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FanOfMostEverything


Forget not that I am a derp.

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Jan
9th
2022

Friendship is Card Games: Generations #2 & #3 · 1:03pm January 9th

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.

Issue #2

Hmm. Going by the first page, I can’t tell if Pinkie can tell the new hires are obviously evil or not. Though if she saw their reactions to her cupcakes, she might think so.

Seriously, they’re not even trying to hide being literal malice incarnate. I know the School of Friendship is desperate for new staff, but this desperate? Shadow Storm, with his grey sclera and cutie mark of a blank white circle, should definitely raise some red flags.

I appreciate Starlight not even looking to know that Pinkie’s volunteering to show the Smoozicorns around.

A pony’s dozen comes out to eight dozen? Gross. Well, not quite a gross, but that’s still way too many cupcakes. I suppose it’s too much to ask that all the sugar denatures the Smooze?

“All that multiverse travel put the stank on him.”
Ah, sweet, sweet canonical planeswalking.

Interesting. Apparently Dyre and Grackle’s power as witches is well below the curve, and both their mothers and everyone else at the Cursebreakers’ Convention is stumped as to why. I wonder if that’s going to come up later.

Ah. Apparently Hayvard is part of the Thoroughbred League. I’m not sure what I was expecting for the Equestrian Ivies, but that does work.

Trench can also produce interplanar portals. That does explain how the Smoozicorns got to Equestria in the first place.

“S’monies”? Eh. I still prefer Smoozicorns.

And so, with a few subtle pointers from their mothers, the witches actually have a plan beyond “go make things weird for the ponies.” By disrupting the friendship and community of Ponyville (I’m not giving them credit for all of Equestria,) they hope to render the ponies weak, helpless, and throughly revenged. It’s not that terrible a plan.

Given Hydia’s opinion of her daughters, I’m not surprised that there are Dark Magic for Dummies books hanging around the Volcano of Gloom. Though I do wonder just how long it’s been since the Dream Valley incident in the G1 timeline…

I’m split on the Student Six’s reactions to the new teachers. The seductive power of dark magic is one thing, but I don’t see that kind of edge appealing to all of the students equally. Smolder and Gallus, absolutely. Ocellus and Silverstream not so much.
Also, apparently none of the new hires haven’t been sharing their lesson plans with any of the other faculty. For two weeks. Including and especially Starlight, who is their boss. The unintended moral of this story may turn out to be “National heroes don’t automatically make for good teaching staff.”

I do love the witches’ dead seapony floaty. (Sea unicorn?)

“Hey, my skin does feel as soft as newborn demon’s bottom!”
I have a few questions there, but they’re outside the scope of the story.

“Ghost stories date back hundreds of years… Why it’s part of just about every culture we know of.”
Black Belle is taking a bit of a risk here. Unless she’s been doing a good deal of cultural research in the local world, she could’ve laid bare her own ignorance with that statement.

“You don’t have to be innately magical to perform this spell.”
Just let the colorful creatures be magical, guys.

So, just to be clear, with Starlight watching, Black Belle explicitly shows her students how to create an illusion what she describes as an “evil tree.” And offer extra credit for the loudest scream when assigning homework. And Starlight doesn’t have the guts to call her out on it.
Yeah, they’re losing me on this one. I’m getting flashback to the cattle rustler arc in terms of the protagonists needing to be utter doormats and morons to allow the plot to happen.

“Perhaps you are just UNIQUELY UNGIFTED.”
Ah. This, on the other hand, this I like. So quickly does the cycle of abuse turn, the witches echoing the word of their own mothers as they chastise their creations.

Perfectly coordinated subordination? I’m sure Spitfire won’t think that there’s anything externally wrong with her top squad of Wonderbolts. (Also, it sure is convenient that Rainbow Dash isn’t performing today.)

Boy, sure is convenient that the Apples were disagreeing about when to harvest offscreen, despite Applejack seeming completely happy about the exiting harvest plans a few pages ago. To say nothing of nopony suspecting foul play when an early frost hit in a world where the weather is manufactured. :facehoof:

The Hay Burger I’ll give them; the frame job is lazy, but the existing animosity (unestablished but at least not contradicted) makes it work. Though it raises questions about why ponies have human-shaped bowling shoes in the first place…

Okay, Ocellus’s teacher’s-pet tendencies getting her in deeper do admittedly work.

