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Skyward San Francisco signing ()
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Questioner

What's your favorite guild in Ravnica?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably Dimir, probably. I mean I'm Esper, but I'm more interested in Dimir than I am in Azorius.

Questioner

That's exactly where I am, actually. I have an Esper Commander deck, been drafting Dimir heavily. Thank you so much!

Brandon Sanderson

I'm glad Dimir's finally good, 'cause in the previous two, Dimir has not been a place you wanted to be, either in original or in returns.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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The_Vikachu

Are there any existing MtG cards with little lore behind them that have really gotten your creative juices flowing? For example, cards like Helm of the Host or Dark Depths, which hint at tons of story potential but are otherwise ignored by the larger ongoing story.

Brandon Sanderson

I have always loved Dark Depths for that reason--and for similar reasons, I like cards that tell a story by themselves. (Figure of Destiny, or the Sagas are examples of this.)

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Smackashi

Who is your favorite planeswalker story wise? And who is your favorite non planeswalker character!

Brandon Sanderson

I really enjoyed all the lore of the Brother's War, and so Urza has a soft spot in my heart. I liked the spin that MTG took on the "Gandalf" character, making him quite flawed--even dangerous.

For newer walkers, I love the design (both the visuals and the card) on Ashiok, though they don't have a lot of lore associated with them.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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SeanWhelan1

Having you create a story for Magic has been speculated for a very longtime now. Will there be a return in the future (possibly a full length novel) or was this a one-shot type of deal?

Having Magic go back to novels is going to be amazing and hope to see you around for these!

Brandon Sanderson

I doubt this will be the last time I write something for MTG, but it is difficult to fit this sort of thing into my schedule. Doing it for free this way actually helped, as instead of thinking about how much it would earn relative to other things, I could just relax and treat it as a gift to the readers. I don't know if I could have fit it in otherwise, oddly.

I don't know that I'll ever be able to do a main-line MTG novel, as the amount of time I'd want to spend going to the planning meetings and the like would probably be prohibitive. But we'll see.

MisCon 2018 ()
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Questioner

Who's your favorite planeswalker?

Brandon Sanderson

Probably Elspeth. When Elspeth is dressed in armor appropriate for her personality. I have a thing about that. But I really like-- I mean, it's me. I like the questing knight searching for answers who thought she found them and then they turned-- the moral axis was upended. That was a really cool story, to me.

Questioner

Would you ever write any planeswalker stories?

Brandon Sanderson

If I were asked by Wizards of the Coast to write a story, I would probably say yes... I've told them this, as well, that if they asked me to write a story, I would probably say yes.

Questioner

So that's not Secret Project, either.

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't say that.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Arkm21ebr

Are there any MtG planes that have had an influence on you and share some characteristics with any of the planets in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

It's hard to say how much influence MTG has had on me, since I started playing in high school--right around the time when I started writing. I don't ever remember seeing the connected shared worlds thing, and connecting it to the cosmere. (I see that as more directly influenced by Asimov and Stephen King connecting their books together) but it's totally possible that MTG was an unconscious influence.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Argent

I enjoyed the story a lot. Davriel was a lot of fun to read about, as was Miss Highwater. I wish I had interesting things to ask about them, but I just don't know enough MTG lore to come up with anything - which leads to my first question:

  • How can a guy learn more about the lore of MTG?

And, a related question:

  • Had I been more versed in MTG lore, would I be able to recognize specific spells or creatures in this story? Davriel's eyes changed color a few times when he was casting, I figured the color might match either the color of existing spells or what you felt his spells would've been, had they been actual cards.

Brandon Sanderson

MTG lore is pretty deep (and at times, a little confusing.) I'd suggest the Dominaria stories written by Martha Wells for sheer writing quality reasons--even though they might be a little more confusing than some others. You could also go back and read the stories set on Innistrad (this plane) during the Shadows over Innistrad story sequence.

If you'd known the lore, you'd have picked out little things here and there. But they would have been easter eggs, mostly.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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ILikeBreadsticks

If you could design a new mechanic for Magic, what would you make? Thank you!

