Saturday, March 30, 2013

Melvin and Vorthos

The other archetypes that are not normally mentioned:

Last week I had wrote an article about Timmy, Johnny, and Spike about different "playstyles" of Magic: the Gathering. This week I'm actually talking about the flavor of cards.

To be quite frank, there are only two kinds of these players: Vorthos and Melvin.

Vorthos cares about the flavor of the cards--the flavor text, how it fits into the setting of Mirrodin or whatever plane they are on now. In fact, Wizards mentioned that Vorthos players typically don't even play the game to play the game. They love the lore and sometimes they won't even play the newest set until they get to read the entire novel because some of the flavor text might ruin it.

Melvin players still care about the flavor, but in a different way. They care about how the card functions--not just with other cards, but with itself. As in, what abilities--both positive and negative--could target itself? Once again, Vorthos and Melvin are not particularly concerned with how they play the game, but rather why they play the game.

Let's take a look at Skirsdag Flayer, a card I consider within the "Melvin" idea.

Take a look to the card at the left. Upon first glance you'd think it's a human that kills. Okay that's cool. But Melvin players would look at it and go "man, this card can sacrifice itself it to kill, not necessarily others." If you had been reading any of the other flavor texts, you would know there's a cult in Innistrad (the plane--Dark Ascension the set) that is sacrificing themselves to demons to help rid of the werewolves and zombies. I kind of satanic cult, if you will. Vorthos players would also rejoice over this card, because this dude is THE dude doing the sacrificing.

To the right, you see a card that especially appeals to Melvin players. Reading the effects you literally become a creature for players to attack. Just like the creature with Toughness, it resets every turn. I yet have to meet a player that would actually play this card, but it is chock full of flavor.

Unfortunately, it isn't very common to find a card that represents Vorthos too well. The kind's of cards that impress Vorthos range from the ever-so-silly flavor text on Wall of Spears to the final words uttered by Volrath to the imprisoned Karn on Propaganda. (It's okay, he comes back in Scars of Mirrodin.)

Vorthos is the type of guy that won't use certain lands in his draft deck because they are "ugly". Art, story, and correct/accurate depiction of scenarios, happenings, artifacts, are very dear to Vorthos. The last thing you want is another card art like Word of Command.

Keep in mind, Vorthos and Melvin aren't necessarily too separate entities. It is possible to be both of them, just like Timmy and Johnny.

Well thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this article!


  1. This seems a bit... One-sided of an article? At least give Vorthos the benefit of the doubt that some card art is BEAUTIFUL while others are god-awful.

  2. I actually kind of forgot Vorthos was huge into art. I'll add that in. Thanks!

  3. It is very strange that you steal the text and ideas from the article by Mark Rosewater, but fail to link it anywhere.

    You can find it here at the wizards website if you'd rather read the original.