Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Innistrad - "Horror Lurks Within".... But exactly how?

Innistrad - "Horror Lurks  Within".... But exactly how?

The mechanics of upcoming set Innistrad just been revealed on the Wizards of the Coast website. The most intriguing of all are the double-faced cards. That's right, creatures printed on the front and back of the card, without the traditional back with the Magic logo. These cards will be "transformable", ie, if the right conditions are met, they are turned over, becoming the creature printed on the other face. We've talked about this in this post. As we have shown, that mechanic will be used to represent werewolves, who in the world of Innistrad are normal people, respected in their community, but become pretty wild when night falls ...

Here in Medieval Fantasy we aim at original approaches, and we will not limit ourselves to only showcase Innistrad spoilers, showing only the images and the mechanics of the cards, like hundreds of other websites.

No, here our interest about Magic is not only  for the game itself, but also for all the mythology and history printed on the cards. Innistrad tagline is "horror lurks within". From the beginning, Innistrad designers made ​​it clear that they would have "traditional" horror as inspiration, ie, that horror found in books and films such as Nosferatu, Dracula and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Those in which we see the monster hiding in his eerie castle, fleeing a mob of peasants angry at so many atrocious acts, armed with pitchforks and torches. What does this have to do with horror: Okay, but where exactly do we find that "horror" in the Innistrad cards and mechanics ? Come on in, we will show you (the castle doors open with a soul-chilling creak...)

Double-faced cards

Double-faced card : Gatstaf Shepherd/Gatstaf Howler
First, let's take a look at the mechanics of double-faced cards. These came to represent the tradition of the "monster literature," a genre of horror literature which includes the Frankenstein monster, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Dracula and many other stories of werewolves and vampires.

Fans of the traditional horror that inspired Innistrad will recognize that shadow ...
The "monster literature" often deals with the evil side of man, represented in the form of a monster, and the greatest example of this dualism is the case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. By day, Dr. Jekyll is a peaceful and respectable doctor and the monstrous Mr Hyde at night. The mechanics of Day and Night and double-faced cards represents this theme with mastery.

How the double-faced cards work: If you use opaque card sleeves, you simply turn the "transformed" face up, returning the other side up when the card leaves the battlefield. What if you don't use sleeves? Wizards came up with an insightful solution, a card called checklist card. The checklist card can represent any one of the creatures listed, simply mark (with a pen, for example) the creature that will be represented in the list and its power / toughness on the field at the bottom right of the card. The first time I heard of double-faced cards, I thought the folks at Wizards were going crazy, but here is proof that they have done it well!


Another new mechanic is Fight. The creature can choose to
literally fight a creature. Each fighting creature will make an amount of damage to the other equal to its power, but the creatures don't tap like they do in normal combat.

Nightfall Predator, "transformed" face of Daybreak Ranger, brings the mechanic Fight

 And then you wonder:

What does this have to do with horror: This
mechanical reproduces the  "monster hunters" present in many stories of monsters. For example, vampires and werewolves hunters such as Van Helsing, Alucard from Castlevania series, and Solomon Kane by Robert E. Howard.

In future posts, we will continue our series Innistrad - "Horror Lurks  Within".... But exactly how?, This time analyzing specific Innistrad cards and what they have to do with horror.