I was going to make a deck with Lonis with a flavor emphasis.
I was going to try to find a bunch of cryptids that are based on or resemble cryptids from our world, but then I read the description on Lonis and the main thing that came to mind was “WTF Wizards? What’s wrong with you?” That’s not a good place to start a deck.
A little rant on cryptozoology: There are a lot of animals we have no knowledge of and we have a lot of mythical monsters the origins of which we could understand better, but because the real world cryptozoologists don’t really seem to know what they are doing and are just wasting their time hunting something they’ll never find, they are not constructive. If they would approach their work with any sort of actual craft, they could be producing interesting historical and sociological information, but they actively choose not to. While some cryptids have turned out to be real (like the giant squid and okapi), these are rare occurances and these discoveries weren’t really facilitated by cryptozoologists anyhow.
However, here’s the description on Lonis from this article:
From a young age, Lonis always believed that strange, mysterious creatures dwelled in Ravnica, out of sight of everyday life: the noxbur shroom, the owlipedosaur, the lamplight crab. Years of research and exploration have yielded nothing, but Lonis remains undaunted. Others might mock him and consider his research a joke, but Lonis knows that Ravnica still holds mysteries that have yet to be discovered. Lonis believes that as long as he has patience and persists, one day he’ll uncover the truth.
Now, I would like to give the benefit of the doubt to the author here. I haven’t heard of her before, so she might be new. This was her first article. I didn’t even read the rest of the text. This is horrible enough. They do have editors on the site, so why didn’t anyone stop this?
The description states that Lonis is from Ravnica and it also states he is being mocked for his belief in “mysterious creatures”. So, let’s look at some common creatures from just the latest threesome of Ravnica sets:
Oh wow, how could anyone believe in lamplight crab in this world in which Simic builds all sorts of weird chimeras routinely?
So, do the “others” here think Lonis is a joke, because he hasn’t been able to find that huge jellyfish hydra beast that pretty much blocks out the sun? Is that the point? Sure, the regular citizens of Ravnica might not meet these things daily, as the guilds seem to encompass only a small part of the overall population, but I really don’t think coming across something is very difficult if you are actively trying to find them. Various pieces of art does depict them on the streets of the city, after all.
Wizards at least used to require a familiarity with the history of the game and the previous sets in the past. Don’t they have the same requirement for the worldbuilding people? Shouldn’t these people have some sort of understanding of the world that’s often seen as the flagship world of the IP? Besides the early sets on Dominaria, there have been more sets built around Ravnica than any other at nine. Zendikar and Mirrodin are next at six (unless I’m forgetting a world here).
Teng is credited as the creative lead on Modern Horizons 2. If she is given this kind of responsibility, shouldn’t she be expected to have at least a very basic understanding of the things she is working with? You know, just give her the book you published about Ravnica. Shouldn’t Aaron Forsythe, who was also on the team, have said something? Isn’t that part of the purpose of always having someone senior in the teams?
The idea of cryptozoologist is fun, but the whole lore around Lonis should have been written very, very differently. This current version is just embarrassing. You can’t just put someone who is a carbon-copy of a cryptozoologist into a world which doesn’t function like ours. You have to rethink the role of such a profession completely, when what would be considered cryptids in our world are just everywhere.