actions. Gideon needs passion, Chandra needs order.
Call The Gatewatch is a white card. Gideon, the person who first proposed the idea of the Gatewatch and persuaded his fellow Planeswalkers to create it with him, is a mono-white character.
The reveal that Emrakul is the Big Bad of the Shadows over Innistrad block seems to come out of left field. Until you consider the fact that, while Ulamog and Kozilek are the Titans of Hunger and Distortion respectively, Emrakul is the Titan of Corruption. Ulamog and Kozilek are obvious because they respectively eat everything in sight and distort reality around them. But corruption is subtle. It worms its way unseen into you, and then eats you from inside out. You never see it coming until it's too late.
Gilt-Leaf Winnower's destruction ability seems completely arbitrary (not the non-elf part, of course, but the differing power and toughness.) Until you stop to realize that Lorwyn elves are completely and utterly obsessed with beauty at all costs. The cornerstone of beauty? Symmetry.
Twice Jace has had an argument with another Planeswalker when he asked them to help him save a plane and they refused. Ugin wouldn't help him kill the Eldrazi because of the potential consequences, and he's worried about the whole multiverse, and Tamiyo wouldn't help him stop Avacyn because she felt Innistrad was Somebody Else's Problem. In both cases the other party was detached because to them A Million Is a Statistic; there are thousands of planes with millions of people on all of them, so misfortune befalling one plane is of no concern to them. Jace disagrees, because he's a mind mage; reading all these people's minds forces him to have to deal with them as people, so he's a lot more willing to help.
Both Light Is Not (Necessarily) Good and Dark Is Not (Necessarily) Evil are in full effect in the Magic lore, and it's repeatedly both shown and narrated that all five colors are necessary for a healthy society/personality. With that in mind, the fact that each of the Tarkir Broods seems to have degenerated from their corresponding Clan makes a lot more sense: Each Brood has lost a color in the transition. And more than that, they lost their "enemy" color, the color that was intended to counterbalance the other two's shared flaws. No wonder they don't measure up to the Clans. Specifically:
Without black, the Abzan lost their individualism, and became oppressive and utilitarian.
Without red, the Jeskai lost their focus on emotions, and became an Orwellian dystopia.
Without green, the Sultai lost their drive for growth, and became stagnant slaves.
Without white, the Mardu lost their honor, and became true savages.
Without blue, the Temur lost their intelligence, and became mindless hunters.
The people of Amonkhet are divided into groups called Crops, which would key them in to the fact that the entire plane is basically one big People Farm... if any of the living humans were familiar with agriculture. But all the farmwork is done by mummies, so the original meaning of the word has been lost.
Razaketh accused the other demons who signed the contract to be too straightforward, and was also the first one able to answer to Liliana. Now, compare their abilities: all of them cost you life, but while Kothophed and Griselbrand are draw engines, Razaketh allows you to tutor, effectively a subtler way to get card, and better to find answers. His demise is also fitting: Liliana's card are centered around reanimation, affecting other player graveyards as well as your own, while Razaketh requires you to sacrifice your own creatures, meaning that if you can't keep the engine going to keep answering your own graveyard is giving a Liliana player extra tools. That's exactly what happens in the story: Razaketh starts killing a lot of creatures, Liliana then has the Gatewatch wear him down and finishes him with the reanimated corpses of the creatures Razaketh killed.
On a side note to that, Liliana does it to show her own power, without having to use the veil, and she is basically using her ultimate ability from the original card, before the Chain Veil storyline.
Jace's speech in Something Else Entirely helps explain the odd Gameplay and Story Segregation surrounding Jace's power level. The most broken Jace cards represent him back when he was more amoral and had fewer scruples about using his telepathy to destroy or reshape other's minds. More recently, however, he has been making an effort to avoid using those aspects of his powers, due to the moral implications. Thus his portrayal as something of a weakling in modern Magic story: He was deliberately avoiding resorting to his most powerful abilities if at all possible.
