[RESULTS] Quick Challenge — Make famous people into cards

Hello everyone!  :)

I have a quick challenge for you this week that is going to test your flavour design skills. MTG is full of cards that reference real people and fictional characters from the real world, for instance Hapatra is Cleopatra, Kenrith is King Arthur, etc.


As you guessed, the goal of this challenge is going to take more existing characters and turn them into MTG cards. What makes them unique and recognisable? Turn that into MTG terms!

Here are the detailed rules: 
  • Make an MTG card based on a real person. They can be alive or not but they must be famous.
  • You must invent an MTG persona for your character. Don't use their exact name and/or an actual photograph of them as illustration for instance, it shouldn't look out of place in a real set.
  • Up to three entries per participant are allowed.
  • Old cards are allowed as long as they fit the criteria.
  • The deadline is on Sunday, May 2nd

Here's an example I made that would be considered a valid entry:

(Did you recognise her? She's based on Agatha Christie, the famous writer of mystery murder stories.)

As usual, I will give some short feedback to everyone who participates. The rewards will be distributed as follow:
  • 1st place: 5 favourites of your choice
  • 2nd place: 3 favourites of your choice
  • 3rd place: 1 favourite of your choice

I hope this inspires you to make some great top-down designs! Good luck everyone :)


  • Behold, the great king of the skies, and the greatest flyin' ace of WW1! Manfred von Richthofen, known to the English as "The Red Baron", was an expert pilot for the Germans in the Great War. He had 80 confirmed aerial victories, and who knows how many kills. He was famous for painting his plane bright red, and the rest of his squadron would also paint their planes bright colors, to the point where they were nicknamed "The Flying Circus". 
    Sadly, on April 22nd, 1918, the Baron was shot and killed(most likely by Australian machine gunfire). The pilots of WW1 were frequently called the knights of the sky, and it was told to be the last form of honorable warfare. Richthofen(And his mentor) both died at 25.
  • edited April 23
    Characters don't technically need to be humans right?

    I present magic's version of H.P. Lovecraft:

    Hatecraft Eldritch Horror

    I'm gonna be honest, I don't think I've read a H.P. Lovecraft story before, but I'm assuming this has the same dark tone as his stories.

    I decided to add some lore for Hatecraft:
    Hatecraft was originally a human on Innistrad with a very grim view of the world. He often thought of the worst, and the people of his town were actually afraid of him and tried to avoid him during any chance that they could. When Emrakul emerged on the plane and started to corrupt everything, Hatecraft openly accepted it. However, the darkness in his mind took the corruption and twisted it into his own image, transforming into the terrifying monster that he is today.

    I would do a Daft Punk one, but I have made a few cards about them before. Maybe I'll try to make one about them, idk.
  • edited April 23
    Edit: The directions appear to contradict the examples you gave. Does the person have to be real or not? There is evidence for Odysseus having existed, fyi, but it hasn't been proven... does this still count?

    "Tell me, Muse, of the man of many ways, who was driven far journeys, after he had sacked Troy’s secret citadel. Many were they whose cities he saw, whose minds he learned of, many the pains he suffered on his spirit on the wide sea, struggling for his own life and the homecoming of his companions. Even so he could not save his companions, hard though he strove to; they were destroyed by their own wild recklessness, fools, who devoured the oxen of Helios, the Sun God, and he took away the day of their homecoming. From some point here, goddess, daughter of Zeus, speak, and begin our story."

    - Homer, The Odyssey

    Also yes I know that Odysseus already exists in the form of Callaphe, but IMO Callaphe is a pretty bad parallel and as a huge fan of Odysseus and The Odyssey I think he deserves better representation. Thus, Odea!

  • edited April 23
    Thanks you for entering, that's exactly the spirit! =D

    Haha, HP Lovecraft as an eldritch monster certainly works for me x)

    I feel like you're being cheeky with your character selection ;p But ok, there is some controversy about whether or not Ulysse/Odysseus actually existed so we'll say it's valid for the contest unless proven otherwise :)

    It's true putting Achilles as an example in the introduction might be a little misleading, any idea for replacement? I'll remove him for now ^^
  • *cough* king arthur wasn't real either *cough cough*
  • edited April 23
    Yeah, for King Arthur I'm not a historian but there was enough controversy on this when I searched that I'm ok putting him in the likely-to-have-been-real-though-probably-not-the-dragons-part bin with Jesus & friends xD But it's surprisingly difficult to find good examples of historical figures in MTG.
  • @feralitator
    I would do a Daft Punk one, but I have made a few cards about them before. Maybe I'll try to make one about them, idk.

    I think I'm going to yoink Daft Punk out from under you here. Sorry!
    GM08  TB3 Human After All
    And a bit of lore
    GM08 & TB3 were a pair of artificers that, at 9:09 am on the ninth day of the ninth month of the ninth year of the ninth decade of the century, were working on a machine that exploded. When they regained consciousness the pair found they had miraculously become robots. Despite still being sentient and sapient, the pair found themselves feeling lifeless and detached from who they used to be, causing them to seek out a way to rediscover their humanity. They eventually learned to connect with both their past selves and with others through music, which has a unique power to make lifeless constructs have thoughts and feelings the same way humans do.

  • edited April 23

    Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.
    Matthew 26:14-16

  • edited April 23

    The famous pop artist, Andy Warhol. He would make a great Prismari. 

  • I think someone needs to tell you how to put things in spoilers....

