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The Vorthos Timeline Project

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This is my next community project. Welcome, and I’m happy to have you checking out the Vorthos timeline. All events, actions, issues, quagmires, and more will be listed below in time, in an archival source.

What should be included here are significant events and things that an art, flavor, or storyline player will care about: the canon of sorts that you argue about—that riles you up and elicits an emotion, for good or ill.

I absolutely hate searching for information and being simply unable to find it online. I’ve had more than my share of concussions, and exact details are sometimes fuzzy. My wife finds it frustrating but keeps it comical more often than not, keeping me honest. I write Post-it Notes because they force me to remember it and resolve it immediately. (Also, 3M is a Minnesota company!)

This is a work in progress; it is not complete, obviously, and that’s very much intentional. Not every set is mentioned because, while I think Omar Rayyan is a master artist and basically defined the Lorwyn/Shadowmoor feel, each setting isn’t significant long-term. I strongly encourage you to share your Vorthos moments in the comments below— ideally with links and citations! FILL IN THE HOLES. YES. To those who gave me the info already, I thank you. Let’s make it interesting: First person to name ten applicable things unlisted earns both Jedit comics, sent by me.

After this article has died down here, I will be posted this to the MTGSalvation wiki, and everyone will be allowed to add, edit, and have an ongoing source of time-lined research for future articles.

- Mike

’90–’93

  • Magic is pitched to Wizards by Garfield himself. Unused art, called slush, becomes available. The Limited Edition Alpha card Cockatrice is one such example of an artwork being used.

’93–’97

  • 1994 – The Duelist magazine is launched in May, covering a wide variety of flavorful things, from storyline previews to style-guide artworks and more.
  • 1994 – Magic’s first novel, Arena, is published in November.
  • 1995 – Magic’s first comic, The Shadow Mage, is released in July by Armada Comics.
  • 1996 – Jenny Scott, editor at Wizards of the Coast, writes The Love Song of Night and Day, a poem that comprises seventeen Mirage flavor texts and more.1
  • 1996 – Artist royalties are phased out by buying back image copyrights from the artist.
  • 1997 – Vanguard format introduced. New art of the Weatherlight crew is depicted on each card.2
  • 1997 – A Windows game is released by Microprose called Magic: The Gathering. It takes place on the plane of Shandalar, previously only known in a comic with the same name. It creates an immersive experience into the game.

’97–’01

  • 1998 – The Art of Magic: the Gathering is released in August. Much of the artwork is from the Weatherlight style guides.
  • 1998 – Phyrexia.com begins as a site for Magic players to congregate on their forums. It became a site of Vorthos players, explaining storyline and discussing news.
  • 1999 – The Duelist magazine ceases production after forty-one issues.
  • 1999 – Magic ends its comic book line with Gerrard’s Quest finale, the fourth issue.

’01–’05

  • 2001 – The Weatherlight saga ends with Apocalypse being released in June. The completed Legacy Weapon destroys Yawgmoth, and the Phyrexian invasion ends.3
  • 2003 – It’s the Rebecca Guay controversy. In a nutshell, communication was poorly conveyed that Guay would not be in the next set due to her style, and the idea was planted that she was not to be used again.4 Fans became involved and many, many angry letters were written to Wizards. An Unhinged card, Persecute Artist, lampoons the situation.
  • 2003 – Battlegrounds, a game on the Xbox is released. It showed creatures who fought directly using the Unreal graphics engine.
  • 2004 – Wizards makes a conscious effort in early 2004 to submit a large submission of card artworks to Spectrum, an annual art book. Their efforts paid off with eleven inclusions into Spectrum 11.
  • 2005 – Taste the Magic series by Matt Cavotta begins.5
  • 2005 – Ravnica block is released, showcasing ten guilds, combining two colors to form an identity players related to. Dual colors are still called by their guild names, such as Gruul meaning R/G, as opposed to referring to them by the colors or “Mountain/Forest.”

’05–’09

  • 2006 – Brady Dommermuth, creative director, explains what the card set logos are.6
  • 2007 – The Time Spiral block ends with Future Sight, culminating in the Mending. The Mending was a storyline event that was a turning point of planeswalkers. Prior to it, planeswalkers were immortal, godlike wizards. Post-mending, planeswalkers became mortal and more relatable, and they therefore were powered down enough to be included into the game the following year in Lorwyn.
  • 2007 – The open letter on Phyrexia.com is posted and sent to Brady Dommermuth. From the letter, any post-mending planeswalker is called a “neo-walker” or “Brady-walker.”
  • 2007 – Matt Cavotta stops writing his Taste the Magic column.7
  • 2008 – Eric Klug, alterist, begins altering cards as a hobby.
  • 2009 – Nicol Bolas returns to the game, in card form, in Conflux.