Why are Blue and Green the colors most associated with the Eldrazi in Eldritch Moon? Simple: The Eldrazi are based on the Old Ones, deities of the Cthulhu Mythos. Old Ones tend to be worshipped either by knowledge-hungry madmen (Blue) or insane cults that believe they are just acting like how the "natural order" is supposed to be. (Green)
Additionally, the Elder Gods and Great Old Ones tend to be depicted as being either primordial lifeforms who defy our own fledgling and limited understandings of biology, alien to our sensibilities but acting on their own weird instincts, or as entities deeply immersed in esoteric scientific lore and possessing an understanding of universal concepts our own minds are too primitive to imagine yet. So, the Outer Gods, if converted to MtG's precepts, would themselves would be either Green Mana, Blue Mana, or both depending on the deity — Green for gods like Shub-Niggurath and Azathoth, Blue for gods like Yog-Sothoth, Blue/Green for gods like Tsathoggua.
Erebos, being a Therosian version of Greek Hades, is not only the god of the underworld, but also the god of wealth, and one of his abilities allows you to pay some mana and life to draw a card. While several other cards in Magic history has this ability, one card in particular stands out: Greed, an enchantment that allows you to draw cards as long as you can pay mana and life. This fits perfectly with Erebos: When one worships the god of wealth, there is always risk of succumbing to greed. And to further the point, carelessly paying life for cards may result in dying, upon which the god of the dead is all too happy to welcome you.
Also, there is some conflating (because of similar names) between Plutus, Greek god of wealth (seen in such words as "plutocrat") and Pluton, Roman version of Hades (seen in things like the dwarf planet Pluto). Both are associated with the depths of the earth, since there is both where the Underworld is and where precious metals and gems lie.
The fact that, as revealed in Unbowed, the vampires of Torrezon are far more corrupt and cruel than their Ixilani brethren makes perfect sense. The vampires who would cross the seas to the frontier of Ixalan, who would endure the trials of the jungle and risk battle and death to retrieve the Immortal Sun, would predominantly be the zealots, those who follow the teachings of Elenda and see vampirism as a terrible duty. Those who embrace vampirism for the benefits it brings would stay behind in the safety and luxury of Torrezon.
This troper used to have a hard time understanding why the character Yahenni was mono-black, despite lacking many of Black's usual traits (they're hesitance to kill especially), but their dialogue in the last Aether Revolt story, Renewal, makes it clear: "I get to decide who I am, on my terms. And I am not a killer." What does Black really represesent, beyond death, darkness, and sacrifice? At its heart, Black is about self-determination, and while that's present in it's allied colors as well, Blue's desire to perfect itself and Red's obsession with freedom, it's really Black's core value. While Sorin and Lilianna combined this with Black's other traits, like pride and ruthlessness, thus making them anti-heroes, Yahenni doesn't have either trait in high regard. Their willingness to accept their own end when the time finally comes also reflects Black's belief that death is both natural and inevitable, without the obsessive need for self-preservation found in others. In short, Yahenni is an example of all of Black's best traits, and none of its worst ones. After all, it says something that Yahenni was able to forge such a close friendship with Nyssa, while she clashed so heavily with Sorin and Lilianna.
When you think about Goblin War Party, you realize that it's actually a pretty clever pun — the spell has two modes, one producing tokens and the other one boosting your whole team. They show two different means of the word "party" — "group of people" and "celebration"!
Rat from the War of the Spark novel grew up in the Gruul, but mentioned wanting to possibly join Selesnya or Rakdos instead. Gruul shares red with Rakdos and green with Selesnya. The colors that they do not share are black and white: the colors of the Orzhov. And Rat spends the bulk of the novel with the Orzhov guild master.
In MTG, dragons like Nicol Bolas and Ugin name themselves. A name represents their destiny, and they refuse to let anyone other than themselves chose their fate. But in The Twins, Ugin and Nicol say each others names before they say their own. They named each other, and their destinies are forever dominated by each other. Ultimately, Nicol could not be banished permanently if Ugin did not go with him.
Eldrazi Spawn tokens. Eldrazi Spawn. As in, children. You sacrifice them to add mana, most likely to summon the big Eldrazi.
