Return to the Aboretum

edited October 2018 in Contests and Challenges
Deep below Ravnica, an ancient vault was sealed, mere hours after being opened. Its guardians had deemed the contents far too dangerous to ever become exposed to the multiverse, items of destructive potential in even the right hands. However, many years later, one planeswalker, the next in a line of keepers, has foolishly opened the vault. The Aboretum is open once more, its contents privy to discovery.


Welcome, everyone, to a reincarnation of a contest from nearly two years ago! It was, and still is, one of my favorite contests to ever grace this site, created by our very own @pewnd. You can check it out here. (Highly recommended)

The rules here are the same as the last one:

Create a Legendary Artifact and provide a small little lore blurb as short or as long as you'd like to accompany it. Non-Artifacts such as enchantments or creatures will be permitted with a good lore piece.

However, I am tacking on one additional rule: No more than two entries a person. I want to see quality over quantity.

The due date for entries is before it ends, it could be soon, it could be after that. It is privy to extension if deemed necessary or desireable.

Now, my brave explorers, show me what you can find in this massive vault!


  • Do any dare to brave the arboretum and unlock its secrets? (Aka bump)
  • edited July 2018

    Did someone say legendary artifact!? Here yah go. And here's my lore, and IRL lore.

    Of my many DnD characters, my Tiefling Bard Alicia Afi is my favorite by far. She does your standard bard things, influencing and damaging enemy's whilst buffing her team, even if not often. During one campaign she was put into a wrestling wring, of sorts, more of an underground fight club. Here she was required to choose a name, and of course, I had to go with something nice... so, after this, she became 'Alicia Scarlet, The Infernal Flutist'

    In MTG, I imagine during many of her journeys across worlds and all,
    I suspect she will have defiantly found her journeys end in a peaceful, age-ended death. After a short few years working for the many guilds on her own time, not theirs. She would use her bard-like magic to fight and influence others, whether opposition and those she worked for to get what she wanted. Of course, they eventually discovered where she lived, and her habits. But due to how she operated, she was never bothered, until her death. Lying in bed, she died in her sleep, and not soon after the Dimir came to take her artifacts... yet they weren't there when they arrived. It seemed someone had taken them. That someone was never known by anyone, not even me. We can only guess someone else took it, or something stored it. Somewhere.

  • edited July 2018
    Here's an entry:

    The dark blood of the monstrous machine god Yawgmoth survived his demise at the hands of the Legacy weapon. Raining down upon Dominaria it was collected and stored in the Aboretum before it could be allowed to spread. There it waits within its container for a mage foolish enough to wield its power and spread its contagion once more.

    Glutting itself upon any source of black mana it can find, the ichor will grow and infect any who come into contact with it, slowly poisoning them from the inside.
  • I'll be posting an entry if able tomorrow! Also, *bump!*
  • edited July 2018
    This second entry is inspired by the 'Lair of the Ashen Idol' planechase card.

    On the dark plane of Azgol, the natives worship a monstrous stone known as the Ashen Idol which resides in the centre of a long dormant volcano. The stone is inscribed with the symbol of the volcano's god, known as the Ashen King. The Ashen King slew all of the plane's other gods long ago, but was so weakened by this battle that he took refuge within the stone. From there he commands his followers with telepathy, spurring them to acts of violence and bloodshed. Should enough blood be spilled upon the stone, the King may yet regain his former might.
  • @Lujikul Is it arboretum or aboretum?
  • edited July 2018
    (Using MTG.Design because there is no colored legend artifact border.)


    Lore: In this another timeline, Bolas just found something that was very interesting as he visited Tarkir in times before the Clans themselves and kept the said item in secrecy because it held forbidden and dangerous knowledge about the magic itself and many more intricate spells in prosperous times before Bolas himself, or possibly much deeper in the past during the reign of the First Dragon of the multiverse itself.

    "Whoever holds the Primordial Eye, that one holds the key to the unlimited potential of the magic itself." Proclaimed the infamous elder dragon.

    Altough then, at some time even the Arboretum with an unknown reason somewhat also held the eye. It was unknown whether it was a Bolas's plan to kept the eye in Ravnica. In the end, the keeper of the vault just stored it along with many other dangerous artifacts in the Arboretum itself.
  • edited July 2018
  • edited July 2018
    Here's my second entry.


    Lore: Somewhere in a plane far far away, lived a planeswalker named Aldnora. She was an accomplished planeswalker but she had a lot of things to collect in her journey through the multiverse.

    And because of that, she decided to experiment with the spatial magic to construct the ultimate box to store her belongings: A box with a seemingly endless space.

