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

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.

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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
About The Author
Khai is a former writer at Siliconera. Traditionally a physical sciences journalist, his games and culture writing can be found at Vice, Star Trek, and among others.