Heh. Trench is apparently a general now.
And again, the witches echo their own upbringing. Nothing can even be good enough for them (or bad enough, as the case may be.)

Issue #3

… Yeah, again, no. Silverstream and Ocellus are not the two I’d expect to fall most easily into the Smoozicorns’ influence. They’re the ones who grew up in cultures of oppressive fear and horror, who might be less than inclined to enjoy that kind of thing. And do I really need to explain why the changeling might not be fond of black makeup?

:duck: “And yes, before you ask, all the students transfigured into twittermites have been restored ot their original forms.”
I have several questions about that library magic-battle. Also, twittermites do in fact exist outside of Apple Bloom’s dreams.

Wow. The ongoing disruption of Ponyville has Mayor Mare going full Pepe Silvia. i’m amazed the Smoozicorns have even had time to teach… but this is the School of Friendship. Teaching is a free action.

On that same page, we get some nice ponyisms. I especially like “what’s been heaped into your feedbag.”
“Pony Fools Day” is a bit much, though.

Pinkie definitely has an interesting approach, but it may be a case of treating the symptoms rather than the disease itself. It could force the malefactors to show themselves, but I’m less than confident there.
Also, really? Nopony’s connecting the dots on three obvious bad influences coming to town follwoed by everything going to crap? (Though it’s possible that Pinkie already has and wants a chance to get through to the Smoozicorns.)

Oh my. Grackle has a few unresolved issues of her own.

:twilightsmile: “Your magic is even stronger than mine.
Going to fume about that for a bit. Aside from that, Twilight’s encouragement is nice, but if she wants to treat this as a national emergency, she’s welcome to. It’s not like the last trio of villains fomented disharmony among ponies or anything.

Yup. Pinkie’s giving the weird, socially awkward purple unicorn a chance to find herself. The same way she did back before Nightmare Moon’s return. Her heart’s definitely in the right place, but, well…

“It’s not my fault my magic couldn’t make them hover!
That’s concerning. Warded streamers or weakening magic? Also, Pinkie yelling at her friends just feels wrong. To say nothing of Twilight getting nervous when the pony she asked to help shows up.

Oh. They are warded. Also, Zecora’s here and rhyming, which raises interesting questions about Season 10. I’m going to assume the witch cousins accessed a different Equestrian timeline than the one with that particular Farasi.

I do appreciate Zecora breaking out the lab coat and safety goggles. And her suspecting extraplanar magic is certainly intriguing.

Twilight’s been practicing absorbing magic? I’ve seen the concept approached a few times since Tirek’s first attack, but it’s fascinating to see it in something quasi-canonical.

Ah. The argument over the streamers was meant to feel stilted and artificial. Good to know.

And here we see the problem with psychometry: As you gaze into the magic, it also gazes into you.

At least the raw malice of another plane recognizes that zebras have magic of their own.

Our heroes have determined the nature of the beast. And apparently Smoozes everywhere share the common trait of an insatiable hunger for something.
We also have the means of getting the crossover going fully; with the Smooze sample, Zecora can open a gate to locate those who can truly destroy it, since local magic can’t quite get to it. (Which doesn’t seem fair; why should it be able to affect the locals, then?)

And with a concocted key, the Mane Six (and Starlight) find themselves at Dream Castle… which was ruined by the Smooze. This doesn’t bode well. And that’s before considering what the Smoozicorns might get up to while they’re gone. Heck, there was a party under development!

In all, I can’t say I’m enjoying a plot that hinges on an abject failure of the characters to recognize a pattern or defend their own ideals in the face of the slightest bit of opposition. There are some good bits here—the Pinkie characterization is honestly outstanding, and there’s surprising depth in the witches—but other parts leave me cold. And I’m deeply disappointed that this alternate cover never happened.

