What's a Wolf Eel?

Posted in Arcana on September 4, 2008

By Wizards of the Coast

Let's say you're a Magic artist. And you're given this art description for a card named "Whimwader":

Color: Blue
Location: your choice
Action: This is an elemental, which in [SETNAME] means it's a manifestation of fears, anxieties, or nightmares that incorporates animal elements. This particular elemental is a huge creature "can smell thoughts." How to represent this is up to you. One idea is to show an enormous creature that resembles a two-faced eyeless wolf-eel covered with strange, arcane patterns. It "swims" along the ground -- the ground underneath it magically becomes fluidic to allow its passage, whether it's rocks, dirt, or whatever.
Focus: the "thought-seeking" elemental
Mood: surreal, creepy, cold
Notes: All elementals should feel transitory or intangible somehow, as though they're "just passing through" reality.

You'd probably turn in something like this, if you were as good an artist as Jeff Easley:

But here's something you might not know: a "wolf eel" is not fanciful invention by the creative team involving a wolf/eel crossbreed. It's actually a real thing, which looks a little like a moray eel:

Luckily, the artist's misunderstanding led to a cooler-looking creature. Serendipity!

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