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This page is for tropes that apply to Magic: The Gathering's flavor, art, and storyline. Tropes which apply to the gameplay and mechanics should be placed here: Gameplay Tropes. (Some tropes may warrant placement on both, but please be judicious.)

See also Literature -- Magic: The Gathering.


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  • Abnormal Ammo: Akki Coalflinger, Fodder Launch, Mogg Cannon... the examples are endless (and mostly goblin-based). Deadapult is a zombie-based version that's no less hilarious.
  • Aborted Arc: The pre-revision comics were leading up to the Planeswalker War, but the comic line was canceled before it could be published. Some of the characters involved, like Freyalise, Taysir, and Tevesh Szat have turned up later in modern storylines, but details on what actually went down are extraordinarily vague.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Those in the city-world of Ravnica (they're Ravnica's swamps/black mana sources). They're so vast, they're called the "Undercity".
  • Actually a Doombot:
  • After the End: Several times. There's the downfall of the Thran, the sylex blast that started the Ice Age, the two giant meteor strikes at Madara, the Apocalypse set, the coming of Karona, and finally, Time Spiral block, which is the closest to the trope. (Of course, it's Time Spiral, so it's before, after, and three seconds to the left of the end.)
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Memnarch, a golem left behind by the creator of Mirrodin to guard the plane, goes insane and tries to become a planeswalker itself. Though this is at least partly due to external influence.
  • Alien Invasion: The subject of three separate sets/blocks.
    • Phyrexia attempted to invade Dominaria in the aptly named Invasion block. Phyrexia is another plane rather than another planet, but Alien Invaders is a spot-on description of its role. They even have giant spaceships with laser beams and everything (seen fighting Urza's Powered Armor on Searing Rays, for example). This attempt would fail, but later sets taking place on Dominaria show that the scars never really healed.
    • The Phyrexians would try again in Scars of Mirrodin, this time striking from the plane's hollow core rather than from another plane. The success of this invasion is best described by the names of the set in the block. In order, they are Scars of Mirrodin, Mirrodin Besieged, New Phyrexia.
    • Nicol Bolas and his army of Eternal zombies from Amonkhet invading Ravnica would be the focus of War of the Spark. It didn't go well for Bolas.
  • Alien Sky:
    • Mirrodin has four (later five) moons — which shine and thus are also interchangeably called suns. There's no indication that it has any normal suns, either...
    • Also, Dominaria has two moons (although one of them got blown up), and Esper's night sky is covered in a grid, making it appear like a huge star chart.
    • Esper gets even screwier when it rejoins the other 4 shards. Many cards from Alara Reborn feature skies with visible boundaries from what was once one plane and what was another.
  • Alternate Universe: Planar Chaos, which shows a hundred alternate Dominarias, such as one where bad guy Braids, Cabal Minion becomes helpful Braids, Conjurer Adept. Some of these cards were genuine "What If?" questions, others were "This card, Prodigal Pyromancer is functionally identical to this classic of a different color, Prodigal Sorcerer, so serves as a retcon of what the card should have been printed as from the beginning had the design philosophy of the game been consistent from the start." (Eventually some, like the Pyromancer, would be reprinted in the new color. The timeline straightening itself out as it were.)
  • All Trolls Are Different: A historically somewhat varied creature type, but often hexproof — that is, unable to be targeted by opponents' spells — and capable of regenerating health. The hexproof part is so iconic (though primarily through the efforts of Troll Ascetic) that before it was known officially as "hexproof", the ability "cannot be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control" was often known by the Fan Nickname "troll shroud" (after the keyword "shroud" for "cannot be the target of spells or abilities [controlled by anyone]"). In terms of flavor, modern trolls have settled fairly consistently into being big, Green, primitive and ogreish humanoids. Notable breaks from this pattern do occur from time to time, however.
    • Ravnica's trolls are lanky, horned and often reduced to living on the fringes of society.
    • Mirrodin's trolls are green-skinned, entirely noseless and have sheets of copper growing from their bodies (which is admittedly part for the course for living things on Mirrodin). They're native to the bio-metallic forest of the Tangle, and were already near extinct by the rise of New Phyrexia — one troll was left in the whole plane.
    • The trolls in the dark fairytale plane of Shadowmoor are short, spiny, long-nosed beings and referred to as "trow" — an old folkloric name for trolls.
    • Eldraine, being inspired by the Arthurian mythos and the tales of the Brothers Grimm, features two trolls directly derived from the troll-under-the-bridge archetype.
  • Alternative Calendar: Dominaria has one — denoted as AR, for "Agrivian Reckoning," with year 1 being the birth of Urza and Mishra.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The universe represented in Theros is based on Greek mythology and history, filled with hydras, gorgons, and centaurs. With that in mind, players might be forgiven for thinking that Vulpine Goliath (an enormous fox) was an Ass Pull, but it's not.
  • Always Night: The plane of Shadowmoor is always night, while its foil Lorwyn is always noon. Granted, they're actually the same world, just on different sides of a reeeeeeallllllly long day-night cycle, but the change also warps the inhabitants' personalities and the environment, so they're counted as separate areas.
    • The Alara shard of Grixis, with its lack of white mana, is also like this.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • Ertai and the Prodigal Sorcerer got a lot of this joke in InQuest Gamer.
    • The way that Chandra Nalaar and Nissa Revane interact give a lot of fans a Korrasami vibe, taken to an even further extreme during War of the Spark.
  • American Gothic Couple: Orcish Settlers
  • Anachronism Stew: Various minor examples. Any given expansion encompasses some length of time, so sometimes you have cards in the same set representing notably distant points in the timeline.
  • Ancient Grome: Almost averted in Theros, where the set's designers consciously decided to focus on Greek rather than Roman influences. A single Roman influence slipped through, however, i.e. Raised by Wolves.
  • And Man Grew Proud: In the Zendikar expansion, the Eldrazi once terrorized the plane, but were sealed away long ago. Now, they're remembered only in scraps of legends, and their true nature has been forgotten. Many believe them to be ancient gods who created the plane. Of course, in Rise of the Eldrazi, they get unsealed...
  • Animal Battle Aura: Rise of the Eldrazi's Totem Armor auras.
  • Animating Artifact: Karn is a silver golem who was created by Urza and Barrin as a sentient being capable of feel emotions and decide on his own destiny. He also has the power to animate other artifacts like him (he's considerated a Legendary Artifact Creature in-game), as seen in "Karn, Silver Golem" card, that allows the player to convert its artifacts into artifact creatures until the end of the turn.
  • Another Dimension: The multiverse is full of them.
  • Anti-Villain: Apparently, the Red Phyrexians of New Phyrexia. They are hardly good or kind people, but the influence of red mana remains strong, rendering them capable of independent thought, creativity, and even mercy and compassion. They even seem opposed to what they see as cruelty, which would include a lot of the actions other New Phyrexian factions have taken.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Tezzeret was never given a name by his father. Growing up in the slums, his peers gave him the nickname "Tezzeret", meaning 'a concealed, improvised weapon' after he won a fight with a bully by shivving him. The name stuck.
  • Apocalypse How:
    • Spirit patrons raging over the kidnapping of one of their own? Kamigawa.
    • A reconverting of five mini-planes into one singular plane? Shards of Alara.
    • An unraveling of the strands of time? Time Spiral.
    • How about the world changing every fifty or so years to a "dark" version? Lorwyn turns into Shadowmoor.
    • Eldritch Abominations emerge from their prisons into a living world that hates their alien magic? Zendikar.
    • A relentless evil that is essentially The Corruption personified and has been growing and festering in the core of the Plane ever since its creation finally amasses enough military power to launch a full-scale invasion headed by the twisted, corrupted husks of the Plane's own legendary heroes from ages past up to and including the Plane's creator himself? Scars of Mirrodin.
    • Humans being exterminated en masse by zombies, werewolves, vampires, demons, possessed trees, and other unspeakable horrors of the night? Innistrad.
    • Ten Guilds being forced to run a a maze in an attempt to either bring peace or destroy them all? Return to Ravnica.
    • An Eldritch Abomination too powerful for even the world's greatest heroes only spares the world because the stars are not yet right? Shadows over Innistrad.
    • An interdimensional invader setting off a plan put into motion decades before, almost completely annihilating a culture and bringing about a zombie apocalypse? Amonkhet.
    • Old-style planeswalkers who create their own artificial planes will eventually see their planes collapse and be utterly erased. It ultimately happened to Serra's realm, as well as Rath. No word on Argentum/Mirrodin yet...
      • Mirrodin hasn't collapsed, per se, but it has been transmogrified into New Phyrexia, dominated by — oddly enough — Elesh Norn's white-aligned faction. Nothing remains of Mirrodin but the moons and a handful of survivors.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The very first expansion was called "Arabian Nights."
  • Arc Welding: No matter how isolated a particular storyline may seem... it will be tied into all the rest.
  • Arc Words: Each time a Planeswalker joins the Gatewatch, they get a card called "Oath of ..." to commemorate it. The flavor text of each Oath includes the phrase, "I will keep watch."
    • "I will keep watch," is also Gideon Jura's epitaph.
  • Arrows on Fire: Occasionally seen in artwork, e.g. Fire at Will and Arrow Storm.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Braids takes up petty extortion as a hobby.
  • The Artifact: If you can believe it, the spells in a game called Magic. In the early days of the game, all Enchantments, Sorceries, Instants and Interrupts represented magical spells that the player as a Planeswalker would unleash in battle against their opponent, even the more esoteric ones like Wrath of God. However as time went on and in particular as the game became more story-focused (especially around about the time of Weatherlight and the start of the original Rath arc), spells started to include things that were more like story events or personal actions by the characters, such as Debt of Loyalty or Broken Fall. As this became more common, the actual "magical" part of your spells became somewhat of an afterthought.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Mirari, an artifact of vast power that warps and mutates reality around itself and drives the wielder to insanity.
    • Even worse is the Chained Veil, an artifact Liliana Vess picked up on behalf of one of her demon shareholders. The veil elevates her power to incredible levels. Not quite that of an Oldwalker, but certainly enough to mop the floor with her demons. Unfortunately, it takes a large toll on the wielder, and tries to corrupt them.
  • Artificial Human:
  • Artificial Limbs: Commonly seen in both Esper and Phyrexia. Notably, the planeswalker Tezzeret's right arm.
  • Art Initiates Life: They don't call Ixidor "Reality Sculptor" for nothing.
  • Ascended Fanboy: When we first met Sarkhan, he was a dragon fanboy looking for a dragon who deserved his adorations (and who got a severe case of Be Careful What You Wish For when he met Nicol Bolas). Nowadays he's free from Bolas, mastered draconic magic to the point he can freely shapeshift into one of them, found a new dragon to be loyal to in Ugin, saving Ugin's life from Bolas by altering the past, and doing so he saved the dragons of his own world from extinction and made them its rulers instead.
    Sarkhan Vol: Now I fly with dragons!
  • Ascended Meme:
    • The legend of a player who shredded their (now-expensive, but then worth maybe a dollar) Chaos Orb card to win a game (it destroys any card it touches when dropped onto the field) eventually got acknowledged in the Unglued set as Chaos Confetti, which instructs the player to shred the card for the same effect.
    • The art and flavor text on the card Totally Lost depicts a tiny, frightened homunculus named Fblthp. The community took such a shining to him that he got his own short story and has appeared in the background of two other cards, Statute of Denial and Unquestioned Authority (he's still lost). As of War of the Spark, he has his own card: Fblthp, the Lost.
    • A more storyline related one: In Oath of the Gatewatch's storyline, the finishing blow in the Eldrazi came when Nissa (a Green mage) casts a spell that helps her channel a massive amount of mana from her own lifeforce and from Zendikar itself into Chandra (a Red mage), who then casts a powerful fire spell. Any old-time fan will recognize this as the oldest combo in the history of MagicChannel + Fireball.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Planeswalkers start off as normal people, and some traumatic or life-changing event causes their Planeswalker spark to ignite and immediately whoosh them away.
  • Atlantis: The original Merfolk lord was Lord of Atlantis. Later, "Atlantis" was Retconned to be a human corruption of the proper Merfolk name, "Etlan Shiis".
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: Rather frequently used. [1]
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Common result of green pump spells, e.g. Might of Oaks's giant squirrel.
  • Back from the Brink: Humanity in Innistrad was on the verge of extinction after years of Avacyn's absence, with towns being destroyed by undead, werewolf packs, and worse, with humanity desperately struggling against the dark. Once Avacyn was released from the Helvault, she joins them in a war to take back what was lost. However, with the introduction of Shadows over Innistrad, the humans now have to contend with Avacyn herself.
  • Back from the Dead: The Planeswalker Elspeth was betrayed by Theros' sun god, Heliod, and consigned to the plane's underworld. She refused to accept this fate, and fought her way out; the Saga card Elspeth Conquers Death depicts her struggle. Fittingly, her title changes from Elspeth, Sun's Champion, to Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis, as a result of Heliod's betrayal.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses:
  • Badass Crew: The crew of the Skyship Weatherlight.
  • Badass Family:
  • Badass Normal: Yawgmoth started out as one of these.
  • Badass Preacher: Most white creatures of the Cleric subtype (black Clerics fall under Sinister Minister). In particular, the priests of Innistrad join the fight against the dark forces.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • The Phyrexian Guys Win in the Scars of Mirrodin block. Mirrodin is now New Phyrexia.
    • Nicol Bolas may be driven off, but he may have already completed what he needed to do at the plane. By the time Ajani forced him away from Alara, Bolas had already regained his strength with the Conflux fusing the shards of Alara. Hour of Devastation reveals Bolas as the God-Pharaoh of Amonkhet and has a cycle of cards depicting the defeat of the Gatewatch at his hands.
    • After the Gatewatch cast the spell that imprisoned Emrakul in Innistrad's moon, everyone that was directly involved ends up with the uneasy feeling that Emrakul not only allowed it to happen, but that she gotten exactly what she wanted all along.
  • Bad Moon Rising:
  • Bald Women:
  • Baleful Polymorph: Seen on a variety of cards, typically blue. Examples include Snakeform, Pongify, Ovinize, and Fowl Play, among others. The Ovinomancer is a wizard that does this to other creatures.
  • Barbarian Tribe: The Gathans are the result of a super soldier program gone awry upon the Keldon Barbarian tribes, resulting in a group of batshit barely sentient marauding murder machines.
  • Barrier Maiden:
  • Base on Wheels: The Abzan of Tarkir are fans of this trope.
  • Bash Brothers:
  • Batman Gambit: In his mission to destroy Phyrexia, Urza deliberately included Tevesh Szat, a Token Evil Teammate, in his group because he correctly predicted that said teammate would betray them. Urza had invented a way to turn a soul into a Fantastic Nuke, but in order to use it, he would need to destroy the soul of a fellow planeswalker, and Tevesh Szat's inevitable betrayal would give Urza an excuse to kill him and power the bomb.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Vampire Bats, among others.
  • Battering Ram: Battering Ram
  • Battle Boomerang: Somewhat underwhelming unfortunately.
  • Battle Couple: Tibor and Lumia, the Izzet Champions
  • Battlecry: Used by the Mirrans in Mirrodin Besieged. They have a surprisingly deep variety of battle cries—Doug Beyer discusses it in great detail in his weekly column.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre:
  • Beam-O-War: Seen in the art of Double Negative and Mages' Contest.
  • The Beastmaster: Garruk Wildspeaker is the most prominent example, although there are others, usually one-of green rares like Master of the Wild Hunt, Keeper of the Beasts, or Beastbreaker of Bala Ged.
  • Beauty = Goodness: If Lorwyn's elves are to be believed...
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Judgment's cycle of Wish cards, the flavour text of each of which is a variant on the following: "He wished for X, but not for the [Required Secondary Power] to [effectively use] it." Future Sight adds one more.
  • Bee Bee Gun: Hornet Cannon.
  • Bee People:
  • Berserker Tears: Tears of Rage. Also, they're on fire.
  • BFS:
  • Big Bad: There are two big contenders and several others:
    • The mechanical demon-god Yawgmoth in pretty much all of the storylines from Antiquities to the end of the Weatherlight saga was arguably the most powerful being in The Multiverse. And even long after his death, his creation, Phyrexia, lives on, and is now infecting Mirrodin.
    • Much later, during the Alara storyline, the elder dragon Nicol Bolas (a character from the game's early days) stepped in as the foremost threat to Dominia's stability.
    • There have been a few other, smaller Big Bads in between, including the vampire overlord Baron Sengir in Homelands, the golem wizard Memnarch in Mirrodin (himself a victim of the Phyrexian taint), and the corrupt human king Daimyo Konda in Kamigawa.
    • It is clear that the Eldritch Abomination gods Eldrazi awakened during the Zendikar are actually a menace threatening the entire multiverse. Gideon, Sorin and others gathered allies to bring the fight to them.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Deathless Angel is noticibly chubby, but, being an angel, is still portrayed as quite lovely.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Giant bugs are a staple creature type, especially in green and black.
  • Big Damn Heroes: A few examples throughout the series. Notably Chandra in Oath of the Gatewatch. The card Impeccable Timing seems to represent this happening too.
    • War of the Spark has a cycle of cards calling back to the Defeat cycle from Amonkhet. The Defeats illustrated Bolas stomping the Gatewatch. War of the Spark's version are Triumphs, showing the same five Planeswalkers rallying against and ultimately defeating Bolas' army of Eternals.
  • Big Good: On Innistrad, humans looked to the archangel Avacyn, Angel of Hope for deliverance from the horrors of their plane... but she's not the Big Good. That would be her creator... Sorin Markov?!
  • Bio-Augmentation:
    • The primary goal and identity of the Simic guild of Ravnica is artificially engineering superior life-forms. Their guild mechanic is "Graft", which is flavored as attaching cytoplast modifications to creatures.
    • And in the Gatecrash set, Simic's new shtick is the "evolve" mechanic, in which their creatures augment themselves, ostensibly by mimicking the favorable traits of other creatures they spend enough time around.
    • In an odd example, Phyrexia biologically augments non-biological creatures.
    • The schtick of the Kaiju plane of Ikoria is that this happens spontaneously to Ikorian wildlife. This results in mishmashes like Wolf Bears, Dinosaur Hippos, and Bird Serpents. The Mutate mechanic (essentially smashing two creatures into one) is meant to depict this in process.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The ending to the Godsend novel is a pretty cruel one. Xenagos is slain and order returned to Theros, but Elspeth is killed and winds up in the Underworld, Heliod gets away with everything, and Elspeth's sacrifice turns out to be senseless as it condemns a Returned Daxos to a shadow of life searching endlessly for her.
