Creative Ventures

Posted in Savor The Flavor on March 10, 2010

It's Adventure Week, and we're going to get to some of the creative ventures you guys sent in. But first I thought we'd go on a little scavenger hunt.

Savor the Flavor Scavenger Hunt!

Answer these five questions by braving an expedition through Savor the Flavor articles since the beginning of Zendikar previews. The first one to get all the answers right in this week's forum thread gets a signed copy of Alara Unbroken (assuming the old ways of snail-mail connectivity can reach where you live). Let the adventure begin!

  1. Which Worldwake card was alluded to in the journal of an adventurer, months before the set released?
  2. In a discussion of everyday spellcraft, which color did I suggest would have magic useful for spa treatments?
  3. Which ancient Greek philosopher did I paraphrase during an early mention of the Roil?
  4. Which non-Jace planeswalker shows up in the art of a Worldwake card (and which card is it)?
  5. What is also known as the City That Walks?

Now on to your creative endeavors. I'm excited about this—you guys really came through.

Adventurous Expressions

Last week I asked you to send in examples of your Magic passion at work, to show me what creative expressions are made possible by this, our Connected Age. I said I would show off what you sent me in the form of a link-dense Letter of the Week—but I was pleased to find that there was way too much good stuff for that, so the out-shouting will now take the form of an entire article. I encourage you to check out what these creative folks have done. If you're inspired to, go to their sites or Twitter accounts or Facebook pages and give them props. If you're further inspired, draw or build or write or create your own things!

I've broken down the responses I got in the last week into a few categories. They all take the form of what I call feats of creative expression. The first is all about visual art, which I'm calling Feats of Light.

Feats of Light

Artist and Magic fan Tan Zie Aun has some stylin' fan art on his DeviantArt site that you should check out. I'm particularly fond of his Jace.

Dear Doug Beyer,
Regarding your article "Magic in the Connected Age":

I would like to share with you some fan-art I did. [...] Since [Kamigawa], anime-izing Magic art has become one of my creative hobbies.

Here's Jace Beleren, cel-shaded:

Here's Norin the Wary (I never knew he wasn't wearing any pants):

Here's Puppet Conjurer: Didn't really like the anime-Homunculi, there's something puppy-adorable about the original ones.

Here's my latest, a Sorin Markov head that I drew because I wanted a new avatar:

While I hope I'm not doing the original artists too much a disservice, it's something that I enjoy doing. Each piece takes me about a month on and off to finish thanks to my obsessiveness with neat line art as well as easily getting distracted by other creative endeavors. There's a WIP Halimar Excavator somewhere, I'll send the link over when I'm done if you're interested ;)
-Tan Zie Aun

Keep it up, Tan!

Onward! Adrian has another Feat of Light, this one a bit more three-dimensional.

Dear Doug Beyer,
Regarding your article "Magic in the Connected Age":

Strange it may seem - but I started making masks and flavor text because of Magic...I've had just a few gallery shows, but most fans of Magic may like the look/story-lines of these:

Mostly, I'm inspired by flavor text...which is sometimes my favorite part of a card.

Additionally, I've made a game for my two young boys using our brickwork out back. Each square stone (patio) represents the card face up on it. We roll a die and you walk to that source using steps/mana available... each person has 20 life as usual. It started by playing Damp;D on the stones out in our backyard, but Magic is fun too - sacrificing extra life to take a few more steps (drawing cards etc..) to get that Fireblast that's in the corner of the garden!


Amazing stuff, Adrian. Thanks for sharing that!

If I had Feats of Light, you know I had to have ...

Feats of Sound

Yep, these are feats of creative expression in the audio realm. We begin with a letter from Chewie:

Yo Doug!

I saw your request for Magic-related creations, and just had to send this in! My name is Chewie, and some friends and I (Brian, Mike, and Dirk) have been doing a casual-centric Magic podcast for almost two and a half years now. It's called The Mana Pool, and we are devoted to the fun of the game. We've covered everything from real-world animal types to multiplayer mayhem to the flavor of Magic mechanics to just whatever else you can think of. Episode 118 is actually uploading as I write this email. You can find us at

In case anyone would actually like to know what makes people listen to us, you should check these out first. We have entirely too much fun. One of our listeners put together a bunch of clips set to music when we hit our first year, and he did so again at two years. They really show off why we're worth listening to.

