Dissension Style Guide: Rakdos

Posted in Arcana on August 14, 2006

By Wizards of the Coast

When Red’s reckless, shortsighted glee collides with Black’s penchant for stepping on others to get what it wants, the result is the Cult of Rakdos, Ravnica’s giggling pack of demon-may-care sadists. Today we take a look at Dissension's style guide to see how the style of the Rakdos expresses these principles—or lack thereof!—visually.

A style guide is a document of text and reference illustrations used to guide artists who work on a Magic set. Anthony Waters, Dan Scott, Greg Staples, Jim Nelson, Kev Walker, Martina Pilcerova, Matt Cavotta, Matt Wilson, and Tomas Giorello all worked as concept illustrators for Dissension.

Rix Maadi, a palace buried in lava-scoured areas of Ravnica’s undercity, serves as the Rakdos center of activity. Here Rakdos himself, the demon parun, rules by destructive whim.

The look of the Rakdos was designed to express their wicked hedonism. What they wear of clothing is spiky, bloody, and soiled. Their armor is designed to hurt others more than protect the wearer. Their weaponry is often exaggerated and inefficient; Rakdos weaponsmiths would, of course, work under squalid conditions, with no plans and deadlines the length of a demon’s attention span. Compare this pic of Rakdos weaponry to the design of the Azorius weaponry here.

You can see some of these figure, weapon and armor designs in the art of Kindle the Carnage, Brain Pry, Jagged Poppet, Kill-Suit Cultist, and of course that goblin orgy of destruction, Wrecking Ball.

Rakdos creatures didn’t turn out to do a lot of flying, but here are some designs for an imp and demonriders. The style guide for a set often provides concepts for large and small flyers, so that if the card designs eventually call for such a creature, there’s a preexisting reference for it.

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