    • Likewise the Shadows Over Innistrad block. Sure, the Gatewatch managed to seal away Emrakul, but at the cost of any protection the plane had with the unmaking of Avacyn, 2/3 of the lesser angels destroyed or fallen, leaving Sigarda as the only Angelic defender truly on the side of humanity...or what's left of them, too, after Emrakul's corruption mutated a large portion into nightmarish beasts. And Emrakul's sealing? Aided by Emrakul herself, leading one to wonder whether it was really a win at all...
    • There's also the end of the Amonkhet block. Many people from Naktamun survived Bolas's invasion and have been led to safety by Hazoret and other warriors, but Naktamun is completely destroyed, Bolas got the army of undead warriors he wanted (along with two god-level monsters), Hazoret is crippled, and the survivors have to now survive in an extremely hostile desert environment crawling with undead and other monstrosities.
    • Finally, the end of the War of the Spark. Nicol Bolas is finally defeated, being held in the Meditation Realm for all eternity with Ugin watching over him. But many lives were lost and Gideon ultimately sacrificed his own life to save Liliana's. While Liliana was instrumental in Bolas' defeat, the Gatewatch believe she ultimately pulled a Heel–Face Turn too late and are out to kill her for her culpability in leading the Dreadhorde.
  • Bizarro World: Lorwyn and Shadowmoor, to each other.
  • Black Cloak: Warlocks and wraiths are no strangers to dramatic cowls, and Magic's specters are literally nothing but black cloaks. And there's lots more.
  • The Blank:
  • Blinded by the Light: Blinding Mage, Blinding Angel, etc.
  • Blind Obedience: The Orzhov Syndicate expects this of its followers. Exemplified in the card of the same name.
  • Blood Lust:
  • Blood Magic:
  • Bloodsucking Bats: The Bloodhunter Bat hunts and retrieves blood for its undead masters, represented by its ability removing life from your opponent and giving it to you.
    It returns eager to share the feast of blood and gore with its ghoulish master.
  • Blow You Away: Wind spells are common in both green and blue.
  • Body Horror:
    • What many mage-created Chimeras and Phyrexians endure.
    • Some of the card art features really gruesome stuff, particularly on black cards.
    • The Mirari does this to the peoples of the Otarian continent.
  • Bold Explorer / Walkingthe Earth: What essentially describes most planeswalkers out there regardless of personal missions or motives. Its a bit sad depending on how you look at it.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: A stock white spell. Divine Retribution invokes it by name, but there's lots.
  • Book-Ends: In the Uncharted Realms stories chronicling Sarkhan's adventure in the Khans of Tarkir block, Sarkhan first meets the original Narset when she alights upon a rock in the desert while he's searching for Ugin. The new Narset then first meets Sarkhan when he lands on a rock in the tundra while she's looking for Ugin.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Certain spell cards do this to creatures.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Used in several card flavors, such as Markov Patrician.
  • Breath Weapon: Comes in standard Firebreathing enchantment as well as Dragon Breath. Naturally many dragons already come stocked with Firebreathing.
    • Mmm, rot flavored.
    • The five broods of Tarkir's dragons have a different one each: Dromoka's laser breath, Ojutai's ice, Silumgar's poison, Kolaghan's lightning and Atarka's fire.
  • Brick Joke: The first story of the Kaladesh block mentions Liliana messing with Jace by putting some of his books in the wrong place. Toward the end of the story, the Gatewatch's vedalken guest mentions seventeen books being on the wrong shelves in the library.
  • Broken Angel:
    • Black-aligned angels, frequently — see Fallen Angel.
    • With the coming of White Phyrexia, there's more: Chancellor of the Annex and Shattered Angel that are quite literally broken.
    • The introduction of the Shadows Over Innistrad block leaves us with Avacyn and most of her army of angels becoming corrupted and launching an inquisition to "purify" the world through wreaking havoc and burning and killing the humans they were supposed to protect and serve. It only gets worse in Eldritch Moon.
  • Brutish Bulls: Many ox creatures are printed with the ability "haste", which causes them to attack the moment they're put into play rather than waiting a turn like most creatures do. Even those that don't tend to have references to fictional bulls' typical bad tempers in their flavor text:
    The good news is it's vegetarian. The bad news is it just doesn't like you. — flavor text for " Ironhoof Ox"

    C-D 
  • Cain and Abel: Urza and Mishra.
  • Call-Back: The art of Thespian's Stage depicts a battle between actors portraying Agrus Kos and Szadek—they're performing a play about the plot of the original Ravnica Cycle!
  • Canis Major: Hollowborn Barghest is a very big dog. That's not dry grass it's standing in — those are trees.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • The Viashino were originally introduced in the Tie-In Novel The Prodigal Sorcerer by Mark Sumner. The designers of the game liked them so much that they worked them into the game.
    • Jodah was created for Jeff Grubb's novelizations of The Dark and Ice Age cycles. He'd eventually return for Time Spiral block and get his own Avenger. Now that the game's returned to Dominaria, he's gotten a proper card.
    • Gideon Jura was created for the story The Purifying Flame, and, like the Viashino, was well-liked by the developers enough to make him into a card.
  • The Captain: Gerrard Capashen; although Sisay was the actual skipper of the Weatherlight, Gerrard filled the trope.
  • Captain Ersatz: The Serrated Biskelion is a Type I Screamer.
    • Relatively common in newer worlds trying to evoke a certain feel. For example, Throne of Eldraine has a cycle of five Legendary Artifacts meant to reinforce it's Arthurian theme. They correlate to the disparate but decidedly "medieval England" elements of the Round Table, the queen's magic mirror, the Holy Grail, Excalibur, and Stone Henge.
  • Cat Folk: A number of cat races, including the Leonin, Nacatl and Rakshasa.
  • Cat-like Dragons:
    • Nekorus are a species of dragons with catlike features (or cats with draconic features) native to the continent of Jamuraa, in the world of Dominaria. The only nekoru to receive a card, Wasitora, resembles a stout-bodied panther with dragon wings, and is typed as both a Cat and a Dragon. Their name is a portmanteau of the Japanese words for "cat" and "dragon".
    • In its flavor text, the original Shivan Dragon is described as "often tormenting its victims much like a cat plays with a mouse".
    • Even though they don't officially have the Cat creature type, the dragons of the Indian-themed steampunk-inspired plane of Kaladesh, Skyship Stalker and Freejam Regent, have tiger-like facial features, black stripes on orange-red scales and tiger-like claws on the ends of their vaguely feline limbs.
  • Cavalry of the Dead: In "Eldritch Moon", the zombie army Liliana raises turns out to be the only effective resistance against the hordes of Eldrazi-twisted horrors; being fundamentally mindless, the zombies No-Sell Emrakul's insanity-inducing influence and successfully go all Zombie Apocalypse on the horrifyingly transformed "living".
  • Celestial Body: The Gods of Theros and their servants.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The tone of each block or even individual expansions in it may vary a lot.
  • Chain Lightning: Is a card.
  • Chainmail Bikini: Seen in some of the art. Hero of Bladehold is the most recent example.
    • Recent sets got much better in this respect, generally featuring more believable armor on female warriors.
  • Character Alignment:invoked
    • The Color Wheel serves as one, as it helps indicate what characters value and how they tend to relate to characters of other colors. Though mind you, this system doesn't make any moral judgments; the traits associated with colors can be directed to either good or evil.
    • The Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica sourcebook for Dungeons & Dragons gave D&D alignments to each of the then-guildmasters of Ravnica:
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Ghostfire. Colorless damage basically got the reaction "hmm, interesting..." but it didn't become important until the Zendikar block, where it turned out Ghostfire was part of the key to the lock holding in the Eldrazi.
    • The same block's Steamflogger Boss was openly admitted as created solely as a joke — "assemble" had no in-game meaning and there were no Contraptions. Years later Unstable supplied them. (Possibly subverted, in that Contraptions are all silver-bordered cards and thus not tournament legal anyway.)
    • The Tarkir block is a Time Travel-heavy block in which the first and third sets are Alternate Timelines of each other. Consequently, when Khans of Tarkir gave us a card of a man punching a bear, there was immediate expectation that Dragons of Tarkir would give us the same man punching a dragon, which it did. (Players waiting for the Third Option of a bear punching a dragon had to wait for a silver-bordered Unstable card.)
  • The Chessmaster:
    • Urza. The man spent 5,000 years influencing global politics in anticipation of a demonic invasion. In the end, Yawgmoth did him in, but he managed to save the world anyway.
    • Yawgmoth himself was a skillful chessmaster, even managing to Out Gambit Urza's original plan.
    • Nicol Bolas plots to regain the powers he lost in the Mending, causing plane-wide catastrophes in the process.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Starke of Rath.
    • The Dimir of Ravnica.
  • Citadel City: The Shadowmoor block has Kithkin settlements built like these.
    • The clan Abzan of Tarkir made endurance and defense their modus operandi.
  • City in a Bottle:
  • City Planet: Ravnica.
  • Classical Movie Vampire: Baron Sengir.
  • Clingy Costume: Some cards, such as Living Armor, feature this.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Nicol Bolas's many minions in the Alara block surreptitiously working to spread paranoia and anarchy throughout their worlds — the xenophobic Knights of the Skyward Eye from Bant, expansionist Seekers of Carmot from Esper, corrupt merchant Gwafa Hazid, and barbarian shaman Rakka Mar. As of Mirrodin Besieged, he's got Tezzeret helping him out in Mirrodin.
  • Cool Shades: Sunglasses of Urza. Style and utility combined.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: The conflict of the plane of Ixalan can roughly be summed up as "the Conquistadors, but they're vampires, vs the Aztecs, but they control and worship giant dinosaurs. Oh, and there's also Pirates!"
  • Corporate Dragon: The city-plane of Ravnica has this trope in the Mad Scientist dragon Niv-Mizzet, parun and guild-master of the Izzet League. Said guild holds a monopoly on the civic works of the city, including water supply systems, sewers, heating systems, boilers, and roadways.
  • Corpse Land: The plane of Grixis is inhabited by dead things, undead things, demons, and the occasional desperate necromancer. Due to a lack of green or white mana, it's incapable of producing new life.
  • Corrupt Church:
  • The Corruption: Phyrexia. This is especially played up in the Scars of Mirrodin storyline.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Shadows Over Innistrad, in contrast to Gothic Horror setting of the first Innistrad. In Shadows, we have cultists summoning Eldritch Abomination, which eventually is sealed because it, Emrakul, chooses to seal itself without being defeated.
  • Creative Sterility: Tezzeret, by his own admission, is lousy at coming up with his own plans and inventions. He prefers to adapt and improve on others' designs.
  • Creepy Doll: Creepy Doll. It's creepy. And a doll.
  • Crossover: Of a sorts. In 2018, Wizards of the Coast published Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica, a Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook for Ravnica as a D&D setting. This marks the first time the multiverses of D&D and MTG connect.
  • Curbstomp Battle: In the trailer for Duels Of The Planeswalkers 2012, Gideon Jura exposits that he picked a fight with Nicol Bolas... the planeswalker Nicol Bolas. He gets summarily crushed.
    • In the story for the Amomkhet block he tried to take Bolas on with a team of other Planeswalkers (the Gatewatch). It went about as well, with a cycle of cards called "x's Defeat" commemorating the event.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: While Black often tends to produce villains, it has at least a few protagonists under it who don't fit on the worse levels of anti-hero, like Toshiro Umezawa and Xantcha. Some other protagonists are also half Black, half any other colour, like Teysa Karlov (Black/White).
  • Dark World: Lorwyn is based on the idyllic fairy tales of the British Isles. Shadowmoor is its dark reflection and takes more after the Brothers Grimm...
    • Grixis is a world of eternal night full of undead due to its lack of white mana.
  • Dating Catwoman: Ashnod and Tawnos are in love, despite being generals on the opposing sides of the Brothers' War.
  • Death of the Old Gods: Amonkhet finds the Gatewatch on a plane reminiscent of Ancient Egypt, watched over by five gods, with everyone mentioning a "God-Pharoah." Hour of Devastation has the God-Pharoah, none other than Big Bad Nicol Bolas, arrive and murder four of the five gods, then abscond with their zombified corpses.
  • Death World:
    • Zendikar, even before Eldritch Abominations started coming out of the woodwork.
    • Grixis, quite literally, due to the abundance of black mana (and the absence of green and white) making more life impossible, and death (and undeath) the only option.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Appears to be how every organization in the High City of Paliano works. Small wonder that King Brago arranged to continue his reign as a spirit.
  • Demonic Possession:
  • Diary: Venser has one.
  • Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: In the Core 2019 storyline, Yasova and her grandchildren, armed with Ugin's memories, are able to not only save Ugin's hedron tomb from Nicol Bolas but also trigger enough fears of his brother's tenacity to scare Bolas away from Tarkir for good.
  • Die or Fly: Severe physical or emotional trauma is the catalyst to a Planeswalker igniting their latent spark.
    • Old school, demi-God Planeswalker examples:
      • Nicol Bolas ascended as he fought the other four Elder Dragons, allowing him to win their war and become the last surviving one.
      • Sorin Markov's grandfather Edgar turned him into a vampire (the second one to ever exist in Innistrad with Edgar being the first) with a Blood Magic-fueled demonic pact. The ritual was so traumatizing that it ignited Sorin's spark.
      • Urza Planeswalker, at the climax of the Brothers War, sets off the Golgothian Sylex, which sends all of Dominaria into a centuries-long ice age. His latent spark activated, allowing him to survive the blast.
      • Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, while studying mind magic at the Tolarian Academy, fell into a bubble of slow time that was filled with fire and got trapped there. The intense damage activated his spark half-way, so that he was able to survive until another student could get him out with water from a different slow-time bubble. She became his favorite companion (in the Doctor Who sense) when they found out that, because of the two different slow-time bubbles, she aged at a dramatically slower rate than a normal human, causing her to fall under the rules of Really 700 Years Old.
    • Post-mending ascensions:
      • Chandra Nalaar: Chandra's family is a smuggler of aether on Kaladesh, and during Chandra's first job as a smuggler, she's caught. Instead of allowing herself be captured, she obliterates a Consul factory, forcing the Nalaars to flee. While Chandra is away from the village they take residence in, Consul forces arrive looking for her. They set fire to the village, killing her father, blaming it on Chandra's pyromancy and taking her into custody. Just as they are about to behead her, her Spark ignites at the last possible second.
      • Sarkhan Vol was born onto a plane that had been a haven for dragons, which had been hunted to extinction by the local warlords, much to the dismay of the local shamans that worshiped them as the ultimate predators. Drifting back and forth between tribes and armies, searching for a purpose, making a name for himself in the process as a powerful warrior, Sarkhan enters into a trance after slaying an opposing commander, where he encounters the spirit of a dragon. So, inspired by the beast's majesty, he ascends killing his and the opposite army in the process.
      • Tezzeret, after being repeatedly denied entry into the Seekers of Carmot, breaks into their vault to prove his worth by crafting his own Etherium. He discovers the vault to be empty and that the Seekers' claims of the ability to craft new Etherium was a lie. Their plane is depleted, and they are merely recycling old Etherium. Caught in the act by the guards, they catch him and beat him half to death. The thought of his entire life's work being for naught was so harrowing that he ascended on the spot.
      • Ajani Goldmane's spark ignited when he discovered his brother Jazal had been murdered.
      • Elspeth Tirel's spark ignited when she was just thirteen under unknown circumstances. In a Phyrexian death camp.
      • Gideon Jura, known as Kytheon Iora on his home plane of Theros, was chosen by the god Heliod to be his champion. His first task was to kill a titan of Erebos, a task which Kytheon and his Irregulars accomplished flawlessly. However, when Erebos himself appeared to witness his titan's destruction, Kytheon attacked Erebos in a fit of arrogance, and had all his Irregulars killed in retaliation. Wracked with guilt and devastation over his hubris, Kytheon's spark ignited.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: A common trait in Theros, where heroes have to prove how badasses they are. Especially green ones.
  • Don't Think, Feel: A core principle of red and green philosophy, and the main reason why they both hate blue.
  • Downer Ending: More than a few of the sets end on a less-than-happy note.
    • The Theros block ends with Elspeth Tirel being killed by the god Heliod after deciding no champion should know more than her god, in front of her friend Ajani Goldmane, and being sent to the underworld.
    • The "Scars of Mirrodin" block ends with Mirrodin conquered by Phyrexia and renamed despite the Mirrodin inhabitants valiantly resisting.
    • The first Zendikar block ends with Zendikar in the middle of being destroyed by the Eldrazi. The subsequent block resolves this, turning it into a Bittersweet Ending as a lot of the damage to Zendikar cannot be undone quickly.
    • The Amonkhet block ends with Nicol Bolas revealing himself as the God-Pharaoh, all the gods of Amonkhet except Hazoret either enslaved or dead, and the Gatewatch defeated.
  • The Dragon: Gix to Yawgmoth, Greven il-Vec to Volrath and later Crovax, Ertai and Tsabo Tavoc to Crovax, Phage (before Cabal Patriarch died), Malil to Memnarch, Malfegor to Nicol Bolas (literally in the last case).
  • Dragon Hoard: A handful of dragons are based on this trope, including Covetous Dragon, Hoarding Dragon, Hellkite Tyrant, and Hoard-Smelter Dragon.
    • A plain horde with dragons not included is also available as well, though it requires the player to summon some dragons themselves to use its effects. Now your hording dragon can horde an entire dragon horde to go with their own dragon horde.
  • Dragon Rider: Kargan Dragonlord.
  • Dragons Versus Knights: Duel Decks: Knights vs. Dragons, one of several premade decks meant to be played by two players and themed around two opposing factions, pits a deck composed primarily of Knights against on centered around Dragons.
  • Dream Stealer: Lorwyn's Faeries harvest the dreams of the plane's other residents on behalf of their Queen.
    • Ashiok turns people's dreams and aspirations into their worst nightmares.
    • Dreamstealer. The name is not for nothing.
  • Dressed to Plunder: Ramirez DePietro has the standard eyepatch.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Goblin Test Pilot swerves around so arbitrarily that something is going to get hit, it's just that nobody knows what.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Poor Ertai. First he was our resident smug snarker, and then the plot for Nemesis turned him into a more heroic character and even put him into a tragic love story... and then immediately turned him into a horrible bad guy and later killed him off in the most embarrassing way possible. Granted, his original personality did lend itself to a Face–Heel Turn, but the way it came about and the extremes it went to were just weird.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Barrin knows how to leave an impression.
  • Durable Deathtrap: Zendikar being the adventure world, there's tons of this.

    E-G 
  • Easter Egg: Many, many different cards, but especially in comedy sets like Unglued and nostalgia sets like Time Spiral. See also Alternate Universe, above.
  • Eldritch Abomination
  • The Emperor: Daimyo Konda of Kamigawa.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: Seen on Snakeform.
  • Endless Daytime: There are several places where this is the case.