The Eldrazi get even scarier when you examine them. Not only are they meant to be reminiscent of Cthulhu, but they become even more terrifying when you realize that while they're colorless, they're also not artifacts. They have somehow managed to transcend "mere" things like the five colors that so much of the Magic Multiverse revolves around. Not even Nicol Bolas, the most powerful "old" planeswalker left alive, managed that trick.
Since the Eldrazi essentially devour every Plane they come across, another, less Fridge Horrific explanation is that they're either from a Plane with completely different rules (and that nobody can go to because it's already been eaten), or from somewhere outside the Multiverse entirely.
It has been stated that the Eldrazi come from the Aether, not any given plane that may or may not have existed. The Aether is the channels between planes, as in, the thing Planeswalkers use to travel between planes. They didn't have any affiliation (not even colourless...They were something transcendent of everything) but gained their colourless status when they were imprisoned on Zendikar, as the only way for the Planeswalkers of old to achieve this was to have Sorin pump them full of colourless magic, and the other two trap them. - Brownie.
Actually Sorin lead them to Zendikar, where Ugin would blunt their attacks with his "ghostfire" and used his knowledge of colorless magic to bind them to the world. The lithomancer created the prison.
In Battle For Zendikar, the Eldrazi get even more screwy with the Devoid cards. Now you've got something that's neither exactly colorless (because you have to have certain colors to cast them) nor colored (because they explicitly have no color).
As of Eldritch Moon, things just continue getting worse. You never get to see the Eldrazi creating spawn, and you start to see why. The Eldrazi...or at the very least Emrakul...simply mutates the local fauna into something more Lovecraftian. This on top of the Mind Rape that is evident in the cults arising, both in Zendikar and Innistrad makes one wonder just how much of the Eldrazi and how much was at one time human.
The Dredge keyword. At first, it seems simple enough — you mill yourself to get something lost. Then, you remember that, in Magic, your Deck means your memory. Basically, in-flavor, to use Dredge, you need to sacrifice your sanity
Actually, in Magic, your deck is called a 'library', which is basically your spellbook. Therefore, it's more like erasing stuff from your spellbook that you can re-write later.
Whilst it's called a library, fluffwise it's your memory (library = all the spells you know, hand = the handful (geddit?) of spells you're thinking about at any given moment). Library is just a fantasy word that vaguely has to do with what the deck is. It could also do with the evolution of the game's fluff: in the early days the deck might have represented your spellbook, but it means memory at this point.
Also consider cards like Jace, Memory Adept; Jace, the Mind-Sculptor; Traumatize; Mindcrank... This list could go on forever. Quite a lot of the cards that have to do with milling are about memory, mind, and/or sanity.
Interestingly, this presents an explanation for both your maximum hand size and the "unable to draw" loss condition. Maximum hand size is the number of spells you can remember clearly at a given time; too much information to remember for long causes you to focus on a few and disregard the rest (discarding). But when you can remember nothing else at all that hasn't already been cast or slipped your mind, you go insane. Of course there are exceptions; someone like Laboratory Maniac would prefer that to happen.
This also allows the Madness keyword to slot in nicely as it allows you to cast spells while you're discarding cards and "losing your mind".
This is supported by cards like Spellbook. When it is in play, you have no maximum hand size. Thematically, you no longer have to worry about memorizing all the spells you want to cast because you're writing them down in a book you're holding.
Also, consider the following: Your default maximum hand size is seven. It's often said that you can only hold seven pieces of information in your short term memory.
Oddly, it's pointed out to you, but you just don't think about it. Mostly it's "Sacrifice a creature:...", which seems like it's as in "sometimes we need to make sacrifices", before you remember the players represent wizards and sorcerers. Eldrazi Spawn tokens take this to a whole new level: You can sacrifice them to generate one colorless mana each, which you'll most likely use to summon the huge, Timmy-favored, Troperrific (Master Race, Eldritch Abomination, Non-Elemental, etc. etc.) Eldrazi. Yes, the Eldrazi eat their children.
A friend came up with an idea that makes it a bit less horrific: The spawn are simply mana made flesh, they have no real conscience. The reason they can be sacrificed is it lets the mana flow into the world. The Eldrazi eat mana. You don't so much summon Emrakul, as the spawn go to wake him up. Like an alarm clock. When there's 15 of them poking his head, he rolls over to get up and squashes them, devouring the mana they once held.
