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  • Sunday
    Friendship is Card Games: Rainbow Dash Presents: Captain Hook the Biker Gorilla

    This week, we’re putting ourselves four degrees away from the source material. It’s a card blog based on a video based on a story based on a song based on FiM. Let’s get going.

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    4 comments · 139 views
  • 1 week
    Friendship is Card Games: Generations #2 & #3

    This week, we return to the union of modern ponies and 80’s villains. Well, the daughters of 80’s villains. Well, the minions of the daughters of 80’s villains.

    … Let’s just get started before I take this any further.

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    9 comments · 174 views
  • 1 week
    Alms Collection

    A friend alerted me to this situation, and so I'm sharing the news: Eponafest, an Italian pony convention set for May, is running crowdfunding to get some operating funds... and they're about halfway to their goal with a week left. See here for details.

    0 comments · 75 views
  • 2 weeks
    Friendship is Card Games: The Journal of the Two Sisters

    This is the main reason why I decided to skip over the comics a few weeks ago. I like the idea of the first card blog of 2022 using one of the oldest in-universe documents we have for source material. Let’s see what the diarchs thought of their first days on the throne.

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    19 comments · 276 views
  • 3 weeks
    Friendship is Card Games: d20 Pony, Ch. 5

    Happy Boxing Day! Needless to say, this one was prepped in advance. I appreciate all of you, but I’m not spending Christmas Day writing a card blog. Besides, who wants last minute gifts?

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    5 comments · 149 views

Friendship is Card Games: Generations #1 · 12:50pm Nov 21st, 2021

We’re not quite done with IDW yet. This week, we look at what may technically be part of G5. After all, what else do you get when you add G1 and G4?

I’m in a bit of an awkward spot with this miniseries. It’s five issues long, so I need to either do a two-issue and a three-issue, or split it into three sections and isolate a single one for individual analysis. And it’s not like I can know which will work in that regard ahead of time. Fortunately, this one has enough to work with that I can get the single-issue blog out of the way first and foremost (as you may have guessed from the title.) Let’s dig in.

We open on the Volcano of Gloom, a place so vile, even wooden signs drip like hot wax after prolonged exposure. Here, the witch Hydia and her daughters Reeka and Draggle concocted the original Smooze and unleashed it on Dream Valley, consuming the ponies’ castle and even the Rainbow of Light until it was banished by the power of the Flutterponies.

Nowadays, the residents are Dyre and Grackle, who appear to be Hydia’s granddaughters… though it’s not clear who their fathers are, if anyone. For all I know, volcano witches reproduce by parthenogenesis, or far darker means.
That said, compared to their ancestors, the current generation of witches seem a lot more… colorful. It’s unclear how or why, but they wouldn’t look out of place in Canterlot High.

The exposition page raises a good point: If Reeka and Draggle were forever banished to the volcano… where are they now? You can’t just take a vacation from eternal banishment. And if you can, Luna would like to know how.

Meanwhile, the School of Friendship has become terribly overcrowded, to the point that 138 students have joined in the last six months. (Yes, months, not moons.) And the number of new teacher hires has been… zero. Twilight had some good ideas when putting together this plalce, but sustainability was never one of them.

Also, Pinkie’s lunch is a “twice-baked apple pie salad,” which is somehow served on a bun. I’m honestly not even surprised.

Okay, Dyre confirms that Grackle is her cousin, which avoids one of the least appealing options for their origin.
She also confirms that they aren’t sure where the ponies are, up to which universe they live in. And the way to settle that is their familiar, Trench. It’s unclear if he’s meant to be an opossum or just a terribly overfed rat, but he can apparently chew through the fabric of space and time. They explicitly refer to it as “multiverse-tunneling.” And he found Equestria on the first try. Though I suppose he was just looking for any ponies, not a specific set.

“They have to, like teach people to be their friends?”
I mean, she’s not wrong. That’s always been the main conceptual weakness of the School. Twilight’s own friendship studies struck me more as remedial social skills training. Extending that to the entire world has always felt a bit off.

Heh. One benefit of the overcrowding; it’s very hard for interplanar spies to stay unnoticed.
Also, I have to appreciate how nopony denies that Starlight hasn’t been a very good headmare. An admissions process won’t kill friendship in its cradle, Starlight. At the very least, you can filter out the likes of Cozy Glow… provided other aspiring tyrant don’t get the local foals to help them get in.

And Dash coming in with the common sense approach: If nopony in Ponyville is looking for a teaching position, ask elsewhere. It’s such an astonishing idea, Starlight briefly sprouts wings.

