2021 has been for me the perfect year to return to Magic: The Gathering. COVID, in some strange ways, made me bond and spend more time with my friends in more secure spaces, just chatting and playing tabletop games. Many of my mates played this amazing game mode for Magic called Commander, in which 4 players battle each other with 99 unique cards and their commanders, a pivotal card for the deck that can be cast like if it was in your hand, and determines which colors your deck will have.
After creating my first deck and playing versus different opponents, the designer in my craved for a new set of cards, but this time they should feel more special and rare. As someone who loves the 5 color pie and how amazing is it to see the philosophy of each color and their combinations unfold on the table, I searched for the rarest color of all, colorless. In the game, there is this type of creature called Eldrazi, lifeless and colorless entities that move through different planes of existence devouring all life and leaving nothing but dust behind, very similar to the Old ones of H.P. Lovecraft.
2 months after the first idea, I had created this deck using Emrakul, the promised end as my commander. It is slow and has many problems versus perfectly tweaked decks, but playing Eldrazi's you feel like if you were an eldritch presence that can destroy the game at any moment. Colorless decks have many limitations (there are almost no colorless instants, sorceries, or enchantments), but those were the ones that made my deck feel different from all the other ones you can make for this game.
One day, thinking about how Eldrazi creatures are represented as nightmarish gods that come from nothing, I dreamed about how to make that idea playable, so I created then a new mechanic, From the Void. If a card has this ability, it means that it CAN'T be in your starting deck, so your only way of getting it played is using cards that can get them from outside the game. There are a few specific cards that could add them, and because this impediment makes them hard to get and play, they should feel powerful, really powerful, as Eldrazi's are.
So here I present to you a set of 7 new cards that come From the Void and want to remove from existence any win possibility your opponents may have. It is important to mention that all cards will have odd mana cost numbers and specific colorless mana to continue with the Eldrazi flavor and limit the use of these new cards in other decks that aren't colorless. I have used as the art for these cards paintings from artists that I felt could be good examples of how they should look.
The first one is Emptiness. This land is the most important one of all the new additions, cause it ables players to get all those cards with the From the Void ability. The requisites to activate Emptiness ability are very specific, but they are so because searching any card that you would want from outside the game is a very powerful ability that could give you an answer to the problems you may be facing.
This effect draws a lot of inspiration from Sanctum of Ugin, a colorless land that asks the player for the same 7 cost colorless spell plus sacrificing it to activate it.
Nicola Samori and his art usually shows Christian imagery but with hopelessness and pain as the main concept. This painting shows people fearing a black hole that could perfectly be the place where Eldrazi's come from.
Call of the Void
Call of the void is the cheapest card with the From the Void ability, and one of the most powerful. This spell, usually called tutor, lets you search your deck for an Eldrazi card to play the next turn. Cards like Mystic Tutor or Vampyric Tutor let the player almost avoid the randomness component of your deck, something possible with the right cards in the right colors, which isn't the case for colorless decks. So, to be able to play this powerful card and the Eldrazi's you may search with it, you need first to be able to bring Call of the Void from outside your deck.
Dragan Bibin, the famous artist known for his series exploring fear and darkness through black doors and emptiness, has this amazing painting that makes us ask ourselves... Where does that door go to? Is that white cloth attached to something within?
Eldrazi creatures are one of the most mana expensive tribes in all Magic. So, to create that mana, the designers of Wizards of the Coast added some new cards that spawned an Eldrazi token that when sacrificed will give us colorless mana (Awakening Zone as an example). Nightmare foundry creates one of those tokens for each player, a very juicy option to gain mana. The drawback of that action is that the owner of this card from the void will gain life, making the game longer and giving him or her even more time.
Much of H.R. Giger's work has these gray tones for his mechanical worlds that not only are the main color of the colorless cards but usually have synthetic creatures in them.
From all the current existing Eldrazi cards, one of my favorites is All is dust, which represents very well all the core ideas around these gods. It's one of the few colorless sorceries, has 7 has its mana cost, destroys almost anything, and prepares the battlefield for the colorless player to start bringing the 8 or 9 mana cost Eldrazi's. Cosmic Hunger tries to do that, but this time restraining all colored players from developing their board.
Beksinski has a lot of amazing paintings that show long wastelands with gigantic creatures and remains of things that had life.
Reality Fissure (token)
The previous spell Cosmic Hunger spawns Reality fissure tokens, which were commissioned to my friend Victor.M Rodriguez for him to create.
As seen in the Zendikar expansion, whenever Eldrazi's start to spawn in any world, life itself is doomed, mainly because these creatures destroy lands and create Wastelands (basic lands that produce colorless). For Life Ultimatum, I tried to create a unique enchantment (it would be the second one) that played with colored lands and the idea of draining mana. It may sound overpowered, but opponents can still come back if they keep drawing lands and being cautious.
Profound Void by Jackson Pollock was the perfect choice for the art. I reframed it in order to focus on some parts of the original piece where we can see some strokes of color.
Sorrow, Hope's End
One type of deck that recently I started to enjoy is Mill decks, which gameplay objective is to empty other libraries in order to win. That made me realize how making the player remove physically his or her deck feels really threatening for some players. Searching for design ideas with this concept, I took inspiration from Jace the Mindsculptor and his last ability to create something similar for a creature in Sorrow, Hope's End.
Francisco Goya's Saturno Devouring His Son is a very crude representation that, with only 3 distinctive parts of it, generates this uncanny feeling in the viewer. Sorrow, Hope's End on the table means that the game is going to end in no more than 7 turns.
I hope you liked these 7 new cards! I asked my friend's permission to play them and, cause playing these cards is really hard due to needing not only Emptiness in play, but the 7 colorless spells plus time. Nonetheless, I'm going to try to pull them off. Let's see if they work
Thanks for your attention!