Drazi Less West

There is a lot of potential for a Western set and a lot of problems with an Eldrazi set that together make me think we might be best off giving our Cowboys less lovecraftian Indians.

Eldrazi Questions:

Are all three Eldrazi Titans appearing? Do each of them have new cards? Is this something like "Just Kozilek", as the three split and went their separate ways through the Eternities? Is this a new, named Eldrazi that somehow has its own identity and exists separate from the brood lineages?

If the Eldrazi are attacking and/or present, are they going to destroy the plane? Do the Cowboys (using this term very loosely) have any reason to do anything other than just fight the Eldrazi? Can we set up a plane as Existing and then Being Attacked in a single large set? Are we making compelling mechanical and flavorful distinctions from ROE? Rise of the Eldrazi was an amazing set, but recreating it is not something we're looking to do.


Western Pitch:

I think it's possible to do "swords and sorcery Western" as a solid Magic set without adding "omnipotent immortal horrorterrors". It's just a first draft, but here's some of what I've got so far:

Dramatis Personae

The Bad: Nosef, the Honorable
Nosef is the proud (with emphasis on the pride) patriarch of a vampire clan that own the claims to large swaths of land. The vampires are narcissistic and devious, with a stringent but perverse sense of honor. Nosef himself is something of a vampire Daniel Plainview, (Anowon meets Col. Sanders), exploiting his own and others' lands for speculation of mana. His is the most sinister kind of Lawful Evil, and the vampires he has sired follow suit.

The Ugly: Tibalt, Spellslinger
Having escaped the inquisitors' blades and the Cursemute, Tibalt is enjoying the easy life of abandon, desecration, and revelry. He has begun rounding up and empowering his own band of rogues, fiends, and outlaws on desert plane, and their acts of banditry grow increasingly audacious. Hellhounds instead of horses are always an option.

The Good: The Dwarf With No Name
A solitary figure out in the wilderness, fighting against the unholy and uncouth. A quiet, gruff, eccentric stranger with a strong but unorthodox sense of justice and extraordinary proficiency with a particular weapon. Probably 1W or 1WW, constructed playable.

And The Others

The green idea is "Baloth ranchers" with a strong focus on land counting and land ramp. They should probably be Cowboy-elves, though a Western set might be a great place to bring back the Orochi as cultivators of a harsh climate. They must contend with Nosef corrupting the land they use to grow and graze as well as both regular banditry and Tibalt's typical wanton destruction.

The white mana folk of this town are townspeople, as they often are. I expect a mixture of Humans and Dwarves would be best, and they can help fill in the cowboy and prospector types as well as any other Western tropes (saloons, etc). Angelic Sheriffs with a serious Law Enforcement vibe seem like a way to mesh Old West with Magic. "Seraph Sheriff", maybe?

-pasteur

These are great trope ideas, and I hope people use them.
Concerning the Eldrazi questions, every one of them are questions that I've already asked and answered to some extent in the section "Doom Canyon (How can Eldrazi and Cowboys feel connected?)" and "The holy trinity of Duel - Gold Counters - Eldrazi." Although they are not written directly in the form of an "answers," I hope you can read them and think about how they address each of the questions, and I'd like to hear your opinions on them.

By the way, another approach for this set is to not use Eldrazi but to create another type of high-costing monster that is native to the plane. The Gold counter mechanic (and hopefully the duel mechanic) are begging to have some kind of high-cost cards in the set.

— Chah

I agree that huge creatures play really well with the other themes, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they have to be their own. Return to Ravnica has Horncaller's Chant, Axebane Stag, and Terrus Wurm all at common with no theme (at least, not yet) whereas most sets have no commons at 7+ mana. A common cycle of seven or eight drops would likely take care of things on its own. That's not to say that we shouldn't make the big things a focus, just that the mechanical connections don't depend on it.

-Jules

It's true that "huge creatures" can exist at Common without being a theme in itself. However, in this set's case, the creatures should be emotionally awe-inspiring when revealed from hand with mechanics like Duel, not just some Stags and Rhinos. They are key to making the fight for Gold counters tense. By being game-endingly strong, they make it worth it for players to devote resources to winning skirmishes involving Gold. If another entity that satisfies those qualities that fits well with Western can be invented, that would also be fine.

— Chah

You're right, I don't think I properly accounted for the emotional impact of revealing an Eldrazi vs. an Axebane Stag. The only other option that strikes me as appropriate are Dune-esque Wurms, but I don't have any problems with Eldrazi per se.

-Jules

I'm going to be honest and say that I'm still expecting/assuming a version of Duel that discards/interacts well with Madness, and that a "race for land" way of ramping is more interesting (and less parasitic) than gold counters. (There's some decent flavor there, too.) Using Dune-esque Wurms sounds like the perfectest of perfect ideas ever for the set, and for a desert/western environment that needs both a bigger non-human threat as well as a resource-exploitation theme (which most good westerns invariably are.)
This really gets me thinking!
-Pasteur

What might really help out is bringing back hideaways. A great way to sneek big cards into play and the name itself instantly suggests wild west. An odd Sarlacc style creature or two in the desert would be awesome. A cactus style massive treefolk, An odd sleeping giant and some sort of dragon will quickly fill out a deck with fatties.
-Antny

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