    • The plane of Mirrodin has five suns. There is night time, but it's brief and exaggerated. Basically the only reason this is worth mentioning is the flavor text on Grasp of Darkness.
    • The plane of Serra is bathed in the light of a perpetual sunrise.
    • In Lorwyn "the sun never quite dips below the horizon".
    • Amonkhet has, in addition to a more normal sun, a second sun that's associated with a prophecy. That sun descends much slower, and in the living memory of the people of the world, it has never set.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: A particularly common trope. At one point, after several sets revolving around ever-bigger wars and cataclysms, the designers moved the action to Lorwyn, a new, rural-themed setting that scaled down the conflict: tribes battling neighboring tribes over land and prestige. Months later, yup, the whole world was wrecked. As in, the sun stopped shining (and few remember that it ever did!). So much for that.
    • The Time Spiral block's plot was based around the idea that Dominaria had gone through so many apocalypses that the plane's reality itself was falling apart.
  • Enemy to All Living Things:
    • Phage the Untouchable. And we do mean all. Any organic material she touches instantly rots away, save for silk. She wears only silk clothing and sleeps on a bed of stone.
    • The Eldrazi suck the life and mana out of everything they touch, leaving only Wastes behind them.
  • Enemy Civil War: There are some major tensions growing between and even within the five Phyrexian factions that conquered Mirrodin, and the liberation of Karn might just be the spark needed to ignite a full-out war among the New Phyrexians. Ultimately took place offscreen. Elesh Norn is now effectively the Mother of Machines.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • The Invasion block centered mechanically on multicolored cards. This was illustrated story wise as all the disparate cultures of Dominaria banding together against the common threat of Phyrexia. The third set, Apocalypse, undermines how desperate the situation has gotten by featuring enemy colors working together, a sight previously unseen in the game. This represents forces who find each other anathema working together.
    • The coming of the Eldrazi has all the races and even the land of Zendikar uniting to fight a common threat.
    • Geth joining Glissa against Memnarch in the first Mirrodin cycle. They go back to hating each other in New Phyrexia.
    • War of the Spark showed all ten Guilds of Ravnica working together with both each other and the Guildless in order to repel the invading army.
  • Enemy Within:
    • Karn and the Phyrexian corruption in the Scars of Mirrodin block. His inner struggles are depicted on Distant Memories.
    • The Weaver King is an Enemy Within for Venser in Planar Chaos.
  • Energy Being: The malevolent Weaver King in Planar Chaos.
  • Engagement Challenge: In The Brothers' War, the Warlord of Kroog, searching for a powerful warrior to wed his daughter, decrees that whoever can move a giant jade statue from one end of the palace courtyard to the other will win the hand of Princess Kayla. Urza completes the challenge by building an automaton to lift the statue.
  • Eunuchs Are Evil: The expansion Portal: Three Kingdoms has a card called Corrupt Eunuchs.
  • Even Antiheroism Has Standards: One of Urza's first picks for his strike team of Planeswalkers to go to Phyrexia was a Planeswalker named Parcher. Urza rejected him for being insane.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: There are few, including several completely made-up species.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You:
    • Jund (from Shards of Alara).
    • Kamigawa is a battle fought between humans and kami, who, due to the nature of Shinto, live in everything.
    • And taken Up to Eleven in Zendikar, where the "Roil" dramatically changes the landscape every few months, weird gravity wells cause floating islands of grassy plain that can drop at any moment, and the creatures that are not killed by the landscape are as hard as your average video game mid-boss. Rise of the Eldrazi then kicked that eleven up to twelve, because the usually unpleasant wildlife is being supplanted by Eldritch Abominations.
    • In Scars of Mirrodin, the entire plane is being taken over by the Phyrexian Glistening Oil. Metal becomes flesh, flesh becomes metal, and havoc and chaos ensue.
    • In Innistrad, humanity is the bottom of the food chain. Werewolves and vampires see humans as tasty snacks, ghoulcallers and stichers raise the dead for kicks, geists torment humans out of rage (or because they don't know any better), monsters lurk in the woods to snatch up the unwary, and demons and devils lurk in the shadows, corrupting humanity to gain a foothold into their world.
  • Evil Chancellor: In Time Streams, Radiant's war minister turns out to be a Phyrexian spy, secretly working to subvert and corrupt Serra's Realm.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • All over the place; look at White Knight versus Black Knight, for example. The entire Shadowmoor set, as a dark mirror of the earlier Lorwyn set, features many opposite counterparts to specific cards from the Lorwyn block.
    • To go with its theme of Mirrodin vs Phyrexia, Mirrodin Besieged has evil counterparts within the same set (Mirran Crusader and Phyrexian Crusader, Peace Strider and Pierce Strider), and also evil counterparts to cards from the last time we went to Mirrodin (Darksteel Colossus to Blightsteel Colossus).
    • The Northern Paladin and Southern Paladin have the Western Paladin and Eastern Paladin.
    • The Predator can be considered this to the Weatherlight.
    • One of the terminologies of the game is "Mirrored Pair". These tend to be two cards who are polar opposites of each other. Generally they tend to be this trope (although certain examples, like Hero of the Bladehold and Hero of Oxidda Ridge who are both "good", are exceptions).
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Good dog.
  • Evil Twin: The card Evil Twin, naturally. With the explicit ability to kill the good twin.
  • Evil Sorcerer:
    • Lim-Dul, Heidar of Rimewind, Lord Dralnu, Memnarch, the Cabal Patriarch. Zur the Enchanter was definitely dangerous, but only self-absorbed, not outright evil.
    • Lesser Evil Sorcs include the Disciple of the Vault, one of the clerics who makes the Ravager Affinity deck into a fast-killing machine.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Yawgmoth while he was mortal and Momir Vig.
  • Exotic Entree: Feast of the Unicorn.
  • Expansion Pack World:
    • Since the story details a different plane almost every block, the addition of new planes could be considered this to Dominia. Then again, in a theoretically infinite multiverse, it's justified.
    • Dominaria was also subject to this. While nowadays, the story just focuses on a new plane when a new theme for the setting is needed, as early as Fallen Empires and as recent as Odyssey while new continents would just be added to Dominaria to fit this purpose. This leads to Dominaria being so diverse — while most other planes are only themed around a single culture or gimmick, Dominaria has typical Medieval European Fantasy fare in Terisiare, Aerona, and Corondor; Reniassance-era technology in Caliman; wartorn Vestigial Empires in Sarpadia; Conan-esque Heroic Fantasy in Otaria; a Western Africa analogue in Jamuraa; and a Wutai in Madara, among others. And that isn't taking into consideration the areas from Rath that were fused with Dominaria in the Overlay.
  • Explosive Stupidity: As with most other kinds of stupidity, a common goblin strategy. Goblin Kaboomist and Goblin Bangchuckers are among the least moronic goblin ordnance technicians, in that they at least have a 50/50 chance of surviving what they're doing (although with a tribal buff out you can make that 100%).
  • Eyes Do Not Belong There: Very frequently. Kozilek and his lineage are the kings of this trope.
  • Eye Scream: Just look at the art on Deathmark.
  • The Fair Folk: Lorwyn's Fae are nasty little trolls who delight in making mischief and playing mean-spirited tricks on the plane's other races and harvest their dreams.
  • Fallen Hero: Garruk Wildspeaker, the original iconic green Planeswalker. A conflict with Liliana Vess saw him cursed by an Artifact of Doom called the Chain Veil. This led him to spiral down into madness, becoming more hostile and aggressive. The storyline culminated in the Magic 2015 Core Set, which saw him tracking and murdering other Planeswalkers. The set's prerelease included an oversized Garruk card meant to be played against as if it were an entire deck, in addition to his black/green card, "Garruk, Apex Predator." M15's catchphrase tied into this storyline: "Hunt bigger game."
  • Fanboy: Young Pyromancer has necklace with Chandra on it.
  • Fantastic Nuke:
    • The Golgothian Sylex was, functionally, a nuclear weapon. Its detonation ended the Brothers' War, vaporized Argoth, caused the Ice Age, and tore a literal hole in reality.
      • The Apocalypse Chime is implied to work the same way as the Golgothian Sylex, though primed to destroy Ulgrotha instead of Dominaria. It's flavor text implies that it's never been used, but one of the plane's more nihilistic villains considers ringing it from time to time.
    • Yawgmoth repeatedly dropped "stonecharger" bombs on his enemies in The Thran which not only resembled nuclear weapons in their destruction, but also caused the same sort of horror real nukes inspire in at least one of the characters.
  • Fantastic Vermin: Kaladesh is home to anteater-like gremlins, who feed on ether and eagerly use their sharp, strong claws and acidic drool to dig through rock and metal to get to it. As Kaladesh's technology is heavily reliant on ether for power, they're thus the most destructive pests on the plane and can cause immense damage to the plane's infrastructure. In a twist, however, the gremlins' feeding plays an important part in recycling ether back into the environment, and the extermination of gremlin colonies is causing real harm to Kaladesh's planer ecosystem.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Plenty, usually separated by Plane.
    • Kamigawa is feudal Japan.
    • Naya (from Shards of Alara) is Mayincatec.
    • The Ice Age block is Vikings.
    • Jamuraa (from Dominaria) is Africa.
    • Rabiah is Arabia.
    • Innistrad is Renaissance Germany and Eastern Europe.
    • Theros is Ancient Greece.
    • Ravnica is a culture mishmash with Slavic/Eastern Europe/Renaissance flavor.
      • Orzhov and Selesnya resemble the Catholic Church and the Inquisition, with the Selesnya having a bit of Mayaincatec flavor.
      • Boros and Azorius have crusader and templar flavor with Slavic themed names.
      • Rakdos are cultists mixed with crazy hooligans and wandering gypsies.
      • Dimir has a bit like Transylvanian vampire flavor and classic rogues.
      • Gruul have a mix of different tribal concepts from American Indians to Eastern barbarians.
      • Izzet are modern-day mad scientists and engineers mixed with Renaissance outfits and pomp.
      • Simic are less flashy and more like overachieving scientists with some megalomania.
      • The Golgari are medieval style lower class and serfs, with some Greek and Egyptian undertones (Vraska, and Jarad kind of looks like a pharoah, and they love insects and scarabs and mummification).
    • Tarkir is most of Asia, minus China and Japan.
      • The Temur Clans are Siberian natives living in Tibet-like mountains.
      • The Mardu Horde are the Mongol Horde.
      • The Jeskai Way are Tibetan Buddhists.
      • The Sultai Broods are vaguely Vietnamese with a sprinkle of Sumeria. The Sultai have the fewest human members, and so are a bit murky in their ties to real world cultures, although their nagas and rakshasas suggest ties to India. Some have suggested the Khmer Empire as a cultural inspiration.
      • The Abzan Houses are the tribes and empires of Asia Minor and Persia.
    • Kaladesh is a steampunk (well, "aetherpunk" India, with modern rather than mythological sensibilities.
    • Amonkhet takes the majority of its inspiration from Ancient Egypt, albeit influenced by the philosophies and aesthetics of Nicol Bolas.
    • Ixalan takes inspiration from the Age of Discovery, with the three main civilizations shown off in the block (the Sun Empire, the River Heralds, and the Torrezonians) being inspired by the Aztec Triple Alliance and Incan Empire, the Mayan Empire, and Medieval Spain, respectively.
    • Eldraine takes its inspiration from European fairy tales, giving it a very Arthurian England feel. The Planeswalker prince and princess Will and Rowan Kenrith even have Scottish accents in their voice lines on Magic Arena.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: With some 11,000 different cards, it's hard to think of any fantasy concepts that aren't represented.
    • Throne of Eldraine in particular reads like a checklist of every Grimm's and Disney fairy tale.
  • Feathered Dragons: While most dragons in the game have the typical membranous wings, a few sport birdlike wings instead.
    • Ugin, a spirt dragon planeswalker, has feathered wings to reflect his ethereal, enlightened nature.
    • Two of the five draconic broods of Tarkir, which are incidentally born from magical tempests created as a side effect of Ugin's presence there, sport feathered wings.
      • Dragons of the bloodline of Ojutai, which are spawned from magic storms in high, cold mountains and breathe ice, have great white-and-red birdlike wings, in addition to tufts of feathers on their legs. They're enlightened, monk-like and seemingly the most civilized of the dragons that rule Tarkir, but under the surface they're condescending, racist and arrogant, and just as tyrannical as the rest of Tarkir's draconic rulers.
      • Dragons of the brood of Kolaghan, which are instead spawned on the windswept steppes and breathe lightning, have two sets of narrow birdlike wings. They're masters of the skies, and the fastest and most skilled fliers among Tarkir's dragons.
  • Female Angel, Male Demon:
    • Nearly all of Magic's angels are visibly female. The overwhelming majority of Magic's demons are so freakish looking that the idea of having a gender seems a moot point. Though the gender of either is largely a moot point, as, being magically created avatars of their respective colors, neither reproduce in the traditional manner. This gets averted in Amonkhet, however, which contains wholly masculine angels to help reinforce that it's "different".
    • Razia and Serra play this trope straight, although with reason; Serra was a human female Planeswalker who created her own plane, and all Boros Angels were basically clones of Razia herself, who was female.
    • Before Amonkhet, there was a grand total of three male angels in Magic: Melesse Spirit, Gabriel Angelfire had to be retconned to be an Angel rules-wise and Malach of the Dawn only exists in alternate reality.
  • A Fête Worse Than Death: The signature of the Rakdos Cultists of Ravnica, as seen in the Flavor Text of Slaughterhouse Bouncer.
  • Fiery Redhead: Chandra Nalaar. Literally.
  • Five-Man Band: The Gatewatch, as of Eldritch Moon.
  • Flaming Sword:
  • Floating Platforms: Seen in both Zendikar and Serra's Realm. There are also floating buildings on Kamigawa and Ravnica.
  • Fog of Doom:
    • In the Apocalypse novel, when Yawgmoth himself appears on Dominaria, he takes the form of a giant black cloud that kills anything it touches.
    • Yawgmoth has a habit of making killer fog; in The Thran, his stonecharger bombs leave behind clouds of mist that that kill anything they touch.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The storyline of Coldsnap, released years after Ice Age and Alliances to give that block a "proper" block format (and conclusion). The press release teaser info explicitly said, "We know the Ice Age ended... but how?"
  • Forgotten Friend, New Foe: Volrath, villain of the Tempest block, was once Gerrard's adoptive brother before they bitterly parted ways in their youth.
  • Formerly Sapient Species: Long ago, much of the plane of Dominaria was ruled by the Elder Dragons, immensely powerful and intelligent beings who were often skilled magic-users and the rulers of entire humanoid civilizations. They eventually all but wiped themselves out in internecine warfare, with the losers being stripped of their legs and wings to become the wurms, mindless beasts resembling massive snakes. The winners also regressed over time; modern dragons, while still technically sapient, are little more than feral predators with lifestyles limited to hunting, gathering treasure and defending their territories, while some fell still further and became drakes, smaller creatures with no forelimbs and which are now purely animalistic beasts.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Old-generation planeswalker are also shapeshifters, capable of changing their appearances at will. Most of them generally opt to stay in the form they look like just before their ascension though.
  • For the Evulz: Nicol Bolas, apparently.
  • Frankenstein's Monster:
  • From Bad to Worse:
    • Zendikar is a Death World in Zendikar. Then it ramps up in Worldwake. By Rise of the Eldrazi, the whole plane is under attack by Planet Eater Eldritch Abominations, and the world becomes even more violent in its efforts to destroy them.
    • Innistrad's Gothic Horror setting was scary to begin with; when the guardian angel Avacyn mysteriously disappeared, the monsters got more powerful.
      • And it gets even worse in Shadows Over Innistrad when Avacyn goes mad and turns against humankind.
  • From a Single Cell: Phyrexia is able to rebuild itself from just a single drop of oil, as seen in the tragic fate of Mirrodin. This is Lampshaded with Phyrexian Rebirth.
  • Funny Animal: From the more conventional Nacatl (cat people) and Leonin (lion people) to the somewhat more creative Loxodon (elephant people) and Rhox (rhino people). So, in other words, Magic has them in droves.
  • Fur Bikini:
  • Furry Confusion: Ajani (a sentient lion man) gets this is spades when he travels to Bant where the pack animal of choice are Leotau (very large lions with hooves).
  • Fusion Dance:
    • In the Onslaught storyline, Phage and Akroma merge to become Karona the False God, a living embodiment of Dominaria's mana.
    • Dracoplasm fuses multiple creatures together to form a giant dragon.
  • Fusion Dissonance: The Innistrad block drew heavily on Lovecraftian imagery and saw the return of Emrakul and the Eldrazi. The block also introduced the "Meld" mechanic, where if you had certain cards in play, they would fuse into some horrific abomination of nature. For instance, the angels Bruna and Gisela would meld to form Brisela.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Magic has had its share of artificers.
    • Jhoira, depicted here in all her Tinkering glory.
    • Venser, although best-known now for his teleportation abilities, was originally an artificer, salvaging scrap from the swamps of Urborg and building machines.
    • Urza, the Chessmaster himself, was famous for his gadgets.
    • As was his brother, Mishra.
    • Urza's protege, Tawnos.
    • Slobad is remarkable as he is not merely smart by Goblin standards (which is hardly an accomplishment), but smart. Period.
    • Tezzeret's entire shtick. He sympathizes more with machines than people.
    • Arcum Dagsson.
    • Daretti's failed experiment costed him his legs.
    • Most people on Kaladesh would qualify. Creating Magitek is the only form of magic allowed there.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: Typical green schtick, seen in Invasion, Worldwake, and so on. There's also cards like Gaea's Avenger, Gaea's Revenge, Avenger of Zendikar, etc.
  • Garden Garment: Dryads.
  • Gargle Blaster: No thanks.
  • Gambit Pileup: Occurs during the original Ravnica trilogy when it turns out that all of the guilds are trying to conquer the plane.
  • Gambit Roulette: Nicol Bolas' ploy to free the Eldrazi certainly counts. To release the Eldrazi, he required the presence of three different planeswalkers at the Eye of Ugin, as well as having one of them use Ghostfire to trigger the failsafe mechanism. He could only be certain that his own minion (Vol) would be there, but to lure the other two, he combined elements of his own meticulous planning, as well as a simple stroke of luck. He even said so himself!
    Bolas: I didn't send you to ensure no one entered the Eye. I sent you to ensure they did. Do you think it a coincidence that two planeswalkers arrived there when they did?
    Vol: You sent me to fester? As a helpless proxy? You knew they would come?
    Bolas: I knew the girl would come. The other-I had to play the odds.
  • Gentle Giant: Karn, a huge golem made of pure silver who dedicated himself to pacifism. And not technical pacifism, either. Many green creatures can also be considered gentle unless you offend them or their controllers.
