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Junji Ito Returns to Magic: The Gathering for More Body Horror

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Key art for Phyrexia: All Will Be One centres on Elesh Norn, a key villain in MTG lore

Famed horror manga artist Junji Ito makes a surprise return to Magic: The Gathering with a full art treatment of classic villain Elesh Norn in the upcoming set Phyrexia: All Will Be One. It will be released in February 2023, as revealed in Wizards of the Coast’s WeeklyMTG stream on December 13, 2023. People will see the card in-game in Magic: The Gathering Arena first on February 7, 2023. It will come to the physical game on February 10, 2023.

Ito renders the card Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines in his signature high-detail, high-contrast style, with a more dramatic, dynamic pose than the graceful aloofness the character is typically depicted in. The card itself includes a powerful effect that doubles the controlling player’s enter-the-battlefield effects, while negating the opponent’s.

You can check out the card below:

Junji Ito Magic the Gatherine rendition of Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines, depicts the character with a dynamic pose in his high-contrast style

Junji Ito’s rendition of Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines

Junji Ito is a natural choice for Magic: The Gathering‘s Phyrexia: All Will Be One’s visual themes of body horror and transhumanism. The Phyrexians – one of the oldest and most influential villains in Magic: The Gathering – view organic material as a near-religious transgression, and believe perfection can be achieved by replacing flesh with mechanical components, a process known as “compleation”.

Junji Ito previously partnered with Wizards of the Coast for a timed exclusive Secret Lair drop for Magic: The Gathering in October 2023, which included four reprints of classic cards with new artwork. This return is the first time Ito’s art has been used for a newly-released card.

Several renowned Japanese artists have contributed artwork to Magic: The Gathering in recent years, including Metal Gear Solid Character Designer Yoji Shinkawa, Gundam artist Naochika Morishita, and Fate/Grand Order artist Mawkawa Yuichi. Wizards of the Coast is also introducing Final Fantasy cards into the franchise in 2024.

Phyrexia: All Will Be One is released digitally in Magic: The Gathering Arena on February 7, 2023, with a tabletop release on February 10, 2023.

Khai Trung Le
Khai is a contributing editor at Siliconera. Traditionally a physical sciences journalist, his games and culture writing can be found at Vice, Star Trek, and PocketGamer.biz among others.