Jesse T: What’s up, wiz kids? Have you heard the news? Magic is courting new players with Intro Packs, featuring present and past versions of the same exact planeswalkers they’ve been trying to force since 2007. If you were sick of seeing a new Chandra in every set, wait ‘til you see two!
T: Nowadays, Chandra is only about dealing damage sometimes, whereas a Pyrogenius is all about damage all the time. Market research shows that setting things on fire is really popular with our target demographic. I know it’s pretty difficult to design a red card by doing something other than changing a number and adding “or player”, but they’ve really stepped up to the challenge.
Jesse K: The thing that really stands out to me about this Chandra, aside from it clearly being created by a card-designing AI, is that she’s in an absolutely great mood! Check out that winning smile and cool-kid kickin’ it pose. It’s like she’s saying, “Forget about all that dead parents stuff, come play some Magic: The Gathering.”
T: Let me get this straight: Nature’s Artisan gives me life, but not Vital Force? Doesn’t vital mean life-giving? And how is a 6-mana spell that gains you 3 life supposed to make new players want to play this game more than once? So many questions! An interesting part of Nissa’s backstory is that she used to be an elvish supremacist until she traveled to Llorwyn and learned, much like in the classic family film Christmas Every Day, to be careful what she wished for.
K: Nissa’s also looking good and feeling good, but it’s in a more serene way than Chandra. Clearly the intellectual’s beginner planeswalker, she draws you more cards than any blue walker they’ve printed so far. The sense I’m getting from these cards is that there’s some kind of alternate universe where planeswalkers go on fun adventures rather than dealing with death, war, and planar destruction every single block. Check out the haunted eyes of Nissa prime: They seem to say, “Oh God, not again.” Nature’s Artisan, on the other hand, both looks and sounds like a box of semi-healthy snacks. This is a planeswalker who has been through too much. Who wouldn’t want to see a slightly lighter take on these characters?
T: Seeing what Wizards did, we took the liberty of creating our own alternate versions of planeswalkers to appeal to a younger audience: Gatewatch Kidz. Check it out!
T: Years before he slips down Diagon Alley and ends up in Ravnica, Jace is solving mysteries in the wizard-world of Vryn for 50 cents a piece. His best friend is an imaginary sphinx, and he goes to school with a bunch of other wizards. His powers of deductive reasoning help the Gatewatch Kidz stop crime in every episode, and he generates massive amounts of blue mana by crying more than most children his age.
T: Space-age vehicles, energy counters, wingdings… what’s next? Rocket boots? We live in a high-tech multiverse, and we need a high-tech Gatewatch. Nixilis’ special cybernetic demon-suit, designed by the five-year-old computer genius Tezzeret, makes him a deadly foe indeed. Without Liliana to wield the fifth ring of elemental power and summon Captain Planet, the Gatewatch Kidz could never defeat him.
T: A friend of the ‘Watch, Kiora was heir to the throne of an underwater kingdom, but she traded away her title to the sea witch Ursula in exchange for legs. The GK crew first encounters her in the special holiday episode Summer Daze, wherein she saves Gideon’s beach party from a group of aggressive Homarid weightlifters. Kiora’s ability to summon large tentacled sea creatures has unfortunately made her a fan favorite almost exclusively among hentai artists.
T: Outta the way, old man! One day he might grow up to be one of the most powerful forces of evil in the multiverse, but right now he’s just that lovable scamp Li’l Nicky. His pranks can be elder dragon legendary, but sometimes he goes too far. Once he set a teacher’s car on fire just for calling him by his full name: Nicolas Bicolas. Another kid once called him “Pickle-less Nicolas” and Bolas stuffed him in a locker. He never emerged.
K: Ajani has always been about helping others reach their true potential. In his Gatewatch Kidz incarnation he stands up to bullies, does cool sports tricks, and encouragers the consumption of cereals with dubious health value. Like many of the Gatewatch, he’ll probably end up with multiple printings, including an ill-advised Ajani Extreme phase.
K: This card continues the proud (and just-begun) planeswalker pack tradition of glossing over and sugar-coating Magic’s more serious story elements. While she might be rotting away in the Therosian afterlife in the Magic prime universe, this Elspeth’s back and ready for action. Just because she’s dead doesn’t mean she can’t be the life of the party. Just throw on some borderline offensive calypso music and let her plus ability create its own party. Oops, her arm fell off! That’s Elspeth!
K: Jesse T, this is the one I think is really going to blow you away. Our Market Research Shows that girls aged 12 to 18 are one of Magic’s greatest untapped markets, and what better way to capture their attention than with a cynical, capitalist ploy! If you think about it, Liliana is already pretty well-positioned for this role, having at least one estranged love interest and a trilogy-friendly plotline involving taking down three demons (who probably represent a society that just doesn’t value your uniqueness). Four movies of rapidly diminishing quality later, and we can finally quit this Magic gig.
T: I think the demons represent demons, but like, figurative ones. Either way, I probably wouldn’t watch them. Speaking of things I don’t want to watch, I’ve got to say, we’re really onto something with this Gatewatch Kidz concept. It could be a weekly animated series, a line of children’s toys, and maybe even its own card game that’s basically just a watered-down version of Magic! I’m going to go check if I can still copyright Karn the Teenage Robot real quick. Thanks for reading!
K: Well, as you can see from these mock-ups, there’s plenty of creative room for the planeswalker pack family of products to grow. I didn’t even get to tell you about other future Gatewatch Kidz members Garry, Mild Speaker; Dack Fayden (The Greatest Hamburger Thief in the Multiverse); or Koth! Hammertime. However, we’re not done with supplemental products yet. Tune in next time when we tell you which new Commander deck to buy from a purely flavor-driven perspective.
You can find Two Jesses on Twitter @TwoJesses.