  • Genre Shift: The first two sets of the Zendikar block are about adventure and survival on a Death World. The last set turns it into a Cosmic Horror Story.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: Giant Crab (stepping on a boat), Fortress Crab (cottage-sized) and especially Wormfang Crab (walking over mountains). They're all defense.
  • Giant Flyer: All kinds.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Many sets could be described as this.
    • After Arabian Nights, Antiquities attempted to tell an original story.
    • The "pseudo-block" of Legends, The Dark, and Fallen Empires. Legends was awesome, but neither The Dark nor Fallen Empires continued its mechanics, or its storyline, and were instead sequels to Antiquities.
    • Homelands is between Ice Age and Alliances, both with an Ice Age theme. Homelands, as far as we can tell, is about fairies and paladins vs. vampires. Homelands also didn't have Ice Age's mechanics, and is generally considered the worst set ever.
    • Weatherlight kicked off a five-year story arc.
    • Portal: Three Kingdoms introduced a lot of new mechanics, referred to flying as horsemanship, is incompatible with other Portal sets, and...was actually enjoyable.
    • The Urza's Block, while high in power and storyline, was a prequel, leaving you wondering what happened to the crew of the Weatherlight.
    • Nemesis introduced a new ability out of nowhere (Fading) and focused on Rath. Actually, every Masques block set focused on a different plane. Mercadia seemed to come out of nowhere too.
    • Apocalypse is the only set in the Invasion block to focus entirely on enemy colors (white/black, white/red, blue/red, blue/green, black/green).
  • Giant Spider: The smallest spiders tend to be large enough to win a fight with an average goblin. Medium-sized spiders can tangle with elephants. The biggest ones can eat dragons for breakfast.
  • A God Am I: Several of them. Some are just delusional about their supposed godhood, and some are very much not delusional about their actual godhood...and are total jerks about it.
  • God Is Dead: A major part of the Planeswalker Samut's backstory was witnessing Nicol Bolas murder all but one of her home plane's gods, then drag their zombified corpses to Ravnica.
  • A God Is You: Flavor-wise, the players take the roles of planeswalkers.
  • God of Evil: Yawgmoth.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: The Gods of Theros have strength directly tied to the number of worshipers the god has. In an example of Gameplay and Story Integration, the Gods cease to be creaturesnote  when their controller does not have enough devotion to that god's color(-s)note 
  • Godzilla Threshold: Let's be honest, nearly everyone's threshold involves Nicol Bolas in some way but it was seen no better than in Ravnica during War of the Spark. Keep in mind, Ravnica's entire existence is based off of the 10 guilds essentially being in an endless Cold War with each other, always on the brink of an outright war. Nicol Bolas arriving and kicking off his massive plan had the Ravnica Guilds actually drop everything and outright join forces, something that would've been unheard of in normal circumstances.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Averted; all five colors of mana have had heroes and villains.
  • Gothic Horror: Innistrad was a top-down design based around this. Zombies, Werewolves, and Vampires are all vying for control against the last bastions of humanity.
  • Got the Whole World in My Hand: This artwork for New Phyrexia shows Mirrodin in the clutches of Phyrexia.
  • Got Volunteered: Played for Laughs when groups of goblins need a volunteer, as seen in the flavor text of Goblin Hero and Skirk Drill Sergeant.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Yawgmoth is the Greater-Scope Villain to Volrath's Big Bad in the Rath saga.

    H-L 
  • Hair-Raising Hare: the Vizzerdrix card. Probably related to Kezzerdrix.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Seen on some art, including Vengeance and Burn the Impure.
  • Hammerspace: Sash and Waistcoat, the two un-men and Those Two Guys from the Onslaught storyline, were designed by Ixidor to be living embodiments of Hammerspace. They're essentially living portals. There's several gags where they store things like pianos inside themselves.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Blinding Powder.
  • Happy Ending Override: Happens several times in different planes:
    • In the first Mirrodin block, Glissa and her team stops the tyrannical Memnarch and his devious machinations over Mirrodin. Come Scars Of Mirrodin block, turns out that Memnarch had also been suppressing New Phyrexia's influence in Mirrodin, and with him gone, Mirrodin became New Phyrexia.
    • In the first Innistrad block, humanity is under threat of extinction due to its guardian angel Avacyn gone missing, and all is well once she's freed. Come Shadows Over Innistrad, not only the forces of darkness returns to threaten humanity once more, even the angels go crazy and start slaughtering the humans they are supposed to protect.
  • I Have Your Wife: Volrath kidnaps Starke's daughter.
  • Headless Horseman:
  • Heel Realization: After Darigaaz awakens the other four Primeval dragons in Planeshift, he realizes that the five of them would destroy Dominaria themselves. His Redemption Equals Death Heroic Sacrifice to break their five-way bond is depicted on Terminate.
  • Harmony Versus Discipline: The philosophy behind the conflict that pits Red/Green against White/Blue.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: White creatures that sacrifice themselves for an effect usually have this flavor. And then there's Shock Troops...
  • High Priest: Mikaeus the Lunarch.
  • Hive Mind: The slivers.
  • Hive Drone: There are the Slivers, a type of Hive Minded creatures where the vast majority of individuals were drones under the control of the Sliver Queen until she was killed, at which point they became drones of the Sliver Overlord, until that was killed, at which point control of the swarm shifted to the newly-conscious hive mind itself; meanwhile on another plane there's a hive controlled by a Hivelord.
  • Hollywood Cyborg:
    • Phyrexians, extra-dimensional, bio-mechanical nasties whose machine parts are grafted onto them upon birth.
    • Tezzeret and other inhabitants of Esper. It's less grotesque than the Phyrexians, and is basically a way to transcend nature.
    • All lifeforms on Mirrodin have some metallic parts naturally integrated in them. Melira is the only exception, which makes her immune to the Phyrexian oil.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: White has plenty of this. Loads of priests, religions, angels, miracles and so on that all focus on cutting a swath of destruction. Half the time, even the "nice" life-gain and protection spells are there to enable that planeswalker to do something terrible to you with the next card.
  • Hope Spot: Twice in the events of Hour Of Devastation.
    • The first time when Rhonas hits the Scorpion God and brings him to his knees, in apparent defeat. Rhonas then makes the mistake of turning his back on his opponent, who proceeds to get back up and stick his stinger into the back of Rhonas' head. The poison does the rest.
    • The second time Oketra and Kefnet are double-teaming the Scorpion God. Kefnet gets stung once or twice in the wings, but Oketra manages to hit the Scorpion God squarely in the head with an arrow and blows it to bits. They're just starting to congratulate one another on their victory over Rhonas' killer... when the Scorpion God simply reconstitutes himself and nails Kefnet straight in the face. Oketra gets stung straight in the gut shortly thereafter.
  • Horns of Barbarism: A number of barbarian cards, such as Balduvian Barbarians and Balduvian Warlord, depicted tribal warriors clad in pelts, patchwork armor, flowing beards and, of course, helmets and headdresses adorned with horns and immense tusks.
  • Horse of a Different Color: All sorts.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Szadek, founder of the Dimir Guild is a ten-thousand plus year old and the last surviving member of his species, who are essentially psychic vampires. The name of his species? The Eldritch. Make of that what you will.
  • Humans Are Average: Enforced.
    From the behind-the-scenes point of view, the prevalence and variety of humans does a couple of good things for the game. First, it lets us put a human face on every color of Magic. That helps the look and feel of all the colors stay appealing to a wide variety of players. Our market research shows that we have a lot of human beings among our consumers, and having human beings in the art gives those players a familiar face that they can identify with. [...]

    Second, humans play an important role as a point of comparison in every color. You get to see how tall or tough or magic-inclined goblins are compared to humans, for example, since you get to see them next to red-aligned humans that live in similar environments and have similar color values. You get to see what role griffins or pterons or leonin play in a given setting, because you get to see white-aligned humans riding them or hunting them or making alliances with them. We can afford to get more exotic with our nonhuman races, in part because there are plenty of examples of humans next to whom you can see similarities and differences—and we like that.
    —Doug Beyer, creative team member, in his weekly column.
  • Human Resources: Ravnica's Golgari Guild is responsible for corpse disposal and food production throughout the city. These two tasks are not unrelated. Soylent Green/Black is made of people!
  • Humongous Mecha: Darksteel Colossus.
  • Hybrid Monster: The Simic Combine specialize in creating these. Beasties with creature types like crocodile frog, fish crab and human ooze are the result.
  • I Got Bigger: Garruk Wildspeaker then. Garruk Wildspeaker now.
  • I Just Want to be a Normal Planeswalker: Elspeth didn't ask to be a hero. She's often made one anyway: First on her adopted homeworld of Bant, then on Mirrodin/New Phyrexia, and soon again on Theros.
  • An Ice Person: Heidar, Rimewind Master
  • The Igor: Seen in Innistrad with Oglor (a mad scientist's assistant represented on Stitcher's Apprentice and in the flavor text of Rooftop Storm) and Garl (the Deranged Assistant).
  • Incendiary Exponent: Things on fire are often stronger or faster than things not-on-fire. For example, Fiery Mantle.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted during the Shadows over Innistrad/Eldritch Moon storyline. There are references to children dying to werewolf maulings, angel attacks, and being burned alive by the Church of Avacyn in an attempt to purify them, though this is actually the work of the demon-worshiping Skirsdag cult in an attempt to sow disorder and distrust in the church.
  • Inhumanly Beautiful Race: The elves from the Lorwyn set. Their caste system runs on how beautiful they are and they will often hunt other species that they deem uglier than they.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: The Changelings from Lorwyn block reflexively take the form of whatever else is nearby.
  • Island of Mystery: Invoked for the entire continent of Ixalan, within the set and plane of the same name. The vampiric Legion of Dusk searches for the lost city of Azcanta while protagonist Jace Beleren struggles to remember who is he and how got here. Fellow Planeswalkers Vraska and Angrath also search for the reason why no one can Planeswalk away from Ixalan, leaving them all marooned.
  • It's Probably Nothing: Invoked by name in the flavor text of Steady Progress, Feeling of Dread and Bump in the Night.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Civilized Scholar/Homicidal Brute, inspired directly by the original Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • Jidaigeki/Hollywood Medieval Japan: A combination of these, plus elements of traditional Japanese fantasy and Shinto are the basis of the Kamigawa block.
  • Kangaroo Court: The card Twisted Justice is styled after creating such a situation, and the flavor text is from the perspective of the judge as he's being manipulated to send an innocent man to his death.
  • Kill 'Em All: The Weatherlight saga had an extraordinarily high body count, especially among named protagonists.
    • Rofellos died fighting demons quite early on.
    • Mirri made a Heroic Sacrifice to save Gerrard from Crovax.
    • Belbe, despite ultimately turning good, was killed by Eladamri for being made of parts of his daughter.
    • Crovax and Ertai both fell to Phyrexia and died in its service.
    • Starke was killed by Volrath.
    • Hanna contracted the Phyrexian plague and died during the invasion proper.
    • Lin Sivvi and Eladamri both killed themselves rather than be consumed by Yawgmoth's death cloud.
    • Gerrard and Urza were both consumed in the completion of the Legacy weapon.
    • Squee was killed by the fallen Ertai. A lot. However, he kept getting better because Ertai had made Squee immortal so he could torture and kill him repeatedly.
    • In the same storyline, a similar thing happens with the Nine Titans, Urza's team of planeswalkers leading the attack on Phyrexia:
      • Daria and Kristina were killed by Tevesh Szat.
      • Tevesh Szat was killed when Urza made his soul into a bomb, as he had been included on the team for this purpose all along.
      • Taysir attempted to knock some sense into Urza after he joined Yawgmoth's side, only for Urza to kill him in self defense.
      • Bo Levar and Commodore Guff were absorbed by Yawgmoth.
      • Urza was consumed in the completion of the Legacy Weapon.
      • Freyalise and Lord Windgrace manage to survive the Phyrexian Invasion... only to later perform Heroic Sacrifices in order to seal the time rifts.
  • Kirin: Kirins are a rare creature type typically aligned with White Mana and found in worlds inspired by East Asian cultures and mythologies, such as Kamigawa (feudal Japan), Tarkir (central Asia, Tibet and India) and the Plane of Mountains and Seas (ancient China), where they tend to serve as replacements for angels as White's iconic creatures. All are capable of flight, despite having no wings. Tarkir's kirin appear as heralds of the arrival or death of an important figure — Alabaster Kirin and Misthoof Kirin both appeared as omens of the ascent, and then return, of the planeswalker Sarkhan Vol — while those of the Plane of Mountains and Seas are known as qilins instead.
  • Knight Errant: Elspeth, literally. Though Gideon Jura is the one with the messiah complex.
  • Knight in Shining Armor:
  • Knight Templar:
    • In Avacyn Restored, despite Avacyn casting a spell on the plane's werewolves that turn them into Wolfir, werewolves that keep their sanity and now fight on humanity's side, one Cathar officer leads a crusade against the "reformed werewolves" despite them undergoing a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Later on, Avacyn herself becomes this in Shadows over Innistrad after the influence of an Eldritch Abomination drove her mad. She eventually becomes so bad that her creator, the planeswalker Sorin Markov, is forced to end her forever.
  • Language Equals Thought: A recurrent theme in flavor text (usually in red, for some reason). Some examples:
    • Bloodrock Cyclops:
      "There are only fifty words in the cyclops language, and ten of them mean 'kill.'"
    • Goblin Striker:
      There's no word in the goblin language for "strategy." Then again, there's no word in the goblin language for "word."
    • Ogre Resister:
      He didn't have a word for "home," but he knew it was something to be defended.
  • Last Stand: The forces of the Coalition make a Last Stand in Apocalypse, as depicted on the card (of course) Last Stand.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The in-game flavor of your deck is that of your memories, and a number of cards have the ability to search opponent's decks for cards and remove them from the game. [2]
    • Comes up twice in the Ixalan block. Jace Beleren wakes up on a beach with no memory of who he is or how he got there it turns out this was a failsafe installed on his person by Ugin, triggered by the Gatewatch's disastrous defeat on Amonkhet. Once he figures what happened and how it was done, he installs a similar memory block on the Planeswalker Vraska, so that she can be the Reverse Mole and keep that hidden from even herself.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The expansion Oath of the Gatewatch has a group of cards of different colors, each depicting a planeswalker promising to keep watch, but no black version is present. Three expansions later, Eldritch Moon completes the theme with "Oath of Liliana", whose flavor text reads, "I'll keep watch. Happy now?"
  • Legions of Hell: The Invasion block storyline has Dominaria defending itself against the invading forces of Yawgmoth.
  • Lighthouse Point: The Arcane Lighthouse and Desolate Lighthouse land cards.
  • Light Is Not Good: While White has several protagonists, it has occasionally proved to be oppressive, tyrannical and horribly misguided:
    • Takeshi Konda is the primary example of a White Big Bad.
    • Also from Kamigawa is the Myojin of Cleansing Fire, another White villain. Although he doesn't get much "screen time", he is clearly fighting on the side of the kami, and is implied he destroyed his own mortal followers with his sacred flames.
    • Another evil White kami is Kataki, who, according to this side story, is pretty much insane.
    • In Dissension, Augustin IV of the Azorius (a guild of blue-white Obstructive Bureaucrats) is the bad guy.
    • As Phyrexia shows (more specifically, Elesh Norn and her servants), White can be quite scary too...
    • The point of the White cards in The Dark.
    • According to Mark Rosewater and Serra (as well as some of his guises and spells), Urza is White/Blue. He also caused countless cataclysms, devised an eugenics program (and was a general social darwinist), manipulated his own allies against themselves and ultimately joined Phyrexia.
    • In the Theros Block, Heliod provoked the conflicts in the pantheon and ultimately murdering Elspeth in cold blood.
    • Officially speaking, Nahiri is one of the villains in the Shadows over Innistrad block. Your mileage may vary on whether she qualifies more as an Anti-Villain, but attempting to wipe out an entire populated plane as revenge against one person is not a heroic act.
    • Kaladesh is ruled by the white/blue Consulate. This results in pristine cities, beautiful environments, and a fascist bureaucracy keeping most of the plane's citizen under its iron heel. The heroes of Kaladesh are rebels affiliated with red Mana, an unusually heroic take on red's desires for freedom.
    • In Ixalan the dinosaurs are sun-powered. While not any more evil than any regular animal, it can't be pleasant to have a mindless predator bursting you with vicious sunlight.
  • Lilliputians: The plane of Segovia, where everything is about 1/100 of the size of other planes. For example, it has whales the size of goldfish and its Leviathan, generally among the most massive creatures in M:TG, is about the size of an elephant.
  • Living Shadow: This is generally the flavor of the 'Shade' creature type.
  • Living Ship: The Weatherlight. Also, Living Airship.
  • Lizard Folk: The Viashino.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Literally thousands, made more confusing by the fact that many of them have the same or similar names.
  • Loads and Loads of Races: There are roughly a bajillion different known sapient species in the Multiverse. Aside from Humans there are Aetherborn, Ainok, Amphin, Angels, Archons, Aven, Beebles, Bird-Maidens, Centaurs, antelope Centaurs, deer Centaurs, Cephalids, Changelings, Cyclopes, Dauthi, Demons, Devils, Djinn, Dragons, Dwarves, Dryads, Efreet, sentient Elementals, Elves, Eumidians, Faeries, Flamekin, Giants, Goblins, sapient Golems, Gorgons, sapient Gorillas, Hags, Homarids, Iquati, Kami and other sentient Spirit races, Khenra, Kithkin, Kitsune, Kor, Krakens, Kraul, Lamias, Lammasu, Leonin, Liches, Loxodon, fishtailed Merfolk, Merfolk with legs, flying Elf-Merfolk, Metathran, Minotaurs, Mistfolk, Mycoids, Myr, Nagas, Nantuko, Nezumi, Nightstalkers, Noggles, Ogres, Orcs, Orochi, Ouphes, Phyrexians, Puca, Rhox, Sangrazuls, Satyrs, Scarecrows, Selkies, Serpent people, Slivers, Soltari, Soratami, Sphinxes, Surrakar, Thalakos, Thrulls, Treefolk, Trolls, Vampires, Vedalken, Viashino, Weirds, Werewolves, Wolfir, the talking Wolves of Tel-Jilad...

    And that's not even counting sub-races. Just among goblins there are common Dominarian Goblins (of at least three different breeds), Kobolds, Rathi Moggs, Mercadian Kyren, Mirran Krark-Clan, Kamigawan Akki, Lorwyn-Shadowmoor Boggarts, Redcaps, Hobgoblins, and Spriggans, ratlike Jund Dragon Fodder, Zendikari Guide-Thieves, and Phyrexian Squealstokes.
  • Long Game: Nicol Bolas works this way all the time.
  • Looks Like Orlok: The original Sengir Vampire art draws from this. The next depiction even more so, aside from the fact that he has hair.
