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Card Description
Ethersworn Canonist (Shards of Alara) Location: Esper

Action: Show a lightly armored human acolyte of the Ethersworn (male or female), an order devoted to making sure that all life is infused with the metal called etherium, which they believe will bring about the transcendence of the entire plane of Esper to a higher level of consciousness.
Focus: the militant cleric
Mood: I will uphold the order's principles whether you like it or not.
Notes: All creatures in Esper have at least a little filigree "enhancement." See styleguide.[1]

Grixis Panorama (Shards of Alara) Color: Land associated with black, blue, and red mana

Location: Grixis
Action: Magic has done a zillion landscapes. This one is a little different. It represents the sky itself, high above Grixis. Show a "one-point perspective" of a Grixis skyscape, with the vanishing point low in the frame. A little bit of terrain can be seen toward the bottom of the frame: dark seas, jagged mountains, and the festering "Dregscape." Grixis's sky is riddled with pink heat-lightning and black, roiling clouds, so a sense of that is important as well.
Focus: the scene
Mood: Inside the darkest storm, looking down on the darkest land.[2]

Predator Dragon (Shards of Alara) Color: Red creature

Location: Jund, high mountains
Action: A huge dragon banks near some goblin caves on the mountainside, shooting a jet of fire from its mouth. Tiny goblins run for their lives, but many are engulfed in flame Focus: the dragon
Mood: A badass dragon doing what dragons do best.[3]

Vicious Shadows (Shards of Alara) Color: Red spell

Location: Jund
Action: A panicked human runs through a dim cave carrying a primitive torch -- on the walls of the cave, shadows of clawing viashino attackers reach toward him, even though the viashino themselves are nowhere to be seen.
Focus: the human running from the ferocious shadows on the cave walls
Mood: Nightmarish panic[4]

Tower Gargoyle (Shards of Alara) Color: Blue creature

Location: Esper sky
Action: Show a large gargoyle flying through the sky. It carries a heavy metal object as it goes -- maybe an orrery or even a metal architectural element.
Focus: the gargoyle
Mood: Like an enormous stone pet playing fetch[5]

Progenitus (Conflux) Color: Creature of all five colors

Location: Naya (see below)
Action: This card represents Progenitus, the legendary five-headed hydra-god that is the soul of the world. Show this hydra busting out of the ground in the Naya jungle, a being of incredible might and invincibility. It has stylish traceries of Magic's five colors (white, blue, black, red, green) etched into its skin.
Focus: The hydra god
Mood: enormous, Apocalyptic, uber-powerful[6]

Path to Exile (Conflux) Action: Show a leonin warrior, postured as if defending himself from a blow. He has been bleached an unnatural pure white and is crumbling away into white leaves, petals, dandelion puffs etc.[7]
Cruel Ultimatum (Shards of Alara) Location: Grixis, inside a towering necropolis, in a huge room made of blackened skulls and bones of all kinds

Action: Show something no one would expect to see: a great, winged demon lord . . . cowering in a corner. Maybe's he's even clutching a gut wound that oozes black blood. On the walls around the cowering demon we see the huge shadow of a figure whose shape is distorted by the skulls and bones of the room's walls. The shadow reaches an outstretched, clawlike hand toward the demon.
Focus: the scene
Mood: A creature of supreme evil dominance, brought low and terrified.
Notes: The shadow should suggest some kind of enormous humanoid dragon or dragon/demon hybrid. It's meant to be a very subtle clue/teaser for a character that players won't see until later.[8]

Wretched Banquet (Conflux) Color: Black spell

Location: Grixis
Action: This spell represents the thirst of the wretched vampires of Grixis. There aren’t many living creatures on Grixis, so vampires there have had to feed on other undead creatures, making them bony, wasted husks. Show one of these wretched, starving vampires sinking its fangs into the neck of a limp, fleshy zombie. Running out from the wound, instead of blood, we see rivulets of blackish-greenish ichor. Focus: The bite is the most important part. Feel free to "zoom in" on or otherwise highlight that action.
Mood: We all do what we have to, to eat.[9]

Court Homunculus (Conflux) Color: White creature

Location: Esper location of your choice
Action: Every powerful mage on Esper has a "retinue" of servants and magically-created beings called "homunculi" who follow along behind. Show two of these homunculi (see pg. 25 of style guide) who are on guard duty for their master. They're a little bit cute and a little bit creepy, like dolls come to life.
Focus: The homunculi
Mood: Watchful, alien, a little regal in their own way
Notes: Make sure they have some etherium filigree like all beings on Esper.[10]

Conflux (Conflux) This is an abstract piece. The dragon Nicol Bolas has dreamed of the day when the shards of Alara would collide and generate massive, five-color magical power, all for him. This spell represents the realization of that dream. One way you might illustrate this is to show the claw of Bolas about to clamp down over a sphere composed of five small "comets," one per color (white, blue, black, red, green), that are orbiting each other against a cloudy gray void.[11]
Thought Hemorrhage (Alara Reborn) Color: Black and red spell

