The 5 (and a bit) Colors of Magic – Black (1994)

In 1994 I created a set of promo pieces timed for Magic: The Gathering’s first anniversary.

Unless you’re one of about a dozen people, these are all completely new to you. To find out why, check out the prologue to this series.

And so, this unveiling rolls around to its conclusion with probably my favorite color in Magic. It’s time for Black!


This also happens to be my favorite of the six promo pieces. I think one of the biggest reasons is that the figures are more dynamic than in most of the other images. That’s a little down to my card choices but given that Black is at home in the shadows or under a night sky but is populated by a legion of often pale, sometimes bloody and vivid creatures, the image’s strong contrast was never going to be hard to achieve.

I hope the tour through these images has been fun for you. I’m really glad I finally got to share them. My time working for Magic may have passed but I loved the game, helped build the world (somewhat literally as I designed the globe of Dominaria), and I’ll always be grateful to Magic’s first art director, Jesper Myrfors, for giving me a shot and helping bring my artwork to a worldwide audience.

Thank you all for the comments and compliments. It’s been a blast.

Next time: …who knows? Maybe something created more recently than 19 years ago!

The answers to the cards used in this piece are below, followed by a quick FAQ.

Black Answers – What Cards Hidden Where?


  1. Vampire Bats
  2. Sengir Vampire
  3. Bad Moon
  4. Some people thought this might be a Zombie Master but the planeswalkers are representations of the players, and since Zombie Master is a summoned creature and Lich is something the player does to themselves, this is Lich.
  5. The decaying card is probably a depiction of Mind Twist as Black in ’94 had very little stuff to effect cards in hand.
  6. Nightmare. One of my all time favorite creatures. Also the first two rares I ever got in the game; 1 alpha from a starter and 1 beta from a booster!
  7. Fallen Angel (and her sword hilt is mimicking the shape of the Glyph of Doom).
  8. Cosmic Horror
  9. Chains of Mephistopheles, that seem to be dragging down the guy from Inquisition, but I’m not sure.
  10. Lord of the Pit. One of the greats.
  11. Cursed Land (the dark red sky is no accident and you can see the twisted plant-life in the distance).
  12. Scathe Zombies
  13. Animate Dead? Yeah, maybe. Though Raise Dead is valid too.
  14. Yawgmoth Demon
  15. … annnnd Swamp, of course.

A Quick FAQ

Q: Are you going to sell prints of these?
A: No. Many of these creatures are copyright a number of original Magic artists. You could argue it’s covered under “œderivative works” in copyright law but out of simple respect I’m not making prints.

Q: How about playmats?
A: Oh hell no. Then I’d be in trouble with the original Magic artists and WotC. No thanks.

Q: But I want to own these!
A: You’re in luck. I’m going to make them available as wallpapers soon.

Q: How soon?
A: When I have a moment. Things are busy.

Q: Are the originals for sale?
A: Yes, but I’d prefer to sell them as a set. I’ll consider serious offers. If I’m not able to sell them as a set within six months, I may sell them individually. I’m in no rush.

~ by Pete Venters on October 2, 2013.

5 Responses to “The 5 (and a bit) Colors of Magic – Black (1994)”

  1. These are amazing, and thank you so much for sharing them. Where might I find a copy of the Dominarian globe/map? Thank you.

    • Thanks.

      You can’t get a copy of Dominaria. It’s an actual globe not an image of one. And WotC has never released it fully for reasons known only to themselves.

  2. Wow that would make a fantastic playmat … Any chance of you hitting up an inkedplaymats for a batch?

  3. Nevermind. Should have read the FAQ 🙁

    • Yup, fraid so.

      It’s kind of weird to realize that when these pieces were made the kind of tech needed to print on demand on playmats didn’t really exist.

Comments are closed.