Brandon Sanderson

For my own Mistborn custom cube, I designed a mechanic that cared if a card was sleeved or not. It couldn't work in regular magic, of course, but in the context of a cube that is already pre-sleeved, it played very well. Basically, being sleeved equated to being protected or shrouded in the mist. You could give up your protection to become stronger, sometimes, but it made you more vulnerable. (There were many cards, for example, that could only destroy unsleeved cards.)

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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ChiralPhoton

When I think of Brandon and MtG, I wonder, if the 5 kinds of mana, were suddenly replaced by investiture from the 16 shards, how would that affect the game? Upsides? Downsides?

Brandon Sanderson

I don't know if this would even be mechanically possible--MTG is balanced around those five poles. It would probably make things a whole lot more complicated, and might be better matched to a game with a lot of flexible factions.

Idaho Falls signing ()
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Questioner

So, who's your favorite Planeswalker or like-- color of mana to play?

Brandon Sanderson

Can I say my own Planeswalker? 

Questioner

That's because you did write--

Brandon Sanderson

I did! If you throw my Davriel out, because obviously I'm gonna pick my own, let's see, who is my favorite? Ashiok is probably my favorite, just because they have such an interesting look to them and I like the powerset, that's the way I like to play, and there's so much mystery about Ashiok, so Ashiok. If we're talking about one that's actually had a story written about them, I really love how they handled Urza, just because you'd expect Urza to be very Gandalf-y and wise, and he was kind of, you know, that black side to Urza was really cool to me. And so-- yeah, there you go.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
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Questioner

How many Eternal Masters boxes are you buying?

Brandon Sanderson

"How many Eternal Masters boxes am I buying?" That's in Magic: The Gathering... Here's the thing. I have a powered cube, right? So Eternal Masters, I'm like... You know? So I usually play one draft of this, but then... It's fun, but it's-- You know, I've got the cube, right? So anything that we've-- if we want a very complex, weird drafting environment then we just grab that.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Glamdring804

While we're on the subject of you and MtG, do you have a spreadsheet or a document somewhere with the color identities of all your characters? Some of them are obvious, like Kelsier being red with maybe a splash of white, but others I can't make a solid decision on, like Vin.

Brandon Sanderson

See, I think Kelsier is blue black--though you're right, he probably has some red to him in his rebellious nature and focus on friendship and emotion. But no, I don't keep track of this. I enjoy talking about it with people, but it isn't an important part of how I design characters.

Glamdring804

Really? Blue black? I see where the blue comes from, and the black as well, but he was always felt like primarily red to me. Namely, his rebelliousness, desire for revenge, and general dislike of society’s structure feel like strong red traits to me. I suppose then, that might make him Grixis?

Brandon Sanderson

I could see Grixis.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Kenobi_01

Crossover Time: Which Planeswalker would fit in best/worst/most interestingly into a Cosmere story, and ditto for one of your characters, in an MTG set? (Outside of Hoid: we both know the Mending would be nothing compared to the carnage he would cause in the Multiverse). I suspect Sazed would have an... interesting time with Gideon. Especially on Theros and Amonkhet.

Brandon Sanderson

I like your Sazed/Gideon idea. Tamiyo trying to figure out the science of Roshar's moons might be fun, also. (Hint, it's weird.)

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Aaronator17

I see a lot of people commenting and suggesting that Davriel is straight up UB (as represented in this story). Would you agree that this is the case? And if a different side of Davriel were to be represented on a card (say, his days as a conquerer) what do you think his colour alignment have been then? 

Brandon Sanderson

I think Davriel is most easily explained as UB, and the creative team agreed with that.

However, I think there's a strong argument for mono black for him. His power is a mix of a thoughtsieze and the power seen often on mono black cards (like Gonti.) Granted, it's also seen on blue cards, but it can exist in mono-black.

He does have an academic side to him, but mostly for studying demonology--a very black pursuit. His past is that of a very pragmatic economist, approached from a very black-aligned view. So mono-black makes a lot of sense for him.

He could also be seen as Esper. He believes in order, and the importance of social institutions--particularly as a means of controlling the masses.

