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"[FoME] manages the impossible combination of being an actual legitimate nerd while staying unabashedly pleasant." —Aragón

More Blog Posts1103

  • Sunday
    Contest! Imposing Sovereigns III: SOUL of Equestria

    I haven’t exactly kept careful track of my Fimficaversary. But this is the tenth. As of today, I’ve been on this site for a solid decade. If that’s not worthy of something special, I don’t know what is. And if you’ve looked at the blog title, you can probably guess what.

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    21 comments · 343 views
  • Sunday
    Friendship is Card Games: My Little Pony: A New Generation

    A bit under two years after we saw the sun set on Equestria (and putting aside the fever dream of an interlude,) it is finally time to see how the golden age of Twilight tarnished into a long, dark night of Equestria’s soul… and the rise of a new Sunny era. Let’s begin.

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    20 comments · 247 views
  • 1 week
    Myriad Constructs

    hawthornbunny, ever-capable archivist of my creations, the Mako-voiced chronicler to my Conan the Barbarian, has informed me that with today's card blog, I have wrought 10,006 pony cards.

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    14 comments · 289 views
  • 1 week
    Friendship is Card Games: Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell

    So, to overwhelmingly greater demand than I expected (i.e. any,) I am delving into the official Friendship is Magic novels. There are a staggeringly high number of them, along with journals, mysteries, handbooks (hoofbooks?) and more. I have a newfound respect for G. M. Berrow in terms of her sheer output. In any case, let’s see what the very first one has to offer.

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    16 comments · 265 views
  • 2 weeks
    Friendship is Card Games: d20 Pony, Ch. 1

    This one’s a bit unusual. It comes as a request from SirNotAppearingInThisFic (and yes, I do plan on doing the official chapter books, including one next week.) I didn’t really know what I was getting into when he suggested, but having taken a look, this does work.

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    5 comments · 227 views

Friendship is Card Games: The Friendship Problem of Silver Blaze & Time Enough for Dance · 1:54pm Mar 8th, 2020

Sorry for the slight delay; I blame Daylight Savings Time. In any case, this week we have a tribute to 1890s mystery stories and 1990s teen sitcoms.

I assure you, I will explain.

The Friendship Problem of Silver Blaze

Oh. Oh dear. Take a look at Spike in this first page. Four out of five times, it looks like he was traced from a screencap, and the last one has noticeably different proportions.

Focusing on the story itself, I do appreciate how Spike falling asleep lampshades the blatant exposition. Also, dangerous tortoise kicks? Not what I expected. Also also, I have to wonder if the local analogue of Usain Bolt is part of the tortoise racing scene.

… Okay, how exactly does a “racing shell” work? That’s part of Tank’s skeleton. Unless Equestrian tortoises work by Koopa Troopa logic, but that just raises further questions.

Trotland. There’s one for the atlas.

Oof. You know the place is abandoned when they turned off the wacky waving inflatable foreleg-flailing tube pony.

Inspector Leigh Stride of Trotland Yard. A bit on the muzzle. I suppose I should be grateful that Shining’s middle name isn’t Mycroft.

There’s an… interesting bit of perspective on panel 3.

So… one racer goes missing and not only is the event on the brink of cancellation, no one’s even going outside? This feels a bit much, but I’m not exactly the biggest sports fan.

The phrase “crime against friendship” fills me with dread for Equestria’s future. Friendship problems, yes, fine, reasonable. But crimes feel a bit much.

A duo (sorry, trio) of consulting detectives. Yup, we’re going full Holmes.

I wouldn’t call it “the mystery of the cutie mark thief.” And even if you call Ourtown a mystery, Twilight didn’t solve it. Starlight inflicted the solution on her.

Spike has a point. Even if the tortoise was raised for speed, how fast can she go? Furthermore, given how many years she’s raced, why would she run wild now?

Ah. The caretaker had fallen asleep. That explains things… though if the investigators found tracks, I have to wonder where they lost the trail.

“I love that tortoise like she was m’own wee barin.”
Yeah, not quite the word they’re looking for.

Okay, that’s actually a fantastic excuse for the deerstalker and coat… though I have to wonder why ponies even have deerstalkers.

And, after that nearly seamless Sherlockism, we get a forced “eliminate the…”
Wait. Twilight says “Once you eliminate the possible, whatever’s left, no matter how improbable, must be the answer.” That… that’s not how it works. Not unless Discord and/or Pinkie Pie is involved.

