Literalism in Shadowmoor

Posted in Arcana on May 8, 2008

By Wizards of the Coast

Most cards in Magic have names that describe what's happening on the card. Noggin Whack shows a kithkin getting whacked in the noggin. Simple. Direct. To the point. And in this case, hilarious.

Some cards, though, take an extra detour on the way. Take Illuminated Folio for example:

Illuminated Folio

The traditional meaning of an "illuminated folio" would be a book with intricate illustrations throughout the margins and elaborating the capital letters. This folio, however, is "illuminated" in the sense of being "lit-up by a bright light".

Illuminated Folio Illuminated Folio art by Jim Pavelec

Or consider the case of Ghastly Discovery.

Ghastly Discovery

Normally, this would mean a discovery that was terrifying. And that might be, but in this case, it's also a discovery made by some kind of ghostly creatures. In other words, it's a discovery made by ghasts. A ghast-ly discovery.

Ghastly Discovery Ghastly Discovery art by Howard Lyon

Finally, let's take a look at Disturbing Plot:

Disturbing Plot

Does this card portray a worrying scheme? No, it does not. In fact, it shows two people digging up a grave. "Disturbing, " in other words, a burial "plot."

Disturbing Plot Ghastly Discovery art by Larry MacDougall

We'd love to be able to tell you that the other three monocolored common conspire cards follow this pattern. And we're about 60% convinced that Mine Excavation shows two creatures shouting "Mine!" about their recent excavation. And Burn Trail is normally a noun (a trail that has been burned), but it's being used here as a verb (burning a trail), but those are almost the same meaning. And sadly, no matter how we parse it, Gleeful Sabotage just portrays some sabotage being done gleefully. So it's not a whole cycle. It's still neat, though.

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