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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 · 342 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: Draytona 500 · 11:57am Apr 12th, 2020

Well, this is a bit awkward. This week, we cover every issue of the main MLP comic line I haven’t reviewed yet. All two of them. Don’t worry, I have a plan after this, especially given the existence of the MLP manga. (Yes, that’s a thing.)

For now, time for Achilles to catch up to one of the tortoises. Which is awfully suitable given the subject matter. Let's roll away.

Part 1

Hmm. strictly speaking, there’s nothing that says there can’t be this kind of imposing architecture in the Dragonlands, but you’d think we’d have seen it by now. Of course, this is deep in the Dragonlands; these could well be abandoned, ancient ruins even by draconic standards.

Also, I’m not sure what I appreciate more, the “SNEAK” unsound effects or the use of a Smarty Pants doll.

I love the contrast of Dash’s enthusiasm and Applejack’s undercaffeination.

As for Draytona itself, it’s a fascinating concept, but I have to think it’s a fairly recent one. Those centuries of cold relations between the two countries couldn’t have endeared the race to the yaks, to say nothing of how before the Empire’s return, there was probably a wide swath of arctic no-sapient’s-tundra between their respective borders.

(turns the page)
… or we’re leaning hard into NASCAR’s origins among rumrunners regardless of the local logic. Unless the two nations had trade embargoes in place and these enterprising ponies were trying to tap an otherwise inaccessible market…
Okay, I suppose it makes sense, but it’s a stretch.

She’s the local Southern stereotype with family covering half the nation, Dash. Of course she knows a stock car stocked cart racer. Heck, I think we got an answer as to what Big Mac’s delivery route was back in “Somepony to Watch Over Me.”

Wow. That Dash in panel 4. I thought I wouldn’t be reviewing the manga until next month.
Also, Applejack apparently edges out Fluttershy and Pinkie for Dash’s best friend. Or it’s a five-way tie. Or a blatant attempt at buttering up Dash’s would-be mentor.

Good training montage page, showcasing Dash running with increasing levels of both weight and confidence. Also, Student Six cameo. Nice to see them get worked in at logical points. 9they probably got extra credit for this, didn’t they?)
That said, the train tracks in the last panel seem to be missing the actual rails… :twilightoops:

Oh, right, Yona has another reason to be here, given how it’s so close to the Yakyakistan border… Though given her size, i feel like Tony Fleecs used her post-timeskip model for size references.

Hmm. It’s called the Draytona 500, but five hundred what? Especially since it’s a linear track with rather than a loop. I suppose the answer is “five hundred arbitrary distance units that make the reference work.”

“Only dragons not like race, beacuse it so cold up in mountains.”
Yeah, they were definitely complaining about the cold that time Ember led a massive flight of dragons to lay waste to Yakyakistan. :ajbemused: Yes, Spike’s had some issues with the cold, when he fell asleep atop a thawing pond during Winter Wrap-Up. Beyond that? Feels forced for the sake of the story.

That said, explicit acknowledgement of donkey culture. Always nice to see.

Ooh, old school rival. Which is to say a rival from Mac’s old school. Not entirely sure what to make of “farm school,” though more information on Mac’s academic career would be an unexpected treat.

Oh hey, a Fleecs gremlin actually worked its way into the plot this time. Though a batwinged character named Lumpy leads to some interesting mixed signals if you've read Georg.

“Doctor” Sacks Roamer is, according to the knowledge pool of Derpibooru, based on Sax Rohmer, the author behind the master criminal Fu Manchu. Certainly explains why he seems like a blend of Doctor Strange and a Daring Do villain.

So… why does the Mangalese Drake look like a yawning Maud Pie?

Yeah, using the Yakyakistani border as a way to deter pursuing dragons really doesn’t work when the comics have already had a storyline about a dragon-yak conflict.

Heh. Going back to the roots of the race, a smuggler racing across the border.

I do have to appreciate a minion with a better education than his employer.

I also appreciate Spike learning how to read Big Mac after years of interaction. I can only imagine how it translates to O&O sessions.

“Okay, Mac, what does Sir McBiggen do this turn?”
“Sure thing. Roll Intimidation to see just how badly you insult his bloodline.”

“Somepony we’ve never met before just showed up and told us you’ve got some kind of previously unknown backstory with him!”
Sounds like they ran into someone’s self-insert.