  • Loose Canon: The game's original dozen spin-off novels were published by HarperPrism. When the Weatherlight saga began and Wizards of the Coast started its own novel line, the continuity was revised (this is commonly referred to as "The Revision"). Any material in the old novels is considered Canon unless new material directly contradicts it.
  • Losing Your Head: Urza in Apocalypse. His severed head was last seen relaxing in a hot tub with the missing creature from AWOL.
  • Lost Technology: Thran technology in the Brothers' War.
  • Love It or Hate It: Invoked with Schismotivate, which works by inciting strong positive and negative emotions in two target creatures. The happy creature gets powered up; the sad creature gets powered down.
  • Love Redeems: Belbe, in Nemesis, leading to Redemption Equals Death. Spoiled somewhat by the romance being with Ertai, who went over to the side Belbe abandoned...before her body had actually cooled.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: Braids.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Volrath was Gerrard's adoptive brother, Vuel. This was never a huge secret, though.
  • Lunacy: All over the place in Innistrad block; both the church and the werewolves seem to draw power from Innistrad's silver Moon.

    M-O 
  • MacGuffin Turned Human: In Saviors of Kamigawa, That Which Was Taken (the MacGuffin that started the spirit war) takes the form of a girl.
    • Memnarch also counts as a relatively rare villainous example.
  • Machete Mayhem: Trusty Machete
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
  • Magically Binding Contract: The Guildpact in Ravnica block.
  • Magic Carpet: Magic Carpet. Also seen on Flying Men.
  • Magic Meteor: See Macross Missile Massacre above. Also this.
  • Make Some Noise: Mages can train in the Arcanum of Forces to manipulate sound and other forms of energy. At the most basic level, they can displace sounds from their source; more advanced Forces spells can selectively control all sound in an area or around specific targets.
  • Making a Splash: Stock blue ability, although it's occasionally appeared in other colors as well.
  • The Man Behind the Man:
    • Yawgmoth behind Volrath, and in general Phyrexia for Rath.
    • Phyrexia would be this to Memnarch as well, but it's a complicated case: Memnarch was curtailing the mycosynth, the first signs of Phyrexian infection. When he was removed, the mycosynth could grow unchecked.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Glissa Sunseeker discovered (as far as the surface races are concerned) not only Mirrodin's fifth sun, which she also named, but also the mana core at the heart of the plane, meaning she's essentially found two suns.
    • Nicol Bolas. See Names to Run Away from Really Fast.
    • Gideon Jura. Gideon translates to 'Powerful Warrior' and thus is he consistently portrayed, being one of the only planeswalkers who isn't a straight mage; he's more of a paladin instead. One of his card abilities also turns him into a 6/6 human soldier temporarily, making him quite powerful indeed.
    • Garruk Wildspeaker's speciality is that once he defeats a wild animal, he can commune with it and summon it to his aid at a moment's notice.
    • Ajani Goldmane was born with a rare genetic defect that gave him startlingly pale fur.
    • Rafiq means "friend" in Arabic. He is the most decorated paladin on his plane, and renders his services as a peacekeeper and mediator of sorts, trying to solve would be duels with both participating parties leaving satisfied.
    • Very literally on the plane of Lorwyn. The local giants live large in every conceivable way, including how they sleep, sometimes decades at a time. During this sleep, which they call the 'namesleep' they have any number of dreams where they imagine themselves in some sort of epic poem all most. They take this as a sign, and when they wake up they take on that persona and name themselves appropriately. Such as a wandering drifter named Rosheen Meanderer, or a peacekeeping arbiter named Galanda Feudkiller.
    • "Pyrexia" is a medical term for a fever. The Phyrexians, in addition to not being a very pleasant lot, use genetically engineered plagues. In fact, Yawgmoth started out making such plagues. Their name is also derived from the Greek letter Phi, which is commonly used to represent the "perfect" golden ratio (and is itself commonly used as their sigil), reflecting their collective superiority complex.
  • Meat Moss:
    • The ground itself is Meat Moss'd in Grixis.
    • The interior of the compleated Lumengrid in New Phyrexia is covered in organic tissue.
  • Mechanical Horse: Bronze Horse, Clockwork Steed, Workhorse, and Chrome Steed. Hero of Bladehold and Hero of Oxid Ridge can be seen riding Chrome Steeds as well.
  • Mechanical Evolution: Phyrexia. Kind of.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: The greater part of Mirrodin block falls under this, as does the world of Esper from Shards of Alara, the metal demons of Phyrexia, and various artifact creatures.
  • Medieval Stasis: Happens on a regular basis. Probably one of the key reasons why few people actually take the stories seriously.
    • The city plane of Ravnica has apparently been ruled by the exact same ten guilds for freaking 10,000 years. This is handwaved to some extent by the existence of a powerful magical pact binding them all, and some change seems to have still happened. But some of the stuffs don't quite add up (e.g., it's hard to picture the fractious slum-dwelling Gruul Clans having been the way they are now from the beginning, for one thing). Still, seeing how much happened in the same time in Real Life (i.e., basically all of recorded history, plus as much time in late prehistory), it's probably a good example of game designers having no sense of scale.
      • Of those said ten guilds, four are still ruled by the same immortal magical creatures that signed the Guildpact, two are ruled by immortal councils, one is basically the physical manifestation of hidebound bureaucracy, and the other three are more or less insane and generally poor at long-term planning.
      • With the Return to Ravnica block, the Simic actually go back to melding with magic, rather than using the more scientific-sounding cytoplasts they favored in the classical Ravnica, because an unfortunate incident involving the Guild's leader and a giant blob monster Kaiju made them virtually unsellable.
    • The Tarkir block has the first (Khans of Tarkir) and third (Dragons of Tarkir) sets form the alternative versions of the plane's present, with the second set (Fate Reforged) taking place 1,200 years in the past. The differences between Khans and Dragons are far more pronounced than the differences between either and Fate Reforged, to the point that most of the clans even dress the same. This may be a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation, as the art of cards is meant to include the mechanical colors involved, so (for example) the block's red/white/blue clan will always be dressed primarily in red, white, and blue.
      • But that still doesn't excuse why the clothing styles remained so static: Even if colors are fixed, clothes could still vary in terms of, say, shapes, proportions, materials, etc.
      • The fact that the five clans have persisted for more than a millennium is also rather jarring. Look back at human history, and the vast majority of empires didn't last more than 500 years. Millennium-spanning empires did exist (e.g., the Roman Empire) but were an absolute minority. One of the clans has persisted for 1,200 years? That's... okay. All five persisted for 1,200 years? That's a little bit less believable.
    • Aaaand then there is Dominaria. Apparently according to the latest Dominaria set, it is a plane full of histories and stories. For some reason, historic periods and objects on this plane can easily last thousands of years without any significant change. Just... look at the architectural styles, clothing, etc., Dominaria is still far more static than our world. E.g., compare modern buildings with buildings of Ancient Egyptians, and the latter were just 5,000 to 3,000 years ago. Are we really supposed to think of Dominaria as a plane full of historic intrigues?
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Tocasia, Urza and Mishra's teacher in their youth, falls victim to this trope.
  • Mercy Kill: In the Invasion block, Agnate to Thaddeus, and later, Grizzlegom to Agnate.
  • Me's a Crowd: Biovisionary, who you're expected to play with a bunch of cards that clone creatures.
  • Messianic Archetype: Though very far from an All-Loving Hero, Urza went through a whole lot of awful things to destroy Phyrexia.
  • Meta Guy: Commodore Guff. Didn't work out.
  • Mind-Control Device: The Mindslaver
  • Mind Rape: The flavor behind Discard spells suggests they do this to your opponent.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Inverted with Lich's Mirror, but played straight on Innistrad.
  • Mirror Universe:
    • Lorwyn becomes its own Mirror Universe in the Shadowmoor block.
    • And there is an actual card called Mirror Universe, which allows you to swap Hit Point totals with your opponent.
    • Mirrodin is being corrupted into its reflection.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters:
    • The Simic Combine of Ravnica creates these, and includes sentient species. So you'll see Shark-Octopus hybrids, but also Human Merfolk and Human Lizards. For bonus points, the leader of the Combine during the Guilds of Ravnica arc was Prime Speaker Vannifar, an Elf-Ooze hybrid.
    • These occur naturally on the Kaiju plane of Ikoria, shown off on cards like Porcuparrot and Exuberant Wolfbear. This is likely The Artifact from Ikoria's Mutate mechanic that lets players mash multiple creatures into one. Rumor has it that early versions of the mechanic required all parties in the mashup to share at least one creature type; by the time the mechanic had been simplified to work with any non-Human creatures, the art for the mishmashed creatures had already been commissioned.
  • Monster Lord: Zendikar vampires and their nulls.
  • Monster-Shaped Mountain: The card Hamletback Goliath is given to be this. The card art depicts a couple of goblins living on the Goliath's back, and plant growth that makes it look like a mountain.
  • Monster Whale: While they're not the most commonly-featured type of sea monster in the game, immense whales have appeared on a number of cards.
  • Mordor: Grixis.
  • Morphic Resonance: The werewolves of Innistrad all have distinctive visual cues to make it clear that the wolf and the human are the same creature. When this isn't done through a repetition of the settingnote , it's done with Morphic Resonance, copying a physical detail on both sides. For example, Reckless Waif's distinctive pink hair, or Mondronen Shaman's single glowing eye.
  • Mugging the Monster: Tormented Pariah.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: Seen occasionally on card-drawing spells like Mind Unbound. In some cases it crosses over to the game mechanics, forcing the affected player to discard cards or take damage.
  • Mystical City Planning: The city of Ravnica was designed by Niv-Mizzet to form a giant sigil powered by the movement of its citizens that would give him ultimate power. However, a goblin tribe involved in the construction spotted what he was doing and sabotaged the design. When Niv-Mizzet found out what they'd done, he was so impressed with how they did it that he bought the entire clan and made them the basis for his guild.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
  • Nature Hero: Various green-aligned characters, but especially Kamahl post-transformation.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Lorwyn's Elves believe that anything that is ugly is an affront to nature. Naturally, they believe this gives them the right to systematically hunt down and murder ugly lesser races.
  • Nephilim: Gargantuan Beasts Of The Apocalypse created by the gods just to put mortals in their place.
  • Negative Planar Wedgie: Either the cause of, or caused by, a large amount of the plot.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • In the novel for the Nemesis set, the Phyrexian Belbe was deliberately sabotaging the plans for Rath to overlay Dominaria. Until Eladamri killed her because she was constructed from his daughter's body.
    • In the Ravnica series, the Dissension novel has the Azorius Guildmaster explaining that things have gotten a lot worse because the main characters arrested the first book's Big Bad, who was put on trial and killed. How is this a bad thing? The magically-enforced government of Ravnica demands that group/entity exist, for the sole purpose of doing Big Bad things. Because it could no longer act as an opposing force, the magic of the Guildpact was weakened and could no longer protect the city.
    • Another one happened in In The Teeth of Akoum, Zendikar's novel. Upon reaching the eponymous location, Sorin Markov, a vampire planeswalker, tries to activate a strange device. Nissa, his unwilling partner, is a Zendikar native elf who hates vampires. When Nissa notices the device reacting to Sorin's ritual, she promptly uses a spell to destroy it. Unfortunately for her, and Zendikar, that device is the final lock which holds the Eldrazi, and with no more lock to hold them, they break free. Sorin, annoyed, leaves afterwards.
    • Earlier, in another example, Jace's, Chandra's and Sarkhan's shenanigans some time prior weakens the rest of the locks keeping the Eldrazi imprisoned, just as Nicol Bolas wanted.
    • Memnarch might not have been a nice guy, but he was fighting back the mycosynth corruption in Mirrodin's Core and preventing Phyrexia from taking hold there. When Glissa and her friends defeated him, the mycosynth grew unchecked and Phyrexia could grow unimpeded, dooming the plane.
    • Ral was meaning to warn Jace about Vraska, who was an Ravinican assassin planeswalker, had gone to the void, but Lilliana intervened to force Jace about Tezzeret being in Kaladesh. What makes it bad was that Vraska was in talks with Nicol Bolas.
      • That one ended up working out in the end though. Jace following Liliana's lead ultimately led him to getting defeated and memory wiped in Amonkhet before ending up in Ixalan, where Vraska was. Instead of Vraska and Jace fighting to the death, Vraska seeing an amnesiac Jace ends up taking him into her pirate crew (It Makes Sense in Context) and they hit it off. Even after Jace reclaims his memories (of which Vraska ended up seeing very painful parts of his past), while Vraska feared his hatred he remained loyal to her. By the end of the Ixalan Block the two had concocted a plan to get at Nicol Bolas during the War of the Spark, which they enacted. Also the two made a date and are quite clearly an Official Couple by the end of the War. So in other words, Liliana's actions ended up driving Jace into the arms of another woman. Oops.
  • Night and Day Duo: The Mirage set has several cards which reference the Love Song of the Night and Day which definitely falls under this trope.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Mistform Ultimus which has every creature type, such as Ninja, Pirate, Zombie, Construct, Mutant, Ninja, and Turtle. Years later, Lorwyn block introduced nineteen more creatures like this, as well as several non-creature cards.
    • Every time a new set comes out, Wizards of the Coast publishes a Mistform Ultimus Watch article on the Daily MTG, that documents every single creature type that it becomes.
  • Not So Different: Urza and Mishra.
  • Obake: Kamigawa has oni and kitsune; indeed, the entire Kamigawa block is one big Obake-fest, its setting heavily inspired by Japanese folklore and mythology.
  • Oculothorax: There are two.
  • Older Than They Look: Old generation planeswalkers are generally immortal; Urza, as an example, lived for at least 5000 years, while Nicol Bolas is even older. That's before counting some people who live long despite being otherwise mortal: Jodah aged slowly because he fell into a fountain of youth in his youth; Jhoira, unlike her planeswalker boyfriend Teferi, used slow-aging potions; Liliana Vess made a contract with demons (in her case, despite being a planeswalker, she is not normally immortal due to the Mending) and so on.
    • Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is old enough that Sorin (who is himself at least several thousand years old) refers to Ugin as being "as old as time".
    • Shen Yun, the Jeskai Khan of ancient Tarkir, looks about thirty but is among the oldest people on the plane.
  • One Steve Limit: Enforced for gameplay reasons — all planeswalkers which appear or may appear on cards are required to have different names.
  • Only Fatal to Adults: As part of his plan to seize control of Amonkhet before the Mending finished, Nicol Bolas descended upon Naktamun and, in a flash of white light, instantly vaporized all of the adults. This was so that he could indoctrinate the remaining children with the gods he mind-wiped into doing his bidding.
  • Organic Technology: Phyrexia. They invoke this trope, subvert it, divert it, avert it, deconstruct it, reconstruct it, and ask it out for dinner. Their entire purpose is to blur the line between 'organic' and 'technology' to the point of irrelevance. In the most nightmarish ways possible. Even more strongly pronounced in New Phyrexia, when the faction got an artistic revamp that made it much more ambiguous where the organic ended and the technology began, which is shown by their use of colored artifacts.
  • Orifice Evacuation: This is how Dark Hatchling kills its victims.
  • Otherworldly and Sexually Ambiguous: Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver, a Planeswalker and Humanoid Abomination who specializes in bringing people's worst nightmares to life. Ashiok is confirmed by Word of God to be of Ambiguous Gender.
  • Our Angels Are Different: A staple White type, the most famous of which is the classic Serra Angel. Almost all of them (and definitely all the recent ones) are female, with the exception being, well, exceptional in some way (for example, the Mirror Universe Malach of the Dawn). While most are under the domain of White, there are other more atypical ones such as the Maelstrom Archangel and the Platinum Angel. A Mirror Universe version of Akroma, Angel of Wrath is mono-Red instead of White. Of course, Black also has its share of Fallen Angels, but in recent years a design philosophy has come down that all new angels must be at least partly White. The uniqueness of each plane's environs often leads to each plane's angels being further divergent from the standard mold.
    • Mirrodin has cyborg angels and even one robot angel (the above Platinum Angel). Alara's are more the "classical" Magic type of winged female humanoids, but some were cyberneticized during the Conflux.
    • All but the most powerful of Zendikar's angels were shackled by the Eldrazi, their haloes actually being blindfolds.
    • The standard Serra family of angels come from an artificial plane created by the planeswalker Serra that was invaded and scrapped by the Phyrexians, forcing them to relocate to Dominaria.
    • Ravnica's angels are either Red and White and aligned with the crusaders of the Boros Legion or Black and White and aligned with the Corrupt Church of the Orzhov Syndicate. The rebirth of Mirrodin into New Phyrexia features the angels being surgically rebuilt into near-mindless killing machines... that are still pure White — appropriate enough, given that Phyrexia is basically a freakin' horror refinery.
    • The angels of Innistrad are also more or less classical Magic angels, but Avacyn, their leader, is basically a goddess in her own right (albeit a created one, by the vampire Sorin Markov), lording not only over her church but also over the plane's White Magic, down to the fact that the other angels are much weaker without her. She's also a lunar deity (think Selene, only more protective), and because she was created by a vampire, a bit gothy in appearance. And while the rest of the angels in Innistrad are the traditional Winged Humanoid sort, Innistradi angels are further divided into three groups: Flight Alabaster (Barrier Maiden and occasional psychopomps), Flight Goldnight (Church Militant), and Flight of Herons (healing and scouting).
  • Our Archons Are Different: Archons are one of White's iconic races, usually showing up whenever angels would clash thematically. They usually take the form of mysterious humanoid figures riding winged steeds, most often either winged lions or winged stags, they represent White's more malevolent traits, such as vicious justice and oppression. Indeed, in Theros they are the last remnants of a tyrannical empire that spawned the entire plane. Archons are never seen without their winged mounts, and in at least some planes the two are one and the same creature.
  • Our Banshees Are Louder: They are typically Black creatures with abilities that weaken other creatures or injure players without discrimination.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: A recurring creature type usually aligned with Green.
    • They're mostly fairly standard fantasy centaurs, but there are some unusual variations. Centaurs from the Gruul Clans of Ravnica, for instance, have large antlers, as did some Dominarian centaurs from the Ice Age, while other Dominarian centaurs have the heads and lower bodies of antelopes.
    • Given the plane's roots in Classical Mythology, centaurs are naturally also a major race in Theros. There, they’re divided between the civilized Lagonna Band (representing the traditionally wild but generally benevolent Magic centaurs) and the savage, aggressive Pheres Band (representing the dangerous and barbaric centaurs of Greek myth). Iroas, the god of victory, honor and war, also takes the form of a centaur with the lower body of a bull.
  • Our Demons Are Different:
    • Demons are generally somewhat expensive to summon, powerful, and potentially a hazard to their summoner. A classic example is the Lord of the Pit, which basically turns on its controller if not regularly fed other creatures. Most of them fall into the purview of black on the game's color wheel.