No One Expects the Mana Pool -
Mana Pool 2: Electric Boogaloo -

Thanks Doug!

PODCASTS, yes. You can listen to these feats of sound on your portable magic mouth while planeswalking through the Blind Eternities sitting on the subway or forming a mana bond waiting in the checkout line.

Eric has other podcasts you might want to float down your ear canal.

Dear Doug Beyer,
Regarding your article "Magic in the Connected Age":


What I create are podcasts about Magic. My personal show, Mr. Suitcase, has been a combination of interviews thoughts on my Cube and general experiences playing.

I also participate semi-regularly on Monday Night Magic which appears at the top of the main page on


Fantastic work. Thanks for sending those in, Eric!

Now this—this is a feat of sound. Note: the lyrics in some of these MP3s go a little beyond our normal "all-ages" vocabulary here on the site. That means bad words. Click at your own discretion.

Dear Doug Beyer,
Regarding your article "Magic in the Connected Age":

You wanted to know what piece of Magic the Gathering related work we have made. I am writing to show off to you my Magic The Gathering Rap Project, produced at Spruke Recordings and we go by the name of "Tha Gatherin".

We are up to three songs so far and we will be headlining entertainment at a University of Buffalo Magic Convention.

Here are links to the songs.

--DJ Spruke Tha Gatherin

Amazing, right? Thanks DJ Spruke! (Check out for more from this artist.)

Feats of Connectedness

But it's not just candy for the ears and eyes today. We've also got candy for your prefrontal cortex (mmm, cortex candy) and your digital devices. Got a deck and a phone?

Dear Doug Beyer,
Regarding your article "Magic in the Connected Age":

Over the past few months me and some friends have gotten into what we call "digital magic." How it basically works is like correspondence chess: I send a txt message/email/tweet/facebook message to my friend saying, "Forest, Noble Hierarch, 20/20, pass turn."

Meaning, I'm keeping my opening hand of 7 and playing a forest, tapping the land for {G} and then casting my vastly superior manadork.

Over the course of hours, or in some cases minutes, we engage in a slow game of Magic. This relieves HOURS of boredom in school, and allows for playtesting to go down even when we're far apart.

Unlike Mental Magic, we do play with decks, and LESS cheating ensues then you would think.

--Blaze Treat

Nice! I of course took "boredom in school" to be code for "boredom while taking mass transit to and from my beloved educational institution," as I know you are not actually texting your exalted beatdown duringclass.

(I taught a couple philosophy courses when I was a grad student, so as a one-time teacher-kinda, I have to stick up for the poor saps who are trying hard to teach you stuff. Although I'll admit I am just as guilty. I have found deck-building thoughts scribbled and underlined in the margins of my college notes about Kierkegaard. "Jokulhaups + Phasing?? How about that for creating some existential despair! HAHAHA"—and there's a doodle of Sandbar Crocodile eating a little top-hatted Danish man, etc.)

Pay attention in school! And then play Magic using the invisible space wires.

Feats of Reflection

Lastly are what I call feats of reflection—writing, theorizing, composing. The stringing together of words and arguments in a thoughtful manner. A personal fave.

Brendan here has been busy. His historian character Issar Roon spins tales that weave together summaries of the canonical Magic storyline with Issar's own crotchety eccentricities.

Dear Mr. Beyer,
I've recently begun writing the Issar Roon articles over at Mana Nation. ( Thanks to Trick, I've been given free reign to do anything I want. I'm attempting to find a balance of my own story-telling (through Issar Roon's situation), and actual Magic lore.

Best Regards,

Thanks Brendan! I love seeing how everybody interfaces with flavor in a different way. Some people want to drill down on the storyline, scouring every book and cranny for official lore, treating it as treasured Dominian myth. Others fill in the gaps with entirely new stories and characters. The quilt has plenty of room for everybody.

Daniel has been working on a personality quiz based on the color pie—but one that's a little more in-depth than some of the quizzes out there.

Dear Doug Beyer,
As you asked today for us to show you what we can create related to Magic, I'll show you a little project I've been working on.