Okay, they’re really overplaying “Big Mac only speaks in Boolean” thing if Spike is reading the entire flashback out of body language.

Oh. Oh. It may look petty (and it is) but remember, Silver Streak’s cutie mark is crossed checkered flags. Racing is probably his special talent. For Big Mac to beat him at it is a cruel blow on multiple levels.

:facehoof: Oh, Dash. Her heart’s in the right place, regardless of where her mouth goes.

Wow. Lumpy managed to sneak from day to night over the course of one panel transition. Also, he copied his boss’s “SNEAK”ing.

Ohhh dear. I can already see where this is going. This is why you put an underline on the number when there’s a 6 or 9 involved.

I’m a bit disappointed they couldn’t get Pinkie Pie for the race commentary. Ah well, she can’t be everywhere.

Also, good thing they were able to find Big Mac a cart on such short notice.

Yup. Roamer’s going to have to pull off some Wacky Races-grade shenanigans to switch carts midrace.

A bow seems thoroughly inadequate to act as a starting pistol substitute. The signal’s meant to be auditory, after all. Use a cannon! (Seriously, where’s Pinkie when you need her?)

Part 2

:rainbowlaugh: I have to love how Dash, after setting up this epic confrontation between old rivals, blasts past both of them. Hey, reconciliation is all well and good, but this is a race!

Calling Dash a blue blur… Oh, we’re treading dangerous territory there.

I appreciate that creatures notice Lumpy. I just wish the announcer would.

I’m not sure what I like more, Dash rubbing Silver’s muzzle in his hypocrisy or other racers complaining about the noise. But yeah, pressuring a friend into competing just so you can beat them, then throwing a fit when they have the gall to win is the kind of athletic disloyalty that Dash would despise with every fiber over her being.

These are very reasonable dragons. I’d expect them to dive down on the race while it’s in progress.

So… how did the rivals pass Dash, anyway? Not as a question of velocity but of space. There doesn’t seem to be room to pass her on that track, not without having the cart on two wheels for a time.

Poor Spike. Trying to keep up with Dash and recap the comic’s B-plot can’t be easy. Interrogating the lackey is a much easier plan… if it weren’t for the ambient escape routes.

Oh. :rainbowhuh: I guess there were some acrobatics involved in passing Dash.

Sacks. Buddy. They’re in hot pursuit and you’re hitched to a cart. By the time you’d be able to blend into the crowd, they’d have already caught you.

Dragon police. What a bizarre concept. I wonder if Mount Metazoa acts as the headquarters for an Interpol equivalent.

Good to see Silver get a hit of perspective. Though I would’ve liked to see Mac speak for himself. Still, leave it to a race-heist movie in the Fast & Furious vein to emphasize the found family of friends.

:rainbowderp: “It’s the end of an era!”
:moustache: “Eh, there’s always next season.”
And indeed, starting with the issue coming out in a few weeks, the main comic line will bill itself as Season 10. And we’ll get more information on Zecora’s homeland! (Assuming you don’t go with the Faustian interpretation of Zecora as a zebra from our Earth who found her way into the Everfree and mutated sapience.)

In any case, a fun romp, though it felt disjointed at times. The different storylines rarely meshed cleanly, and sometimes actively subverted one another. (Looking at you, Rainbow Dash.) Plus, not letting Big Mac speak robbed the story of a lot of its emotional potential. Still fun, but not the leader of the pack in terms of ways to execute this tale.

That said, let’s see how I can navigate the course:

Extradition Treaty 1WW
Destroy each permanent that dealt damage to you this turn.
Equestrian justice is usually merciful, but all wrongdoers are expected to face it.

Draytona Cider-Runner 2W
Creature — Pony Scout
Whenever Draytona Cider-Runner attacks and isn’t blocked, if you would gain life this turn, you gain twice that much life instead.
Friendship and trade policy don’t always get along.

Breathtaking Leap 1U
Choose one —
• Put a flying counter on target creature you control. It gains hexproof until end of turn.
• Put a hexproof counter on target creature you control. It gains flying until end of turn.

Hairpin Turn 1U
Cast this spell only during the declare attackers step.
You may reselect which player or planeswalker target attacking creature is attacking. (It can’t attack its controller or planeswalkers that player controls.)
Draw a card.