      • There isn't that much fluff as to where they come from, except in the Kamigawa block, where Oni are a particularly evil type of demon that make deals with ogres. Kamigawa is one of the few blocks to have demons without a trace of black mana in them — there are two oni that are mono-red.
      • Outside Kamigawa, most demons are the bat-winged, clawed, fanged, gigantic monster kind. However, one early demon was the flightless, half-fungus Mold Demon.
      • In Innistrad, demons cannot be truly destroyed, only sealed away, and their inhuman desires and urges take physical form as little devils that spawn from them and wreak havoc. Griselbrand finds out that demons aren't so indestructible when up against a Planeswalker.
      • The e-novel Children of the Nameless throws female demons into the canon.
    • There's also the Red-aligned devils, which are essentially Internet trolls with far more means to do damage, and are the living embodiments of demons' destructive urges.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Mainly Red, although they've appeared in every color to a lesser degree, and uniformly huge, ferocious terrors with a penchant for hoarding wealth and ravening through the countryside. They regularly show in places where you wouldn’t normally expect them but with some concessions to the set’s tone, such as the Gothic Horror plane of Innistrad, which gets dragons with wings like stained glass, or the crocodile-headed dragons of the Egyptian Mythology-inspired plane of Amonkhet.
    • While true dragons are chiefly Red-aligned, Blue (the color of the mind, air and water) gets the majority of the drakes, smaller and less powerful relatives of dragons with animalistic intellects and two legs and two wings rather than four and two. Wyverns are a rare subset of drakes, with the distinction seeming to be that wyverns walk on their hindlegs like birds, rather than walking batlike on all fours.
    • There are also the chiefly Green-aligned wurms, which resemble large serpents or legless dragons, although in more recent depictions they're more wormlike than anything.
    • Supposedly, all these creatures can trace their descent to the godlike Elder Dragons of the distant past, who fought a massive, multiverse-spanning war. The losers lost their power, limbs and intellect and became the first wurms (although the wurms of Innistrad at least are stated to be manifestations of the plane’s Green mana instead), while the winners became the ancestors of regular dragons, drakes and the Viashino Lizard Folk. Nicol Bolas and his twin brother Ugin are the last two Elder Dragons remaining. The Elder Dragons in turn descended from the Ur-Dragon, a primordial being that occasionally visits a plane and beats its wings, and from its wingbeats dragon eggs fall.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Magic at first used fairly fantasy-standard dwarves, but the developers realized that this just meant that they occupied the same space as the already-popular goblins, both being small, mono-Red creatures. For this reason, dwarves didn't show up in Magic for a very long time until the Kaladesh block, where they were completely reimagined as mono-White creatures, save the the occasional Red-White card, with a strong tie to craftsmanship and vehicles. As a consequence of Kaladesh's own native flavor, they also tend to be lightly inspired by South Asian cultural visuals.
  • Our Elves Are Better: There are many different elf tribes in the setting, but the recent Lorwyn elves are a sharp departure from the previously base-green elves into green/black to show their arrogant destructiveness. (Shadowmoor flipped it so they became the plane's only protagonists, with even white turning paranoid, insular, and Hive Mind-ish.)
    • Lorwyn. In a nutshell, if you aren't as beautiful as them, you don't deserve to live. And nobody's as beautiful as them. And some of Lorwyn's inhabitants are just deliberately being ugly at them. They call these unfortunate souls "eyeblights," and they actively hunt them down and kill them.
    • In Magic's debut set, elves were portrayed as feral and vicious, in startling contrast to the conventional concept (although those showed up in most other sets).
    • Also, the Elves of Deep Shadow of the classic set The Dark, later reprinted as part of the Golgari guild in Ravnica: City of Guilds, were green but produced black mana instead of green when tapped, and dealt damage to their controller each time they did.
    • Mirrodin's elves are basically cyborg elves. Mind you, everything on Mirrodin has a high metal content one way or another.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Faeries appear in multiple sets and planes as diminutive winged humanoids; they're typically Blue, with a secondary trend towards Red. In Lorwyn, they're often particularly insect-like, with insectoid legs and antennas, and are cruel and mean-spirited tricksters. Unlike other depictions, they don't live particularly long, often just a few years, and send their lives pursuing amusement, often at the expense of others. They're particularly fascinated by the dreams of other races, which they frequently harvest. The faeries and their Queen, Oona, are also the only creatures not affected by the Great Aurora that periodically turns the idyllic Lorwyn into the dark and haunted Shadowmoor and back. There's also a variant of faeries named groundlings, which do not have wings.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: They are depicted as creatures made of animated stone, and often flavored as guardians of some sort; in general, they're also colorless artifact creatures.
  • Our Genies Are Different: Both Blue djinn and Red efreet appear as creature types. They tend to be fairly powerful for their cost, but often have some drawback or ability reflecting their general fickleness, like dealing damage to their controller, making enemy creatures stronger or harder to block, or only attacking or blocking when they feel like it according to a coin flip. They're also two of the few creature types that have cards specifically intended to neutralize them — King Suleiman and his legacy, respectively.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: They're part of the "Spirit" creature type, a category that also contains things that may or may not have been living people once and things that most definitely never were. The rules ghosts operate under also change from world to world, so it's hard to pick out a pattern.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Ghouls were originally a separate creature type, but since the only ghouls for the longest time were the Scavenging Ghoul, which can regenerate damage by symbolically "eating" creatures sent to the graveyard, and Ashen Ghoul, which can return to play from the graveyard after three or more creatures have been placed there as well. Wizards of the Coast eventually decided to go the Zombie Derivative path and lump them under the zombie family — all ghouls after those two had been printed as zombies. Given that the zombie creature type covers everything from mindless dead to liches, it isn't that much of a stretch. However, numerous zombie cards since have still been named "ghouls".
    • The Black-aligned zombies of Innistrad are frequently referred to as ghouls in order to differentiate them from their more Frankensteinoid Blue counterparts, which are instead called skaabs, and Innistradi necromancers are typically referred to as "ghoulcallers".
    • Mercadians to poor to afford a proper funeral just have their bodies chucked into a swamp outside the city, referred to as the Ghoul's Larder after the undead that come there to feed on them.
    • It's relatively common for zombies to be called ghouls when they somehow relate to eating the dead or sometimes preying upon the living. Examples include Abattoir Ghoul, which rewards you for killing creatures with it; Barrow Ghoul, which requires you remove creatures from your graveyard to sustain it; Creakwood Ghoul and Gutless Ghoul, which reward you for sacrificing creatures; and Sutured Ghoul, which becomes stronger the more cards you remove from the graveyard.
  • Our Giants Are Bigger: Giants are an ubiquitous creature type, often aligned with Red mana. In the main setting of Dominaria, they're just generically big, tough bruisers, though other settings go into their culture a bit more. The largest giant of all is by definition the Hamletback Goliath, which is large enough to have a hamlet on its back to start with and magically grows to stay bigger than everything it encounters.
    • In Ravnica, giants are mostly soldiers for the Boros Legion, though some outcasts find a life as grunts in the Gruul Clans.
    • Giants in the fairy-tale world of Lorwyn are ancient and mystical, yet still can be clumsy and whimsically dim-witted. Giants sleep for years or decades at a time, dreaming deep dreams, and when they awake they take on new names and purposes in life based on what they dream. Some ride absurdly large goats with wings.
    • In Lorwyn's Dark World, Shadowmoor, giants sleep even longer, to the extent that trees and turf start to grow on their bodies and they become part of the landscape. They're pretty cranky when they wake up, rampaging throughout the countryside and smashing and devouring everything and everyone they come across.
    • Zendikar is home to two types of giant. One type, the more traditional one, lives in tribal societies in the plane's many trackless wildernesses. The second kind, the bestial hurda, is kept by other intelligent societies as enormous, somewhat humanoid pack animals.
    • The Greek mythology-inspired plane of Theros has giants as powerful, primal beings, and includes varieties from Greek myth like Hundred-Handed Ones and Titans.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Gnomes started out with the red card Quarum Trench Gnomes, but after the inclusion of Clockwork Gnomes in Homelands, a trend started of concepting them as Clockwork Creatures. Realizing that this made no sense at all, Wizards of the Coast eventually put a stop to this practice, and gnomes haven't been seen in the game since. The exception to this is the 2018 joke set Unstable, which included one new gnome as part of the Order of the Widget, a faction of Mad Scientist knights themed around absurd clockwork contraptions.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Goblins, most often present as the standard fantasy breed of diminutive, destructive green-skinned and big-eared humanoids, are the characteristic creature — a creature type that shows up multiple times each set as several smaller common creature cards — of Red, the color of chaos, emotions and impulsive behavior. They're not evil, though, just rowdy and destructive, and serve as the game's comic relief race.
    • Most worlds' goblins fit this schema fairly closely, including those of Dominaria, the setting's main universe, as well as those of the City Planet Ravnica and the metallic world of Mirrodin... before it was destroyed by the Phyrexians, anyway.
    • Many other worlds, however, have rather more unusual goblins:
      • Rath has Moggs, a genetically engineered strain of goblin which is larger, stronger and has a distinctive ridge on its head. They're still not very intelligent, though.
      • The Kyren goblins of Mercadian Masques were inversions of the normal stupid headstrong goblin: They are the true rulers of Mercadia. They're actually more evil than most other MtG goblins.
      • The Akki of the Japanese mythology-influenced plane Kamigawa are based on the kappa of Japanese folklore. In fact, the concept has often been described as "fire kappa".
      • Lorwyn boggarts are more adventuresome and intelligent than most, but have a total lack of care for life—their own or others'. Shadowmoor boggarts are nearly mindless eating machines. Shadowmoor also has hobgoblins, who are basically angry hobbits with fangs; spriggans, sizeshifters who can turn from weedy runts into towering colossi; and stream hoppers, bizarre creatures with a single leg, arm, and eye. All are classified as goblins in the game.
      • Goblins on the Alaran shard of Jund are ratlike creatures who simply live to be eaten by the dragons that dominate the shard.
      • Ixalan's goblins, in keeping with the Age of Sail/New World theme of the set, more greatly resemble monkeys, are covered in fur, and have prehensile tails. They are still mischevious and are mostly pirates.
      • Tarkir's goblins are hairy, aggressive and dim little critters who are primarily associated with the Mardu Horde. There's a variant breed with white hair who dwell in the snowy areas that serve as home to the Temur, but the majority of goblins are either Mardu or neutral.
        The Mardu all enjoy war, but only the goblins make a game of it.Flavor Text for Mardu Scout.
      • Eldraine, a plane inspired by Arthurian myths and the tales of the brothers Grimm, is home to redcaps much like Shadowmoor is — in this case, they're vicious, barbaric wilderness-dwellers who were chased out of civilized lands long ago, dye their hats with the blood of their victims and ride giant weasels.
    • In terms of actual gameplay, most Magic goblins are small, cheap creatures that lend themselves well to Zerg Rush tactics or to use as convenient sacrificial fodder. Some even come with relevant abilities built right in.
  • Our Gods Are Different:
    • There are a handful of beings that are mentioned as being "gods", such as Karona and the Eldrazi, as well as avatars from Lorwyn/Shadowmoor and occasionally angels.
    • Yawgmoth, known as the Ineffable by his followers, was also known as the God of Phyrexia.
    • Old planeswalkers were nothing short of Physical Gods themselves. Some, such as Serra, were worshiped by their followers as such.
    • The Classical Mythology-inspired Theros expansion features a pantheon of fifteen gods; one major god for each color overseeing a broad field of power — such Erebos, God of the Dead and Thassa, God of the Sea — and one minor god for each color pair, overseeing something more specialized — such as Keranos, God of Storms and Karametra, God of Harvests. They are noted for featuring Gods Need Prayer Badly as a game mechanic: they are enchantment creatures, meaning they are effectively living, sapient spells. If your devotion to their color (the number of mana symbols on your permanent cards) drops below a certain level, they stop being creatures and become enchantments only.
    • The Amonkhet expansion, inspired by Egyptian Mythology, also had gods. These ones are somewhat different from the Theros gods: besides each having an animal head, they are simply creatures instead of enchantment creatures, and live among and mingle freely with mortals in the city of Naktamun, unlike the distant gods of Theros. There is also the planes walker Nicol Bolas, worshipped in Amonkhet as the God-Pharaoh, who is believed to have created the plane.
    • The Gruul Clans of Ravnica believe in a deity called Illharg, the Raze-Boar, who they believe will come one day to lead them in a plane-wide rampage against civilization. As it turns out, he's very much real as well.
    • Maro-Sorcerers, each the embodiment of a forest in Dominaria, are frequently worshipped as deities (Titania of Argoth being an early example), although they are subservient to Gaea, the world soul of Dominaria, who would be more fitting were she present.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different:
    • Griffins are usually White flying creatures, stronger than pegasi and some spirits but weaker than angels.
      • Griffins are common in the plane of Theros, based off of Greek mythology. Athreos, the ferryman who brings the dead to the underworld, uses skeletal griffins to fetch the souls who try to avoid the crossing.
      • While most griffins use the traditional eagle and lion anatomy, exceptions include Teremko Griffin, which has the hindquarters of a leopard; Spotted Griffin, which is part cheetah and part kestrel; Peregrine Griffin, with the forequarters of a peregrine falcon; and Resplendent Griffin, from the Mayincatec plane of Ixalan, with the forequarters of a brightly colored parrot.
    • Scars of Mirrodin has Razor Hippogriff, currently the only true hippogriff in The Multiverse. Hippogriffs also appear in Innistrad, usually as allies to the Church of Avacyn, but they're typed and referred to as griffins alongside the regular kind. In sets set on Innistrad, the hippogriff creature type is instead used for gryffs, which are like hippogriffs, but with four horse legs and the tail, wings and head of a heron.
    • While Majestic Myriarch, from Hour of Devastation, is technically typed as a chimera rather than a griffin, its appearance — a lion with the head of a raptorial bird and a pair of translucent energy wings — still gives across the impression of a griffon. With a cobra for a tail.
  • Our Homunculi Are Different: Most homunculi are bloated humanoids with a single huge eye. A popular example is Riddlekeeper. All named homunculi, regardless of plane, have names that completely lack vowels. Fblthp, a recurring Ravnican Butt-Monkey is a prominent example, as is Zndrsplt, a homunculus gladiator living on Kylem.
  • Our Hydras Are Different: The iconic Green creatures. Their heads can number anywhere from four or five to a full dozen. Most are quadrupedal, but some have only two limbs. Many have mechanics themed around increasing their strength when they're dealt damage, symbolizing new heads growing from the stumps of severed ones.
    • The hydras native to Dominaria and Rath are Red- rather than Green-aligned, and live in mountains and volcanic badlands; as these were the first hydra cards printed in real life, this is an artifact from before the hydra creature type settled into its current identity.
    • Several hydras, such as those from Tarkir and those from Amonkhet, are snakelike to the point of explicitly having cobra hoods and heads, and are typed as both Snakes and Hydras.
    • Ravnica is home to phytohydras, serpentine carnivorous plants that only grow back more and more energetically the more they're cut back.
    • In the Theros block, the planeswalker Elspeth Tirel has to fight Polukranos, a hydra that is dubbed the World Eater with very little apparent hyperbole, which used to lair in the realm of the gods before literally falling to earth as a result of a battle between two deities.
    • The fairytale plane of Eldraine is home to turtle hydras modeled after the Tarasque, Steelbane Hydra and Thunderous Snapper, which resemble giant, multi-headed turtles. They inhabit the Wilds outside of the main realms and are frequent foes of wandering knights.
  • Our Mages Are Different: Magic can work very differently across different planes. While the basis of magic (the five colors of mana, acquired from bonding with the land) is the same, how it's practiced varies immensely, from mages born with inherent powers to those that channel divine entities; even people specializing in the same color can employ wildly different techniques. Notably, one early work compares magicians to musicians, in that everyone can play a note, but only a few can create a song.
  • Our Manticores Are Spinier:
    • Manticores appear as an uncommon creature type, resembling winged lions with human faces, scorpion tails and mouths with far too many teeth. Their wings are normally batlike, but the manticores from the plane of Mercadia have feathered wings instead.
    • The manticores of the Egyptian Mythology-inspired plane of Amonkhet break from the pattern, instead resembling wingless tigers with scorpion tails and with their lower legs covered with black, spiked natural armor.
    • There are also masticores, mechanical wingless manticores. At least one is able to superheat its stinger in lieu of poison.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: They range in appearance from deep-sea fish to fish-skinned humans, and have been a standard Blue tribe. There are a few subraces of particular note:
    • The Rootwater merfolk from the Rath Cycle are hideous, fish-faced monsters that kill members of any other race without hesitation. They apparently started out as normal humanlike merfolk but were altered via genetic engineering.
    • The merrows of the Lorwyn block are the usual attractive human-looking merfolk, though they have brightly colored skin and flamboyant fins; they're merchants and porters with good diplomatic skills. When Lorwyn is transformed into the dark world of Shadowmoor, though, the merrows become black-hearted monsters with much more piscine features (very similar to the Rootwater merfolk of Rath) who prey on other races as pirates. The comparison here: Lorwyn, a bit fishy but friendly-looking. Shadowmoor, looking like a cross between a catfish and Cthulhu.
    • Interestingly, because of their position as small blue creatures, combined with the fact that blue gets small flying creatures, there are a number of merfolk in Magic that can fly. The weirdest example would have to be Gaea's Skyfolk, a "Elf Merfolk" who flies. There has been no attempt to explain this, unlike the other 8 merfolk flyers.
    • Historically, merfolk have faced thematic issues revolving around their fully aquatic natures, which should logically prevent them from interacting with strictly land-bound species. A number of workarounds have arisen to deal with this problem:
      • The merfolk of Saprazzo in the Mercadian Masques set have the power to switch between legs and fins. On land, they just look like lanky, hairless, blue-skinned humans, sometimes with head fins. They also have a vaguely Middle Eastern culture.
      • Zendikar's merfolk are also heavy on flyers, some — but not all — due to riding large birds or flying manta rays. They also had a rather well fleshed out tripartite religion centering on Leviathans and Angels which unfortunately turned out to be based on distant memories of the Eldrazi. They also have continuing extraplanar representation in the form of the Planeswalker Kiora.
      • The merfolk of the Classical Mythology-inspired Theros are distinguished by large, trailing headfins resembling the plumes of ancient Greek war helmets. They're partially amphibious — they can stay on dry land for several days, but must return to the water to keep their gills soft — and worship Thassa, the God of the Sea, above all other deities. Thassa herself is depicted as a traditional, fish-tailed merfolk with several tentacles growing from her back and shoulders.
      • The merfolk of Ixalan, called the River Heralds, are likewise finned humanoids, and very colorful, resembling tropical river fish. They are also nomadic in nature, use jade jewelry and armor and are aligned with Green mana as well as Blue.
