The War of the Spark is coming to Ravnica. After many years of planning, Nicol Bolas will execute his mission, and Wizards has decided to treat us to a trailer that will kick off the set. Below is the trailer if you haven’t seen it yet.
It is well done and definitely gives a film vibe, so I decided to give my thoughts on the video.
The video opens with a rewind of events in slow motion, to the a cover of the Linkin Park song “In the End”. Liliana is leading a team of eternals (zombies) to attack, while Nicol Bolas watches from high up. While it is fun to hear covers of songs done to trailers, at this point, it’s a bit of a cliche. One of the best versions of this for the Dead Space trailer, which has a cover of Twinkle Twinkle. That was 10 years ago and it felt fresh. Now, I don’t really see game trailers using that technique. In the end (no pun intended), it works out for this, as we are lucky to even have trailers for new Magic sets, but I was hoping for something new or original.
Next, as the video reverses, we see Gideon, being attacked by a group of eternals. We can assume Gideon is safe, unlike Dak Fayden, who does get killed by an eternal. We watch Dack come back to life in reverse as he tried to reach out to Liliana. This part of the trailer allows us to see that not everyone will survive this war.
The key point of the video is when Liliana looks upon rubble that has an arm sticking out. As we reverse through time, we see that is it a woman and a child who fell under the rubble trying to escape. This is where the trailer becomes most cliche. First, we have the usual “civilians running away from the superhero, and they get hurt” situation. Hopefully they will explain why this pair decided to leave the cover of the building they were in and run in the same direction as Liliana and her army. Maybe they were lost, or perhaps they didn’t think the eternals would attack them (this is Magic’s take on the Avengers after all). Either way, it seemed off. This moment triggers Liliana to decide to fight Nicol Bolas and direct her army towards him. This part in particular seemed like a lost moment. I think they should have had the adult look like her brother, the one who’s death triggered everything monumental in her life, as that would have had more impact. That would have had Liliana remember who she was in her past life, and why she must turn against Bolas. Instead we have a random death that becomes the moment where she turns.
Liliana’s reflection on this moment causes her to change and send the army after Bolas. The eternals leave Gideon alone and head towards the pyramid. As they get off him, we see that Gideon is untouched, not even wounds reversing. This seems a little odd, as at the least they could have shown battle wounds. Gideon though is indestructible in his creature form, so perhaps they just wanted to show off. The army has quite a feat ahead of them. They must climb a giant pyramid to attack a large dragon, which can fly. Not really a logical decision on Liliana’s part, but her change of heart (and the Linkin Park melody) are getting to her. We end with Bolas getting angry and doing something with his eyes. If you’ve ever gotten the evil eye from a friend, you know exactly how this feels. His evil eye is worse though, as it hurts Liliana and causes her to turn to ash (another Avengers riff). The trailer ends there, with details on the prerelease.
I like the direction the the marketing team is heading, with the trailers for new sets getting more complex and animated. The downside is that they are stuck int he past, using old tropes and cliches to get things moving along. Also the timing of everything with the Avengers movie (with the 4th film releasing the same weekend) may be coincidental, but it feels like they took a lot of notes from those films to incorporate into this trailer. I’m still excited to see what they come up with next, and hope they improve on this trailer for the next set.