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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oracle's Tales: What the Future *May* Hold

You may have noticed from the title, but for now (for reason beyond my control), we are going to call this fiction.

Zendekar: Discovery of the portal system.

For the history of Magic: the Gathering to date, only two groups of people have been able to planes walk. Of course, the Planeswalkers have been able to shift through the blind eternities, their sparks protecting them from the chaos of the place beyond space. Another group though, has been able to accomplish this goal, bypassing the blind eternities all together for many millennium now. These would be the Phyrexians, which most have forgotten because they have not been seen in any force for nearly a century, when the invasion was pushed back through the efforts of the Legacy. but their influence has been most recently seen on Mirrodin.

Phyrexians have used portals since Yawgmoth and Glacian learned the technology of the fixed portal linking the Caves of Koilos to the artificial plane of Phyrexia, from the planeswalker Dyfed. Since then, they have used varied portal technologies to reach varied portions of the multiverse with the goal of conquest. Some believe that they have flung their resources across the multiverse, not just Phyrexia, Dominaria, and Rath. The force of Phyrexia is believed to exist into the present, even beyond teh death of their demigod leader Yawgmoth. In fact some question if Yawgmoth is truly dead at all.

The Phrexians are now known to be returning in the recently filed Duel Decks: Phyrexia vs. the Coalition.

Word Mark DUEL DECKS : PHYREXIA VS. THE COALITION
Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: interactive entertainment software, namely, interactive video game programs, interactive multimedia computer game programs, computer game software, computer game cartridges, computer game discs, interactive video games of virtual reality comprised of computer hardware and software; downloadable software for use in connection with computer games; computer game software for use with communication devices and mobile telephones; computer and video game apparatus, namely, video game machines for use with televisions; pre-recorded audio and video tapes featuring music; laser discs, video discs, phonograph records, compact discs, cd-roms featuring games, films, and music; gaming machines

IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: paper goods and printed matter, namely, address books; comic books; notebooks; picture books; interactive mystery story books; fantasy adventure story books; books containing puzzles and games; instructional manuals and printed strategy guides for games; book covers; photograph albums; invitations; trading cards; writing pads; posters; book marks; non-electronic personal planners and organizers; artist materials, namely, pencils, pens, gift wrap paper; paper gift tags; paper gift bags; paper gift boxes; correspondence note paper; greeting cards; paper party decorations; paper bags; plastic bags; postcards; stickers; sticker books; calendars; temporary tattoos; school and office supplies, namely, pens, markers, notepads; binders; stationery; notepads; pencil cases; desk pads and stationery sets comprised of paper, envelope, seals, notepads; stencils; patterns for making costumes; rubber stampers, ink pad, colored pencils, stamper holder; series of fiction books in the field of entertainment and science fiction; bi-monthly and monthly magazines dealing with role-playing adventure games; fantasy art posters; fantasy adventure novels

IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: clothing, footwear and headwear, namely, underwear, rainwear, sleepwear, coats, shirts, jackets, jogging suits, pajamas, scarves, socks, sweaters, swimwear, tank tops, ties, vests, masquerade costumes and masks, boxer shorts, warm-up suits, wind-resistance jackets, parkas, jumpsuits, fitness tops, sweatshirts, sweatpants, T-shirts, boots, shoes, sneakers, and athletic shoes, caps, knit caps, hats, visors and slippers

IC 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: toys, games, and playthings, namely, board games, card games, trading card games, playing cards, parlor games, fantasy role-playing games, miniature figurines used in role-playing game scenarios, jigsaw puzzles, toy action figures and accessories for use therewith

IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: entertainment services, namely, providing online computer games and interactive multiplayer online computer games via a global network; organizing and conducting online game tournaments and exhibitions in the field of fantasy role-playing games; providing industry information online via a global network, namely, online publications in the nature of articles and magazines on games and gaming; production and distribution of motion pictures and an ongoing television game show

Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
Serial Number 77803877
Filing Date August 13, 2009
Current Filing Basis 1B
Original Filing Basis 1B
Owner (APPLICANT) WIZARDS OF THE COAST LLC LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY DELAWARE 1027 Newport Avenue Pawtucket RHODE ISLAND 02862
Type of Mark TRADEMARK. SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

This confirms that the concept of Phyrexia will be returning, and we know that this plane is represented by at least one of the Plane cards in the new planechase product. Neither of these are expected to represent a great deal of new card product related to Phyrexia, nor a progression of the story line related to the Phyrexian threat. One has to ask, with Wizards taking so many steps recently to tie up loose ends in the pre-mending story line, and create a new frontier for development, why this sudden nod to the past?

Phyrexians may be the best known users of portal technology that most mages are familiar with, but it certainly is not the only time we have seen portals. The canon reveals that a fixed portal once existed between the Talon Gate of Dominaria, and some portion of Kamigawa, as touched on in my history of Nicol Bolas.

Another portal has been revealed to us in Magic's canon, one which I have reason to believe is more relevant in the short term. The plane of Ulgrotha (as explored in the Homelands expansion) brought to our attention the the Dwarven Gate, a portal located in the ruins of New Freedom, below Castle Sengir.

So why all the talk about portals anyway? The answer is many fold, but one thing all these gates are known to have in common (as desribed in varied canon sources), is that they are anchored, at least on one side by either a fixed or mobile "doorway" structure. An interesting pair of doorway structures have begun to appear in the artwork for lands recently, spurring discussion of their use as portal anchors.

It is believed that the soon to be explored plane of Zendikar, may be a hub for portal technology, linking it to many points in the multiverse. Vampires are a creature type which has been touched on with several occasions, but we have yet to see an origin point for vampires as a creature type. Zendikar, is known to have a strong tie to the Vampire creature type, and may well be the origin we have been waiting for. Zendikars portal sightings, and Vampires draw clear correlations to the long forgotten plane of Ulgrotha.

So what does this all have to do with the upcoming Duel Decks box set. The answer may be more simple, then you expect. Both the Phyrexians and the Consortium are organization, which like most groups in the multiverse, are made up primarily of non-walkers. The key difference to these two groups is they both are aware of the multiverse, nearly at it's highest levels, with an eye to exploit the multiverse to their own ends. In other words they both need ways to mobilize the majority of their personnel and assets around the multiverse, with out the constant assistance of planeswalkers. In suddenly becomes clear that these two groups are competing for portal technologies, either pre-existing, or the physical sites which allow them to be constructed.

Ladies and Gentleman, Magic the Gathering has entered the age of the Stargate.

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