It Starts With One: A Breakdown of the 'War of the Spark' Trailer
Article by Adam Ray
It's an amazing turn of events, when a 3 minute animation, without any dialogue or context, is one of the strongest, most resonant strands of cinema I've seen all year.
It's all very simple. Liliana walks through the streets of District One as the Eternals - an undead army from another world, and creations of the Dragon on the citadel - march through the streets under her command. We see her stomach the horrors of war, and turn against her master facing the dire consequences.
The melodic, cinematic cover of Linkin Park's In the End is what gets it for me personally. That track is one of the first pieces of music I really loved, being only 5 or 6 years old myself when I heard it. The lyrics are about nihilism and taken literally, with the soft female vocals by Fleurie, it matches Liliana's thoughts the whole way through.
As a Magic trailer always does, we get a clear picture of what's going to happen overall in the set's story. It gives us viewers in the know, a sign of what's happening on Ravnica. Those trails in the air are the sparks of dying Planeswalkers. The stream is constant and coming from all directions. It's inevitable a great many characters the player base loves will die here. As what happened to Dack Fayden, never getting a chance to speak to Liliana.
Scrolling backwards through the streets, viewers had the 'is that Jace?' reaction seeing this. I did. The cuffs of the mother, fleeing with her son look enough like it for it to be a real kick in the gut when the rubble rolls away. Civilian casualties in war across worlds reminds Liliana, someone accustomed with death, that some people may not truly need to die.
Playing the events backwards let's us viewers follow a version of Liliana's thought patterns, not necessarily as they happened. I was able to watch the trailer in 'reverse'. Liliana marches through the street and watches blankly, as the mother and son flee, but get crushed under the rubble. She does nothing. She never sees Dack Fayden. Her focus is on the snuffed innocence of Ravnica and that's why she calls the Eternals off Gideon - who'd been fighting his way to get to Bolas, presumably.
Magic is pulling up their socks and telling DEEP stories. We've not seen anything quite like it from our card game. I personally hope this sets a precedent of high quality animated stories from their trailers, rather than simply animating card arts in a montage.
We'll be covering spoiler comments as always, but this is too important a release from Wizards themselves not to talk about. Click the link below to watch it another time, as I've had it almost looping since I saw it.