Still, I’ll wait to see how the mini-series closes out before giving my final judgement on the matter. There are two issue left; plenty of time to make up for the subpar parts thus far. For now, let’s see what I can make of these materials:

Cleansing Spring 1W
Instant
Choose one or more —
• Destroy target Aura or Equipment.
• Return target creature you own to your hand.
• You gain 3 life.
Proper hydration cures many ills.

Professional Cursebreaker 2W
Creature — Human Warlock
Flash
When Professional Cursebreaker enters the battlefield, you gain hexproof until end of turn. Destroy all Curses attached to you.
A witch’s greatest bane is another witch.
1/3

Political Operative 1U
Creature — Pony Rogue
When Political Operative enters the battlefield, scry X, where X is the number of face-up conspiracy cards in the command zone.
“I’m going to double-check, but I’m fairly sure Princess Twilight is plotting against herself.”
2/1

Tragic Disruption 1U
Instant
Morbid — Counter target spell if a creature died this turn.
Cycling U (U, Discard this card: Draw a card.)
The coven’s mission was clear: Undermine ponies’ very way of life.

Twitterize 1UU
Instant
Kicker 1R (You may pay an additional 1R as you cast this spell.)
Until end of turn, each creature becomes a Pest with base power and toughness 1/1, loses all abilities, and gains flying. If this spell was kicked, creatures you control gain first strike until end of turn.

Unseasonable Frost 1UU
Snow Instant
Tap up to three target creatures and/or lands. If SSS was spent to cast this spell, target player skips their next untap step. (S is mana from a snow source.)
Applejack avenged the lost crop by ruining Rainbow Dash’s nap.

Sharing Studio 3U
Enchantment
3: Exchange control of target nonland permanent you control and target permanent you don’t control that shares a card type with it. Any player may activate this ability but only as a sorcery.

Chain of Abuse B
Sorcery
Target player sacrifices a creature. Then that player may pay 2 life. If the player does, they may copy this spell and may choose a new target for the copy.
Witches aren’t known for being caring mothers.

Hexed Egg 1B
Creature — Egg
Defender
When Hexed Egg dies, search your library for a Curse card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle.
Some say the world began as an egg hatched. Some want to end it the same way.
0/3

Fledgeling Demon 1B
Creature — Demon
Flying
Fledgeling Demon can’t block.
B, Sacrifice another creature: Put a +1/+1 counter on Fledgeling Demon.
Every grand tormentor starts somewhere.
1/1

Applied Denigration 2B
Sorcery — Lesson
Target player discards two cards unless they pay 4 life.
Black Belle was happy to demonstrate her expertise for the headmare.

Fractured Community 2BB
Instant
Destroy target creature. If W was spent to cast this spell, create two 1/1 black Deserter creature tokens.
There’s no shame in abandoning a lost cause.

Dubious Methods 3B
Instant
Learn, then learn again. You lose 2 life. (To learn, you may reveal a Lesson card you own from outside the game and put it into your hand, or discard a card to draw a card. Then do it again.)
“If that’s how they do it at Hayvard…”
—Starlight Glimmer

Violent Reaction RR
Instant
As an additional cost to cast this spell, sacrifice a permanent.
Violent Reaction deals X damage to each opponent, where X is 2 plus the total mana value of spells that targeted the sacrificed permanent as you cast this spell.

Inciting Streamers 1RR
Artifact
Ward — Pay 3 life. (Whenever this artifact becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, counter it unless that player pays 3 life.)
At the beginning of combat on each opponent’s turn, goad up to one target creature that player controls. (Until your next turn, it attacks each combat if able and attacks a player other than you if able.)

Impact Testing 2R
Instant
Replicate 1R (When you cast this spell, copy it for each time you paid its replicate cost. You may choose new targets for the copies.)
Target creature you control deals damage equal to its power to target creature you don’t control.

Hayvard Lavabrary 3R
Enchantment
R, Discard a card: Exile the top two cards of your library. You may play those cards this turn.
Vulcanology has as many requirements for its libraries as it does its labs.