’09–’10

  • 2009 – Duels of the Planeswalkers (DOTP) is released for tablets and for Steam. The game has cut scenes and storyline content and has new versions released each year subsequently.
  • 2010 – Issar Roon, a series on GatheringMagic, begins in January, showcasing Magic history through a fictional historian’s perspective.
  • 2010 – This is the Rise of the Eldrazi god reveal. The Merfolk and Kor worshipped their Zendikar gods of Emeria, Ula, and Cosi. These gods were actually distant memories of Emrakul, Ulamog, and Kozilek.8
  • 2010 – Matt Cavotta joins Wizards as Creative Director, largely in charge of visual aesthetics such as packaging and brand consistency.9

’10–’13

  • 2011 – Mike Linnemann starts writing articles on Vorthos Wednesday at GatheringMagic.10
  • 2011 – Magic: The Gathering Tactics computer game is released. The game is similar to Battlegrounds, in which creatures summoned are seen and attack in 3D.
  • 2011 – John Dale Beety begins writing Vorthos-related Compulsive Research articles on StarCityGames.11
  • 2011 – Magic’s final printed novel is released: Scars of Mirrodin: The Quest for Karn.
  • 2011 – Liliana Vess’s novel is canceled.
  • 2011 – Eric Klug, alterist, begins altering cards as a profession. In June of the same year, taking fourteen hours, he alters his first Black Lotus.12
  • 2011 – Fifth state of design is revealed.13 Future proliferation of Vorthos efforts all relate to this.
  • 2011 – IDW Publishing begins printing comic for Magic. The series features a new planeswalker, Dack Fayden.14 It’s released early 2012.
  • 2011 – The Alpha Project to find all the Limited Edition Alpha artworks begins.15
  • 2011 – An alternate reality game (ARG) started by “Josh Brauer” was conducted before Innistrad came out to fill in the gap that not having a novel would create.16
  • 2012 – Savor the Flavor column series ends on DailyMTG.17
  • 2012 – Helvault at Avacyn Restored release events is launched. The storyline dealt with “opening the Helvault,” and players did so with certain actions unlocking it. Very valuable tokens and oversized cards were found in some game stores.
  • 2012 – Spectrum Fantastic Art Live holds its first convention in Kansas City, hosting dozens of Magic artists.
  • 2012 – Uncharted Realms begins on DailyMTG.18
  • 2012 – Doug Beyer writes a three-part electronic book called The Secretist,19 taking place on Ravnica, featuring Jace Beleren. These novelettes took the place of a formal novel for Ravnica.
  • 2012 – Magic does a Which Way story on DailyMTG.20
  • 2013 – The Gathering, a crowd-sourced book comprised of art, ruminations, and more is funded.
  • 2013 – Brady Dommermuth, senior creative designer, is laid off.21 Quinton Hoover, Alpha artist of MTG, passes away, and original artwork is stolen.22
  • 2013 – Slivers are announced on Twitter to return to MTG.23




1 Ask Wizards, “The Love Song of Night and Day.” April 14, 2003. http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/feature/145

2 Arcana. September 23, 2002. http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/arcana/189

3 MTGSalvation, “Phyrexian Invasion of Dominaria” http://wiki.mtgsalvation.com/article/Phyrexian_Invasion_of_Dominaria

4 "WotC Fires Artist Rebecca Guay". MTG News. February 4, 2003.

5 Taste the Magic, “The Flavor of Magic” By Matt Cavotta, August 24, 2005. http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/mc1

6 Ask Wizards, October 2006. October 2, 2006. http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtgcom/askwizards/1006

7 Taste the Magic, “The Last Quack” By Matt Cavotta, September 6, 2007. http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/mc106

8 Savor the Flavor, “Gods and Monsters” By Doug Beyer, March 17, 2010. http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg%2Fdaily%2Fstf%2F82

9 Matt Cavotta. (n.d.) LinkedIn [Profile page]. Retrieved August 4, 2013, from www.linkedin.com/pub/matt-cavotta/29/7aa/78.

10 “Alterations: Ramifications and Future.” By Mike Linnemann, January 5, 2011. http://www.gatheringmagic.com/alterations-ramifications-future/

11 Compulsive Research, “The Top Five Sources of Real World Flavor Text“ By John Dale Beety, February 24, 2011. http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/misc/21193-Compulsive-Research-The-Top-Five-Sources-Of-Real-World-Flavor-Text.html

12 “Altered Reality – Black Lotus.” By Eric Klug, June 22, 2011. http://www.gatheringmagic.com/altered-reality-%E2%80%93-black-lotus/

13 Mark Rosewater, State of Design 2011, August, 22, 2011. http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/mm/157

14 “Hasbro, Inc. and IDW Publishing to launch Magic: The Gathering comic books.” September 1, 2011. http://www.idwpublishing.com/news/article/1938/

15 “Alpha Art: The Search Begins.” By Mike Linnemann, October 12, 2011. http://www.gatheringmagic.com/alpha-art-the-search-begins/

16 “RE: Josh Brauer” by Ryan Miller, October 24, 2011. http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/feature/166

17 Savor the Flavor, “Thanks and So Long” By Doug Beyer, March 28, 2012. http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/stf/188

18 Uncharted Realms, “Odric, Master Tactician.” By Jenna Helland, June 27, 2012. http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/ur/201

19 Return to Ravnica: The Secretist, Part One. By Doug Beyer, November 28, 2012. http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg%2Fdaily%2Ffeature%2F223c

20 “Is This Your Fateful Hour?” by Doug Beyer, December 14, 2012. http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/feature/227

21 Brady Dommermuth. (n.d.) LinkedIn [Profile page]. Retrieved August 4, 2013, from http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brady-dommermuth/4/35/86a.

22 “Vorthos’s Worst Day Ever.” By Mike Linnemann, April 24, 2013. http://www.gatheringmagic.com/mike-linneman-editorial-04242013-41913-vorthoss-worst-day-ever/

23 GatheringMagic Spoilers. “Slivers are Back in M14!” By Greg Haenig, May 6, 2013. http://www.gatheringmagic.com/greghaenig-news-spoilers-05062013-slivers-are-back-in-m14/

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