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  • October 02, 2023 6 min read 0 Comments

    I really despise the summer. I recognize this puts me in the minority of human beings, as it seems everyone I talk to cherishes any opportunity to experience the outdoors. Naturally, outdoor activities can be easiest to plan and engage in throughout the months of May, June, July, and August (in the northern hemisphere).

    That’s not for me. My favorite season has always been winter, and that first bitter chill and cold morning frost really excites me for the season to come. Snow, reduced allergies, and generally cooler weather are all top reasons why I look forward to the colder months.

    With that background, it’s no wonder that I start to feel my mood improving this time of year. As days shorten and mornings gradually become more brisk, I find myself more excited to open my windows and appreciate the fresh air outside. I love the Autumn season just as much for the changing climate as I do because it foretells the coming winter season.

    Autumn Creatures for the Mood

    In honor of the changing seasons, I wanted to explore some of Magic’s most autumnal artwork. It turns out, there are a number of pieces that directly fit the theme.

    A quick search in Scryfall reveals ten cards with “autumn” directly in the card’s name! It sounds like someone at Wizards of the Coast also appreciates the aesthetic of the Fall season. Granted, not all cards fit the category. Kitsune Mystic, for example, shows up because its flip side is called Autumn-Tail, Kitsune Sage. The artwork doesn’t appear to relate to the Autumn season. Likewise, Shizuko, Caller of Autumn may be beckoning to the season, but its artwork doesn’t do much to depict it.

    On the other hand, some cards really scream “Fall” to me. One of my favorite examples is Daughter of Autumn, from Homelands.

    daughter of autumn

    Margaret Organ-Kean is one of my favorite classic Magic artists (my personal favorite if Lion’s Eye Diamond). The woman in this picture is depicted holding an apple (a classic autumn fruit), wearing green, and gesturing towards a tree that shed all it’s beautifully colored leaves. The card itself isn’t relevant in Magic today, but the artwork will always hold a place in my heart. I suspect this legend is related to another Homelands classic, Autumn Willow.

    While there is a tree in the background and I see some green coloring in the piece, I must say the Daughter of Autumn does a better job encapsulating the aesthetic of Autumn.

    Modern-day cards related to Autumn include Augur of Autumn, Knight of Autumn, and Leionre, Autumn Sovereign.

    augur of autumnknight of autumn

    If I had to take my choice, I’d choose Ryan Pancoast’s Knight of Autumn as my favorite artwork for depicting the resonance of Autumn. The colors remind me of falling leaves, and you can possibly make out some fallen leaves on the ground in the image. Ultimately, though, I think the weapon the lady in the foreground is holding reminds me of a Selesnya-themed rake. I wonder if she cleans leaves when she’s not pumping creatures or gaining you life.

    Augur of Autumn and Leinore also use colors that scream “Fall,” with many greens, browns, yellows, and oranges. Each of these pieces is truly well-done and puts me in the mood for a beautiful Fall season.

    Autumn Spells

    Creatures in Magic aren’t the only card types that explicitly scream “Autumn” in their name and art. There is also one instant, one sorcery, and one enchantment with the word “Autumn” it its name.

    For the enchantment, that card is Autumnal Gloom.

    autumnal gloom art

    I don’t know if this card ever saw relevant play, but the artwork by Jaime Jones does a fantastic job depicting what the Fall must look like in a rural spot on Innistrad. The bare trees, and sunlight peeking through creates a thought-provoking landscape of colors and shadows that really bring the season to life. I can’t help but look at the dark figure in the background and shiver—partly because he is ominous holding his weapon, and partly because you feel the cool weather that must prevail this time of year. This is truly a masterpiece.

    The instant is none other than Autumn Veil:

    autumn veil art

    Not to be confused with its overpowered (banned in Pioneer) counterpart Veil of Summer, Autumn’s Veil is one of the most literal depictions of Fall out of this group. The figure in the art is literally surrounded by tons of fallen leaves of yellows, greens, and oranges. The art in total is a little more abstract than some of the rest, but no less reminiscent of an October day.

