It’s no surprise that many players are especially hyped for the release of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. After all, Ixalan was a beloved plane, centered around some cool yet relatively underrepresented Creature types. Who doesn’t love a world with Dinosaurs and Pirates? Along with the release of spoilers related to the artwork, mechanics, and rules text of the cards themselves, players also seemed invested in the storyline.
With it, a lot of questions remained unanswered. How have the events of March of the Machine affected things on the Ixalan plane? How has the disappearance of The Immortal Sun impacted life on the plane? Well, we finally have some answers to these questions and more. The full story associated with The Lost Caverns of Ixalan has been released, this time before the vast majority of spoilers.
While players are certainly delighted that the lore is available to be read, most players seem to agree that these episodes, or sections of the story, should not have been released all at once. Head Designer Mark Rosewater recently asked the MTG community if players who enjoy reading the stories prefer when stories all go up on the same day . The answer seems to be a resounding no, so let’s take a look at some of the reasons why.
For warning, brief parts of the story will be discussed to some extent. As a result, consider this your spoiler warning.
Room for Discussion
“Better online discussion if it’s a story a day, everyone reads it at the same pace then. An audio version makes it more accessible to more people as well.”whatwouldoptimusdo
The biggest reason players appeared to prefer having stories released one or two chapters at a time was so that there was additional room for discussion. Players that go out of their way to read each section of the story generally enjoy talking about not just what happened, but about what could happen in future chapters. The reality is that, by releasing chapters one by one, it both added suspense to the reader while providing players with a chance to speculate on what they believe might happen.
For example, as different groups begin their interactions with the Oltec, the ancestors of the Sun Empire, questions arise about how these interactions will unfold . At one point in episode four, Huatli states “We all fought against the Phyrexians to defend our homes. We can fight each other now that our collective enemy has been vanquished, or we can use this chance to build a more lasting peace between our people.” In a world where groups are so bloodthirsty for the cosmium they seek, could there indeed be peace as the story unfolds?
It’s clear by the end of episode five and the beginning of episode six with the death of Inti, Huatli’s cousin, that the battles were not over. Without giving players an immediate chance to make their own predictions, though, plot twists often won’t have the same level of impact on a reader. This leads us to the next area of concern releasing all of the information all at once.
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Potential Spoiler Issues
“Not the biggest fan of it dropping all at once. It was fun discussing each chapter with the community and speculating where the story might go. Also, just having finished chapter 3 I’m hesitant to visit some social media sites because I don’t want the remaining story spoiled. Finally, I feel spacing it out creates more hype amongst the players for the set. That being said thanks to the author for their hard work!”nemesis-cat
It may seem a bit strange for many players to feel like the release of all of this content at once is overwhelming. You might think that MTG players could simply pace themselves while reading, and groups could mutually agree to discuss the story at specific intervals before moving on. A major issue with this, as nemesis-cat points out, is that getting information spoiled on accident is a real possibility.
In a world dominated by social media, it can be difficult to use social media sites without coming across information you hoped to avoid. This isn’t just the case with MTG. Movie enthusiasts often feel pressured to watch an extremely popular film right after its release in order to prevent themselves from seeing content ahead of time that might ruin the experience.
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Overwhelming Levels of Content
“I continue to hate multiple story articles going up in one day. it’s overwhelming, turns catching up into a chore, and means losing the chance to do community “book club” style discussions midway. makes me almost not want to read them at all. please, please, PLEASE stop”theothin
In conjunction with spoiler issues, as players feel pressured to read a bunch of content all at once, it seems like much of the MTG community feels overwhelmed by having so much content to read in a short amount of time. In this sense, it takes away from the enjoyment of focusing on the lore, beyond just the missed discussions from day to day.
Despite the sense that too much content was released in such a short amount of time, some players were still hopeful for more of a focus on side stories. While there was a sense of enjoyment over the side story about the partners Saheeli and Huatli and the life lessons they learned within Ixalan, having only one small side story meshing with a much larger story left some readers hoping for more.
That being said, many players did seem to enjoy both the main story and the side story. The connections made between the Phyrexian war, Planeswalkers losing their spark, and the effects had on the Ixalan plane as a whole were quite riveting. Everything seems to fit well together, and unlike what happened with the March of the Machine: the Aftermath story where the Invasion felt rushed and underexplored, this story seems relatively in-depth. It will be cool to see how the stories within the Omenpath Arc continue and what new information emerges over time.
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