Monday, July 12, 2010

Magic: The Gathering - Spinal Villain

At last we come to my single all-time favorite Magic: The Gathering creature, and the only card I'll have blogged about that I've never owned:

The "Spinal Villain" is one of those monsters that I find absolutely perfect in its every design aspect. I love its chitinous texture, I love its green tendrils, I love the massive size of its head compared to its tapering body, I love its multiple fingernails, I love its spiny back and visible shoulder blades (which I rip off on dozens of my own monsters, I now realize) and I even love those weird creases in its saclike, fleshy eyes, if those are even organs of sight at all.

It's not even the design alone that makes this guy so freaky. Alien-looking parasitic mutants are pretty standard for the modern Magic setting, but this guy came out in one of the game's very earliest expansions, when most of the game's creatures were such mundane fare as dwarves, drakes and goblins. It's also the only creature in the history of the game with "villain" as its species (?!) and bears the distinction of being a Red creature card (a color associated with chaos, destruction and brute force) with the power to kill any Blue creature card (a color associated with intelligence, magic and order). It's all tied together with a weird, spooky poem en lieu of any explanation whatsoever.

I'm not the only one who always found the Villain cool, though. These little cartoons come from issues of "Inquest" gaming magazine:

Here's the villain fighting Yog-sothoth with Mike Tyson's head for a "Monster Olympics" special feature. Yeah, this was a very corny magazine.

From the same special, Spinal prepares to swim laps against a Shoggoth, an Orc, a Modron and the Gill-man, who won't stop eating hot dogs. If I recall correctly, they actually had the Villain win one of the top three medals, maybe even the Gold.

Finally, we have this little Halloween illustration with a slightly more accurate Villain.

Aw, he likes Superman!

Thank you, Anson Maddocks, for brightening my life with just one simple painting.

Magic: The Gathering - Crawling Filth and more from Thrulls

First, a card I forgot to include in the Thrull post:

This is the art from "Breeding Pit," a card that creates thrulls. Many cards in magic can create "token creatures," which work like creature cards but have to be represented by whatever you have on hand (coins, toys, anything). I always found this painting fascinating. Is this woman a thrull herself, or some sort of "queen" thrull?

And now, the next to last Magic creature I'm featuring for now:

"Crawling Filth" is a fairly recent creature card, a "spirit" creature type, and then there's nothing about its design I don't love, from the fishy eyes to the halo of floating maggots. I wonder, though, what it might look like from other angles. Those big egg-like lumps are obviously part of it, but how do they fit together??