It has subsequently been confirmed that every Eldrazi creature is in fact part of a greater entity, with Spawn/Scions being particularly insignificant bits, rather than actual independent creatures. Whether that makes it less scary or more scary is really down to the individual.
Not so bad if you understand the premise of the game. The players represent planeswalkers, powerful wizards who have developed the ability to shift from one plane of reality to another, each plane manifesting as some sort of world. The battle between players is to decide who controls the plane that they are on at the time, and all of the cards represent the memories of the planeswalkers. The lands represent all the places they've been to, and recalling them allows the planeswalkers to call forth the mana that flowed through that land. All of the creatures are sort of Platonic forms: Idealised representations of some remembered creature, made manifest by the planeswalker converting the mana into a physical form with a purpose. Sacrificing a creature merely means dissolving the integrity of the magical construct in such a way that the energy can be directed to some other purpose.
With the introduction of the word "dies" into the official jargon, it could literally mean you're not summoning an idealisation of the creature, but the creature itself, which can then die a horrible, horrible death.
Magical copies can "die" or cease to exist as well. The term was mostly introduced because everyone was using it to describe a creature hitting the graveyard, and it's a lot shorter than "creature goes to the graveyard from play."
By contrast, because goblins are Too Dumb to Live, sacrificing a goblin is funny. Or Mogg Fanatic (sacrifice to do 1 damage to anything), bloodfire cards (sacrifice to do damage equal to its power to everything), and Goblin Grenade (sacrifice a goblin to do 5 damage to anything).
Token creatures in general fit this trope, as they were mostly created by some sort of (usually asexual) reproduction. They were born to fight.
Certain tokens, such as Tuktuk the Returned and the Marit Lage tokens are meant to represent the great deity the base cards summon, after a certain condition are met.
Titania's Song (makes artifacts into creatures with power and toughness equal to their mana cost) on zero-cost artifacts. Now, for the record, when toughness => damage a creature's taken since the last end-of-turn step, it goes straight to the discard pile, a.k.a. the graveyard. And a creature with 0 toughness just straight-up dies, even if it's indestructible. Yes, it's possible to animate artifacts only to kill them. Since any competitive Vintage deck will include a Black Lotus, a Lotus Petal, and all the appropriate Moxen for its colors, any competitive Vintage deck not including those will include Titania's Song or its aura (affects only one) cousin, Animate Artifact. Also, if Titania's Song is destroyed, though only two colors can really destroy it, And I Must Scream is invoked.
Lord of the Undead (a card which, among other things, can return zombies from the graveyard to your hand) + Lord of the Pit (a card which requires a sacrifice every turn or it does more damage to you). What sadist would play this? A sadist who wants to win, that's who.
The Stuffy Doll/Guilty Conscience combo is particularly terrifying. Essentially, you kill your opponent by making a voodoo doll of him feel guilt, which damages the voodoo doll, which damages your opponent, which makes the voodoo doll feel guiltier, which damages the opponent more. You give a doll a conscience only so that it can kill your opponent with its own shame. Over killing your opponent.
A storyline-related one: New Phyrexia. The good news is, Phyrexians can't planeswalk, so unless they get something like the Weatherlight, other planes are safe. The bad news is, every plane Karn has ever visited before Venser purified him has Phyrexian oil on it! And so long as a drop of Phyrexian oil is on any plane, the Great Work can continue. And if the Mirrans with their affinity and Skullclamps and all the rest of their tricks couldn't beat the Phyrexians, what chance do (for instance) the Mercadians have?
Luckily, Karn's dealt with the issue by simply negating the oil's crazytime effects. Besides which, the Mirrans had the disadvantage of already being partly metal and therefore more vulnerable to phyresis.
Let's hope the Phyrexians never land on Alara, then. The residents of Esper all have enough metal in them to be considered artifacts!