Spectator Airship 3UU
Artifact Creature — Construct
You may look at the top card of any library any time.
One should never underestimate the advantages of a high vantage point.

Craven Gremlin 1B
Creature — Gremlin Minion
As long as your devotion to black is less than four, Craven Gremlin can’t block. (Each B in the mana costs of permanents you control counts towards your devotion to black.)
Gremlins are only comfortable around the most theatrically evil.

Petty Payback 3B
If you lost life this turn, you may pay B rather than pay this spell’s mana cost. (Damage causes loss of life.)
Destroy target creature.
“You weren’t supposed to win.”

Final Incompetence XBB
Destroy all creatures with power X or less.
Smart minions don’t bother to report back to the boss after their final blunder.

Grill the Suspect 1R
Grill the Suspect deals 3 damage to target creature. If U was spent to cast this spell, investigate. (Create a colorless Clue artifact token with “2, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.”)
Dragons don’t do idioms.

Sideswipe 1R
Target creature you control deals damage equal to its power to target creature you don’t control. If the creature you control is a Vehicle, excess damage is dealt to that creature’s controller instead.
There are no accidents.

Starting Shot 1R
Starting Shot deals 3 damage to target creature or planeswalker. If this spell is the first spell you’ve cast this game, it also deals 3 damage to that permanent’s controller.
Any race where the arrow doesn’t hit anypony is considered a rousing success.

Surge to the Front 2R
Until end of turn, target creature’s base power becomes equal to the greatest power among creatures on the battlefield plus 1.
A race brings out reserves ponies didn’t even know they had.

Driven Competitor 3R
Creature — Pony Warrior
Mentor (Whenever this creature attacks, put a +1/+1 counter on target attacking creature with lesser power.)
Driven Competitor attacks each combat if able.
He longs for a worthy rival, though he has no idea what he’ll do if he finds one.

Ectothermic Dragon 4RR
Creature — Dragon
Prevent all damage Ectothermic Dragon would deal to snow creatures.
“I bathe in lava. What made you think I’d like the cold?”

Yak Paratrooper 4G
Creature — Ox Soldier
When Yak Paratrooper enters the battlefield, it gains reach until end of turn.
Yak anti-air tactics are best described as “smash from above.”

Study the Silent 4GG
This spell costs 3 less to cast if you control a creature with hexproof.
Draw a card for each creature you control.
“Hearing and listening are two very different things.”

Coveted Idol 3
T: Add two mana of any one color.
Whenever one or more creatures an opponent controls deal combat damage to you, that player gains control of Coveted Idol. Untap it.
Some treasures are more precious than others.

Spine-Plume Pegahog RW
Creature — Pegasus Beast
Mutate 1(rw)(rw) (If you cast this spell for its mutate cost, put it over or under target non-Human creature you own. They mutate into the creature on top plus all abilities from under it.)
Whenever this creature blocks or becomes blocked, it deals X damage to each creature blocking or blocked by it, where X is the number of times this creature has mutated.

Draytona Stock Cart 1RW
Artifact — Vehicle
Lifelink, trample, haste
Crew 2 (Tap any number of creatures you control with total power 1 or more: This Vehicle becomes an artifact creature until end of turn.)
The greatest race calls for something more than bare hooves or wings.

Second-Wind Sprinter 2(br)W
Creature — Pegasus Soldier
When Second-Wind Sprinter enters the battlefield, return target creature card with converted mana cost 3 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield. That creature gains haste until end of turn.
“Walk it off. Better yet, run it off.”

Sacks Roamer, Antiquarian 2UB
Legendary Creature — Unicorn Rogue
Skulk (Creatures with power greater than this creature’s power can’t block it.)
Whenever Sacks deals combat damage to a player, search that player’s library for a card and exile it. Then that player shuffles their library. If that card is an artifact card, you may cast it for as long as it remains exiled.

Practical Demonstrator 3(rg)
Creature — Pony Warrior
When Practical Demonstrator enters the battlefield, put a trample counter on another target creature you control.
The only words in his lessons are “Try to keep up.”

Avenger of Lost Hoards 4RG
Creature — Dragon
Players other than Avenger of Lost Hoards’s owner can’t control it.
Avenger of Lost Hoards gets +2/+2 for each permanent you own but don’t control.
Dragons have a very poor opinion of archeology.