The past version of him is very in alignment with this. He never approached his conquests in a red or green way--always in U/B/W ways.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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huriel19

It's clear that Davriel is a Dimir aligned character but I find Tacenda a little bit harder to read (my closest assumption it's Boros). If she would be printed in a future which color combinations would she have?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd make Tacenda G-W-R. Green for her belief in fate, and for the power of the Entity. Red for her passion and music. White for her belief in, and protection of, her community.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Mithre

If the characters were cards, what abilities would you like them to have?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd like Davriel to steal cards out of people's hands and then play them. I don't know about Tacenda, though. I've been drawing a blank so far.

Aaronator17

What of Davriel had a unique mechanic that read something like; When an opponent casts an instant or sorcery spell, -X loyalty where X is the spell's CMC and exile it with a theft counter (activate any time you could cast an instant), and another that was +2 and return a card exiled with a theft counter to its owner's [hand/graveyard], you may cast a copy of that spell using any coloured mana?

Brandon Sanderson

That would be cool, and I would like to see planeswalker cards with odd mechanics. But I think it would be a lot of complicated wording to do something that would, in essence, be very similar to:

Minus loyalty: Look at target player's hand an exile a non-land card from it.

Zero Loyalty: You may play cards exiled with Davriel, and may use black mana as mana of any color to cast those cards.

Mithre

Maybe Tacenda would have a tap target creatures effect?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a pretty good idea.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Korombos

Vorthosy How-does-magic-work Question: In your mind, is Planeswalker magic a different kind of magic than clerics, wizards, druids, and such who are not Planeswalkers, or just different in scale? Does every plane have its own rules for magic (and other existential things) or are they all sharing a common rulebook (if-you-will)? Are there different kinds of planeswalkers, do you think (different sorts of sparks)? Have you ever played Mage: The Ascension?

Brandon Sanderson

This is Brandon canon, not official MTG canon. I've always imagined that growing up with the mana all around them in MTG planes that almost everyone has some kind of little, innate magical gift that you wouldn't really call a spell. More powerful ones manifest in dramatic ways. But you can also learn to do more with study, becoming a wizard or the like. I do imagine that every plane has some slightly different tweaks of physics, and metaphysics.

I think there are probably different kinds of planeswalkers and sparks, but again, this is my instinct--not official canon. Here, I'm just a fan talking about how he sees the game.

I have played Mage, and like most White Wolf games, I found the experience to be very fun--but reading the sourcebooks tends to be even better.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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DammyJerry

Have you ever thought (just for fun) which KR Order your characters for other books would fit the best? Like, Sazed is Bondsmith, Kelsier is probably Skybreaker.

Which Rosharian Shard, Honor, Cultivation or Odium, better fits with Dalinar's personality?

Brandon Sanderson

I'd agree with the other commenter that Kelsier isn't much of a Skybreaker. But picking orders would depend on what point in the person's life we're talking, and the situation. It's not a hard-fast rule.

For example, young Dalinar is very Odium. Modern Dalinar is very Honor.

Seifersythe

What about Magic: The Gathering color alignments?

Like, would Kelsier be Red/White or Red/Black?

Brandon Sanderson

Kelsier is blue/black. Vin is Red/green. Sazed is white/green--with arguments for mono-white. Elend is red white. The LR is white/black.

mithrilnova

This actually surprises me a lot. I would have expected Sazed to be Bant-colored, and Elend seems much bluer than he does red.

Brandon Sanderson

Actually, I don't know why I said red/white for Elend. Must have been answering quickly. You're right, blue/white is a better match for him. Ham is red/white.

Sofia signing ()
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Questioner

You've mentioned before Adamant as maybe a universe where you can invite people to work with you.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah I've definitely considered that. Adamant is a science fiction novella I wrote, which I would love to do some continuing adventures of this starship and have some guest writers. It's difficult because, as a writer it's very hard to let go of anything, that's what I found. I did one story with a friend of mine, Ethan, who I did it with him because he's in the military and I've never been in the military, and I wanted to write a story that was kind of military science fiction-ish. And so we wrote a story together, and it's a great story, it's called HARRE, and you read it in English but-- It turned out really well but it was so hard to let go. Really hard to let go and let someone else do it, that's a flaw in me I think because the story turned out great, but I'm worried about doing that more in the future. Just if-- I'm worried whether or not I'll be able to let go of the story and let someone else put their stamp on it.

