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  • March 06, 2024 8 min read 0 Comments

    In 2012 Magic: The Gathering revisited the plane of Ravnica—one of its most popular settings—with Return to Ravnica (RTR), the first set of a three-set block situated on the plane. All the trappings that players had come to love about the original Ravnica Block were present: guilds, guildmages, legendary guild leaders, and multicolor spells galore were all back. Like the original, the Return to Ravnica Block split up the guilds among the sets. RTR reintroduced five of the 10 Ravnican guilds.

    The 2013 follow-up Gatecrash reintroduced the other five guilds and set up the culminating story arc for the last set, Dragon’s Maze. In a set brimming with powerful multi-color spells and heroic legendary creatures, a small but endearing character depicted on a draft common made their first appearance.

    Totally Lost (Gatecrash, David Palumbo)

    totally lost mtg art

    The diminutive homunculus lost and trying not to be stepped on amid the throngs of Ravnica’s population perfectly captured the name and essence of the card. The creative team did not stop there though. With a single sentence, they made us care about a new character—who has since become one of the most beloved characters in all of Magic:

    “Fblthp had always hated crowds.”

    That one sentence launched the ongoing story of a character whose misadventures across the plane of Ravnica continue all the way up to today. With the help of Scryfall’s tagger, let’s unravel the tale of Fblthp.

    Before we get totally lost ourselves, it’s worth noting that the response to Fblthp on their first card appearance was so overwhelmingly embraced by the community that Wizards responded to the hype. Senior editor Matt Tabak authored a short story starring the lost loveable little being that ran on the main Magic website just to give fans more Fblthp. It’s worth reading if you never have.

    Beyond The Origin Story

    After taking center stage on one card and the previously mentioned short story—a quiet origin to say the least—Fblthp’s next two appearances were as a background character. The first was in Conspiracy’s Unquestioned Authority.

    Unquestioned Authority (Conspiracy, Zoltan Boros)

    unquestioned authority art

    A reprint of a card from back in Judgement, this version depicts the forces of the planeswalker Gideon, in their clean-up of gangs in Ravnica’s Ninth District. In the top left corner of the image, on the stairs we see Fblthp peering out behind the leg of a mace-wielding gang member.

    Their next appearance was Magic 2015’s Statute of Denial.

    Statute of Denial (Magic 2015, Zoltan Boros)

    statute of denial art mtg

    The focus of Statute of Denial is an Azorius wizard shutting down some celebratory fireworks. Behind him, peering out of a basement window, we can see Fblthp watching the excitement. These small guest appearances, as easter eggs for players to find, only increased Fblthp’s charm. The question then became when would Fblthp get their own card? Where else would the little homunculus appear?

    Fblthp in the Plush

    While it would take a while more before Fblthp would have their own card, the popularity of the character was not lost on Wizards. Soon the answer to where Fblthp would next appear was physically in player’s homes—in the form of a life-size plushie.

    fblthp plushie

    Released sometime around 2015, these officially licensed plushies were manufactured by The Araca Group and can still be found on eBay for what I imagine is not far from their original MSRP.

    Fblthp, Eyewitness

    The Magic storyline returned to Ravnica in 2018 after a few years away. There was much anticipation as the story was building towards a confrontation between Nicol Bolas and his minions, and the rest of the multiverse. Apart from the main storyline, players were also eager to know what Fblthp had been up to for the last few years. As it turns out, Fblthp had been travelling around Ravnica. We see them first in the Guilds of Ravnica card March of the Multitudes alongside the might of the Selesnya Conclave.

    March of the Multitudes (Guilds of Ravnica, Zack Stella)

    march of the multitudes mtg

    Fblthp is almost lost in the image amidst the mass of Selesnyan soldiers. We see them clutching the armored leg of one in the background and peeking out from behind him. Next, we see Fblthp among the audience of unwilling spectators of a performance/party by the Cult of Rakdos.

    Captive Audience (Ravnica Allegiant, Dmitry Burmak)

    captive audience mtg

    Through these visits to different districts of the plane, Fblthp acts as a stand-in for the player. The images in the art, particularly Dmitry Burmak’s illustration, put the viewer right in the street alongside Fblthp. We’ve averted our gaze, so we’re not sure what’s happening, but judging by the faces on Fblthp and others in the crowd, it isn’t pretty. As the main story arc accelerates, we see Fblthp go from not just a tourist of their home plane, but an eyewitness to some of the plane of Ravnica’s most historic moments.

    First, we see Fblthp finally embodied in their own card.

    Fblthp, The Lost (War of the Spark, Jesper Ejsing)

    fiblthp mtg art

    Jesper Ejsing’s depiction—I’m hesitant to call it the definitive illustration because it’s so different from the other depictions of Fblthp (even the plush interpretation)—gives Fblthp more humanoid shape and less of the adorable stuffed animal-like proportions of previous illustrations. Here, the almost goblin-like homunculus stands in the middle of a battle between Ravnican soldiers and Nicol Bolas’ invading army of Eternals.

    We know Fblthp escapes harm because they appear in another War of the Spark card, a reprinted version of Totally Lost with new art.

    Totally Lost (War of the Spark, Aaron Miller)

    Here, we see Fblthp standing atop the God-Pharaoh’s Statue prior to its fall, looking out over the city. The flavor text on the card makes a nice callback to the card Captive Audience, from the previous set. “At least this was better than that week at the Juri Revue.” It’s a nice lighthearted moment for a story arc with a lot of drama including the death of a main character, and the culmination of several years of storytelling.