    But hey, who would know that she accidentally also made the box unstable due to the volatile amount of experimental enchantment she bestowed upon that box? In the end, the box was very volatile that almost anything in the vicinity who opened it would be sucked inside the box and eternally lost.

    Furious due to the lost of her precious belongings, in the end Aldnora decided to throw away the volatile box to whatever unlucky plane it was, waiting for an unlucky soul who opened it and anything within its vicinity to be lost forever inside the cataclysmic box.
  • Entry 1:
    Aetherplant of Ghirapur

    High above Ghirapur is the pinnacle of aether engineering. The Aetherplant, a monolith that reaches into the Aethersphere itself, harvesting aether and refining it to its purest state. Machines that are powered with this aether are faster, more efficient and more extraordinary than their counterparts. Automatons receive a similar benefit, ratcheting their processing and physical abilities. But left without refined aether, the same machines that some would call marvels lapse back to normalcy. All of Ghirapur wants access to this aether, and the few that do get it must pay a steep price and maintain its use.
  • edited July 2018

    One of the taboos of Kaladesh is time manipulation, and it's largely due to a man named Lakja Makobi. Credited as the father of time, Lakja discovered not only the properties of time as they are currently known, but how to travel through it. His masterpiece was his Temporal Accelerator, which he used to speed up pockets of local time. It was famously said that he used it to travel from one end of the city to the other in under 2 seconds. However, during what would be his final use of the accelerator, Lakja simply vanished. None of his colleagues at the College of Temporal Studies could find his mana signature in any location or time. It is widely believed that Lakja threw himself out of the time stream. With more tests, the College found that the time stream around Kaladesh was exhibiting signs of severe stress, to the point of almost tearing. From then on, temporal studies was banned from Kaladesh for being too dangerous to the public.



    Story has it that Savra, once guild leader of the Golgari Swarm, was to attend a meeting of the Ravnica Guilds, in which there was one person of import she wanted desperate to impress. So, she had her guild go out and find the most beautiful scent in the world. Her guild scoured the city but could find no scent to her liking. They scoured the outskirts, but still could not find anything satisfactory. But one day, an apprentice came back from the woods beyond the city with news of a flower so sweet that he nearly fell asleep in bliss. Naturally, Savra was interested.

    They traveled to the location the apprentice told them and found not a flower but a nymph. "I must have her," Savra said. The look in her eyes told the others that either they captured the nymph or they would die trying. Planning carefully, Savra and her entourage lured the nymph to a secluded glade with no trees around to hide in and sprung their trap. With a wicked grin, Savra stared at her prize struggle in the cage.

    In order to make the perfume, Savra worked with the Simic Combine to distill the nymph down to her life essence. This retained her sweet scent while allowing it to be put in a container. However, the essence of a creature from the forest is strong, especially one of a magical nature. The container started to reach out on its own and drain the energy of anyone who would touch it or wander close by. It became known as the Lifedrinker Ichor. Savra was furious. In anger, she threw the bottle out of her window and into her garden, smashing the bottle. There, the ichor seeped deep into the garden and began to gather strength from the nearby mulch and death, steadily growing and infusing black mana into itself.

    From that ichor grew back the nymph, but not as she had been. The influence of black had twisted her core nature and she became malicious and deceitful. Savra took notice, and Larisa became the sweet-scented flower amidst the maggots of the Golgari Swarm.
  • edited July 2018

    Hedron of Calling

    When Ugin, Nahiri, and Sorin had trapped the Eldrazi on Zendikar, Ugin realized that there was a chance, however small, that the Eldrazi could be released, and if that happened, Zendikar would most likely be destroyed. So, he created an artifact that would force the Eldrazi to a certain plane in the Multiverse, so that the Eldrazi could be imprisoned once again. He hid this Artifact on Mirrodin, which would be the next Eldrazi prison. Many years later, an unknown Planeswalker found this device, and after realizing its world breaking power, vowed to make sure no one would ever find it.
  • edited November 2018

    I spent around a year away from MTG Cardsmith, not really sure what my excuse was, but I did. Made the occasional card here and there but didn't dive into the community. This is amazing! I'm honored you brought the contest back! All these cool cards! That Ichor card is dope @Undead, and the alternate art frames @Fiskerton and @Fallen_Lord_Vulganos were using looks great. (I'd run that dragon eye in my Neheb deck) Man this whole thing gives me the biggest grin!