    • The Odyssey and Onslaught blocks introduced Cephalids, a squid-based type of merfolk that were more squid than humanoid, with soft bodies and limited mobility out of water. In keeping with the "evil tentacles" motif, most of the cephalids were right bastards.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: Very, very common, especially in later blocks. Part of this is due to the fact that a race on one plane doesn't necessarily have to follow the same rules as the same race on a different plane. It's actually a plot point in the first Zendikar block that a vampire from a different plane isn't recognized as such due to being different from the local vampires.
    • The Lorwyn block is a smorgasboard of this trope, featuring philosopher giants, Nazi elves, badass halflings, and wicked faeries.
    • The Shadowmoor block, a Bizarro Lorwyn, carries on with this trope, as the kithkin/halflings become paranoid castle-dwellers and merfolk become murderous fish-faced monsters.
    • Most of the races in Shadowmoor became personifications of their worst qualities: the giants become so lazy and mindless that they are mistaken for landmass, the goblins have degenerated from being impish tricksters to being wild animals, the treefolk have become utterly apathetic to the other races, and the cinders lost all of their passion and fire, and now want to make all the other races suffer like they do. The two exceptions are the elves, who have been humbled into nobility by being hunted and persecuted, and the faeries, who are protected by Oona's magic.
  • Our Nymphs Are Different: Nymphs and dryads are separate creature types in-game.
    • Dryads are the most common of the two types and strongly aligned with Green. They're reclusive forest dwellers and wardens of nature, usually appearing as humanoid women with pointed ears and sometimes green skin and hair. Other times they're out-and-out Plant Persons. Some believe them to be the dreams of trees. On Ravnica they're strongly associated with the Selesnya Conclave, the guild responsible for maintaining the plane's green spaces. The founder of the Conclave, Mat'Selesnya, was formed from the fusion of multiple dryads, and the guild's current leader, Trostani, is a group of three conjoined dryads acting as Mat'Selesnya's "face".
    • Nymphs are a rarer type with no clear color identity, and are strongly associated with the Greek mythology-inspired plane of Theros, where they are divinely-created servants of the gods. All dryads found on Theros, notably, are typed as both nymphs and dryads and serve Nylea, the goddess of the hunt and the wilderness. Besides them, White nymphs are called alseids, inhabit meadows and are closer to the civilized races than other nymph types; Blue nymphs are called naiads and inhabit streams, grottos and isolated beaches; Black nymphs are called lampads, live in the Underworld and aid the god Athreos in guiding the dead; Red nymphs, called oreads, live in mountains and volcanoes and are more aggressive than other nymphs, and are creations of Purphoros, the god of the forge. There is also the unique Green/White/Blue nymph Kestia, who oversees agriculture and irrigation.
  • Ouroboros: This card. Some say the expansion symbol for Torment is also meant to be this.
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: Ogres are a staple Red and Black creature type, a combination that tends to result in violent, chaotic hedonists with little regard for the lives of others. Those that have special abilities tend to be able to harm their controller or other friendly creatures. They're typically hulking, muscular brutes fond of fighting and anywhere between barbarians and animals, depending on the ogre in question and their world of origin, but exceptions exist.
    • The ogres of Kamigawa, also called the o-bakemono, are as violent and cruel as other ogres but far more intelligent and cunning, and often worship the plane's demonic oni.
    • In Mirrodin, ogres are barely sapient brutes often used by goblins as beasts of burden, and physically resemble barely humanoid hulks with faces dominated by gnashing bear-trap maws full of big sharp teeth. When Mirrodin became New Phyrexia, they were mostly transformed into servants of the red Phyrexians, serving as guardians and stokers for their ever-burning furnaces.
    • In the city-plane of Ravnica, ogres are often used as muscle by the various Red-aligned guilds, although the constant stench they exude forces many out of the guild system and onto the fringes of society. At least one ogre, the chieftain Ruric Thar of the Gruul Clans, has two heads.
    • The now-exitnct Onakke ogres of Shandalar were far more intelligent than most and are known to have been skilled artificers and sorcerers, and were the creators of the Chain Veil.
    • The ogres of Tarkir are enormous, incredibly strong, aggressive and dim-witted brutes resembling giant, shaggy apes with huge horns. They're mostly kept by the Mardu Horde as war beasts and living siege engines that need to be kept chained up until they're unleashed on the enemy. Others live independently in the cold mountains of the Temur clans, and often come in conflict with them. After the timeline's alteration, they mostly live in the mountains of the Atarka dragons: their strength and ferocity make them very effective at gathering food for the ever-hungry dragons, but their size means that they're among the first to be hunted when the dragons go hungry.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Orcs had a presence in early sets, before growing out of focus due to goblins taking over the niche of small Red creatures, leaving little need to maintain orcs as a separate creature type. They made a reappearance in the Khans of Tarkir expansion after being absent for about fifteen years. While early orcs were exclusively aligned with Red mana, modern orcs are split fairly evenly between Red and Black.
    • Early orcs don't fit the Tolkensian archetype or the Warcraft archetype very well. Rather, they are sort of "goblins, but bigger (and somehow even dumber)". Their primary distinguishing characteristics are their supreme cowardice and complete incompetence; early orc cards were printed with abilities that made it difficult or impossible to force them into any combat that would kill the orc, while others had ridiculous drawbacks for minor effects that made them a bigger liability to their controller than the opponent outside of overly complicated combos.
    • The orcs of Dominaria were mainly found in the isolated island continent of Sarpadia, where they lived in tunnels within the continent's mountains alongside the local goblins. They warred extensively against Sarpadia's dwarven, elven and human nations — especially the humans — and alongside the thallids (fungi farmed by the elves as food sources that ended up developing sapience) and the thrulls (creatures bred as living sacrifices and meat shields by human necromancers) ended up destroying Sarpadia's nations. However, after the humans, dwarves and elves were gone, the thrulls' deep-seated paranoia led to them attacking the orcs and goblins once the other threats were gone, eventually wiping them out as well.
    • Orcs on Tarkir are often found as warriors in the Mardu hordes and the Abzan houses. In the reforged timeline they are found almost exclusively among the followers of the dragon Kolaghan, and like the rest of Kolaghan's clan are ferocious, warlike barbarians and often cannibalistic.
    • Ixalan's orcs, found in the Brazen Coalition, are Blood Knights who have been known to raid their own ships if they go too long without plunder.
    • Orggs are a rare creature type created from the crossbreeding of orcs and ogres. They're characterized by their large and pointed ears, four arms and incredible stupidity.
  • Our Sphinxes Are Different: Sphinxes are the iconic large creatures for Blue, the color of knowledge and the mind, playing the same role for it that angels do for White or dragons for Red, and typically resemble giant winged lions with the heads of women or bearded human men. They often get mechanics related to knowing and guessing, usually rewarding players for guessing the nature of a card in their deck or in an opponent's hand. Culturally, they tend to be reclusive wizards and oracles and often highly skilled wielders of Blue schools of magic, such as prophecy and mentalism, and tend to sit at the top of hierarchies in Blue-aligned organizations. They're also said to be capable of telling lies from honesty and truth from falsity by the sound of one's speech alone.
    • On Alara, a world shattered into five shards aligned with each of the colors of mana, sphinxes are found exclusively on Esper, the Blue shard, where they're the leaders of the local technocratic civilization and are held in high esteem as embodiments of everything the Esperites seek to be — wise, magically skilled, enlightened and emotionless.
    • On Amonkhet, a plane inspired specifically by Egyptian Mythology, the sphinxes' impenetrable minds were the only things Nicol Bolas was unable to corrupt. He was however able to curse them to be unable to communicate with the plane's other natives, keeping them from warning them of his true intentions until it was too late. Amonkhet is also the only plane to be home to ram-headed criosphinxes, which tend to be more aggressive than the human-headed kind and to viciously attack servants of Bolas that they encounter on their silent wanderings.
    • On Ravnica, almost all sphinxes are part of the Azorius Senate, the local legislative body, and tend to be highly reclusive beings.
    • On Theros, inspired by Greek Mythology, sphinxes are ancient, primordial beings and possess ancient knowledge. Their thought patterns are highly abstract, rendering them enigmatic and difficult to understand regardless of whether they wish to be so or not.
    • Perhaps the most individually important sphinx of all is Azor the Lawgiver, a sphinx Planeswalker who traveled to many different planes and gave social structures and codes of law to many different civilizations. The cultural uniformity of the multiverse's sphinxes is believed to be due to Azorius' influence. Other notable sphinxes include Sharuum the Hegemon, leader of Esper's civilization, and Isperia the Inscrutable, the leader of the Azorius Senate.
  • Our Spirits Are Different: Spirits are a creature type representing essentially all disembodied creatures — from ghosts to Nature Spirits to some pretty weird things — that are't claimed by another creature type already, such as Elementals, Demons, Angels and Gods. With some exceptions, they aren't generally associated with any one color of mana. Their exact nature and importance varies from plane to plane:
    • In Kamigawa (which is based on Japanese Mythology), they are known as Kami, and warred against the mortal races. They are for all intents and purposes gods, and some are pretty unusual looking.
    • In Ravnica, they're primarily ghosts, due to the plane being trapped in its own little bubble in The Multiverse and not allowing the spirits of the dead to escape, forcing them to manifest on the physical plane. They are heavily associated with the Orzhov Syndicate, which uses them as guards and enforcers and is ruled by a ghost council, the Obzedat. That said, some spirits are known to be part of other guilds.
    • In the Gothic Horror-inspired Innistrad, geists — the spirits of the dead — form one of the set's five gameplay tribes (alongside humans, werewolves, vampires and corporeal undead) and are chiefly associated with White and Blue mana — Black, Red and Green geists also occur, but aren’t common. White geists are traditional ghosts returned to watch over their families or fulfill duties or obligations; Blue geists are poltergeists born from compulsive behaviors, cause mental afflictions in people they torment and are attracted to water, fog and storms; Black geists return as predatory haunts and are very dangerous; Red geists are obsessed with revenge and failures from their mortal lives and are the most aggressive spirits; and Green geists are especially attracted to nature, often becoming the spirits of landforms, copses and so on.
    • In the Classical Mythology-inspired Theros, the eidolon separate from their bodies upon death. While the corpses become the memory-less, shade-like zombies known as nostron, the eidolon also forget their past lives and wander around aimlessly, often drawn to the magic of the nymphs. They are generally represented by enchantment creature cards.
  • Our Titans Are Different: Many creatures are referred to as Titans, typically Giants or Beasts, including a five-creature cycle from Magic 2011 — Sun Titan Frost Titan, Grave Titan, Inferno Titan and Primeval Titan — introduced in Magic 2011; the Titan of Eternal Fire, a direct homage to Prometheus; and certain large Giant creatures from the plane of Theros.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • Each setting that has vampires that are quite recognizable as vampires, as with other typical fantasy species, they tend to make subtle little differences between one plane's vampires from another plane's:
      • Ravnica has psychic vampires like Szadek, some of which look extremely feral.
      • Zendikar's vampires have a very strong "venomous" motif and had fang-like protrusions from most of their joints. They're also the product of a disease created by the extra-dimensional Eldrazi as a way to make a slave caste.
      • Rath's vampires are basically giant bats, and the villainous Evincar has a pack of vampire dogs as pets.
      • Mirrodin's vampires have their fangs in their fingers, which are basically foot long syringes, and their bowels are visible from the outside.
      • Innistrad's vampires come in both black and red. The red vampires tend to be more feral, but overall they mostly fit the Classical Movie Vampire trope.
      • Kaladesh has no human vampires, but does contain vampiric or "gifted" Aetherborn, who are capable of siphoning life out of others to prolong their own brief existence.
      • Ixalan flips the typical stereotypes on its head: they are fanatically religious vampires that are associated with white mana and are in search of the Immortal Sun, rather than being repelled by holy icons or sunlight.
    • A major plot point in the Zendikar block novel In the Teeth of Akoum. The elf protagonist, Nissa Revane, doesn't realize one of her traveling companions, Sorin Markov, is a vampire until very late in the novel. This is due to the fact that since he's from Innistrad and not Zendikar, he has none of the staple characteristics of her world's vampires. This is unintentionally hilarious, as when the character was first teased by Wizards of the Coast, quite literally the first thing the fan base learned about him was that he was a vampire.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Includes werebears, wererats, and werewolves.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different:
  • Our Wyverns Are Different:
    • Wyverns appear rarely under the drake creature type, which contains animalistic, two-winged and two-legged creatures related to true dragons. Wyverns in particular are distinguished by their bipedal gaits, whereas most other drakes used their wings as a second pair of walking limbs like bats do. Specific wyverns in the game include sabertoothed wyverns and thunder-making ones. Most are aligned with Blue or Red mana.
    • Though not dragons or drakes, the "pterosaurs" of Ixalan resemble feathered wyverns or really ugly birds.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Pretty much all of the major variations of zombie show up on one plane or another. Innistrad even combines two different kinds, as it has mad science monsters in blue coexisting with Romero-style hordes of the flesh eating dead in black.
  • Outscare the Enemy: The Exodus version of Raging Goblin has as its flavor text: "Volrath has bred them to fear only him. Are they charging to battle or merely fleeing his wrath?"
  • Outside-Context Problem:
    • The Eldrazi. They're not even native to the planes, any plane; they dwell within the nothing-space between planes, called the Blind Eternities, and "project" themselves upon the physical realms to consume everything there.
    • Phyrexia in the Scars of Mirrodin storyline:
      "Their forces are unknown to us. The Moriok or the nim that emerge from the necrogen bogs — those we understand. These horrors which pour out of the canyons use weapons, tactics and magic that are alien to even our most capable generals and seasoned warriors. Our armies are scattered. We have no choice but to hide and survive."
      —Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer, "A Planeswalker's Guide to New Phyrexia"
  • Overly Long Tongue: Yep
  • Over-the-Shoulder Murder Shot: Desecrator Hag from Shadowmoor.
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    P-S 
  • Parental Bonus: For a very brief time, Goblin Piker was going to be reprinted with the following flavor text: "Pike her? I barely even know her!"
  • Passion Is Evil: In its early days, the game seemed to favour the wise, intellectual Blue colour over the passionate and excessively aggressive Red. Now, while Red still suffers from depictions as a bully (since the cards are essentially abstractions of magical duelling and the fuzzier emotions are tough to express mechanically in a non-creepy way), it definitely benefits far often more from the portrayal of things like empathy and loyalty, while Blue has its more sociopathic and aloof characteristics emphasised.
  • Pendulum of Death: This is what is depicted on the Razor Pendulum card.
  • Perpetual-Motion Monster: Golems and undead.
  • Perpetual Storm: Immersturm, on the plane of Valla, whose name translates into "always storm." Its magical storms cause its inhabitants to continuously wage war with one another.
    Listen to the roar! Feel the thunder! The Immersturm shouts its approval with every bolt of lightning!" (from the card Warstorm Surge.)
  • Phlebotinum-Induced Steampunk: The plane of Kaladesh focuses on an industrial revolution caused by the harvesting of aether (essentially the essence of the cosmos itself, made workable thanks to the multiverse-shaking event known as the Mending) and is by Word of God the franchise's take on the steampunk genre, with rogue inventors, government oppression, and airships, albeit eschewing the traditional Victorian setting, clunkiness, and grime for a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of India, technology that values art as much as it does function, and a distinct touch of Solar Punk (thanks to aether being zero-emissions and ethically-sourceable).
  • Pipe Maze: The third sphere of Phyrexia is described as an "impenetrable tangle of metal pipes".
  • Playing with Fire: Jaya Ballard, Chandra Nalaar
  • Plucky Comic Relief: The goblins almost always fill this role—though they're also usually Screaming Warriors.
  • Pooled Funds: Greed (all versions).
  • Poor Communication Kills: Millennia old Planeswalkers like Sorin have a hard time explaining things to their peers. In Sorin's case in particular, it caused Nissa (who distrusted him to start with because he was a vampire) to break the seal on the Eldrazi, and Nahiri to fight him until he sealed her in the Helvault for a thousand years, which came back to bite him when she got free and found the Eldrazi free on Zendikar.
  • Power Born of Madness: The main idea of hellbent, dredge, and...um...Madness decks, all of which allow you to gain some bonus from negatively affecting your current state of mind.
  • Power Copy: Leshrac attempts this in Future Sight, using the Mask of Night's Reach to steal Jeska's dormant ability to corrupt anything she touches and Nicol Bolas's ability to cause madness with a touch. An epic duel with Nicol Bolas results.
  • Power-Upgrading Deformation: A lot of Blue, Red and Black cards will mutate, disfigure or change creatures to make them stronger.
  • Power of the Void: Getting sucked into a Door to Nothingness is an automatic loss condition.
  • Prayer of Malice: As the leader of the theocratical white Phyrexian faction, Elesh Norn delivers friendly sermons like "May our blessings sever the tongues of the forsaken".
  • Prestigious Player Title: You are a "Planeswalker".
  • Proud Scholar Race Guy: Most races or tribes representing blue in any given setting skew towards this.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: All the damn time. Usually one per setting. Always red or green.
  • Psychic Link: Hive Mind, Psychic Possession, and Shared Fate, among others.
  • Psycho Electric Eel: Electric Eel, which shocks you when you activate its pump ability.
  • Punny Name: Yule Ooze, Nightmare
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Karn in Planar Chaos. While sealing the time rift over Tolaria, he senses a corruption in himself taking hold and flees to an undisclosed location. He doesn't reappear in the storyline for another four years.
    • Likewise, Nicol Bolas in Future Sight. He was, apparently, too awesome to kill off like everyone else, so instead he just left, giving him the opportunity to come back again later. (Which, in Alara block, he did.)
  • Pyrrhic Victory:
    • Most of Urza's various battles against Phyrexia.
      • The sylex blast at the end of the Brothers' War prevented Gix from gaining a foothold in Dominaria and sealed Dominaria away from the rest of the multiverse, but it also leveled most of the Terisian continent and completely vaporized Argoth.
      • The battle for Serra's Realm. Urza's forces defeat the Phyrexians, but the fighting causes the entire plane to collapse.
      • Basically the whole campaign in the Invasion saga. The coalition wins, but Dominaria becomes a postapocalyptic wasteland.
    • The Thran managed to defeat the Phyrexians, but afterwards, their civilization was too weak to survive, and collapsed.
    • In the Time Spiral block, every time Teferi's team manages to close a time rift, they stabilize that area at the cost of a planeswalker's power and/or life.
    • Pyyrric Revival does this against death.
    • Barren Glory turns it into a win condition.
  • Rat Men: The Nezumi from the Kamigawa block, a race of Black mana-aligned rat man ninjas. They usually live in swamps or on the outskirts of human cities, which they often raid, and some of their shamans can summon and control swarms of insects, tying into this trope's association with vermin.