The Innistrad block ends with Griselbrand dying and most of the demons being hunted down and killed. However, it was stated in "The Saint, the Geist, and the Angel" that Demons do not die permanently. Withengar, for example, returned after being defeated by st. Traft's guardian. What's to say that Griselbrand won't return? Also, there's no helvault to trap them in and it is never stated that angels can return from the dead. Eventually, the angels will slowly die off and the demons will just come back.
Given that the reason the demons can return is that they are in essence constructs of pure black mana, I'm pretty sure that angels (constructs of pure white mana) can also reincarnate.
On the other hand, it's sometimes stated that the Chain Veil could somehow kill Griselbrand permanently, so we may have seen the last of him.
The card Defy Death's flavor implies that angels can come back as well.
Even if Griselbrand does come back and somehow defeat Avacyn, it would just drag Sorin (the guy who created Avacyn) back to Innistrad. And Sorin is NOT somebody you want mad at you.
As it's now, Avacyn's been unmade (and, not being an angel, won't come back) and Sorin is unable to do anything. Not fun thoughts. Also, the rage Sorin will unleash after he'll free himself is another horrific thought.
Speaking of demons, Wordof God says that Ravenous Demon's design was based on the idea that to demons, humans are like potato chips.
Several nore things about the Eldrazi, at least before Battle For Zendikar set.
Naturalize from Rise of the Eldrazi depicts a mage destroying a hedron, with a matching flavor text that shows someone being annoyed at the hedron being intact long enough for the Eldrazi to start using them, like in Hedron Matrix. Seeing that these same hedrons still manage to lock the Eldrazi in Zendikar, one can only shudder that this unknowing mage is actually actively bringing Zendikar even closer to certain doom.
Gameplay-wise, one of the very few ways to permanently deal with the Eldrazi is to exile them. Thing is, exile effects carry two possible meanings: Either completely destroying something until nothing remains (such as Dust to Dust), or sending them to another place (Journey to Nowhere). If you somehow use the second option (if it is at all possible), imagine where you might actually send them to.
Some exile cards, like Unmake, make it clear that And I Must Scream may be involved (in this case, having your soul trapped in a mirror).
Though Dromoka and her clan seem idillic when compared to the rest of Tarkir, a lot of it seems more horrifying the more you think about it. For starters, it's a meritocracy... because Dromoka's a social darwinist. Parents are not allowed to raise their children as their own, and yet they're encouraged to have children. Even her initial obsession, to stomp out "necromancy", is reasoned like the worst sort of religious fanatic.
In-Universe, Ugin points out to Jace that the Zendikari are fighting Ulamog, and only Ulamog. Where are the other two? Have they escaped the trap, once again roaming Dominia and devouring planes?
Kozilek has made a grand reappearance in Oath of the Gatewatch. That unfortunately doesn't answer where Emrakul has left to.
Or was this a FaceHeel Turn? The only vault large enough to contain Emrakul is the moon on Innistrad, which the Gatewatch ultimately used to imprison it. Did Nahiri call Emrakul to Innistrad to set up for its ultimate defeat?
This story, told from the perspective of a Zendikari who is in the midst of battling the Eldrazi, shows some effects of Kozilek's mind rape (and that fellow is lucky she 'only' gets mind-raped), including one part where Kozilek shows a Bad Future where the Gatewatch are destroyed and Zendikar ruined. Problem is, we, audience, know full well that this story takes place in the Tarkir timeline where Ugin lives. In short, what if that Bad Future vision is not a mere Bad Future, but an actual event that happens in the other timeline where Ugin died (even Sorin believes his death will mean the Eldrazi cannot be resealed)? And long story short, does this mean that as part of their incomprehensibility, the Eldrazi are somehow also capable of reaching out (or reading) to different timelines? And worst of all, will this have anything to do with Emrakul's moniker, the Aeons Torn?
The Gatewatch did not beat Emrakul. Emrakul sealed herself because "she no longer wants to play"."I can do anything I want. Anything at all. Remember that. The only thing saving you is... I don't want anything. Ugin said that the Eldrazi were an important part of the Multiverse. With Ulamog and Kozilek destroyed on this plane, Emrakul was the last one left, and she had no issue with sealing herself in the Moon. All that can be surmised is that, either she kept her word to Jace to end the conflict if he beat her, or she no longer wanted to "play" because she was not embraced by the people, as expected. If they do have a greater purpose, what is it? What would happen if they were all destroyed?