Dragonlords’ Sepulcher
When Dragonlords’ Sepulcher enters the battlefield, you gain 1 life.
T: Add C.
1, T: Add R, W, or B.
Past lords are buried with the greatest pieces of their hoards.

Comments ( 11 )

These are very reasonable dragons

Dragon police

I can't help but wonder if this is the Fillydelphia enclave leaking in. Then immediately dismiss the idea because a) that issue blatantly violates established continuity and b) this issue blatantly violates established continuity. Much like moving the deer over to White-Tail Woods (which I decided without even noticing the thing you pointed out an entry or two ago), I just now came up with retconning those into kirin. A nice compromise for Spike between Rarity and a member of his own species... then he canonically takes a different third option.

That said, let’s see how I can navigate the course:

As an aside, these have been persistently picking up exactly one upvote each, and I suspect that it's FoME himself.

Stupid Complicated Game Alert: Draytona Cider-Runner's non-keyword ability triggers just in time to apply to lifelink abilities like its own. Note also that lifelink doesn't care what the damage is being dealt to or how, so you still gain something if it does end up blocked.

Stupid Complicated Game Alert: Paying life also causes loss of life, and black is good at both that and just plain causing its owner to lose life. Getting "payback" for something that you blatantly did to yourself is in line with the story being adapted, so this is the intended play pattern.

Stupid Complicated Game Alert: Starting Shot is worse than you think it is, because not having a one-drop in red is generally a death sentence.

Stupid Complicated Real Life Alert: To be fair to Avenger of Lost Hoards, real archaeologists also have a poor opinion of this form of "archaeology" (which I needed my own spellcheck to inform me is also a Protection From Editors Alert). They're glorified grave robbers who should probably be shot, and you can't quote me on that because I'm quoting someone myself.

I'm pretty sure using a race to smuggle something across a border is a standard racing trope. I remeber Speed Racer snd Herbie doing it...

Not entirely sure what to make of “farm school,” though more information on Mac’s academic career would be an unexpected treat.

It would seem Equestria has a system of land grant colleges, the purpose of which is, "without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactic, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts. . . in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life." You've probably heard of at least some of these: Cornell University and Texas A&M (that's "agricultural and mechanical," there) are both land-grant colleges and to this day retain large and well-regarded agricultural sciences programs.

Since Equestria's education system is highly racialized, Maud probably got her rocktorate (read, doctorate in geology) at one of these too.

... There's an MLP manga...? Why is this the thing that shocks me the most?

And it's a trope for good reason. As mentioned in the blog itself, NASCAR started as a bunch of smugglers who tricked out their cars to be better than anything the cops could field.

Yeah, using the Yakyakistani border as a way to deter pursuing dragons really doesn’t work when the comics have already had a storyline about a dragon-yak conflict.

I mean, the catalyst behind that story was that the dragons only attacked because they thought yaks were breaking covenants. It'd be only a bit of work to say that dragons respect yak borders in light of their friendship.

Two, actually: one published in Japan by Pucchigumi in 2013 and an OEL manga published by Seven Seas Entertainment starting in 2019.

Also, I have one quick note on the cards: was Petty Payback supposed to have the Trap subtype? It REALLY does seem like it should.

Is the "instead" on Sideswipe necessary? It reads somewhat confusingly to me.

Yak Paratrooper makes me think of Red Alert 3's Soviet Bullfrog Transport, which disembarked infantry (and bears) by firing them out of a cannon and having them parachute back down. It was a very silly game, even by the standards of its franchise.

With its name and flavor text, Study the Silent seems like a reference to The Sound of Silence.

Sideswipe is using the new template seen on Flame Spill, which is trying to have "spell trample" (as on Super-Duper Death Ray) but has to be restricted by those pesky black border rules. FOME's Sideswipe has the exact same text as the second half of Flame Spill except it's conditional, which does make it read pretty weirdly but I believe is correct templating, at least at the moment.

The OEL manga is a lot of fun and I'm greatly looking forward to seeing FOME's take on it :)

Huh. A reprint of an Un- card. When did that become a thing Wizards did. At least the reprint was in another Un- set.


When did that become a thing Wizards did.

2007. The first near-reprint of a silver-bordered card in a black-bordered was Future Sight's Barren Glory, which is almost precisely The Cheese Stands Alone

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