Magic the Gathering: Eldritch Moon Release!

Finally...a team up!

Finally…a team up!

So, I am posting this the evening of July 22nd, although the site may calendar this as July 23rd. The content is directly related to Magic: The Gathering releasing its latest set, “Eldritch Moon.” Set in the same world of Innistrad that the last set was, it completes the “Innistrad Block.” I’ll be playing in a “booster draft” tournament tonight, at the nearby game store with a bunch of complete strangers.

In large part, I will be doing that because I honestly miss the Magic players from school. It’s pretty odd, I didn’t expect to actually miss the kids as much as i do. A good hint that it was a rewarding year.

Our protagonist is wearing some pieces of Magic related stuff on her outfit, and at least that weird necklace thing she wore all last semester. She’s teamed up with Liliana Vess, a necromancer from the Magic: The Gathering setting that is a sultry sorceress indeed. The current set is using her as the promotional image and key planeswalker, she is even depicted on a BUNCH of the cards. Set in a “gothic horror” style fantasy world, she fits right in.

I thought one of my closest friends would like the character, and the art, for a bunch of reasons. For one, she loves the Moon, and the comic cover has the tiles of the card release, “Eldritch Moon.” she also loves witches, and long flowing dresses, preferring to dress in that fashion when she isn’t in court practicing law. So, I figure she would be a proponent of all that, if not the whole necromancy stuff. She prefers more positive witchery, generally speaking.

Liliana rounds out the Gatewatch team of planeswalkers, giving them a team member that channels black mana. Apparently, the set will include new Eldrazi cards, the sort of Lovecraftian horror guys that were introduced in the preceding Zendikar block.

I got some questions this week about the art process, so I thought I would do a process driven post here. I was asked about speech balloons and lettering, whether they are done after the fact, digitally, or during the process. Here, the logos and trade dress for IDW are all after the fact, to make the cover of a “Great Comic That Never Happened!” The previous step looked like this…

The art sans logos.

The art sans logos.

The background was in fact a second, largely digitally generated image. I intentionally scaled up the brightness, to separate the background from the foreground in the Kirby Collage style here. It was kind of a hassle finding the balance that I wanted there, but I’m pretty happy with the end result.

I wanted the image to have the elements of the setting of Innistrad, sort of an Eastern European Gothic Fantasy aspect. I also didn’t want the characters to get lost in the background, which was an issue to some degree, given Liliana’s flowing complex dress and cape.

The hand drawn pencils of the foreground then, can be seen here, below…

The initial foreground pencils.

The initial foreground pencils.

So, that’s how it all came together for the first image.

for those unfamiliar with the “booster draft” format, I’ll explain. Everyone pays fifteen bucks to enter, and gets three packs of cards…making about forty five cards to open and review. Then there is some method of passing cards that you don’t want to your neighbor, with some amount of repetition. That, in turn leads to you constructing a deck from the cards opened right there…thus making a pretty even playing field for everyone. You can’t buy more cards, and the selection is fairly random…since you don’t know what’s in the pack.

The players—usually eight sitting in a circle—each open a booster pack, pick one card, and pass the pack to the next player, who picks one card and continues to pass it along. Eventually, all of the cards are picked and the players repeat the process with a total of three booster packs. At the end of a Khans of Tarkirdraft, players will have 42 cards (not counting basic lands) with which to build a 40-card deck. Just like Sealed Deck, players may add any number of basic lands to their deck.

We will see how that goes tonight. My entire draft strategy is to build a deck that has cards with Liliana on them, and zombie cards…since they have a kind of synergy. That’s the WHOLE strategy I’m bringing.

Excelsior!

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