The Root Of All Greevils
We? Who is this"we" you speak of, Mr. Mistretta? How is it that you feel you can speak for the Magic community as a whole? I'd be insulted even if I didn't disagree with you.
Now, let me state my opinion. Humorous flavor text is much more interesting than POD (plain old description). After all, we already have an image and an effect; do we really need to beat a dead horse? Take your example - Drudge Skeletons. From the picture, we can see they are skeletal warriors; from their mechanic text, we can see they regenerate. Now you want the following flavor text:"Bones scattered around us joined to form misshapen bodies, We struck at them repeatedly - they fell, but soon formed again, with the same mocking look on their faceless skulls."
Yay. Whatever. That's not interesting. You might as well just write"They were skeletons. We tried to kill them. They regenerated." How more boring could you get?
You wrote:"An unstoppable hoard of the walking dead intent on your inevitable ghastly demise has been transformed into a gag that could have come from a fourth grader's school talent show routine."
Do you even realize how funny your statement was? Yes, it's a transposition of roles; that is exactly what makes it amusing. The very fact that undead are supposed to be horrific is what gives them that comedy potential. Mark Rosewater knows what he's talking about in this case.
Ben Bleiweiss' article on magicthegathering.com shows the best of what flavor text can be. How can you read the quote on Incinerate and not smile as you burn out your opponent's Spectral Lynx? Ben hits the nail on the head; the good quotes are the ones you want to say out loud when you cast the spell.
And not to speak for Mr. Rosewater or anything, but your article was very insulting to him personally and the rest of the writing team in general. The entire tone of your article was insulting, demeaning, and downright rude. Not that you don't have a valid point in there somewhere. I wouldn't mind seeing some more elegant quotes on cards, and I, too, don't really care about the storyline behind the game. However, there's no reason to put it in such a way as you did. It's simply unprofessional.
You wrote:"Magic needs its majesty and dignity. Every little joke like this, every little extra bit of focus on a pet character, weakens the once-great atmosphere more and more. And let's face it; without the great atmosphere Magic was created with, it's just a bunch of cardboard."
Now here you're just plain wrong. Magic is a game. It's supposed to be fun. Magic needs majesty like a platypus needs Chapstick. Fun quotes make the game more fun. What, do you really think we're catering to the great literary minds of the century here? Flavor text is there to add flavor to the card... And most of them do just that. Sure there are bad ones, just as there are bad cards, but for the most part, flavor text has gotten better over the years, not worse. Do you remember the text of Llanowar Elves from 3rd edition? No? Me neither. Why? Because it was Plain Old Description - which is long for Boring.
If you want to read literature, take British Lit 101. If you want to be amused for hours at a time, play Magic and read the quotes.
Who is suddenly inspired to make a"cool flavor text" deck
What do YOU think? Share your opinion with the community and you just may walk away with some FREE Magic cards... courtesy of your friends at StarCityGames.com!