    A Cyclopean Team-Up

    Fblthp was only an observer of the drama in the War of the Spark. When the Phyrexian invasion of the multiverse happened a few years later, they again found themselves on the front lines of an interplanar battle. Fblthp had an unexpected rescuer in the massive cyclops Borborygmos. The full story of theirs’s and other team-ups across the multiverse was written up by Emily Teng for the Wizards website.

    Borborygmos and Fblthp (March of the Machine, Rudy Siswanto)

    Though they first tried to run away from the invasion, the fierceness shown by Borborygmos in facing down the invaders was said to have inspired Fblthp. They remained on the battlefield, resting on Borborygmos’ shoulder, alerting the massive cyclops to danger. “Together they're able [to] cover all possible angles of attack, making them an unstoppable duo in Ravnica's defense.”

    As part of the legendary team-ups cycle, Borborygmos and Fblthp have two different art and frame treatments. The second piece features art by Justin & Alexis Hernandez.

    Borborygmos and Fblthp (March of the Machine, Justin & Alexis Hernandez)

    The piece by the Hernandezs has a cutesy animation style to it which makes me think of ‘80s and ‘90s Saturday morning cartoons. It’s a nice change from the hyperrealism we see on most Magic cards these days.

    Detective Fblthp

    After the defeat of the Phyrexian invasion, things on Ravnica quieted down, and the plane entered a rebuilding phase not seen in centuries. That didn’t mean that all was calm though. Friction between the guilds remained, and tensions between the guilds and the massive guild-less population were also high.

    When murders or other crimes were afoot, the over stressed guilds and the guild-less alike turned to agencies of detectives and other independent investigators to help solve the crime. One gumshoe who knows the mean streets of Ravnica better than anyone is our intrepid little Fblthp. Are they on the case, or are they just a hapless witness? What do they know, and how are they always at the scene of the action? These are all questions for the audience to ponder as they dive into the mystery set Murders at Karlov Manor(MKM).

    While Fblthp is not actually a detective, they do always manage to be on the scene, and we can see them in a series of appearances throughout the set. In fact, the number of Fblthp appearances eagle-eyed fans have spotted in MKM—as of this writing—is nearly as many appearances of the character in all black-bordered sets released prior. Can you find our elusive friend in each of these five illustrations?

    crime novelist mtg

    offender at large mtg

    repulsive mutation mtg

    It remains to be seen if Fblthp will turn up any more places around Karlov Manor, but before we wrap things up, let’s look at appearances of our friend beyond the plane of Ravnica entirely.


    In addition to Fblthp’s canon appearances on their home plane of Ravnica, the character has also popped up on cards in supplemental products including Unfinity, Mystery Booster Playtest Cards, and even this year’s Holiday Promo.

    Super-Duper Lost (Unfinity, Vincent Christiaens)

    super duper art mtg

    This acorn-style riff on Totally Lost, Fblthp’s first appearance on a card, is suitably wacky in execution. The scenario of Fblthp somehow lost in this interstellar theme park is also perfect for the card. It’s not my favorite off-Ravnica Fblthp appearance though. That honor goes to The Grand Tour.

    The Grand Tour (Mystery Booster Playtest Cards, Ethan Fleischer)

    grand tour mtg

    I love that The Grand Tour doesn’t actually show Fblthp on a new plane. Instead, it’s a pile of photographs of Fblthp taken on various planes. The idea of Fblthp on an interplanar tour, taking photos along the way is just such a funny idea to me, and the fact the card targeted by the spell hits every zone of the game before returning to the battlefield is equally amusing. It’s a great fusion of flavor and function that could only happen on an acorn card.

    Seasonal Sequels (Happy Holidays, Adrián Rodríguez Pérez)

    seasonal sequels

    While this Fblthp appearance outside a movie theater appears as if it could easily have taken place on Ravnica, I like to think that it’s on Neo-Kamigawa or New Capenna where the technology for such a thing is much more likely.

    Where’s Fblthp?

    As a character who gets totally lost all the time, Fblthp has a lot in common with another character, Martin Handford’s Waldo from the Where’s Waldo series of children’s books. In 2021, Wizards leaned into this idea with the Fblthp: Completely, Utterly, Totally Lost Secret Lair release. The limited time release featured five popular cards in a borderless panorama art by Marija Tiurina in a style reminiscent of Handford’s Waldo books. It’s been promised by Gavin Verhey that Fblthp does appear somewhere in each of the arts on the cards, though finding them may be a challenge.

    Cowboy Fblthp?

    It was recently spoiled that our one-eyed friend has now gotten lost on other planes thanks to the omenpaths.

    Fblthp, Lost on the Range (Outlaws of Thunder Junction, Brian Valeza)

    fblthp on the range

    I never had Fblthp in a cowboy hat on my Magic bingo card, but I’m glad it exists. If Thunder Junction is only the first stop on Fblthp’s grand tour, I look forward to seeing what their animal version looks like in Bloomburrow.

    Find Fblthp Now!

    That covers the journey (so far) of our lost little friend across the entire multiverse. What’s your favorite appearance of Fblthp? What plane other than Ravnica would you love to see them get lost in? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.