We're really enjoying the spookiest time of the year this year at Pinfinity - not only did we share our favorite spooky video games this month, but now we're talking about our favorite horror-themed Magic: The Gathering cards!
There's no shortage of scary MTG cards out there, over the years we've been introduced to a number of truly terrifying creatures, horrifying settings, and some truly spooky lore and storytelling. But today we're going to do our best to break down a few of our absolute favorites - sharing some back story, the lore, and more about each one as we go!
So without further ado, let's get spooky with some of our favorite scary Magic: The Gathering cards!
We're kicking things off by throwing it way back old school, to the very first MTG set, Alpha. I remember being a kid in the mid 90s seeing Terror for the first time, and really being unnerved by it. There's a simplicity to scares sometimes - it's not always the flashy, complex thing that gets you. Sometimes it's enough just to see a frail creature, cowering in fear with bloodshot eyes against a pitch black void.
First off, let me just say this is a banger of a card - the ability to extend out games with this by playing into the extra 10 life thanks to the infect/poison mechanic is super neat, and something I may or may not have abused when this card was released... But, I digress!
Looking at this card, it's definitely a little creepy and unsettling, but when you really look at it, and when you understand the lore behind how someone is taken over and converted by Phyrexian Oil, then it becomes far more terrifying - essentially, we see some poor soul trapped beneath Elesh Norn's iconic mask, eyes widened in absolute terror, as their body is taken over. Pretty spooky, eh?
There's a lot of use for this straightforward and effective card, but I have to admit... This card really was unsettling the first time I saw it. Hell, it's still unsettling now! No flavor text to spice it up, no apparent or obvious lore implications - just a creepy puppet suspended by barbed wire screaming in agony as it saws itself in half. If that's not creepy, I really don't know what is!
All Hallow's Eve
Another big time throw back, to the OG days of 1994 Magic: The Gathering. I felt like this Halloween-related list would be missing something if I didn't include All Hallow's Eve! There's a general spookiness to the card art, got some kind of bear/gargoyle creature, a spooky pumpkin, and a spirit of some kind that looks straight out of Night on Bald Mountain from 1941's Fantasia.
The real creepy implication here, in my mind, is the lore of a Planeswalker using some real shady necromantic magic to bring creatures back to life straight from the graveyard. We take for granted the mechanics of MTG sometimes, but the concept of taking creatures long-dead in your graveyard and throwing them back out to fight for you again is pretty creepy, no?
Abomination of Llanowar
This was spoiled for anyone that follows us on Twitter (if you don't, you definitely should!) but I definitely couldn't resist putting this as the pièce de résistance of this list. But this card is totally horrifying in a few different ways.
To start with, that card art is truly troubling, and the appropriately named artist Vincent Proce would make Vincent Price himself proud with the incredible detail and just general gross, macabre, terror in this card. Next, you've got the lore of the card, coming straight out of the scariest of horror novels: A folk tale on the plane of Dominaria speaks to a horrifying mass of dead elves that have amalgamated together to create this monstrous creature. And to top it all off? When you consider the lore implications, the flavor text on this card might be some of the most disturbing I've seen on an MTG card: "Run!" screamed its living mouths. "Come!" cried its dead ones." Seriously... Read that in a dark room and try not to be even a little bit spooked!