Wizards Asks: 4/28/2009

Posted in Feature on April 28, 2009

By Wizards of the Coast

What's your favorite creature type and why?

Jenna Helland

Jenna Helland: Elementals! In particular, elementals from Lorwyn.

If I were a character in a fantasy book, I'd be an alchemist tinkering with raw nature to create something powerful. Classic cards like Earth Elemental and Air Elemental have always appealed to me. It's no wonder that so many stories adapt the archetypal elements into their world building. Earth. Air. Fire. Water. It's a pattern that still resonates centuries after it ceased to be accepted as a fundamental truth.

Some creature types are well defined—a specter is as a specter does. A fantasy tiger must have some cat-like tendencies. Elementals enjoy more flexibility, which provides interesting creative opportunities. Lorwyn introduced a new breed of elemental. These aren't just manifestations of pure energy, they're amalgamations of matter and thought. It's like a tussle between chemistry and psychology—and may the best Shriekmaw win.

Here's art description for Vigor that sent to Jim Murray:

Keep in mind that Lorwyn's elementals have elements of animal anatomy, surreality, and physical implausibility . . . show a creature that resembles an enormous bull or bison whose back looks like a tortoise's shell was fused onto it. The creature's face resembles a rock that's been shattered from a central point. Its top side is covered with a layer of moss. Flailing tentacles of young vine grow along its back and sides. It has lowered its head as though about to charge.

That's just fun.


Elementals are fun to name, too: Flickerwisp, Horde of Notions, Wispmare, Primalcrux. Those names are a pleasing mix of dream and substance. Especially to an aspiring alchemist.

What's your favorite creature type and why? Click the Discuss link below to tell us your story and then see what everybody else has to say!

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