Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Posted in Arcana on April 19, 2007

By Wizards of the Coast

Today Mike Flores's preview of Pact of Negation shows off one of a cycle of "pact" spells. These spells have an immediate benefit, offer a deferred payment plan and feature, let's say, harsh consequences for defaulting. These cards support Future Sight's themes of reaching into the future for options not available in the present. As such, during the set's art commissioning, the cards were known as the "borrowed" spells—instants or sorceries on loan from the future.

Artist Jason Chan was given the assignment of illustrating the blue "borrowed" spell. Here was its art description:

Color: Blue Spell
Action: Partially symbolic piece -- show a powerful blue-aligned wizard against a toxic, clouded, reddish sky. The wizard has thrust his/her hand powerfully upward toward the sky, and the sky has parted as though the wizard's hand were a celestial knife, revealing beautiful clear sky in the split.
Mood: This ends now!

Awesome stuff. Jason turned in these two sketch options for the card:

Pact of Negation SketchesSketches by Jason Chan

Kaboom! The creative team liked elements of each; they liked the power and drama in the composition of sketch A, and liked the sense of agency and good old spellcasting in sketch B. As you can see, the final art focuses more on A, but represents the best of both worlds:

Pact of Negation art by Jason Chan

The slag islands and rusty sky remind us that this card is not timeshifted—it takes place in present-day, recovering Dominaria. Its mechanic deals with themes of time and the future, but contemporary mages are casting it right now.

Or they will, starting Saturday!

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