The fact that G1 and G4 explicitly take place in different worldlines is interesting, if a bit disappointing. Still, if we’re going to get those “main casts meeting each other” moments teased by the covers, this nicely addresses how without getting into the mess of time travel. (And yet other worldlines can always have the Volcano of Gloom in the local Equestria’s history. Probability space is fun like that.)

So… did Trench steal all of the letters the staff sent out? Meaning they only sent out three of them? Really? Come on, Starlight Glimmer is leading this recruitment effort. Half of Equestria should be awash in letters like the Dursleys are trying to avoid them.

Huh. I thought that was a term of endearment at first, but Trench’s actual species might be “lava goblin.” I’m still skeptical.

Apparently both worlds have a Ghastly Gorge. One populated by quarray eels. That or Trench is gathering ingredients from across the multiverse. The desert with two suns definitely suggests the latter.

I have to wonder if “Hayvard Unicorniversity” is an actual institution in Equestria. Going by how they’re running the school, I wouldn’t be surprised if Starlight never bothered to check.
Ah It is, but Dash never sent a letter there. And if she spoke up here and now, this whole incident could be averted (or somepony else could’ve suggested the forwarded letter, but still.)

“… and their school sounds so important—“
Or maybe it doesn’t exist? I am really getting mixed messages here.

I’m surprised to see Trixie absent from the party welcoming the new faculty.

“Pinkie, those cupcakes look a-mane-zing!”
:facehoof: Someone hit the writer with a rolled-up newspaper for that one.

Oh good, everypony is at least uncertain about the potential new hires. And I admit, the comic’s done a good job of establishing the staff as desperate enough that they may have no choice but to hire these three in spite of the cackling. Though if I were them, I’d just send out another round of requests, possibly with royal backing. this is Twilight’s pet project, after all.

In any case, this is certainly off to an intriguing start. We'll see how events cascade from here. For now, time for my project:

Momentary Flap 1W
Target creature gets +1/+1 and gains flying until end of turn.
Flashback 2W (You may cast this spell from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)
Pony genes are never entirely stable.

Intercepted Summons 2U
Counter target creature or planeswalker spell.
(rg)(rg), Exile Intercepted Summons from your graveyard: Add three mana of any one color. Spend this mana only to cast creature and/or planeswalker spells.

Frostbite Sentinel 2U
Snow Artifact Creature — Golem
S, T: Tap target creature. (S can be paid with one mana from a snow source.)
The shamans of Frostbite Falls are not known for their warm hospitality.

Hayvard Laureate 3U
Creature — Unicorn Wizard
When Hayvard Laureate enters the battlefield, draw a card, then discard a card.
Whenever you draw your second card each turn, target creature can’t be blocked this turn.
A good degree can get you places.

Ashes of Anguish 1B
Whenever one or more cards leave an opponent’s graveyard, that player loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.
1B: Exile target card from an opponent’s graveyard.
The Volcano of Gloom yields reagents as potent as they are foul.

Laughter Lab 2B
Whenever you discard a card, each opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.
At the beginning of your end step, if you gained 3 or more life this turn, you may pay 3 life. If you do, draw a card.
Cheese’s staff pushes the boundaries of comedy daily.

Smoozecrafted Coven 2BB
Creature — Unicorn Ooze Warlock
Menace, deathtouch
When Smoozecrafted Coven enters the battlefield, each player loses life equal to the number of creatures in their herd. (A player’s herd consists of up to one each of Bat, Pony, Pegasus, and Unicorn.)

Vile Genesis 3B
As an additional cost to cast this spell, pay X life.
Create half X 2/1 black Hag Warlock creature tokens with lifelink, rounded down.
Dyre and Grackle delight in forbidden knowledge, but they don’t dare research their own origins.

Dyre, Scion of Hydia 4B
Legendary Creature — Hag Warlock
Partner with Grackle, Magma Maven (When this creature enters the battlefield, target player may put Grackle into their hand from their library, then shuffle.)
At the beginning of your end step, destroy up to one target creature that was dealt damage this turn.

Scrounge the Multiverse 1R
Domain — Add R for each basic land type among lands you control.
The supercharged Smooze would require potent ingredients from countless planes. Trench demanded a third pizza in exchange.

Vicious Vents 2R
Vicious Vents deals 2 damage to each creature.
Landfall — If a land entered the battlefield under your control this turn, this spell can’t be countered and the damage can’t be prevented.
Volcanoes aren’t known for gentleness.

Grackle, Magma Maven 3R
Legendary Creature — Hag Warlock
Partner with Dyre, Scion of Hydia
Wither (This creature deals damage to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters.)
At the beginning of your upkeep, Grackle deals 1 damage to each non-Warlock creature.

Wither Wurm 2GG
Creature — Wurm
Wither Wurm enters the battlefield with a -1/-1 counter on it unless you control a Desert or there is a Desert card in your graveyard.
Sandwurms thrive where all else wastes away, and vice versa.