Oh hey, Pinkie-colored Maud. I wonder if her sister blends the other Pies.

Hmm. A bill past due. There’s a suspicious detail.

Wait, why would they even have bags of arugula just sitting outside?

The cane was also forced, but at least Spike didn’t pick up the injury in the war in Alpacastan.

Yes, refuse to help the detective with her inquiries. That won’t look at all suspicious.

Oh, okay, the racing shell is more like a whole-body helmet. That makes sense. And I do like how it incorporates the Mane Six’s cutie shell.

Wait, if it took the racing shell for Twilight have the case-breaking revelation, why did she say she’d seen enough earlier?

“Pole Story over there has only has two ciders he’s so upset.”
Isn’t that usually the opposite of how cider works? Especially since we’re in a region that doesn’t recognize the existence of soft cider?

“Cider House Drools” does not sound like an establishment I’d want to patronize.

I do appreciate how Twilight finds taking Pinkie’s place exhausting. She’s still an introvert at heart; this much rabble rousing must be draining for her.

“You know, she could just reveal everything and save us pages.
“That’s that overly dramatic Ponyville attitude for you.”
I was not prepared for that lampshade. Of course the members of the peanut gallery making those observations resemble Pinkie and Cheese Sandwich.

Also, I have to appreciate that one pony in the crowd who brought a “Go Fast!” sign. That’s the idea, my friend.

So… What’s in that hot dog, and what’s the black squiggle? I understand it’s meant to be a condiment, but it looks like somepony filled a squeeze bottle with Marmite.

Oh my goodness, the racing shells have rear spoilers. That’s adorable.

Okay, I have to appreciate the tortoise named Conan Boil.

Ah. Twilight had figured out the sequence of events, but it took the racing shell to figure out how to prove it.

Wait, Downey Burn and Alder Brown are supposed to be the same age? That definitely wasn’t clear.

I admit, I had to look up the Holmes story “The Adventure of Silver Blaze” after the fact. I’ve read a number of derivative Holmes stories, but none of Doyle’s own. This is actually the one with the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime, hence the dog in the last panel. It also explains the arugula, which stood in for opium. Yeah, not gonna fly in pony comics.

A fun mystery, but it’s impaired by the art. It’s not as bad as Jay Fosgitt, but it’s… well, amateurish. Most other IDW artists make Kate Sherron pale in comparison, to say nothing of fan comics.

And on that note, let’s look at an issue with art by Pencils.

Time Enough for Dance

… Though we have a bit of drama in the works. See, Sherron was also supposed to do this issue, but she bailed, forcing Pencils to fill in with minimal time before the deadline, hence the rougher-than-usual work. This Derpibooru image summarizes it nicely.

I do love Spike’s reaction to Twilight declaring that the midterm won’t be a traditional test. My jaw would drop too.

Silverstream and Sandbar are happy with the creative exercise. The others? Dragons barely have a culture, much less creative expression (though they at least have storytelling competitions.) Griffins illegalized song. Yaks put tremendous value on unvarying perfection. And changelings’ entire culture for centuries consisted of “imitate others and obey the queen.” Yikes.

I do appreciate how Smolder and Gallus are playing paper football. Finger buddies!

Yona’s high Wisdom build coming in clutch again. A spin on an old classic is perfect for her.

Yeah, that’s the thing. On paper, Ocellus has the most creative potential available. But Chrysalis had no idea what to actually do with the resources available to her.

One dance for the entire history of the nation. I have no idea what Smolder’s talking about. This will surely go absolutely fine with absolutely no unforeseen complications or consequences.

A poem from Gallus. Interesting choice.

Huh. A book on elder trolls? Intriguing. Especially since Equestrian trolls seem close to Discworld trolls.

Also, when Ocellus is skipping other classes to prep for the presentation, that’s when you should intervene, guys.

Silverstream, stop waiting for permission. Especially after Applejack explicitly gave a lesson on this exact topic.

I can understand Ocellus’s motivation, but she shouldn’t have to feel singlehoofedly responsible for redeeming the changelings’ public image. That’s Thorax’s job, and even he has help.

There’s something hilariously inappropriate about seeing every Pillar of Equestria pirouette. See for yourself. Also, interesting to see that she assumed Mistmane’s more beautiful form.

