“Hard to imagine,” mused Hanna, stroking the petal, “such a lovely flower inspiring such greed.” (Lotus Petal)
R&D exercises a little more caution with mana-for-free nowadays, but that doesn't mean that Magic is out of the lotus trade. Oh, no. Today we take a look at the cards and art associated with this famous flower.
The very word “Lotus” has an almost supernatural gravity in Magic. When John Avon painted a field of lotus flowers for the Weatherlight set's Lotus Vale, he took care to deliver the same sense of respect and awe. See that seed-pod in the center of each bloom? You'll see that a lot.
Lotus Vale art by John Avon
Unglued and Unhinged both had “bigger and better Lotus” gags in them. Who could resist making a card better than the legendary Black Lotus? Of course, one of them you have to tear up to get that mana out and the other costs 15, but the original is pretty hard to top.
Take a look at Randy Gallegos's Lotus Blossom. The morning light of a Tolaria valley puts a coppery cast on the petals—a neat effect on this Urza's Saga iteration of the mana-generating artifact.
Lotus Blossom art by Randy Gallegos
Martina Pilcerova's Gilded Lotus takes the artifact-lotus a step further. This is how a mana-flower looks when grown on the metal plane of Mirrodin.
Gilded Lotus art by Martina Pilcerova
Lotuses aren't common—but their petals were back in Tempest. And when Invasion got a 4/4 flyer with five-color mana generation abilities—well, the flavor text explains it all.
Now look at Time Spiral's Lotus Bloom by Mark Zug. See the characteristic pattern of the central seed pod and the subtly ridged petals? The coloration is important here as well—you'll learn more about the blue field in the background as you see more of Time Spiral.
Lotus Bloom art by Mark Zug