Which makes the ability of her card all the more chilling: take over your opponent for one turn, and they take an extra turn afterwards. It is actually so tied into the lore it is a brilliant strokeof foreshadowing - Emrakul used this ability to take control of Tamiyo, and used her to seal herself in the Moon.
The Kaladesh Inventions cards are mostly reprints of older cards that in-universe are re-invented on Kaladesh. Some of the reprinted cards are so overpowered that they are banned in Legacy and/or restricted in Vintage. Everything at the Inventors' Fair was stolen by Tezzeret. Some of these inventions had been presented there.
"Hour of Devastation" preview cards show in no uncertain terms that the Gatewatch, the same Planeswalkers who defeated Ulamog and Kozilek on Zendikar, and who thwarted Tezzeret's schemes on Kaladesh, will be swatted like flies when Nicol Bolas shows up to claim Amonkhet. The Gatewatch were so insignificant to Emrakul that she does not really know if they exist, and she sealed herself in the Moon because "it was not her time". Nicol Bolas is the most powerful Planeswalker in existence barring Ugin, he arranged for his time to come to reap Amonkhet, and he is not playing the role of The Chessmaster or playing the odds when making this choice - he took Amonkhet in the beginning by violence, and he will claim his prize by violence. Ajani was right to caution going against Nicol Bolas on his home-turf...
The River Heralds have a prophecy that the discovery of Orazaca will signal the end of their people. At the end of the Ixalan block, the Sun Empire controls Orazaca (which even with the Immortal Sun gone is implied to contain a lot of very powerful magic), and Emperor Apatzec is making plans to start a new series of conquests. The River Heralds' future does not look bright...
At one point in Dominaria storyline, Jaya Ballard explains that she disguises herself as Mother Luti when she visits the monastery at Kheral Keep to make sure that the people there, who had inadvertently been worshipping her for centuries, do not misinterpret her. Coming from Jaya, this may be just a humorous throwaway. Except that, as a previous lore has shown, having people start a religion based on a godlike being who never checks on them can actually be disastrous.
Just ask Nahiri: Shortly after she helped Sorin and Ugin imprison the Eldrazi in Zendikar, she taught the Zendikari people about the Eldrazi, then after some time living her life somewhat sourly, she decided to take a long sleep, rarely waking up to check on the Zendikari. One time she actually woke up, she found out to her horror that people had twisted her teachings and ended up worshipping the Eldrazi as the gods of Zendikar and she had been cast as their High Priest. In fact, during Battle For Zendikar, some of these worshippers have flat-out accepted the newly-released Eldrazi, which at this point have been outed as plane-eating monstrosities, as their gods nevertheless (such as Ayli, former Emeria priestess), and wreak as much havoc to the Zendikari as the Eldrazi themselves. Had it not because Zendikar itself has been fighting the Eldrazi for millenia and causing Zendikar to be such a Death World that its inhabitants are always prepared for battle, the plane and its inhabitants would very much be doomed once the Eldrazi showed up.
So what if this situation happened to the monastery? One possible scenario is that, since she is a master pyromancer, having a religion based on her go out of control could potentially result in a cult of destructive pyromaniacs that will destroy everything (similar to the nihilistic Cinders of Shadowmoor), up to the entire plane itself.
The reasoning for the exclusion of Angels, White's iconic creature, from the Greek-themed Theros block because they supposedly don't fit the setting. Despite the fact that the Greeks invented Angels, and are responsible for their modern winged human appearance.
But most people don't know that, and thus it would look out of place. Kamigawa taught Creative that accuracy to the basis of a world usually needs to take a backseat to what players generally expect and know about the basis.
It was a bit of a disappointment to some snake tribal deck players that the Naga that appear in Tarkir do not have the creature type: snake. As disappointing as it is, the new creature type 'naga' makes sense in-universe. The Nagas claimed to have descended from the lineage of the great dragons of the past, of course they wouldn't want to be associated with the snakes. Why be related to the snakes when your entire race are descendants of dragons?