Oof. That page where Ocellus falls and can’t get up is heartrending.

Oh wow. They went for the Saved by the Bell reference.

346 creatures in ten minutes. On average, that’s more than one transformation every two seconds. Yikes. :twilightoops:

Wonderful bit of self-awareness by Twilight. She would probably overreach just as much as Ocellus. This is a great bit of character work between two serial overachievers.

Nice save, Gallus.

Magnificent conclusion. :twilightsmile:

Some interesting concepts to work with this week. Bit of a mixed bag on the art front, but the stories were both fun. Now to see what I can do with them:

Highland Breeze W
Snow Instant
Choose one —
• Target snow creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
• Tap target nonsnow creature.
Summer is a relative term in Trotland.

Trottish Inspector 1W
Creature — Pony Soldier
Hoofcraft — When Trottish Inspector enters the battlefield, investigate. If you control three or more Ponies, Pegasi, and/or Unicorns, investigate again. (To investigate, create a colorless Clue artifact token with “2, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.”)

Doll Hoarder 2W
Creature — Pony Artificer
When Doll Hoarder enters the battlefield, create a 1/1 colorless Construct artifact creature token with defender.
Delirium — At the beginning of each opponent’s upkeep, if there are four or more card types among cards in your graveyard, create a 1/1 colorless Construct artifact creature token with defender.

Griffin Poet 2W
Creature — Griffin Citizen
When Griffin Poet dies, return target enchantment card from your graveyard to your hand.
Genius is never understood by its own species.

The Lost Empire 2WW
Enchantment — Saga
(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after IV.)
I — Exile all nonland, non-Saga permanents you control until The Lost Empire leaves the battlefield.
II, III — You gain life equal to the number of cards you own in exile.
IV — This turn, each creature you control enters the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter on it.

Flurry of Shapes U
Until end of turn, target creature gains “1U: Until end of turn, this creature becomes a copy of another target creature and gains this ability.”
Ocellus stood on the stage alone, but every twirl brought forth a new dancer.

Sleep Through 1U
Counter target spell unless its controller pays 1 for each tapped creature they control.
“If somepony fires a party cannon and nopony cares, did it make a sound?”
—Pinkie Pie, Bearer of Laughter

Rote Memorization 4U
Imprint — When Rote Memorization enters the battlefield, you may exile an instant or sorcery card from your hand.
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may copy the exiled card. If you do, you may cast the copy without paying its mana cost.

Impossible Expectations B
Enchantment — Aura
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature has “At the beginning of your end step, if this creature didn’t deal combat damage to a player this turn, sacrifice it.”
“Every day, I fear I’ve taught the wrong lessons.”
—Princess Twilight Sparkle

Dietary Sabotage 1B
Put two -1/-1 counters on target creature.
Tortoise racers watch their charges’ diets closely. The wrong greens can spell disaster on race day.

Barren Streets 1BB
All creatures get -X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number of Gates you control.
“Barren wastelands aren’t so bad. Nopony’s supposed to be there. But a place built for ponies left empty? It’s so much worse.”
—Princess Twilight Sparkle

Engage Afterburners 2RR
Attacking creatures get +4/+0 until end of turn. Engage Afterburners deals 2 damage to each of those creatures.
Pony athletes leapt at the opportunities offered by human technology, heedless of any risks involved.

Half-Deaf Groundskeeper 2G
Creature — Pony Citizen
“Insults, curses, horn blasts, it doesn’t matter. He won’t notice most of what you try and won’t care about the rest.”
—Leigh Stride, Trottish inspector

Racing Tortoise 3G
Creature — Turtle
When Racing Tortoise enters the battlefield, double its power and toughness until end of turn.
Whenever Racing Tortoise attacks, exile it. Return it to the battlefield under your control tapped and attacking at the beginning of the declare attackers step on your next step.

Exhaustive History 3GG
Return all cards from your graveyard to your hand. Exile Exhaustive History. You have no maximum hand size for the rest of the game. Lands you control don’t untap during your next untap step.
Ocellus tried to compress more than a millennium into a ten minute performance.

Racing Shell 2
Artifact — Equipment
Equipped creature gets +0/+2.
Equipped creature gets +2/+0 as long as it’s attacking.
Equip 1
A must for protecting against low-speed impacts.

