Ravnica Guildgate Art Descriptions

Posted in Feature on September 26, 2018

By Chris Gleeson

Chris is the copy editor for DailyMTG. If the Ts are dotted and the eyes are crossed, he dun goofed.

Guilds of Ravnica showcases the aesthetics and majesty of each guild through the Guildgates, which we typically envision as the most impressive architecture each guild can muster. These are massive structures, the main passages into the heart of each guild's domain.

But the guilds are ancient institutions, and, in many ways, the city of Ravnica has grown around them over the centuries. The main Guildgates are not the only ways into each guild's territory, if you know your way around.

Let's take a look at the descriptions each artist was given to create both the spectacular public entrance and the secretive, little-known entrance for each guild in Guilds of Ravnica!

House Dimir

Guildgate – "Spectacular and Autumnal" cycle
Setting
: Ravnica
Guild: Dimir
Color: Land associated with blue and black

Action: The secretive Dimir guild doesn't usually have a big public entrance, but this spot is different. Hidden away in the dank, echoing undercity is a vast Dimir lair. It's like a ruined palace with spidery/skeletal beams and dagger-like girders, all built around a single central archway. The Dimir crawling-eye symbol shines in the misty gloom, reminding the viewer who controls this turf.
Focus: The central archway should be clearly visible.
Mood: A supervillain's lair combined with a carnival funhouse; a place of illusions, secrets, and mysteries.

Guildgate – "Small and Secretive" cycle

Action: This is a secret entrance to the undercity domain of the Dimir, guild of spies and secret agents. Maybe we're in a nondescript alleyway, and a section of the wall magically unfolds, revealing a shadowy, arched tunnel that descends into darkness. Or maybe there's a mundane stone staircase in the city—but the whole staircase has been raised up from below, revealing a sunken room underneath the stairwell, again leading into Dimir territory. Anything to get across that sense of a surprising hidden entrance to the mysterious realm of the Dimir guild.
Mood: When the entrance is closed, it would be totally invisible—but we get to see the secret.

Izzet League

Guildgate – "Spectacular and Autumnal" cycle

Setting: Ravnica
Guild: Izzet
Color: Land associated with blue and red

Action: This is a major Izzet lab complex—with spires and lightning-towers and steam boilers, all centered around a main gate or entryway. Maybe it has huge double doors styled to look like dragon's wings, opened up to reveal a tunnel lined with glass pipes of red and blue energy. Somewhere in the scene, show the dragon symbol of the Izzet.
Focus: The main central entryway should be clearly visible.

Guildgate – "Small and Secretive" cycle

Action: The feel we want here is stumbling on a secret entrance to a hidden laboratory for mad scientists. Maybe a heavy mechanical vault door has swung open, revealing the mana boilers, electricity vanes, aether tubes, and other crazy brass-and-glass contraptions within. Maybe outside the door it looks like a drab alleyway or abandoned warehouse, but inside it's all vibrant blue and red lights and shiny copper coils.
Mood: A little-known entrance to a secret lab.

Golgari Swarm

Guildgate – "Spectacular and Autumnal" cycle
Setting
: Ravnica
Guild: Golgari
Color: Land associated with black and green

Action: The Golgari guild rules a mysterious lost kingdom down in Ravnica's undercity, a realm of moss-covered ruins and palatial fungal colonies. Show an impressive stretch of this undercity kingdom, centered around a cathedral-like structure that hangs from the ceiling. This hanging structure features a round central gateway that serves as an entrance for flying creatures. We see the insectile Golgari symbol somehow incorporated into the design. Maybe it's built into wrought-iron bars over that round gateway, or maybe the symbol is subtly built into ivy-clung towers framing the gate.
Focus: The central round gateway should be clearly visible.
Mood: Mysterious and impressive, as if we just stumbled on a legendary dark wonderland.

Guildgate – "Small and Secretive" cycle

Action: Subway tunnels under NYC are often lavishly decorated with mosaic tiles, tinted glass skylights, and dazzling brickwork. Show a shot through a secret undercity gateway, looking into the Golgari version of such a tunnel system. Maybe it's like the viewer has just opened a wrought-iron gate or portcullis, revealing a curving stonework tunnel that was some mosaic artist's life's work. Hanging mosses and ruined, fungi-covered columns only serve to enhance the splendor of this place. Maybe it's magically lit by glowing star-like motes and bioluminescence.
Mood: A hidden entrance to the secret Golgari kingdom.

Boros Legion

Guildgate – "Spectacular and Autumnal" cycle
Setting
: Ravnica
Guild: Boros
Color: Land associated with red and white

Action: This is the Guildgate of the Boros Legion, the heroic army of Ravnica. Show a huge city-block of towering Boros architecture, centering around a massive archway with a portcullis emblazoned with the Boros fist-in-sunburst symbol. Boros architecture looks blocky and broad-shouldered—big, sturdy constructions in red stone with silver trim. Maybe there are glorious white banners with the Boros symbol, yellow autumnal trees, and towers with ever-burning sacred fires.
Focus: The central archway should be clearly visible.
Mood: If a military barracks were elevated to the awe of a castle. It looks the way trumpets sound.

Guildgate – "Small and Secretive" cycle

Action: Old Italian villages often have narrow cobblestone alleyways between buildings, with flights of old brick stairs winding up through them and arched overhangs above. Show the scene of a stone-stepped alleyway like this, with arch shapes overhead. Set into one side of the alley is a noble door flanked with torches—a little-known entrance into Boros guild territory. There are worn indications of the Boros sunburst motif built into the stone around the doorway, carved centuries ago, so the sunburst is pretty faded and smooth now.
Mood: The entrance to a quaint, old-town institution that only the locals know about.

Selesnya Conclave

Guildgate – "Spectacular and Autumnal" cycle
Setting
: Ravnica
Guild: Selesnya
Color: Land associated with green and white

Action: The Selesnya Conclave build amazing structures combining white marble architecture and living trees. Show an incredible Selesnya cathedral-garden on a drizzly autumn day, built around a central gateway featuring an airy triple-arch shape. Incorporate the Selesnya tree symbol into the structure somehow. Maybe it's carved above the triple archway, or maybe they've built the tree symbol into a set of double doors, framed by living autumnal trees.
Focus: The central triple-gateway should be clearly visible.
Mood: Welcoming, open, natural. A breath of fresh air in a suspicious city.

Guildgate – "Small and Secretive" cycle

Action: This is a quiet, out-of-the-way entrance to the gardens of the Selesnya Conclave. Maybe it's a beautiful Gothic arch of white marble set into a tall leafy hedge, and through the arch we can see the promise of enchanted, neatly-manicured gardens. A rugged cobblestone path welcomes you to stroll among noble birch trees, sculpted topiaries, and low-walled planting beds of limestone and marble.
Mood: Welcoming, beautiful, sun-touched.

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