Curse of the Parents’ Sins WB
Enchantment — Aura Curse
Enchant player
Whenever a creature enchanted player controls deals combat damage to you, put a judgement counter on Curse of the Parents’ Sins.
Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under enchanted player’s control, remove a judgement counter from Curse of the Parents’ Sins. If you do, tap that creature and put a -1/-1 counter on it.

Amnesia Blooms GU
Creature — Plant
Defender, reach
Whenever Amnesia Blooms is dealt damage, any number of target players mill that many cards.
Preparedness only goes so far. Once someone touches the blooms, they’ll forget why they shouldn’t go further.

Magma Maggot 1BR
Creature — Insect
When Magma Maggot enters the battlefield, exile target card from an opponent’s graveyard. Magma Maggot deals damage to that player equal to that card’s mana value.
Pyreflies are as harmless as their larvae aren’t.

Trench, Vile Familiar 1BR
Legendary Planeswalker — Trench
+1: Exile the top card of target opponent’s library. You may play that card this turn and you may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast that spell.
-2: Target opponent sacrifices an artifact or creature.
-5: Discard all the cards in your hand. Exile that many cards from the top of each player’s library. You may play those cards for as long as they remain exiled.

Rage Frog 1RG
Creature — Frog
Last strike (This creature deals combat damage after creatures without last strike.)
Enrage — Whenever Rage Frog is dealt damage, double its power and toughness until end of turn.
Get it angry and it won’t be the only one croaking.

Lasso Adept 2(wu)
Creature — Pony Warrior
(wu), T: Choose one —
• Tap target creature you don’t control.
• Return target nonland permanent you own to your hand.
Equestria’s rodeo circuit turns rope tricks into high art.

Crowded Academy 4WU
Draw three cards, then create a 1/1 blue Unicorn creature token for each card in your hand.
“Put enough books together and somepony’s bound to try to read them.”

Volcano of Gloom
T: Add C.
1BR, T, Discard a card: Draw a card.
Delirium — 3BR, T: Transform Volcano of Gloom, then untap it. Activate this ability only if there are four or more card types among cards in your graveyard.
Pyroclastic Smooze
(BR) Creature — Elemental Ooze
Menace, trample, indestructible, haste
Pyroclastic Smooze attacks each combat if able.
Pyroclastic Smooze’s power and toughness are each equal to the number of card types among cards in your graveyard.

Desiccating Wastes
Plane — Amonkhet
When you planeswalk to Desiccating Wastes or at the beginning of your upkeep, put a sand counter on target non-Desert land you control.
Each land with a sand counter on it is a Desert, loses all abilities, and has “T: Add C.”
Whenever you roll chaos, Desiccating Wastes deals damage equal to the number of Deserts you control to any target.

Attend Me, Minions
When you set this scheme in motion, choose one —
• Search your library for a planeswalker card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle.
• Put three loyalty counters on each planeswalker you control.
“Did you think my ambitions stopped here?”

Comments ( 9 )

Not much to comment on the story that you haven't addressed already, but I will comment on the art. This is probably the first time this artist has drawn ponies, and it shows. She references to the point of tracing:
And when she doesn't you get stuff like this:
I can't blame her too much, anyone who decided she was supposed to be the one working on this is more to blame, but it's still quite bothering and an overall detriment to the quality of the comic. Especially the artistic dissonance between show vector accurate poses and proportions and other scenes where the characters don't even look like they have vaguely equine anatomy, or in any given referenced drawing the contrast between the traced body and the facial expression done from scratch. I wouldn't even be surprised if it turned out Starlight had wings there because she accidentally referenced a screenshot from a Forgalorga video or something.

Yea, I always kinda wondered about how the witches propagated themselves. I think that's one of those questions best left unanswered. Given how evil the witches are supposed to be, I wouldn't be surprised if sexual cannibalism was involved. But then again, I'm a biologist and kinda twisted, so I'm not surprised my mind went there.

In the end, I really hope the witches don't get redeemed, because as much as I like reforming villains, I also like ones that are irredeemably evil.

The whole concept of "ponies have to teach all the other species how to friendship" seems to me to be a very much White Man's Burden vibe. Not a fan, and the only reason it doesn't piss me off more is that in the majority of stories centered around it, it ends up being the ponies, especially Twilight, who has to learn a lesson.

As to Hayvard Unicornversity, this song leaps immediately to mind:


We’re not quite done with IDW yet. This week, we look at what may technically be part of G5. After all, what else do you get when you add G1 and G4?

That's not how math works and you bring great shame to your ancestors for saying it does.