Consuming Magma 4RR
Sorcery
Destroy target land. Consuming Magma deals 3 damage to that land’s controller and each creature without flying that player controls.
“On the surface, it’s actually—”
—White Pumice, vulcanologist, last words

Phantom Tarantula 3G
Creature — Spider Spirit
Reach
Phantom Tarantula enters the battlefield with four +1/+1 counters on it.
If damage would be dealt to Phantom Tarantula while it has a +1/+1 counter on it, prevent that damage. Remove a +1/+1 counter from Phantom Tarantula.
1/0

Key to the Multiverse 2
Artifact
T: Roll the planar die. Activate only as a sorcery.
3, T: Target creature can’t be blocked this turn.
The Mending wrecked every interplanar portal, but more can always be made.

Whitetail Shriek-Yowl RW
Creature — Bird
Flying
Whenever a player casts a spell with mana value 4 or greater, Whitetail Shriek-Yowl deals 3 damage to that player.
“They don’t deal well with loud noises.”
—Fluttershy, Bearer of Kindness
2/1

Mental Aberration 1UB
Creature — Illusion Horror
When Mental Aberration becomes the target of a spell, sacrifice it.
When you sacrifice Mental Aberration, each opponent discards a card.
“Who cares if it’s all in my head? I need my head!”
—Pizzelle, friendship student
4/2

Zecora the Mighty 2WBG
Legendary Creature — Zebra Shaman
Vigilance, deathtouch, lifelink
Whenever you gain life, put a +1/+1 counter on each other creature you control.
B(gw), Remove X +1/+1 counters from among creatures you control: Target creature gets -X/-X until end of turn.
4/5

Smooze’s Embrace 3UB
Enchantment — Aura
Enchant creature
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice a creature.
You control enchanted creature.
Enchanted creature gets +2/+2.
Unstoppable power. Unending hunger.

Psychometric Absorption 3BG
Sorcery
Destroy target permanent. Search your library for a card that shares a card type with that permanent, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle.
“To fully understand magic, you must make it a part of your very being.”
—Princess Twilight Sparkle

Siphon Favor
Conspiracy
Hidden agenda (Start the game with this conspiracy face down in the command zone and secretly choose a card name. You may turn this conspiracy face up any time and reveal that name.)
Whenever a creature you control with the chosen name attacks, each opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.

Dream Castle
Plane — Ponyland
If one or more tokens would be created, those tokens plus a 2/2 green Pony creature token are created instead.
Whenever you roll chaos, create a 1/1 white Pegasus creature token with flying.

Comments ( 9 )

It's always annoying when the hand of the author is too apparent. Everyone acting OOC and/or dumb to make sure the plot happens? Yea, unless there's active magic influence, I'm going to be skeptical.

To say nothing of nopony suspecting foul play when an early frost hit in a world where the weather is manufactured.

With how early frosts work, it's too late for the pegasi to solve the problem. The Apples genuinely have their priorities straight for once to be sorting out how they'll deal with the situation before yelling at the ponies who caused it.

And the flavor text of Unseasonable Frost further reinforces the Hanlon's Razor approach: we already know that the local weather coordinator shirks her duties whenever she can get away with it and several times she can't.

“Your magic is even stronger than mine.

I had a problem with that as well. My view/headcanon/whatever is that before her ascension, Twilight was one of the most powerful unicorns in ages, probably one of the most powerful unicorns of all time. Starlight, on the other hoof, actually seems to have more technical skill than Twilight does. (Which is especially impressive when you consider that she seems to be largely self-taught. How she never got an invite to Celestia's school is beyond me.)

5625539
She may very well have rejected an invite, seeing the school as a destroyer of friendships (and having tunnel vision to the point of not realizing that this would be a really easy way to reunite with Sunburst).

Yeah, this miniseries has been… rather unsatisfying. I did really enjoy the one-on-one time with Pinkie and the purple unicorn (who has by far and away my favourite design of these three), but most of the rest has been an exercise in frustration. Plus wheel-spinning as we wait for the characters to catch up to what we know.


5625523

It's always annoying when the hand of the author is too apparent. Everyone acting OOC and/or dumb to make sure the plot happens? Yea, unless there's active magic influence, I'm going to be skeptical.

