Zendikar Rising Art Descriptions

Posted in Feature on September 17, 2020

By Blake Rasmussen

Blake is the content manager for DailyMTG.com, making him the one you should email if you have thoughts on the website, good or less good (or not good). He's a longtime coverage reporter and hasn't turned down a game of Magic in any format ever.

Zendikar Rising is a wild place with some wild art. Let's take a look at a few of the art descriptions from which the amazing artists drew their inspiration.

Felidar Retreat

Felidar Retreat | Art by: Ralph Horsley

Setting: Zendikar
Color: White enchantment
Location: A felidar lair
Action: Show a rocky lair belonging to a family of felidars. There are bones littered by a cave entrance and a precarious rocky peak where an adult felidar lounges at the very top watching over the others below. Maybe there's a kitten or two playing.

Canyon Jerboa

Canyon Jerboa | Art by: Antonio José Manzanedo

Setting: Zendikar
Color: White creature
Location: The ground of a rocky valley
Intent: This card shows a stampede from a mouse's perspective.
Action: Show a cute, fantastical mouse based on a jerboa (see reference, it's a small rodent with big back legs for jumping). It stands at the bottom of the ravine and sniffs the air for danger. The pebbles on the ground around it bounce into the air, and dirt billows in the background as if there's an earthquake. A stampede of creatures is coming, but we're too small to see them.
Focus: The mouse

Charix, the Raging Isle

Charix, the Raging Isle | Art by: Viktor Titov

Setting: Zendikar
Color: Blue legendary creature
Location: The sea
Action: Introduce us to Charix, a massive crab the size of a small continent. He bursts out of the sea, and water cascades off his shell. His shell has elements of the surrounding land, maybe a couple shrubs grow on it and bits of Skyclave ruin stick to it, giving it a distinctive pattern. He has multiple sets of pincers, but one should be much larger than the others (see fiddler crab reference). Include some elements for scale such as floating ruins or birds—it's important this creature be huge.
Focus: Charix
Mood: An absolute unit of a crab

Confounding Conundrum

Confounding Conundrum | Art by: Bryan Sola

Setting: Zendikar
Card type: Blue enchantment
Location: A ruin interior. Light pouring in illuminates the puzzle at its center.
Action: Show a ruin interior with a huge "water puzzle" levitating at the center of the room. The "water puzzle" consists of streams of water weaving in and out of each other to create a complicated knot (or some other intertwined shape). A female explorer looks up at the puzzle and contemplates it.
Focus: The water puzzle
Mood: Mind-boggling; an obstacle to overcome

Skyclave Shade (Showcase)

Skyclave Shade | Art by: Dominik Mayer

Setting: Zendikar
Color: Black creature
Location: A dark corner of a ruin
Action: Show a terrifying shade emerging from a ruin wall. Black smoke trails from its eyes and claws. Skyclave patterning should be integrated into its wispy body.
Focus: The shade
Mood: An evil menace

Soul Shatter

Soul Shatter | Art by: Wylie Beckert

Setting: Zendikar
Card type: Black sorcery
Location: Flying past the Skyclaves
Action: Show a shadowy blast smiting a dragon through the chest. The blast of darkness has an angular shape. The dragon roars in anger as the magic slams into it, shattering its scales and killing it.
Focus: The dark magic hitting the dragon
Mood: The fall of a mighty creature

Akoum Hellhound (Showcase)

Akoum Hellhound | Art by: Pascal Blanche

Setting: Zendikar
Color: Red creature
Location: The top of a cliff edge
Action: Show a canine-inspired take on a red-aligned Zendikar elemental standing at the very top of a precarious cliff. An elemental-meets-animal. It should have clawed paws made for climbing steep cliffs and a molten-red glow to its stone body.
Focus: The dog elemental
Mood: Agile, fierce

Spitfire Lagac (Showcase)

Spitfire Lagac | Art by: Dominik Mayer

Setting: Zendikar
Color: Red creature
Location: A rocky Akoum region
Action: Show a massive red-scaled lizard monster with a chubby pouch-like throat. It resembles a Komodo dragon with tusks, spines, and little beady eyes. See the attached reference for how its neck looks. There's a hot glow coming from its throat pouch as it burps up a fireball.
Focus: The spitting lizard
Mood: A little goofy, a lot of danger