    Last but not least, the sorcery on this list is perhaps the most literal card for this time of year: Edge of Autumn. After all, this article is being written on September 25th, just two days into the Autumn season.

    edge of autumn art

    I don’t know enough about the storyline to explain why a person is floating on a giant, fallen leaf in the artwork. That said, you certainly can’t argue with the Autumn vibes depicted on the card. In my opinion this card looks a little too bright and sunny, but then again, it’s still reaching 80 degrees here where I live so perhaps the brightness and warmth depicted is perfect for the “edge of Autumn.”

    More Autumn Cards!

    The cards discussed above literally refer to the season in their name. However, there are a handful of cards that reference this time of year without directly declaring the season’s name. My all-time favorite (and Twitter avatar) is none other than Christopher Rush’s All Hallows’ Eve.

    all hallows eve art

    This Legends sorcery has got to be one of the most iconic, on-target pieces of artwork in Magic’s 30-year history. While the art itself isn’t too sophisticated in detail, the figures that are included really emphasize the spooky, scary Halloween season. A jack-o’-lantern, a gargoyle, a full moon, and a creepy, ethereal vampire-like figure in the middle of it all. I also love the colors, giving you a sense that it is indeed evening, and ghouls and ghosts are on the precipice of walking the earth for one scary night.

    On a lighter note, there’s the Midnight Hunt card Jack-o’-Lantern.

    jack o lantern art

    This is the first artifact on the list, and it’s pretty difficult to discuss Autumn and Halloween related cards without mentioning this one. Jack-o’-lanterns are literally part of the Halloween tradition, so it stands to reason we’d have a card that brings the concept to life. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also shout out its clever, ominous flavor text: “By the end of the festival, it was the only thing still grinning.”

    Another mainstay of Halloween and this time of year is the concept of the “black cat”—a symbol of evil omens and witchcraft. While there is literally a Magic card called Black Cat, I believe the Cauldron Familiar does a better job representing the essence of the creature during this time of year.

    cauldron familiar art

    You can readily see the mischievous eyes of this dark creature. “Every day the cat returns to kill the same mouse, which sinks again into the cauldron’s brew.” Another piece of flavor text worthy of an Edgar Allen Poe poem.

    Seasonal Shoutouts

    Before wrapping up, I wanted to touch on a couple of fun, season-specific cards that some may not be familiar with. There are two cards that use four different artworks, with each piece of art depicting the same central figure during the four seasons.

    The first card is perhaps the more recognizable, Mishra’s Factory.

    mishras factory art

    The Fall depiction of Mishra’s Factory implements a great deal of orange and red to connote the season of change. Though, I must confess the winter version looks more exciting (and more obvious) because of the snow.

    The second piece is the Fall version of Extremely Slow Zombie.

    extremely slow zombie art

    The four versions of Extremely Slow Zombie depict the creature making its way slowly and painstakingly through a farm, implying it is taking a full year for the zombie to get anywhere. This is certainly on flavor with the Unstable ability Last Strike appearing on the card. The art itself is absolutely beautiful, with the color-changing leaves a primary focus in the art. Once again, though, I think I prefer the winter copy for its inclusion of snow and a Santa hat on the head of the creature.

    Wrapping It Up

    I’ve waited patiently through four long months of heat and unbearable humidity. As a runner, I especially despise the warmer months as it makes my hobby (and primary source of exercise) so much less pleasant. As we round the corner and enter Autumn, the temperatures cool down, the days shorten, and my mood lightens inversely with most of North America, Europe, and Asia.

    That’s OK though! Even though I recognize I’m part of the minority, I have some beautifully done, flavorful cards to shuffle up in order to celebrate the changing seasons. Who knows? Maybe the cards listed above would make for a fun, seasonal-themed Commander Deck! It would probably be difficult to find a 60+ unique cards that fit the theme, but it may be a fun challenge to try.

    Or, maybe instead of limiting cards to Fall-themed, I can include some spooky, scary, Halloween-y cards in the list. You know the kind of cards I’m talking about—the dark ones that remind you of an impressive Halloween costume. Maybe that’s an interesting bit of exploration for next week’s article…this is especially timely given Wizards of the Coast just announced a Spookydrop 2023 Secret Lair to celebrate the Halloween Season!