    It was a simple place. A few blocks down the road, off of Ivy Lane. Perhaps once the old ravnican building was impressive, but time had taken its toll. If one peered through the dark curtained windows they'd see a modest collection of old tomes lining the walls, with volunteers stepping in every once in a while to help organize it. Most of the books were simple non fiction pieces such as encyclopedias and histoical books. The upper levels are closed off to the public, only a hand picked staff are permitted view the private collection. Most of which are non-sense grimoires collected from unknown places that baffle the rules of logic. Books mentioning walking mountains, silver moons that can contain evil, even a living plague that destroyed an entire world, all oddly labelled 'historical'. Every once in a while a volunteer finds themselves up there, and quickly depart without a word.

    Though its ominous closed off staircase in the back is what draws most people in. Far more ornate than the surrounding furnature, and appropriatly more ancient. Clasping the marble railing and working their way down the steps, one would find themselves face to face with a large empty stone library, with lonely cobweb covered shelves. Moisture and greenery have collected down there and the owner doesn't make a habit of taking proper care of the basement. Though not a book could be found, an elborate circular door stands at the end. Gold engraved with a triangular keyhole at the center. When approached the runes glow with an discomforting yearning, begging to be unlocked.

    It wasn't until new management that the door's wishes were granted.

    I know it is late, but here is my contribution! :)
  • That reminds me, I should probably actually judge this. I'd extend the deadline now that I've been reminded this existed, but I can edit the original post. This'll be judged sooner than later.
  • @Lujikul - Deadline Extended!
  • So I can enter something?
  • can you hold off the deadline for like 12 hours after this post. I have made my cards but im too tired to make good backstories. I'll do it first thing in the morning. Thanks a ton!
  • edited October 2018

    One of Saheeli Rai's greatest ambitions was to create a machine that would allow anyone to use their creative innovation to better Kaladesh, not only those that could were prestigious enough to get into the inventors fair. After mastering several of the fundamentals of quick-smithing, Saheeli set out towards the Vadl - it's rolling hills and endless fields would be a perfect place to start on the project.

    Over the course of the project, Saheeli started to take more note of the communities and allegiances on Kaladesh - they were reckless, power-hungry, and the with access the the sheer amount of aether that Ghirapur constantly produced, could cause an all-out war in her home.

    She couldn't leave the project unfinished however, it was all she had worked for.

    Soon after completing the mana weave, Saheeli started on her next project: the Planar Gate. During the testing and proto-construction of the Planar Gate, she decided that testing it on the mana weave would be a suitable test - there wasn’t any risk of killing someone and even if she did lose it, she knew it wouldn’t work outside of Kaladesh.

    With the inevitable misfunction of the early gate, Saheeli had created a sub-plane inside of Kaladesh. While the machine could be seen by all who came across the wonder, it itself not longer existed on Kaladesh, and was therefore unuseable. Only once the Planar Gate was fully constructed would she ever be able to activate her dream and nightmare.


    Inside a tiny, but extremely secure safe in the Aboretum are a set of Planar coordinates leading to Kaladesh’s sub-plane, appropriately named “VadlII”...
  • edited November 2018

    The gigantic armor "Kalani". It once belonged to a deity from a long-lost plane. Not much is known from the being that once used this armor. It's slightly broken and it only holds a fraction of the power it had a long time ago. Whenever the armor is awakened to fight on a battlefield, there won't be many survivors to tell the tale.
  • edited November 2018

    A strange object, known as the Allsight, has layed in the Aboretum for many years. It is said that it was an egg laid by an elder dragon eons ago, on a plane that was destroyed long ago. It constantly has images from across the multiverse at many diffrent times,past present and possible futures and it be tuned to see exactly what the user wants to see if they have the magical apptitude to do so. It never stays anywhere long, constantly planeswalking itself away, surrounded by a group of strange beings that may protect it, or possibly be searching for it. Ever sense it has been placed in the Aboretum, though, it has stayed and the group of beings has been unseen. Perhaps there is a spell keeping it from leaving, or somthing else...
  • I figured since the contest was extended I'll add some lore to the previous card I made. (Intended just to have it for fun)


    While most of the devices in the Arboretum are labelled with warnings and coupled with notes containing valuable information on how to handle them them, this meditation room is oddly serene. At it's center sits a metal tree, in constant bloom. People find their thoughts and memories drifting out of their bodies in this room, as if like swirling dust in the air. Though the current keeper has had little need for such a room, it would certainly be a useful place to share ideas and moments with a loved one.

    Perhaps whoever gathered these artifacts long ago, once used this room too, to share a moment with a lost companion.
  • Bumpy McBumpface
  • image

    story later
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