Exploring Ixalan – Shadowed Caravel

Posted in Feature on September 14, 2017

By Nicholas Wolfram

Nicholas Wolfram fell promptly in love with tabletop and video games when he was only two years old, and he has been writing about them since he figured out how words worked. Now he puts together words about Magic, which he started playing way back in 2000.

As part of our preview season for Ixalan, we are going to take a deeper look at some of the cards previewed on our own homepage. Today, we'll be peering behind the scenes of the process that went into creating the design and art of Shadowed Caravel, which was previewed in Gavin Verhey's Card Preview article today.


Shadowed Caravel was one of the many cards from Ixalan that began with a top-down design, this one a Vehicle focused on the Vampires of the plane. The Legion of Dusk sailed from their distant home on great ships, bringing a veritable fleet to the shores of Ixalan. Many of these ships are protected by undead Spirits composed of darkness. Under the cover and protection of these Spirits, this Caravel can explore more freely. And the more it explores, the more resources it gathers, allowing it to become a bigger threat as time goes on.


Here is what artist Jason Felix was sent to create this piece:

Setting: Ixalan

Color: Colorless artifact (Vehicle) associated with the Legion of Dusk

Location: A river or inlet

Action: Show a small ship with similar elements to the giant Legion ships, but on a smaller scale that allows the ship to navigate inland somewhat. As in the world guide, we might see Vampire Soldiers on the deck, keeping watch on the coast and the water ahead for any sign of danger. We can also see some Shades circling around the tops of the masts. Dark mist trails behind the ship, contrasting with the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Focus: The ship

Mood: A polluting, corrupting presence in the pristine wilderness

This is the completed work that Jason created:

Shadowed Caravel
Shadowed Caravel | Art by Jason Felix

This piece offered a bit of a challenge. The dark mist and Spirits protecting the ship were meant to be distinguishable from smoke, and there is a slim visual area where that can be accomplished. Fortunately, Jason found that area, and the world has a Vampire ship shrouded in dark mystery.

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