Arting Around—The Void

The narrative that flows through Magic: The Gathering isn’t good. It’s more or less generic hero mythology. The characters and settings are uh-mazing and the story lines never do them justice. Arena is the only book related to M:TG I’ve ever read and it was horrifying. The publisher summarizes it thusly: “As the fighter-mages of the four great Houses prepare for their annual battle, a powerful stranger arrives and he is interested in the fifth House, destroyed a generation ago–but why is the Grand Master afraid of him?” I remember thinking that these “houses” had nothing to do with M:TG, the characters, or the world they in habit. There’s some magic and dueling and all that, sure, but really the book had little to nothing to do with the Multiverse.

“I read this book several years ago when it first came out, and I have to admit that it is truely one of the absolute best books I’ve ever read.” Kory Sutherland

14 year old Matt Jones and Kory Sutherland do not agree.

I maintain and explore an imaginary version of the M:TG narrative that is mostly informed by my obsessive reading of M:TG wiki pages (mtgsalvation and wikipedia). I create that which isn’t there using the raw materials Wizards of the Coast provides me (characters, spells, artifacts, and locations).

Image-5.ashx

Lord of the Void is inspiring. I opened this card in my prerelease pool at Twenty Sided. Having chosen to be Boros I couldn’t support the three black mana required to play Lord of the Void but boy oh boy I wanted to! Luis agreed that he didn’t make the cut in the Boros splash Gruul deck I had to put together. A few times during the sealed tournament I pulled Lord out and stared into his beautiful soulless eyes and wished I’d chosen Dimir or Orzhov. Placing him back inside my deck box I knew I’d come back to him and that time is now.

Who does he lord over? He’s a demon so he must lord over other demons. He’s Lord of the Void, so he must rule over the Void, right? Where and what is the Void?

The Æther is the Void between planes; also known as the Blind Eternities, it is the substance which fills the space between planes. Dark Matter and Dark Energy, from real life, come to mind in regards to this Magic: The Gathering Multiverse concept—the unknown space between known things. 73% of the mass-energy of our universe is hypothesized to be made up of dark energy and one could speculate that the majority of the Multiverse is The Æther (the Void). This could make Lord of the Void the most powerful of all lords in Magic.

Are there secrets to the Void in other cards?

These 22 sets contain cards with “void” in their title:

void-logos

Seven are blue, seven are black, two are gold, one artifact, one white, and one land. Let’s explore:

Image.ashx Image-19.ashx

Image-18.ashx Image-15.ashx Image-16.ashx Image-17.ashx Image-14.ashx Image-13.ashx Image-12.ashx Image-9.ashx Image-10.ashx Image-11.ashx Image-8.ashx Image-7.ashx Image-6.ashx Image-1.ashx Image-2.ashx Image-4.ashx Image-3.ashx

The void is a place cards go when they can’t be part of the game anymore. It’s an unknown region, mostly unreachable, save for the travels of the Misthollow Griffin. All non-Lord void related cards counter spells, discard cards (really another form of a counterspell), or exile permanents. They’re all about control. My interest is waining. This is the worst. The Void is a horrible place where you don’t get to play with your cards. Is there a secret of the Void offered these cards? Yeah, the Void sucks!

LordoftheVoid

Lord of the Void is so totally stoked to get out of the Void, a horribly boring place where permission rules. He’s so handsome and aggressive and filled with the anticipatory joy of smashing! Go get ’em, Lord!

Chris Rahn interprets a humanoid demon form and his minions taking advantage of the infighting of the guilds to enter Ravnica from their homeland, an unknown and misunderstood place called the Void. They look like the creature form of dark matter and clearly eminate a dark energy from their orbits (anywhere from one to six it seams). If mythology exists to put imagery to and explain the unknown then Rahn’s rendering of the good Lord and his minions is perfection. The unknown can be scary. Rahn’s illustration is a fantasy pop participant in a long line of fear-painting throughout art history.

Hieronymus Bosch

Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Francisco Goya

Sigmar Polke

I’m still terribly excited by this card. I doubt I’d ever be able to play it in a constructed match. I’m sure Kadar will force it into a five color limited deck filled with Gates and Verdant Havens (note to Kadar – please do this).

If anyone feels like buying the actual painting for me please do so ASAP. Here’s Chris Rahn’s website: http://chrisrahnart.blogspot.com. Thanks in advance!

Lots of love,
Matt
MTGO: The_Obliterator

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Comments
12 Responses to “Arting Around—The Void”
  1. Rich Stein says:

    I had never thought of how flavorful the void is before. I’m surprised that the “exiled zone” isn’t called the void. How much cooler would cards like Swords to Plowshares be if they said “Exile target creature to The Void?”

    Way cooler.

    Also, agreed that Arena is an awful book, but it was published almost 20 years ago. Back then, the Magic books were meant to be peripheral to the game. It was kind of weird and different authors interpreted what that meant in different ways. It wasn’t until the Brother’s War books that we got an actual narrative. If you haven’t read the story of Urza, Mishra and Yawgmoth let me know and I’ll lend you the books.

    I’m not saying they’re that much better than Arena. Personally I think it’s a very good story, but you should form your own opinion. However, if there’s any narrative that Magic is tied to it would be the Urza story from the Brother’s War through the Apocalypse (with Time Spiral as a bit of a “100 years later” thing).

    • Matt Jones says:

      the Æther and the Void are synonymous. it would be much more interesting if the exile zone was called either of them.

      Reading the wikis is enough for me re: the MTG narrative. I’m mostly interested in the stuff of mtg than the story. I’ll just cliff notes it. Thanks though!!

  2. David McCoy says:

    11 year-old David tried to read the Marcadian Masques book (http://www.amazon.com/Magic-Gathering-Mercadian-Masques-Masquerade/dp/0786911883) and failed. It did help me conceptualize the idea that Magic players are dueling planeswalkers, though.

  3. giacofurino says:

    We need to talk sometime about my obsession with the idea of The Void. Not specifically in magic, but this idea comes up in a lot of my poetry and fiction, I’m obsessed.

  4. zil says:

    dudes, stop dissing on the arena book. i wanted to grow up to be garth when i was younger-he grew his friggin eye back!!!!

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  1. […] writing from the void between planes, Matt Jones meditated on the role of the void in Magic and non-cardboard […]

  2. […] have written about how much I love is illustration of Lord of the Void previously on Hipsters. His style is a […]



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