Rekindle Passion 1BR
Put target creature card from an opponent's graveyard onto the battlefield under your control. It gains haste and trample. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step. If that creature would leave the battlefield, exile it instead of putting it anywhere else.

Granddad, Cliffhide Elder 2RG
Legendary Creature — Elder Troll
Granddad, Cliffhide Elder enters the battlefield tapped with five slumber counters on it.
As long as Granddad has a slumber counter on it, it’s a land (It’s not a creature.)
Whenever a source deals damage to a player, you may remove a slumber counter from Granddad.
T: Add RG.

Trotland Yard
T: Add C.
T: Add G, W, or U. Activate this ability only if you control a Clue.
5, T: Investigate.
They always get their mare.

Comments ( 11 )

Wow it’s amazing how drama is universal regardless of where in the fandom you look—hope Pencils gets a good Season 10 script and Sherron learns how to draw ponies.

Inside Baseball Alert: There's an established connection between being a poet and dying in order to recur an enchantment. Apparently griffins are too proud to commit suicide.

Stupid Complicated Game Alert: Yes, The Lost Empire will give counters on its last phase to everything it exiled on its first, but it'll remove any that were previously there if they aren't lucky enough to be named Skullbriar. The interstitial phases also count all of your exiled cards regardless of how or why they were exiled. (Oh, and "cards you own" is a defined game term that can't be cheesed by lending your opponent a spare deck)

Stupid Complicated Game Alert: As written, Flurry of Shapes definitely leaves the target in whatever shape they're currently in come end of turn. Whether the granted ability actually remembers it's supposed to disappear after it's been activated, I'd have to ask a judge because I don't actually know.

Inside Baseball Alert: Racing Tortoise isn't the first monogreen turtle to take two turns to make it to your opponent. There's also a bit of Stupid Complicated Game in that you can enter the battlefield attacking under circumstances where you wouldn't have been allowed to declare the attack, just like you can enter the battlefield blocking something you wouldn't ordinarily be allowed to block.

Inside Baseball Alert: Granddad/Grandad (Protection From Editors Alert: you weren't consistent) isn't the first 2AG 12/12 tapping for AG and forcing you to jump through a minor A-related hoop to remove the slumber counters that make it a landmass instead of a creature.

Slightly Sarcastic Protection From Editors Alert (not bolded because it's mostly a joke): Imprint is exclusive to artifacts and New Phyrexians, and you used to be Jin-Gitaxias so you should know how they feel about rote memorization, to wit: "**** you, we're doing SCIENCE!" (To more wit, the fact that so-called "science education" consists mostly of rote memorization is how we resulted in even people with actual STEM degrees failing to understand what being a scientist actually means, Twilight Sparkle infamously among them)

So, Yona's the Element of Wisdom, then? :3

It's always fun to take inspiration from Sherlock Holmes, though I'm more of a Jessica Fletcher fan myself. But the 'racing tortoise' definitely stole the show 🐢

Also, interesting to see that she assumed Mistmane’s more beautiful form.

Don't know whether that's intentional or if they forgot to add wrinkles.

Can you elaborate on Twilight not understanding science? Although of course, science in a world with a moderately soft magic system is itself a difficult idea...

There's a bit of irony in that you can't effectively give a Racing Tortoise a Racing Shell, since it'll fall off when the tortoise is exiled on attack.

Basically the entirety of Feeling Pinkie Keen was her putting her preconceived notions above the objective evidence. Also known as the exact opposite of science. The beginning of It's About Time then showed that this wasn't an isolated incident (the phrase "not scientifically possible" is already pretty close to word salad, but saying it to/about someone who is provably standing in front of you pushes it over the edge into full-on "bananas disprove evolution" levels of ignorance...)

I'd forgotten that bit of It's About Time. :facehoof:
Good point.

Oh, and for those playing at home, yes the "bananas disprove evolution" thing is referring to something a real person claimed at some point. This is why satire is dying, people.

Was that Kent Hovind or a different YEC? I have trouble keeping them all straight in my head.

“I love that tortoise like she was m’own wee barin.”
Yeah, not quite the word they’re looking for.

Noooot 100% sure of this buuuuuut besides a farm/horse word pun it might be taking advantage of how the word sound phonetically, especially in the accent. Could easily be a typo though.

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