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Kor of the World - Stephen Rogers (12/27/2012)

In my last article I looked at one of the most popular tribes in Magic’s history, or at least the Rathi branch of their evolution. However, the artificial plane also played home to many other races, including two other new sentient humanoid species. One of those races resurfaced in recent years; can you guess which one it is?

Fine I’ll stop trying to be a Magic Riddler, I’m referring to the Kor. These traditionally white aligned humanoids actually have a fairly interesting society and culture surrounding them. The Kor are technically divided into two very different groups, those native to the chaotic plane of Zendikar and those who live on Rath. While both groups have similar social development they went down very different paths.

The Kor in general are very pale skinned with tall foreheads with very high hairlines in men and women. Like elves, who they might be genetically linked to, they have pointed ears and while the points can be very extreme the ears are smaller, almost human in size until you reach the point. Kor tend to be slighter than humans and elves, with a wirier frame and thinner bone structure. This does not prevent them from being muscular, as can be seen on the card Nomad’s Assembly.

Because of the insane nature of Zendikar’s geography and mana the Kor have developed into a completely nomadic race. The Zendikar Kor move in small, very close knit groups and have developed a society based on exploration. Every one of them is born to be an amazing D&D character, always craving to crown the next hill to see how the Roil has changed Zendikar this time. Those few Kor who aren’t mad explorers of the Roiled zones still embrace the nomadic spirit and are often merchants, traveling between the far flung civilizations of the plane. The few remaining Kor tend to work as Trap Finders, who do their damndest to find the most ridiculous traps that guard the tombs and treasure rooms around the plane. Of course they also try to disarm them, though that’s a much more difficult job than finding the death trap.

Most Kor aren’t exactly major members of society according to our modern ideas, but to Zendikar they’re invaluable. Kor return to civilization bearing lost artifice and other rare goods that they trade for materials and rations for yet more travels. These trinkets mean next to nothing to the Kor themselves, see Kor Sanctifiers
Kor Sanctifiers
Kor SanctifiersSet: Planechase
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kor Cleric
Rarity:
C
Number:
3
Artist:
Dan Scott
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
Kicker {W} (You may pay an additional {W} as you cast this spell.) When Kor Sanctifiers enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, destroy target artifact or enchantment.
. While their lifestyle can best be described as that of explorers, the Kor of Zendikar have no understanding of the word. As it is so wonderfully put on Kor Cartographer
Kor Cartographer
Kor CartographerSet: Zendikar
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kor Scout
Rarity:
C
Number:
18
Artist:
Ryan Pancoast
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Kor Cartographer enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a Plains card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.
, “Kor have no concept of exploration. They return to homelands forgotten.”

As a largely nomadic culture the Kor form very tight groups where almost everyone plays a vital role and is trusted to always be the best for their job. In a nomadic or pilgrim group these jobs will generally revolve around a few key jobs and tools. These tools are so inseparable from Kor culture that most have some symbolism behind them and their use. One of the most important Kor symbols is the hook. Most of their weapons involve a hook either as it’s striking point or in place of a counter weight, even their swords bear a curve and a backwards-facing point to snag opponent. Because the Kor travel through many different sky ruins and other floating debris of the Roil, the hook became a symbol of life and the will to survive. Hooks have saved many a Kor from plummeting to their death thousands of feet in the air, so with the release of the Eldrazi the same hooks have now become tools for continued survival.

Hooks, despite what some splicers would have you believe, are not always enough, especially when you’re falling from a temple floating miles about the ground or need to cross a river of lava. In those cases a rope or chain is needed, duh. To the Kor, ropes signify the ties that bind the nomads together, but they also facilitate their travel and combat. Whether they’re navigating between sky ruins, toxic swamps, or pools of fiery lava, the Kor prefer a system of interlocking ropes, hooks and chains to bridges, ladders, or magic. You can best see these set ups in Marsh Threader
Marsh Threader
Marsh ThreaderSet: Worldwake
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kor Scout
Rarity:
C
Number:
14
Artist:
David Palumbo
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Swampwalk
and Cliff Threader
Cliff Threader
Cliff ThreaderSet: Zendikar
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kor Scout
Rarity:
C
Number:
7
Artist:
Paul Bonner
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Mountainwalk
. Ironically the Kor are some of Zendikar’s greatest architects, crafting giant transportation systems out of completely temporary supplies.