Location: Esper interior
Action: A human from Esper, clad in mostly white, has fallen to her (or his) knees inside a pristine Esper building of some kind. She covers her face with her hands, and blood runs from between her fingers and drips on her clothing.
Focus: the woman crying blood
Mood: a psychic trauma made physical[12]

Naya Sojourners (Alara Reborn) Color: Green/red/white creatures

Location: Grixis (see below)
Action: Show a small squad (2-3) of elf warrior-scouts from Naya. One of them is riding a riding-beast (see style guide pg. 70). They're at war in the dread land of Grixis (see style guide pg. 33-48). They struggle to keep a banner held high, which has a rich elven tapestry with a woodland motif on it.
Focus: The elf explorers
Mood: A heroic struggle to bring life to this dead world[13]

Trace of Abundance (Alara Reborn) Color: Green/red/white spell

Location: Grixis
Action: Show the crumbling ruins of a Grixis necropolis. In the cracks and crannies of the broken masonry, luxurious Naya plant life has begun to bloom. The colors in the leaves, vines, and strange fruit-pods contrast with the gray, dead Grixis landscape.
Focus: The new growth
Mood: Mana prosperity[13]

Predatory Advantage (Alara Reborn) Color: Red and green spell

Location: Naya
Action: In Jund the alligator-like Viashino are a sentient race. In Naya, the humans ride alligator-like mounts. This card depicts an ironic scene: A Jund viashino is surrounding by Naya alligator-beasts . . . which is sort of analogous to a modern-day human being hunted down by cavemen.
Focus: the scene
Mood: Dinner with the ancestors. You're the entree.[14]

Rhox Bodyguard (Alara Reborn) Action: Show a rhox (rhino humanoid) in armor, leaping down out of the sunny sky toward the viewer. He has a chain weapon of some kind, cocked back as if he’s going to smash our head in with it.

Focus: The rhox
Mood: He didn’t look like he could jump like that.[15]

Defiler of Souls (Alara Reborn) Color: Black and red creature

Location: Bant sky
Action: Show a huge, bat-winged demon of Grixis wielding a huge, fiery cat-o'-nine-tails. The wicked demon is about to engage a pair of angels that have rushed to defend their homeland, but focus on the demon -- it's his card.
Focus: the demon
Mood: He's *so* happy to have a new place to defile.[16]

Enlisted Wurm (Alara Reborn) Color: Green and white creature

Location: Grixis
Action: A wurm of Jund (styleguide p. 63) has been 'trained' and armored by the knights of Bant. Now it's their siege weapon. Show this wurm rearing up to smash through a decrepit necropolis. Several human Bant "handlers" hold tethers tied to the wurm and they're using them to try to keep it pointed in the right direction.
Focus: the armored wurm
Mood: their control over it is tenuous at best.[17]

Esper Sentinel (Modern Horizons 2) Action: Using the reference as inspiration, we’d like you to design a soldier who is a similar mix of flesh and etherium (a magical metal found only on Esper)[18]
Ethersworn Sphinx (Modern Horizons 2) Intent: Most Esper sphinxes have minimal filigree enhancement, but this sphinx has been extensively enhanced.[19]
Thought Monitor (Modern Horizons 2) Mood: An efficient, well-designed machine.[20]


  1. Wizards of the Coast (September 4, 2008). "What's a Wolf Eel?". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Wizards of the Coast (October 21, 2008). "Panoramic View". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Wizards of the Coast (October 21, 2008). "Panoramic View". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Wizards of the Coast (November 17, 2008). "Sketches: Vicious Shadows". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Wizards of the Coast (December 11, 2008). "Sketches: Tower Gargoyle". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Wizards of the Coast (January 22, 2009). "Sketches: Progenitus". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Doug Beyer (August 19, 2009). "Our Path to Exile". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Wizards of the Coast (February 3, 2009). "About That Fifth Ultimatum...". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Wizards of the Coast (February 18, 2009). "Sketches: Wretched Banquet". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Wizards of the Coast (February 18, 2009). "Sketches: Court Homunculus". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Wizards of the Coast (April 7, 2009). "Nicol Bolas in Conflux". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Wizards of the Coast (April 13, 2009). "Thought Hemorrhage Sketch". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. a b Doug Beyer (May 13, 2009). "Reality Check". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Wizards of the Coast (May 19, 2009). "Sketches: Predatory Advantage". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Wizards of the Coast (May 20, 2009). "Bodyguard of the Air". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Wizards of the Coast (June 1, 2009). "Sketches: Defiler of Souls". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Wizards of the Coast (June 8, 2009). "Sketches: Enlisted Wurm". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Flavor text of Esper Sentinel (Modern Horizons 2, #328)
  19. Flavor text of Ethersworn Sphinx (Modern Horizons 2, #364)
  20. Flavor text of Thought Monitor (Modern Horizons 2, #341)