I'm very interested in the philosophy of the colours and I like to think about which colours would best represent something.

I've searched for a colour psychological test that would better show the colour that most suits a person according to his ideas, but most didn't please. The answers were too obvious. So I decided to write something that seemed a little more serious for me.

My idea is a test composed by several sentences, to which the tested must give a note from 1 (fully disagree) to 5 (fully agree).

He will then get points in the colours according to his position on those subjects, and his colour will be "visible" then.
Here are the sentences, in the following format:
"Sentence amp;lt colour(s) that disagree(s); colour(s) that agree(s) amp;gt "

And here I list only a few of Daniel's examples—he sent many, many more!

The individual should be free to take advantage of his abilities. amp;ltWhite; Red, Blackamp;gt
Technological advance brings progress to society. amp;ltGreen; Blueamp;gt
Might makes right. amp;ltWhite; Red, Blackamp;gt

I expect to make a web interface for this test when I'm not feeling too lazy.

Best regards,

Hey Daniel, you sound far from lazy! You've done a ton of work already. You should definitely put together a web page for this somewhere, so others could take your test. I'm certainly interested to see what my results would be.

Martin here has a series of blog posts about Magic in a context of religious studies. Fascinating stuff.

Mr. Beyer,

In response to your invitation in this week's column, I thought you might find my series of posts about MTG and religion of interest. The first post in the series may be found here:



I'm comfortable calling Magic a "ritual system." Historically there's plenty of overlap between the fantasy genre, legends of magic and spellcasters, the writings of medieval philosophers and scientists, and religious thought.

The next creator's project has an aspect of tantalizing mystery to it. The author revealed his or her Twitter username to me, but I've gone ahead and snipped it out of a few spots of the person's email so as to leave the author anonymous, in case he or she wants to keep it that way for now.

Dear Doug Beyer,
Regarding your article "Magic in the Connected Age":

Doug, I've been a player of Magic for a long time now, and having graduated from college, but still having a hard time finding work, I have had a lot of time to tinker with my long time interest in Magic. I have recently begun writing articles and I hope to do a lot more Magic writing. One project that I have begun I think you would be particularly interested in, and I'd like your advice in regards to how to move forward with it.

I am an active member of the MTG community on Twitter and I located an opportunity to begin sharing the flavor of the sets using Twitter. I tell you this in a kind of confidence as I have not told anyone yet and I'm not sure I want the community at large to know, but I am the author behind the user @Rivnix (

Rivnix is, as I imagined, a goblin born of the Izzet clan on Ravnica, after the storyline events there. Thanks to Izzet Guild's experiments in augmentation, Rivnix has higher than typical intelligence. This led to him being a trained forward observer of various experiments. During a mishap, his spark ignited and brought him to relative safety on Zendikar, which is where the Twitter timeline begins.

An amazing project, isn't it? This is exactly what I mean by "Magic in the Connected Age." New media mean new artistic expressions. New artistic expressions mean new ways of being part of the worlds of Magic and new ways of making its worlds part of you. I urge you to go ahead and check out Rivnix's 140-character adventures on Twitter (note that you don't need a Twitter account to read it). Remember that Twitter puts the most recent tweets at the top, so read from the bottom!

The author here goes on to ask what steps to take in order to keep Rivnix's tale consistent with Magic's ongoing storyline. That can be tough, my name-withheld friend, seeing as how we work on it all hush-hush-like and how there's a long time delay between when we're actively working on a setting and when it's released to the public. But I would advise you (and anyone looking to spin tales of Magic) to keep on checking the web comics, novels, Planeswalker's Guides, Savor the Flavor, and other sources of storyline—those are all our story venues, so if you can stay abreast of those then you've kept consistent. Truth is, there are plenty of intentional holes left in the quilt of Magic story, plenty of gaps made available for you to patch in your own stories.

There were many more emails, and I'm sorry I couldn't print them all. I encourage you all to continue perpetrating feats of creative expression. Without your imaginative interaction, Magic would never have exploded into the phenomenon it's become.

Next week: Three deities worshipped by the Zendikar merfolk. And the out-shouting of the Scavenger Hunt winner!

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