  • Ray of Hope Ending: The Amonkhet block ends on this note. Nicol Bolas reveals his true colors to the people worshipping him as God-Pharaoh, activating his army of Eternals and using them to massacre both gods and men, all while handily defeating the Gatewatch and breaking their spirits. However, the survivors of Naktamun are able to escape into Amonkhet's desert, and despite the dangers ahead they have the guidance of Hazoret (the Sole Survivor of Amonkhet's gods) and Samut (a Planeswalker whose spark ignited at the very peak of the Hours). Despite the severe tragedy caused by Bolas' machinations, the denizens of Amonkhet are once again able to decide their own fate, no longer enthralled by lies of a God-Pharaoh.
    "What will happen to us?" they asked.
    The vizier paused. "I think... I think that's up to us now."
  • Razor Wings: Bladed Pinions from Scars of Mirrodin.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sidar Jabari from the Mirage storyline, King Darien from the Ice Age saga, Commander Eesha in the Odyssey arc (but only in comparison to her two predecessors).
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Respectively...
    • Mishra and Urza.
    • Chandra and Jace.
  • Reduced to Dust: The card "All Is Dust."
  • Religion of Evil: Phyrexia, particularly the White-aligned "Machine Orthodoxy" of New Phyrexia.
  • Retcon: In addition to the game changes mentioned above, there have been changes to the game's story and background:
    • Summoned creatures were originally presented as being actual creatures from another universe, pulled across and enslaved by the caster; now, they're essentially magical copies.
    • The story of Coldsnap, essentially an entire set retconned onto the end of Ice Age block.
    • Then there's the "Revision". In the early days of Magic, the novels and comics where done by outside companies. Eventually (around the time of the Weatherlight Saga), Wizards of the Coast decided to publish their own books. They took this point to clear up and change some aspects of the canon, and said that, henceforth, the pre-revision books would be canon unless a post-revision book contradicted them.
    • Since it was a continuity and nostalgia heavy block, the Scars of Mirrodin saga retconned several parts of the original Mirrodin books and a few parts of the Weatherlight Saga, causing many headaches to fans.
  • Rent-a-Zilla: During the Dissension tie-in novel, Ravnica is attacked by giant monsters. First there's some Nephilim that grow giant-sized and start smashing things, then the Izzet's dragon guildmaster Niv-Mizzet flies in to fight them off, and eventually Experiment Kraj and Rakdos the Defiler join the fray as a result of a Gambit Pileup. Widespread destruction ensues.
  • Revisiting the Roots: Magic: The Gathering's 2009 core set, Magic 2010, marked a return to the flavor-driven design sensibility of the original Alpha and Beta releases.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
  • Ridiculously Difficult Route: The "Canyon Minotaur" card references this.
    "We'll scale these cliffs, traverse Brittle Bridge, and then fight our way down the volcanic slopes on the other side."
    "Isn't the shortest route through the canyon?"
    "Yes."
    "So shouldn't we—"
    "No."
  • Roc Birds: Rocs have appeared throughout the history of the game as large and powerful Bird creatures. In later sets especially they tend to be depicted as enormous golden eagles.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size:
  • Rolling Attack: Myr Battlesphere and Armadillo Cloak are prominent examples.
  • Royally Screwed Up: Lord Konda, the mad king of Kamigawa. To gain immortality, he abducts an entity from the Spirit World, instigating a devastating war between mortals and spirits.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Urza ascends into (or even dies and is resurrected into, depending on your point of view) becoming a divinely powerful planeswalker after using the Golgothian Sylex. Golgotha, also known as Calvary, was in The Bible the place where Jesus Christ was crucified. To add to this, he bleeds into the chalice (which somewhat bears a resemblance to the Holy Grail) from a forehead wound. He'll then go on to be the primary opponent of a God of Evil who lives in Dante's Inferno-esque Hell-like realm.
  • Saintly Church: The Church of Avacyn until Shadows over Innistrad.
  • Sand Worm: Wurms, which are essentially giant serpentine dragons, come in all shapes and sizes — including some that tunnel through solid ice.
  • Savage Wolves: Most Wolves in Magic fall under this category. This one is 50% scarier than most.
  • Sapient Ship: The Skyship Weatherlight gains sapience towards the end of its storyline.
  • Scenery Gorn:
    • Magic frequently visits settings that could easily described as hell on Earth, but they always make a point to have the cards showing off the landscape look incredible, even if that landscape is oh say, MADE OF DEAD PEOPLE.
    • Definitely the case in New Phyrexia. Some of the land art was based on what happened to the art in Scars block after Phyrexia got involved.
  • Schizo Tech:
  • Schrödinger's Canon: As mentioned above, pre-Revision canon is canon, until it isn't.

    T-Z 
  • Tele-Frag: In Time Streams, this is how Urza kills K'rrik/Kerrick, by Planeswalking into him thanks to some advice from Multani.
  • Telepathy: A standard blue ability. Cards that invoke it typically involve revealing hidden information, such as the aptly-named Telepathy card.
  • Temporal Paradox:
    • It's more than possible to have multiple versions of the same specific thing from various points in the storyline in play at once; for example, there's nothing stopping you having both the Tolarian Academy and its ruins in play together.
    • When they created the original planeswalker rules, they planned ahead that these storyline characters would get several cards and decided that two planeswalkers of the same type (usually their first name) cannot be in play together. However, Nicol Bolas, Venser of Urborg, Karn the silver golem and Samut of Amonkhet all exist both as a legendary creature and a planeswalker, and can be in play under both their identities. A later change to the rules made planeswalkers legendary instead, letting you have multiple versions of the same planeswalker in play at once.
    • It's also possible to send mana into the past to play certain spells from the Future Sight expansion. If you fail to send mana into the past on your next turn, you cease to exist. Clock Roaches indeed.
  • That Satisfying Crunch: Frequently mentioned on cards that destroy artifacts.
  • Thieving Magpie: Thieving Magpie card.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: The ending of Alara block's storyline is this. Ajani Goldmane (a lionman, yes, but possessing tiger stripes) driven by rage and revenge, fights against Nicol Bolas, a time-tempered Dragon of renowned patience and planning.
  • Time Travel: How Vodalia wound up surviving at least to the time of the Phyrexian invasion, when every other Sarpadian empire got obliterated by this or that crisis.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Gideon has a Heroic BSoD over this when Chandra reveals that the supposedly good organization he was a part of executed her entire village for harboring a pyromancer when she was a child.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Liliana Vess, black's iconic Planeswalker. She's a card-carrying member of the Gatewatch (even if Oath of Liliana makes it clear that she's not particularly enthusiastic about it). She's also a master necromancer whose storyline revolves around the four demons she sold her soul to in exchange for her power. Oh, and she stole her iconic tiara from an angel she killed with a horde of zombies.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    "You slew the gorgon? Show me."
    —King Igalus, last words
  • Too Many Mouths: The All-Devouring Oni in the Kamigawa storyline was this taken to its logical extreme: a swarming cloud of mouths with dagger-like teeth.
  • Torches and Pitchforks:
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Phyrexian Newts.
  • The Thunderdome: The Grand Coliseum in the Onslaught block.
  • Trapped in Another World: Toshiro Umezawa's punishment from the Myojin of Night's Reach. And she took his eyesight.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Typical for Planeswalkers. Sometimes, igniting a planeswalker's spark is the result of an epiphany born of years of meditation and preparation. More often than not, its the result of physical, emotional, or psychic trauma.
    • Kiora? Eaten by a Sea Monster while trying to protect her sister. Chandra? Watched her father die and was sentenced to death due to her magical abilities as a child. Venser? Ground zero for a Battle in the Center of the Mind between a plansewalker and a telepathic monster. Urza? Continent-sinking, ice-age-inducing, reality-shattering magical explosion to the face.
    • The Spark can also be ignited by extreme happiness, as proven by Samut in the Hour of Devastation storyline. In her immense happiness and relief that her god and people have managed to take down one of the corrupt gods and escape the fallen city, her Spark suddenly ignites.
  • Treasure Room: Hoard-Smelter Dragon, Greed, etc.
  • Überwald: Innistrad, the Gothic Horror-themed plane, home of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, mad scientists, demons, and all kinds of traditional horror tropes.
  • Uncanny Valley: The trope is discussed In-Universe in Fleshmad Steed's flavor text:
    More disturbing than the unknown is a distortion of the familiar.
  • Unscrupulous Hero: Urza. Destroying large landmasses, starting wars, and conducting a vast eugenics program just to breed a few warriors, for example.
  • Unwanted Rescue: After Starke sabotaged Vuel's coming-of-age ritual, Gerrard saved Vuel from death. Vuel resents him for it, for death would have been preferable to him after his failure. Starke stokes Vuel's hatred to make him Volrath, evincar of Rath.
  • Unwanted Spouse: Urza's wife, Kayla. He won her hand in marriage by winning a contest of strength with an automaton he built. He was more interested in the relics in her father's vault than her.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Innistrad's vampires play closest to the trope, being gorgeous, aristocratic and generous with fanservice suiting all tastes. Which is not to say they aren't monsters, nor are they reluctant to use their personal charm to attract victims. Interestingly, Sorin Markov, vampire planeswalker from Innistrad, has been neither shown as nor implied to be involved with anyone, despite (because of?) his six thousand years plane-hopping. There's a very vague reference to "hedonism" in one of the earliest pieces describing him, but that's it.
  • Verber Creature:
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: The skyships Weatherlight (the heroes) and Predator (the villains). When the two battle in Rath, the Weatherlight is outgunned and the heroes only escape through dumb luck. By the time of the Rathi Overlay in the Planeshift storyline, however, the Weatherlight had a more experienced crew and upgraded weaponry, and when the two skyships battled again, the Predator was thoroughly trounced.
  • Villain of Another Story: This trope crops up frequently. There are numerous villainous characters who only ever show up in flavor text or on a single card without making any notable appearances in the main storyline. Tibalt in Avacyn Restored and Vraska in Return to Ravnica are especially prominent examples, as villainous planeswalkers who never actually show up in the plot. Tibalt doesn't even have a short story to his name.
  • Villainous Rescue: Geth rescues Glissa and Slobad in the first Mirrodin Cycle by dropping a huge swarm of nim zombies on Memnarch's head. Literally.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: Karn was an actual pacifist for most of the time he spent with the Weatherlight and its crew, to such a point that the way Volrath tortured him was by locking him in a flowstone prison cell with a few dozen goblinoids and shifting the ground to make him kill them with nothing but his bulk. The trope appears in Invasion when Karn realizes that remaining pacifist in the face of the Phyrexian invasion could cost him everyone he cares about, resulting in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
    "Enough! If I must kill the guilty to save the innocent, then I will kill!"
  • The Virus: Phyrexia in Scars of Mirrodin.
  • Volcanic Veins: Koth of the Hammer, and the Vulshok in general.
  • Voodoo Shark: The explanation for how the Phyrexians managed to gain a foothold on Mirrodin... and indeed, how Mirrodin was even populated since the plane was emptied at the end of the first story.
  • Walking Wasteland: The Eldrazi, whose mere presence warps and destroys everything around them (the flavor of their "Annihilate" ability). This is illustrated nicely in Disaster Radius and All Is Dust.
  • War Elephants: There are a decent number of elephant and mammoth cards, mostly midsized green creatures with Trample.
  • Warrior Monk: Most of Magic's monks fit this. For example: Pancake Flipper
  • Was Once a Man: The werewolves, vampires, undead, and spirits of Innistrad were all once human.
  • Waterfall into the Abyss: The islands on the plane of Kamigawa float and are surrounded by waterfalls.
  • Water Source Tampering: Poison the Well and Tainted Well, which can mess with your opponent's lands.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Heidar, Rimewind Master; Momir Vig, visionary Evilutionary Biologist; also Yawgmoth started out as this. Urza is an anti-heroic example.
  • Wham Episode: Oh no, the Phyrexians are back and they're attacking Mirrodin! Surely this invasion will be fought off — there's no way the story team would allow the good guys to make such a catastrophic failure! Right? Right? Well...
  • Wham Line:
    Sorin Markov: Avacyn, my angel... what has befallen you?
  • What Could Have Been: The Planar Chaos expansion is an in-universe example.
  • Whatevermancy: Magic has more than its share of -mancers, both of the classical divination kind and the modern "control whatever it is" kind (some, like Retromancer, are a bit shaky on what their name actually is supposed to mean). Matt Cavotta Discusses Magic's -mancers here.
  • Wheel of Pain: Distinctly, it causes mental pain rather than physical pain: [3]
  • White Wolves Are Special: Sacred Wolf, unlike the predominantly black, grey and brown wolves in other cards, has a pure white coat.
    "I raised my bow, and the wolf stared at me. Under its gaze, my finger would not release the string." — Aref the Hunter
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity:
    • Many Planeswalkers go mad when they first awaken to their true potential. In more mortal matters, many mages in Dominaria's history have gone on rampages while drunk on their newly-developed creations or power sources.
    • Urza started slipping into this in his plans to defeat Phyrexia.
  • The Worf Effect: "Hm, so, we have this group of planeswalkers called The Gatewatch, and we want to show the audience how powerful they are. How do we do that? Oh, I know! We'll have them kill two of the Eldrazi titans in their first story! You know, those colossal, would-devouring monstrosities we've told the audience time and time again are nearly unstoppable and totally unkillable." Although there are implications that the consequences are far more dire.
    • In turn, they go to confront Nicol Bolas despite Ajani's wisdom for the story of Amonkhet. Despite all the hyping of how freakishly powerful the Chain Veil and their inborn talents are compared to most other mages with their specialties, they're all soundly defeated — Nicol Bolas even penetrates Gideon's impenetrable shield for good measure!
  • The World Is Always Doomed: Not always, but surprisingly often, and more so since the story got into the habit of moving on to a new world as soon as the current one stops being doomed.
    • In the Time Spiral block, the near-apocalypse that was the main storyline of the block was caused by so many near-apocalypses on the same world that time, space and magic were unraveling. When a planeswalker who sat out part of a previous interdimensional war returns to Dominaria, he tries to bring with him two continents that he had taken to another dimension with him.
  • World Half Empty:
    • Shadowmoor. It's the Mirror Universe of Lorwyn, and where that world represented a fairytale land, Shadowmoor represents the dark side of those tales. The fiery Flamekin have guttered into Cinders, the helpful Merfolk have become cruel pirates, and the tight-knit families of the Kithkin have become insular and xenophobic.
    • Grixis, one of the Shards of Alara, is a dark world, filled with undead and demons and slowly falling apart. Most of the magic in the plane is dependent on draining the life, blood, and memories from the living, and there isn't quite enough left... Arguably, all the Shards are this, as two of the colors of magic are gone from each, but Grixis is the most dystopian.
    • Rath, a plane created by Phyrexia to eventually be superimposed on Dominaria. The World Half Empty aspect was highlighted in Nemesis.
    • There's also an obscure factoid that one of the 1001 Rabiahs is just as bad as Phyrexia.
  • World of Badass: Zendikar. See Everything Trying to Kill You, above. Wimpy planeswalkers strongly advised to keep out.
  • World of Pun:
    • Such as ''He exercises his right to bear arms''.
    • There are also the cards "Crashing Boars" and "Apes of Rath".
    • "Over-Soul'd Cemetery".
    • "Wheel and Deal". See, it makes your opponents get the effects of "Wheel of Fortune" and gives you a card draw...
    • Unglued and Unhinged are about 50% puns (the other half is a mixture of cardpaper and in-jokes that only players of the game will get).
      • Unhinged had Donkey Folk, which only existed to make puns on "ass". There was Smart Ass, Dumb Ass, Fat Ass, Cheap Ass, Bad Ass, and City of Ass.
    • There are also the Clay Pigeon (a 1/1 flying bird that had an effect when thrown), the Rock Lobster (it wasn't a rock, and many take it for granite), the Paper Tiger (who burns bright and folds easily), and the Scissors Lizard (who has a lot of shear power).
    • Fowl Play turns things into chickens.
    • The Man of Measure is better at offense or defense depending on whether you're measured as taller or shorter than an opponent.
    • The Standing Army doesn't tap when it attacks, because they're always standing... but only as long as you are too.
  • World Sundering:
    • Zendikar's Hat is that of adventure, this is caused in large part by 'The Roil' which reshapes the landscape of even entire continents on a regular, though unpredictable basis. Making maps nigh useless, and permanent settlements few and far between.
    • Sunder.
    • Sundering Titan.
    • Maelstrom Pulse.
    • Soulquake.
    • Worldpurge.
    • Fault Line. You get the point. There's a lot of these, with a number of different flavor applications.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: The Eldrazi cause these for Zendikar, as seen in All Is Dust.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Gold to the Returned from the underworld of Theros, where literally everything is made of gold. Their currency is the far-less-common-in-the-underworld clay, as used to carve funeral masks.
  • Wrench Wench: Hanna from the original **Weatherlight**, and the rebuilt one has Tiana.
  • Wretched Hive: Keyhole Downs in Ravnica, as exemplified by Conjured Currency and Seller of Songbirds.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: In the novel Time Streams, a temporal explosion results in a group of Phyrexians getting stuck in a pocket of this kind of temporal anomaly, which makes them a much more dangerous threat to Urza and his allies and results in plenty of unusual strategies from both sides.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Ravnica's Boros Legion (red/white), Golgari Swarm (black/green), Orzhov Syndicate (white/black), Izzet League (blue/red) and Simic Combine (green/blue).
  • Your Brain Won't Be Much of a Meal: Seen in the flavor text of Synapse Sliver.
    "Species XR17 feeds upon the mental energies of its victims. This explains why the goblins remain unaffected."
    —Riptide Project researcher
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Essentially the core conflict in The Purifying Fire. The Order of Heliud values order above all else and views the pyromancers of Keral Keep as dangerous uncontrollable individuals.
  • Your Universe or Mine?: After ascending, Elspeth wanders the Blind Eternities looking for a new home. She finds it in Bant, which is everything she could have ever hoped for. When the inevitable apocalypse comes to Bant, she decides to leave the plane thinking that it's for the best if they learn to fend for themselves rather than rely on her considerable power.
  • 0% Approval Rating: In-universe, Planeswalkers are this to people before the mending, especially in Dominaria — largely because they either went mad with power or proved to be manipulative assholes, and on occasion both, or one and then the other.
  • Zombie Apocalypse:
    • Grixis. Given that there are a good chunk of zombies on the plane, and everything is going to hell, it certainly fits the end trope. A bit more Romero in that the zombies aren't the source of the plane being messed up, but that magic is out of balance so that Black Magic overtakes everything and regrowth is no longer an option.
    • Invoked in the Archenemy deck Bring About the Undead Apocalypse
    • Zombie Apocalypse is a card in Dark Ascension.

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