Questioner

So how about the other way around though. Would you be interested in working in somebody else's, like for example Dragonlance. You did something like this in The Wheel of Time, working with a pretty fine set of constraints--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah it was a little different in The Wheel of Time because I was given complete creative control. So I could do whatever I wanted as long as I could convince Robert Jordan's widow that it was the right thing for the story. If I convinced her then it worked. But I very much could create whatever-- craft whatever story I wanted. In a lot of shared universes the constraints are much more binding. I wouldn't be opposed to it. I've certainly done-- I worked with some friends who make video games and worked on some stories with them, so I've done it before. I wouldn't be opposed to it. It would have to be the right thing.

Questioner

Or a Magic: The Gathering story?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah a Magic: The Gathering story, I could totally see myself writing one of those one day.

Brandon Sanderson

Is there a particular Magic: The Gathering, I dunno, what are they called-- universe?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah, they've got a Gothic core universe called Innistrad, with a-- It's just I love classic Gothic horror, and it would allow me to play with some of those tropes. You know, the zombies banging on the door and the werewolves howling in the night, and things like that, that I probably would never do in one of my stories.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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LordSkybreaker

Hey u/mistborn I have a couple questions about Magic: the gathering.

What colors/kind of deck do you play in magic?

What colors are the known shards?

What colors are the various orders of the knights Radiant?

And finally, have you ever thought of doing the story for Wizards Of The Coast on one of their mtg blocks?

Brandon Sanderson

Any combo-style deck I can draft--or esper if I'm constructed.

Ruin: Black. Odium: Red. Honor: White. Preservation: White. Cultivation: Green. Devotion: Green/red. Dominion: Black/White. Autonomy: It's complicated.

(Also, question 3 is way too large for me to commit to right now. And for 4, if the right opportunity came along and they were interested, I could see myself doing this.)

SoupOrMan692

What about Endowment and Ambition?

Brandon Sanderson

Ambition is mono-black, and endowment is probably mono-green. Some of the blue shards are ones we haven't seen as much from yet.

FanX 2018 ()
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Questioner

I have a question, because I really like Magic: the Gathering. What set are you collecting right now?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm always kind of collecting some of everything. Right now I'm building a Theros cube, so kinda working on that. It's just, I have all my old ones so I'm just like, "Eh, I'll build a cube out of these", so I've just been putting that together, and then I've been building this really weird one that's a commander cube. So I'm grabbing specific cards from here and there and putting them together.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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Questioner

Considering Brandon likes MTG, this is probably something he has thought out haha.

Kaladin strikes me as someone with a very White personality and Blue powers.

Shallan's Blue.

Dalinar's White, but I feel like he was Red before.

Adolin has some Red, some White, and recently some Black I guess.

Lift is Red in personality and I guess Green at powers.

What else can you guys come up with?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm... These are not bad, and it's always hard to figure out how to define by this system--honestly, I wouldn't trust my definitions, I'd have to go to MaRo or something.

I'd suspect that Shallan is red/blue instead of mono blue.

Lift is very green, not just in powers, but in personality. She's all about instinct, and doing what occurs to her in the moment.

As OP said, Kaladin is very white/blue. And Dalinar is red who became white. Navani is mono-blue. Szeth is black/white, and Taravangian probably mono-black. Eshonai is probably green.

Children of the Nameless Reddit AMA ()
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Use_the_Falchion

I'm not a MTG fan by any stretch, (I've played a couple of rounds with friends, but it usually takes some heavy coercing) but if I wanted to become one, especially for the lore, where would I start?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, this story isn't a bad place, since I wrote it hopefully in a way that will be interesting to those who don't know any of the lore. Otherwise, the soft reboot mentioned below is a good place.

I liked a number of the earlier comic books (though I haven't read the current one) and thought they were well done. I also liked the work Martha Wells did recently--I linked it in my blog post today.

For years, each Magic story was isolated, with each set having its own story. (Save for one long arc near the beginning.) Some ten years ago, they decided to create a group of people who would travel between the worlds, and let the story center on their interaction with the locations--which gave it some stronger continuity. The soft reboot at Origins (which is kind of the second soft reboot for MTG) is the start of the current larger arc.