Q: What's Going On With Ask Wizards?
Ask Wizards is becoming an occasional feature in Magic Arcana, where we'll answer several questions at a time.
Q: So it's not going to be daily anymore?
Correct. We think that this way we can avoid the "filler" questions while giving the interesting questions the depth they deserve.
A number of reasons. For one thing, we have three columns written by internal writers (Making Magic, Savor the Flavor, and Latest Developments), and when a question comes in that one of those writers wants to answer, they normally do it in the column. Doug Beyer even has a specific "Letter of the Week" section in Savor the Flavor where he answers questions. This is a great feature, but it obviously leaves fewer questions available for Ask Wizards.
Q: What's happening with Rules Corner?
The Ask Wizards Rules Corner is going away. To be honest, it's not a great way to answer rules questions anyway. The best place to go is the Rules Q&A Forum, where you can get immediate answers from knowledgeable people and be reasonably sure that you're not accidentally reading an answer that's been obsoleted by a rules change.
Q: What do I do if I have a question?
You can still send it, along with your name and location, to us via this email form.
Q: Where are the archives of old Ask Wizards questions?
Q: Do you promise that Ask Wizards isn't just going away?
Yes! In fact, here are a couple of real (i.e. "not about Ask Wizards itself") questions!
Q: Who is this Claymore J. Flapdoodle, the artist behind Unglued? Is he made up of all the artists? Please clarify.
–Joshua, Bridgewater, NJ, USA
A: From Mark Rosewater, Magic Head Designer:
Ah, Claymore J. Flapdoodle: the man (or possibly woman), the myth (or possibly real person) the legend (or possibly fraud). I wish I could tell you who he/she/it was but contractual obligations prevent me from telling you anything except for “he/she/it has revolutionized Magic illustrations in way not seen since Michaelangelo” (who by the way, actually did very little to revolutionize Magic illustrations). All I can say is that the man/woman/otherworldly being (who by the way I can say is actually a single person) was able to convince our legal department to sign a very insane contract. For example, every time I mention Claymore J. Flapdoodle’s name three times, I am legally obligated to write the word “chicken” nine times. Don’t ask why. No literally, I am forbidden by law to explain. Let’s just say that the mystery will have to go to Claymore J. Flapdoodle’s grave. Darn! Chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken. Chicken.
Q: Did you ship Shards of Alara to China? If so, how did you bypass their strict rule of a skeleton-free culture in the country? (especially in this set where there are lots of skeletons)
–Dominic, Quezon City, Philippines
A: From Jeremy Jarvis, Magic Art Director:
Yes, we shipped to China, and no, there aren't an abnormally large number of alternate illustrations for that market. In fact, there are none. In early discussions within Magic Creative, once we started to hone in on the idea that the uBr shard would be this sort of Magic version of a "Heavy Metal" Hell-scape we knew we would have to diverge from our normal approach, if for no other reason than time line. We simply could not alt-illustrate an entire shard. We opened discussions with Brand, and at the end of the day, were give free reign to make Grixis look like we felt it should look, without concession to any singular market. I'll let Elaine Chase from Brand speak to the 'how' of your question:
A: From Elaine Chase, Magic Brand:
We took a look at the current state of the Chinese games market to see what has changed since we started selling Magic there. While skeletons are still not exactly "polite," they have turned more into an unlucky symbol that the older generation reacts much more strongly to than the younger, games-playing population. Video games have really opened up what is considered acceptable, and if anything, the use of such "edgy" images can be seen as a draw to our audience. Society hasn't changed to anything-goes in regards to representing the dead, but the Wizards of the Coast office in charge of China agreed to let us proceed with Grixis.
Q: A few months ago, someone asked how to make a detailed search on Gatherer, and the response said that it couldn't be done now, but that the elaborate new Gatherer could do it. We were told it would be launched around the website revamp for Shards of Alara. When is it coming?
–Will,Gaithersburg, MD, USA
A: From Dave Guskin, Web Developer:
I've got good news – the new beta Gatherer launched yesterday, and you can find it at http://beta.gatherer.wizards.com/! We're working with all of you in the community as you give us feedback to hammer out the remaining bugs and implement requested features as we are able.
This new version of Gatherer has a bunch of improvements, including the ability to use an advanced search to do complex filters on all aspects of a card, a more visuala and sortable interface for search results, and an entirely new section that allows you to rate, comment on and rate comments on each card. Here's a short list of some of the new features you'll find in the new Gatherer:
- You can sort your results using multiple successive sorts. So for example, you could search for all Goblins in Magic, and then sort them by color, then converted mana cost, then name. Sort options are in the "Search Options" expandable area on the Search Results page.
- You can view ANY set of results as a Visual Spoiler! So for example, you could look for all of the Planeswalkers in Magic, and then switch to Visual Spoiler view to see them as a grid of cards. Visual Spoiler is a link in the same "Search Options" expandable area on the Search Results page.
- You can get a random card by clicking Random Card in the top navigation. (This is one of my favorite things to do on the new Gatherer.) You can also see the entire set in which a card was printed, or the entire works of that card's artist, by clicking on the links on the Card Details page.
- You can see statistics on another user's ratings and comments by clicking their name next to a comment they've made on a card.
We're hoping to update with fixes and features as suggested by the community over the coming weeks, so keep that feedback coming!