We open on the Volcano of Gloom, a place so vile, even wooden signs drip like hot wax after prolonged exposure. Here, the witch Hydia and her daughters Reeka and Draggle concocted the original Smooze and unleashed it on Dream Valley, consuming the ponies’ castle and even the Rainbow of Light until it was banished by the power of the Flutterponies.

You ever just step back and ponder the things this show makes us say?

That said, compared to their ancestors, the current generation of witches seem a lot more… colorful. It’s unclear how or why, but they wouldn’t look out of place in Canterlot High.

It's weird, but I just shrug it off as a way to technically represent EQG in this crossover.

Editor Alerts: Flashback reminder text should specify "from the graveyard."
You have Hayvard Laureate refer to itself as "Hayvard Laurate."
Alwaya fun to see what you produce.

For all I know, volcano witches reproduce by parthenogenesis, or far darker means.

Clearly, new witches are brewed in cauldrons from snips, snails, and the tears of the innocent.

The fact that G1 and G4 explicitly take place in different worldlines is interesting, if a bit disappointing.

Canon: So, G1 and G4 are distinct settings, as in separate universes, while G4 and G5 occur in the same universe but G5 is set several thousand years in the future.
Me: Got it, so G1 is G4's distant past while G5 is its own setting, makes perfect sense.
Canon: Actually, what I said wa-
Me: Makes. Perfect. Sense.

Legendary Creature — Hag Warlock

Wait, Hag's a creature type?


Huh. So it is.

Okay, THANK YOU. I was checking out this miniseries, and looking at FoME’s blog posts, and was stunned at no one else mentioning that! It’s strange, because everything for the witch teenagers looks really good. The shading, the line art, the poses and expressions, and even just creative angles for shots. Not only did the ponies not look very good, the effort comes off as lazy sometimes. The poses are copy-pasted into other panels; sometimes on the same page. A problem that’s present from all points of view is that it’s not always clear what changed between panels or scene changes. Things like how or when characters entered new rooms. But this is way more pronounced with the equines and their ultra-limited posing.

Even with the worst issues of the mainline series, they never once exhibited these problems. I’ll admit I’ve hardly read all of them, but even the shitty cowboy and environmentalist-deer arcs had admirable artwork. This miniseries is the last hurrah for IDW G4 comics, and I can’t believe this is our final note. Maybe some amateur artist came aboard at the worst time possible. Or maybe they’re running on the last dregs of budget.

What ends up saving it from feeling much like some colonial project is that the school is like 90% Equestrian ponies. Although that raises the question of why they of all people need this school. It’s a bit weird because at the start of S8, Twilight says the school is specifically about reaching out to the rest of the world. But we DO see that just having 5 foreigners is a serious uphill battle. She has to pull back on her agenda so she doesn’t spook or enrage the regressive people at the levers of power. That tracks, sadly.

It wouldn’t feel so awkward if the lessons were actually something interesting; the brief glimpses we saw were just kiddie stuff like passing a ball around. I like what Kkat write about in her Ocellus fic, where they’re asked to ponder helping friends vs helping strangers. Or things in the vein of the Trolley Problem.

A better scenario might have been like a giant summer camp of just having the different species live together and learn about about each other. A communal societal experiment. Although I’m sure that would have other troubling historical parallels that I’m not thinking of right now.

Funny enough, the concept of a school of friendship would make a lot of sense if it was some kind of reform school / juvenile detention facility. That would actually be matching with a theme throughout the series. But then you couldn’t have the introduction of non-pony characters without a different set of bad implications. And really, I can’t imagine late-season MLP without the Student Six, who wouldn’t ever be sentenced to a place like that.

…Okay, MAYBE Gallus.

The thing is if you check out the artist's work online it's actually far from bad. I think the problem is, specifically, that she has never worked with ponies and has no experience drawing them, unlike humans. So between the unreasonably short timeframes IDW gives (Pencil and a few other artists have commented on this) and the fact that they probably are going with the smallest budget possible (last time the MLP comic sales became public, it turned out they were probably losing money with how abysmally the newer ones sold compared to the old ones) she just didn't have the time or ability to get much better at ponies.

That said, it's still better than 90% of everything Fosgitt ever drew for MLP. And I even like Fosgitt's stuff sometimes, but by his own admission he didn't really care about the job and it shows in how terrible most of his artwork was.

Also, while I'm here:

Okay, MAYBE Gallus

Smolder too. She did turn one of his books to ash one time and then be smug about it when confronted. I'm not bringing this up just because I ship them and the idea of an AU where they're both sent to reform school sounds cute I swear.

Oh I would absolutely believe Smoulder would do something criminal... by EQUESTRIAN standards. In the Dragon Lands, we've seen her to be a model youth.

So how long ago was it the sales figures were released?

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