At least when the show did the same, we could fall back on its visual style, quality voice acting, and other technical benefits. All we get with comics is the drawing style, and this artist has issues drawing ponies well outside of stock poses, as Silver Quill has noted in his reviews.


5625539
This has always been a major irritant with me too. Like many issues, this discrepancy came about unintentionally in the process of changing the guard in Season 5 and the mammoth of production woes that beset "The Cutie Re-Mark". About to give you a peek into what I've gleaned from researching the production documents of that season!

In brief: Starlight was written in "The Cutie Map", while being reasonably skilled, as being able to get the jump on the Mane 6 and strip them of their marks specifically because of her own mark and special talent. Well, that and her mental savviness. She didn't have god-level powers above and beyond an alicorn.

They had a much different plan in mind for the season finale – I don't remember all the specifics, but they went through several vastly different plots (they shared the "Starlight messes with the rainbow in time for revenge" hook, but little else besides) before settling on the chosen one as a kind-of band aid due to scheduling issues, most evident in the amount of screen time devoted to AU scenarios that don't actually affect the story beyond increasing the tension, which didn't need that much screen space. The change was enough for them to remove shots from all Season 5 Map episodes of Tree of Harmony saplings sprouting up where the Mane 6 had been, once they realised the newer finale story wouldn't be using this setup.

More damaging? Starlight's backstory with Sunburst was a element in early drafts of "The Cutie Map" which got removed as they went along, and got resurrected for the finale as a band aid solution. So it has a literal reason for feeling so thinly sketched.

Starlight being super-overpowered beyond even Twilight in pure magic was just another casualty of the mess that was that script scrambling to throw together a coherent and competent story, one which got encouraged and developed by Josh Haber in following episodes, given she became his Creator's Pet. I find one really needs to treat Starlight in "The Cutie Map" as a totally different character then she is in the rest of the show, and this is just one of many reasons why. At least the writing, and even her voice performance, between the two makes that separation quite easy.

I’m split on the Student Six’s reactions to the new teachers.

Even from a storytelling perspective it’s not a good thing. Contrast, y’know. Making them all the same is lazy.

Speaking of lazy… the hundreds of photos and pictures connected with red yarn trope needs to die in a fire.

Twilight’s been practicing absorbing magic?

That’s my girl! :twilightsmile:

Yeah, this miniseries proves once again that the comics are just fanfic, and often not very good fanfic. At least this one does Pinkie well, and that’s not common.

“Your magic is even stronger than mine.”

Yeah… bad fanfic. :facehoof:

I know the School of Friendship is desperate for new staff, but this desperate?

Hmm. I'm reminded of that one episode where it turned out that Twilight's policy on hiring substitute teachers was, apparently, to wait until the literal day when she and the others had to leave town and hire them then. I can believe that they're this desperate.

The unintended moral of this story may turn out to be “National heroes don’t automatically make for good teaching staff.”

I mean. There have definitely been a good few episodes with that unintentional moral already, I would say.

Black Belle explicitly shows her students how to create an illusion what she describes as an “evil tree.”

You know, that raises interesting questions of its own. For example, what exactly makes a tree evil? Is it a question of internal magic, or literal moral fibers, or...?

Okay, Ocellus’s teacher’s-pet tendencies getting her in deeper do admittedly work.

Yeah, that's actually an interesting angle. You would think that the too-cool-for-school crowd would be the easiest to sucker into this ploy and the goody-two-shoes harder, but it also makes sense that Ocellus, who's established as being mildly obsessive about pleasing her teachers, and Silvestream, who, bless her, is quite naïve, would easily led astray by a manipulative teacher -- while, by contrast, the much more contrarian and independent-minded Smolder and Gallus would be a lot less likely to throw a year and change's worth of personal growth out the window just because an authority figure told them to.

At least I see Rosedust on that collection of G1 ponies on that rainbow. She's Queen of the Flutter Ponies, and their talent is basically Smooze-busting.

I think the Phantom Tarantula's wording is off - the "remove a +1/+1 counter..." should be part of the same sentence, or at least line, as "If damage would be dealt..."

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