Of course, Magic’s Golden Age is different for everybody—depending on when you first caught the cardboard bug. I discussed this concept at length in an article called Honeymoon in Dominaria. Take a poke over there if you want to get the full meal deal. For the “on the go” generation, here’s a DriveThru snack:
|A player’s Golden Age is the period in Magic’s past when that player first fell in love with the game. Players tend to look upon the cards of this time with rose-colored glasses—because these cards hold a special place in their hearts.|
If you just started playing in the last couple years or so, then Time Spiral will seem all new to you – which is a good thing of its own. All the depth and history of these cards will be like fossils for you to uncover and explore. You’ll be able to trace little bits and pieces on cards to great story events, ancient flavor text, character histories, etc. Time Spiral will give you more to dig into than any other set… ever – because it’s tied to just about every other set… ever.
But for the long-timers, old-schoolers, and 5+ year Magic codgers, Time Spiral will be a weaving, winding trip down memory lane. But don’t get too comfortable, because the world is in turmoil, and the people you meet from the old days will not just be your old Sage of Lat-Nam. You may run into a Knights of Thorn in your side or an old Defiant Vanguard.
The Time Spiral Magic Museum is a place newer players can visit to learn about bits of ancient Magic history as it relates to the creative elements of Time Spiral cards. It’s also a place where old-schoolers can stroll about and see what nuggets we have planted in Time Spiral from their Golden Ages.
Here’s how a Time Spiral Magic Museum exhibit looks: I’ll show you a card, Exhibit A, on the left, then list on the right all the flavor areas in which a historical reference or tie is being made. Then, if you choose to see what they are and what I have to say about them, you can click “Ask the Curator.”
I am setting it up this way because I know there are über-Vorthoses out there who like to discover all facets of Magic flavor on their own. Setting up exhibits in this way, the power is in your own hands. You can stop and listen to the curator talk about the origins of the Lhurgoyf species, or you can shuffle by with your fingers in your ears so that you may hunt down Lhurgoyf lore on your own.
Below is our first exhibit, and I am making this one mandatory for all. I want everybody to be able to see what sort of information the curator will be revealing so that they may make an informed decision whether or not to move on. Let’s begin.
Name, Art, Artist, Flavor Text
Ask the Curator:
The Opal Guardian is a wonderful example of intermingling the past and the present in multiple facets of Magic Creative. It combines the flavor (and mechanics too) of Abbey Gargoyles and Opal Gargoyle.
It is from these two old cards that this new one takes its form. Opal Guardian’s name is phonetically similar to both. Its art is reminiscent of Abbey Gargoyles, with a back-lit gargoyle similarly poised atop a stone wall. Opal Guardian was also painted by old-schooler Christopher Rush, the very same artist who painted the original Abbey Gargoyles. Time Spiral brings back old artists like Rush in a wonderful scenario of life imitating art.
The flavor text does not so much contain bits of the past as much as it describes it:
It was a moment in time, cast in stone—a moment whose time had come again.
I like how this flavor text is successful on its own, but even more so when Opal Guardian is considered as a link to Abbey Gargoyles and Opal Gargoyle. On top of that it is also a clever nod to the Magic nostalgia reappearing all throughout Time Spiral.
Pretty nifty, eh? Interested in seeing more? Let’s move on.
Name, Art, Storyline, Flavor Text
Once a vision of constancy in the sky, the moon had long been hidden from view by the haze that chokes the heavens. They very sight of it had become a sign that change was in the air.
Denizens of Rath had never seen the moon before. It was a symbol of change, not constancy.
It’s interesting how the concept of the color-washing moon is worked into the differing storylines of both Rath and Time Spiral’s post-apocalyptic Dominaria. Given the far-reaching power of the time rifts, Moonlace could take its power from the very same pale moon that appeared in Rath so long ago.
Name, Art, Artist, Flavor Text
The flavor text of these two cards are related as well. The Sangrophage text reflects the pattern of its older brother and seems to take the meaning one step further.