Nahiri's Lithoforming

Nahiri's Lithoforming | Art by: Campbell White

Setting: Zendikar
Color: Red sorcery
Location: A mountaintop
Story info: Nahiri is "lithoforming" the landscape, reshaping the world according to her will and stilling the chaotic effects of the Roil.
Action: Show Nahiri attempting to calm the Roil using her enhanced lithomancy powers. She stands on a mountain peak, arms outstretched. Giant chunks of rock and ancient hedrons tear out of the land and swirl around her. It looks as if she is about to recreate the hedron network.
Focus: Nahiri's lithomancy
Mood: Stronger and more determined than ever

Ashaya, Soul of the Wild

Ashaya, Soul of the Wild | Art by: Chase Stone

Setting: Zendikar
Color: Green legendary creature
Location: A forest landscape. Bits of ruin and hedrons are scattered about.
Action: This is Ashaya, Nissa's elemental familiar. See the attached reference for how Ashaya has looked previously. Ashaya is a bipedal elemental with a distinctive curved head shape, composed of thick vines and living plants. Ashaya is taller and more powerful than before (about 30 feet tall). Maybe some explorers can be seen admiring it from below for scale.
Focus: Ashaya
Mood: A loyal guardian

Lotus Cobra (Showcase)

Lotus Cobra | Art by: Bastien Grivet

Setting: Zendikar
Color: Green creature
Location: Hanging above a lotus field
Action: Show us an updated take on the Lotus Cobra, a snake with prismatic scales. The lotus flower should be integrated into its design in some way—maybe the inside of its hood is patterned like lotus petals. Its body drapes and coils around a tree branch.
Focus: The colorful cobra
Mood: Mesmerizing

Phylath, World Sculptor (Showcase)

Phylath, World Sculptor | Art by: Pascal Blanche

Setting: Zendikar
Color: Red green creature
Location: Murasa
Action: Show a towering elemental based on the body shape of a troll. Its body is made from brambles, vines, and leaves, and where its heart would be glows red with flame. It scoops up a sapling, dirt and everything, and holds it up to its chest in a careful manner. Green energy surrounds the pair and flows into the sapling.
Focus: The elemental
Mood: Watching out for even the tiniest of plants

Omnath, Locus of Creation (Showcase)

Omnath, Locus of Creation | Art by: Bastien Grivet

Setting: Zendikar
Color: Red-green-white-blue legendary creature
Location: Towering over the watery landscape of Tazeem
Action: This is Omnath, an elemental being made of four colors of mana (red, green, white, and blue). See the attached reference for a sketch of the new four-color Omnath design. He has two legs, four arms, and an intense white light shining from the center of his "head." Omnath looks powerful and recharged—his body glows brighter than before and looks slightly more defined and muscular. Each one of his arms manipulates a different type of mana around him.
Focus: Omnath
Mood: Mana manifested

Forsaken Monument

Forsaken Monument | Art by: Piotr Dura

Setting: Zendikar
Color: Colorless artifact
Location: Fallen into the Guul Draz swamp
Action: Show the floating monument from the attached reference having fallen to the earth. Only a portion of the Eldrazi statue remains, alongside several toppled cubes. Foliage, vines, and moss have grown over parts of the lost monument. A faint glowing energy glows from the cracks in the cubes—they still hold some magical power. An explorer or two could stand next to the monument for scale.
Focus: The ruined monument
Mood: Eerie, long dormant

Cavern of Souls (Expedition)

Cavern of Souls | Art by: Sam Burley

Setting: Zendikar
Color: Land associated with mana of any color
Location: A Skyclave interior
Action: Show a vast Skyclave ruin interior. At the center is some kind of prominent basin. Ghostly energy pours out of the basin and fills the room with a white fog. Within this fog are several humanoid figures made out of negative space. The figures aren't well defined, only given form by the fog that flows around them.
Focus: The ghostly room
Mood: Spooky

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