Journey with us as we explore Ikoria's diverse fauna and the inspiration that went into creating their depictions. Creatures small enough to sit on your shoulder and big enough to crush buildings underfoot comprise the range of stunning monsters on Ikoria.
Let's take a closer look at these monsters in beautiful larger-than-card form, along with the art descriptions used to commission each piece!
Color: White creature
Location: In one of the spiral-trunked "helica trees" of Indatha, at twilight
Action: Create a small, furry, multi-eyed Nightmare creature with two main features—a set of wing flaps (patagia) that let it glide for short distances and some prominent claws on its paws for clinging to helica trees. Maybe we see it springing through the air on its glorious furry wing flaps or staring out with its several eyes into the twilight air.
Focus: The glider creature
Mood: A quick and agile little guy
Color: White creature
Location: Sky. Over Savai if it matters to the piece. Could be at twilight or night if desired.
Action: Show a monstrous, imposing moth creature with a wingspan of about 30 feet (10 meters). This moth monster is able to spawn new life—maybe it has a magical chrysalis or cocoon clutched in its forelegs that glows mystically from within. If you want, we could see a few lesser moth creatures flitting around it, like little attendants orbiting their almighty queen.
Focus: The moth monster
Mood: It's scary enough as it is—it's even scarier that it can make new moths!
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Color: White and black creature
Location: A lair in Indatha
Action: We'd like you to design Lurrus, a panther with characteristics of a Nightmare monster. Lurrus has the body of a panther but with multiple eyes, two slinky tails, and wisps of shadowy fur that trail into smoke. It regards us with suspicion and menace, but we can see one or two of its young (aww, Nightmare kittens!) hiding in branches or elsewhere in the background.
Mood: Imagine Lurrus's low, rumbling growl of warning
Color: Black creature
Location: A dark cavern lair or other shadowy place in Indatha
Intent: You know how birds build nests? We'd like a skittering Nightmare creature that instead builds FRIGHTENING STICK-DOLLS.
Action: Show the Fiend Artisan as a wingless nightmare creature with several grasping claws and an insectile carapace with a dark greenish sheen. Show it piecing together a small, creepily tilted stick-doll out of twigs and bones. In the background, we can see that its lair has more of these odd stick-dolls.
Focus: The Fiend Artisan itself should be the most important element here.
Mood: Imagine following a trail of these creepy stick-dolls through the swamp, and then you find that their maker is EVEN MORE TERRIFYING.
Notes: Nightmares tend to have multiple eyes, multiple limbs, and shadowy, flowing hair.
Color: Blue creature
Action: We want to see an immense island creature crashing its monstrous head and front flippers up out of the water, kicking up deadly tidal waves. This thing is big enough that its back is like a rocky isle—so the fact that it has decided to stop floating and start thrashing is bad news!
Optional: Maybe we see the tiny canoe of a fisherman getting tossed by the creature's vicious waves.
Focus: The island creature and its churning waves
Mood: You haven't just awakened a sea monster that lurks near an island. You've awakened the island.
Gyruda, Doom of Depths
Color: Blue and black creature
Location: Churning, stormy sea
Action: We'd like you to invent Gyruda, an enormous Demonic Kraken that churns up the sea with death and insanity. Maybe it has a gigantic spiraling shell decorated with the bones of other creatures, with twisting tentacles emerging from it, a fang-filled maw, and enormous, unsettling black eyes.
Mood: A sea monster that will either kill you or drive you insane just by looking at it
Color: Green creature
Location: Any wilderness or woodland area
Intent: A "brushwagg" is an odd little creature from Magic lore (see reference, but note this is a very old depiction of this creature). It's able to grow huge and mighty but spends most of its time as small as a hedgehog. We want a scene that shows the creature's reputation by showing much bigger monsters fearfully getting out of its way.
Action: Give us a cool update to Magic's classic Brushwagg, a small but tough hedgehog-like thing with spiny brambles around its body. It's walking through the woods like it owns the place, and in the background, we can see big monsters cowering or standing aside to give it a wide berth (for the big monsters, take inspiration from Dinosaurs and Beasts).
Focus: The Brushwagg
Mood: Little man comin' through. What's the Brushwagg equivalent of walking with your chest thrust out?
Yidaro, Wandering Monster
Color: Legendary red creature
Location: Up to you
Action: We'd like you to invent a huge and deadly, but also very charming monster (not too humanoid, please). The monster Yidaro is easily distracted—his attention tends to wander. But if he ever focuses his attention on something, he will OBLITERATE it. Up to you how to express this.
Mood: Capable of incredible damage, but also kind of sweetly inattentive