The final tool that only the Kor use to its fullest extent is the kite. To most people it is a child’s plaything or maybe a tool to launch a flaming goblin at something you really hate. To the Kor it’s a method of travel and the primary tool of their scouts. Because of the light and wiry build of most Kor, a kite and the radical winds of Zendikar are enough to lift a full-grown Kor man up into the sky. Kite flyers often function as cartographers for larger groups, scouting out ways to weave through the destroyed ruins of the Roil. Kite sailors are also some of the best looters; hooks are sometimes dangled from kites and used to snare artifacts and enemies alike ala the Kor Skyfisher
Kor Skyfisher
Kor SkyfisherSet: Zendikar
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kor Soldier
Rarity:
C
Number:
23
Artist:
Dan Scott
Power:
2
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying When Kor Skyfisher enters the battlefield, return a permanent you control to its owner's hand.
.

As a fighting force Kor are bizarre when compared to a traditional fighting force, especially other white aligned forces. Like those soldiers who follow Gideon Jura
Gideon Jura
Gideon JuraSet: Rise of the Eldrazi
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Planeswalker
Sub Type:
Gideon
Rarity:
M
Number:
21
Artist:
Aleksi Briclot
Text:
+2: During target opponent's next turn, creatures that player controls attack Gideon Jura if able. -2: Destroy target tapped creature. 0: Until end of turn, Gideon Jura becomes a 6/6 Human Soldier creature that's still a planeswalker. Prevent all damage that would be dealt to him this turn.
, the Kor do favor a certain aspect of control over their opponents. In place of bows or arrows the Kor once again favor hooks and chains. While they have a more limited range they allow the Kor to lock up their opponents, on Smite
Smite
SmiteSet: Stronghold
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
117
Artist:
Daren Bader
Text:
Destroy target blocked creature.
from Rise of the Eldrazi you can even see a Kor using hooks to redirect a minotaur’s sword into his own gut. This same controlling aspect can be seen with Kor Hookmaster
Kor Hookmaster
Kor HookmasterSet: Zendikar
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kor Soldier
Rarity:
C
Number:
20
Artist:
Wayne Reynolds
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Kor Hookmaster enters the battlefield, tap target creature an opponent controls. That creature doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.
.

While the Kor may be proficient warriors, they are not strong fighters or defenders. Most Kor balance out between 1/1 and 3/2, 3/3 being R&D’s maximum for an unmodified human warrior. As you can tell, Kor are not a very powerful force individually, but with Zendikar block they finally have a lord, and its one who embraces their use of equipment.

The Kor have a strong alignment with equipment artifacts. You know, like Stoneforge Mystic
Stoneforge Mystic
Stoneforge MysticSet: Worldwake
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kor Artificer
Rarity:
R
Number:
20
Artist:
Mike Bierek
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Stoneforge Mystic enters the battlefield, you may search your library for an Equipment card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library. {1}{W}, {T}: You may put an Equipment card from your hand onto the battlefield.
and Kor Outfitter
Kor Outfitter
Kor OutfitterSet: Zendikar
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kor Soldier
Rarity:
C
Number:
21
Artist:
Kieran Yanner
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Kor Outfitter enters the battlefield, you may attach target Equipment you control to target creature you control.
. While both of these Kor focus on getting equipment out onto the field and attached to their allies; there are also Kor like the Skysail Apprentice and Kor Duelist
Kor Duelist
Kor DuelistSet: Zendikar
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kor Soldier
Rarity:
U
Number:
19
Artist:
Izzy
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
As long as Kor Duelist is equipped, it has double strike. (It deals both first-strike and regular combat damage.)
. Both of these guys get some serious benefits from being equipped. Now the lord actually has an even better effect when he’s equipped, The Armament Master
Armament Master
Armament MasterSet: Zendikar
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kor Soldier
Rarity:
R
Number:
1
Artist:
Steven Belledin
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Other Kor creatures you control get +2/+2 for each Equipment attached to Armament Master.
give +2/+2 to every Kor on his side for each piece of equipment he’s wearing. In one fell swoop this one card is an amazing example of the Kor attunement with artifice and their sense of community, and then you get to his flavor text. “We prepare for the known with daggers, rations, rope, and pitons. But we also prepare for the unknown with billycat tails, pikku roots, hedron chips….” Wizards managed to summarize the entire spectrum of Kor flavor on just one card and used the creature’s abilities to explain almost every aspect of Kor society.

Now of course Kor also exist on Rath but they have developed on a different path and I’ll try to write about them, and the two other forms of slivers, at a later date.


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