Eating is all it knows.
The living is all it eats.
Name, Art, Flavor Text
"While most overworlders fortunately don't realize this, Gargoyles can be most delicious, providing you have the appropriate tools to carve them." —The Underworld Cookbook by Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar
“A gargoyle’s flesh can be carved with an ordinary cleaver, but for its petrous hide…” —The Underworld Cookbook by Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar
Ha! Apparently, you need an electrically charged blade to saw through a gargoyle’s stony hide to get to the succulent flesh beneath. This is not only historically significant, it is completely relevant to the abused and overused food theme of this column!
Name, Flavor Text
Pendelhaven Elder’s historic ties are legendary, literally. Its flavor is derived from the combination of two cards from Legends, Jacques le Vert and Pendelhaven. The relationship in the name is quite obvious, but you have to dig into flavor text to find the ancient link. Let’s first look at the flavor text of Pendelhaven Elder:
The elder who carries the ancestral mantle of Jacques le Vert is tasked with his ancient mission: to protect the creatures of Pendelhaven.
Jacques le Vert
Abandoning his sword to return to the lush forest of Pendelhaven, Jacques le Vert devoted his life to protecting the creatures of his homeland.
|You can see, right there in le Vert’s flavor text, why the present day elders seek to emulate this long-dead hero. While the trees and greenery of historic Pendelhaven are withered by the harsh post-apocalyptic conditions, the “ancestral mantle of Jacques le Vert” lives on in Time Spiral!||
Scion of the Ur-Dragon
Name, Flavor Text
It is here, in present day Dominaria, to remind us of the ancient power of a name long since uttered—that of the Ur-Dragon. The Scion of the Ur-Dragon is a living projection of the great spirit of all dragonkind, the Ur-Dragon. We last heard of the Ur-Dragon back during the Invasion, when the dragon legends lived as examples of its might. The card name, Scion of the Ur-Dragon, has a historical tie to the flavor text of all five Invasion dragon legends’ attendants:
"Crosis is the eye of the ur-dragon, piercing illusion and darkness."
"Darigaaz is the breath of the ur-dragon, burning away the burdens of mortality."
“Dromar is the wings of the ur-dragon, sweeping away all opposition."
"Rith is the claw of the ur-dragon, scattering seeds of devastation."
"Treva is the voice of the ur-dragon, demanding cries of worship."
And then, to punctuate the fact that the Scion of the Ur-Dragon is linked to the Ur-Dragon and these (and all other) dragons, its flavor text adapts this scheme:
Scion of the Ur-Dragon
“I am the blood of the Ur-Dragon, coursing through all dragonkind.”
Sarpadian Empires Vol. VII
Sarpadian Empires, Vol. VII is not just a card that references other facets of Magic history, it is a history book in itself! It and its 6 sister volumes, recount the history of Sarpadia and the many races that struggled for dominance. This place and these races are the building blocks of the slice of Magic history we know as Fallen Empires.
You might notice that the name of this card is in italics. This is because the card name is not only a title but a direct quote from the flavor text of Fallen Empires cards, and flavor text is in italics. This might seem strange, but when you consider the fact that the words “Sarpadian Empires” appear 43 times on 35 different cards, it begins to feel less odd and more historically accurate. Here are 34 cards with Sarpadian Empires flavor text. Note that some of them have multiple entries from these books:
That’s a whole lot of Magic history all packed in this one book. But there’s a bit more too, and it’s packed on this book. Take a look at the illustration – there, on the cover of the book, you can see appearances of 5 of the many “empires” that are accounted for in the 7 volumes; humans, homarids, goblins, thallids, and thrulls.
This brings us to the end of our tour for today. But this tour only scratched the surface of all the history waiting to be explored in the Time Spiral Magic Museum. Just about every card in the set is as packed with ancient flavor as each of these. I encourage you to dig into your Time Spiral cards the same way I did for you today. You will be amazed at the wonders you’ll discover.
The past lives within its pages, waiting for its time to come again.