  • I realized it wasn't necessary.
  • Yeah, why is everyone using spoiler boxes? This is weird XD
  • I just used it to keep somewhat of a wall of text out of my original post, and give people the option to extend/view it. 
  • I assume it's to make a challenge to guess who it is?
  • @KorandAngels No, I believe you just make a character based on a real-life famous person. (Living or dead)
  • No, I mean thats why people make spoilers, so other people can guess who their card represents.
    I also made someone:

    I don't know how to make spoilers, but this is Terry Pratchett.
  • edited April 24
    I believe writers are slowly taking the numerical advantage in this contest if we count my own example for Agatha Christie ;p

    Total artists - 5
    - Writers (3)
    - Musicians (1)
    - Visual artists (1)
    Soldier - 1
    Traveler - 1
    Religious figure - 1

    I'm kind of rooting for someone to make at least one scientist before the end xD
  • edited April 24
    @ningyounk Ask and you shall receive!
    I actually made this before you posted that comment, I suppose it's just one of those happy little accidents!

    Behold - Aria Lokdowa - both an esteemed scientific researcher and a venerated healer. She was a female Elf from an ancient kingdom with extremely rigid gender roles - but a great cataclysmic war turned the nation's entire societal structure on its head.

    Using this upheaval to her advantage, Aria stunned the kingdom's elite with her knowledge, prowess and talent in pushing alchemy to new heights. However, the compounds she studied turned out to be, in addition to being extremely useful to science and technology, a form of insidious poison that slowly led her to her death. This is described by her second ability.

    During the war, she applied her discoveries to the field of medicine, able to treat the ailments of war and leading the nation to a glorious victory. Her first ability is able to cure your units of any -1/-1 or other harmful types of counters, and shut down Infect decks. Just as in life, the only thing she can't heal is herself.

    This character is, of course, based on the illustrious Madame Marie Salomea Skłodowska Curie.
    Her story is much like Aria's, except applied to our world instead of an unknown plane far away from history. I hope this card honours her sacrifice, and at least somewhat balances out the tragedy of her death with an immortality of scientific recognition.
  • edited April 24
    => P.S.

    I originally thought to phrase it "remove any number of counters from any one permanent you control not named 'Aria Lokdowa'", because if you circumvent the legend rule with Mirror Gallery or Sakashima, you could have two Arias both removing the counters from each other, allowing you to draw 6 cards a turn, but consciously decided to leave it in, because I will jump through any hoops I need to make Ominous Seas viable in Constructed.

    P.P.S. Plus those cards honestly make all kinds of crazy stuff happen already, so this wouldn't even be the wildest combo available.

  • edited April 25

    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.
    - Sun Tzu

    From Wikipedia: "Sun Tzu was a Chinese general, military strategist, writer, and philosopher who lived in the Eastern Zhou period of ancient China. Sun Tzu is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, an influential work of military strategy that has affected both Western and East Asian philosophy and military thinking."

    Technoblade would be proud of me for this one...

    Nobody's been inspired enough to make a planeswalker yet?  ;)

  • In case it wasn't obvious this is based on French philosopher/writer Simone de Beauvoir. She's famous for applying existentialist philosophy to feminist theory, publishing a ton of salacious novels, and being part of the French resistance in WWII. One of her most famous ideas is that you aren't actually born anything (a man, a woman, a genius, etc) but rather become one through societal influence. So I decided to run with that theme and make her a changeling that can help others become changelings too. Like a lot of philosophers she was famous for seeking the truth and said she had given up much to learn about the world, but that truth had rewarded her. So I decided to give her the ability to pay (with life) for card draw (a gain of knowledge.)
  • Kuro Light Machinist

                     As you can probably tell, based on the fact that this cards gimmick is "Light Counters" but, it's based off of Nicola Tesla. I just now read the message about planeswalkers, and assumed it was sarcasm, much like everything else. I also noticed that I don't think anyone did a card based off of a scientist yet. Which is rather surprising.
                   Anyway, my boy Tesla is famous for transmitting electrical power. He was also the first to do Altering Current (AC for short), and did work on motor vehicles, hence, the Tesla cars. I tried to add all of those factors into the card, although it didn't work out very well, and this ended up being a very under powered card. Any feedback (other than the whole under powered thing) would be much appreciated!!

  • edited May 2
    also did I see a technoblade?

  • Ok, so everybody has been posting authors, artists, scientists, and philosophers.  So, I decided to create someone notorious.

    This is Ivan the Terrible.  First of all, he is called Vladimir because that seems to be a common Russian name(Vladimir Lenin, Vladimir Putin, etc.).  His first ability makes you the monarch because he was the first Tsar of Russia.  The second ability is there because he died of a stroke in the middle of playing chess.  And finally, the third ability let's you conquer your opponent's creature like he conquered many parts of what is now Russia.

  • Alright everyone, thank you all for participating!


    I'll be back soon with the results and the feedback =D
  • Without further ado, here is the top 3!


    @HeroKP with Aria Lokdowa
    (Inspired by Marie Salomea Sklodowska Curie)

    I really enjoyed how you used self-given -1/-1 counters to represent radioactivity, it's a flavour home run for me. The detail that really made me put this card in the top 3 is how she removes counters from others but not herself, it's a dark and poetic hint at her demise. However, I can't really offer more than third place because you let a huuuuuge design mistake in there xD The second ability says any number, so you can decide to draw your entire library for just one mana, even if it kills her in the process ;)


    GM08  TB3 Human After All

    @Arceus8523 with GM08 & TB3, Human After All
    (Inspired by Daft Punk)

    You really gave flesh to their gimmick of making musics like robots pretending to be humans. Just that first ability is an immediate flavour win. I didn't find any particular flavour in the second ability but it does tie with the first ability nicely at a mechanical level and would offer a convincing MTG card with a unique "Humans and Robots tribal" archetype concept!


    @Usaername with Odea, The Far-Travelled
    (Inspired by Odysseus, a.k.a. Ullyses)

    What an elegant blend of evocative flavour painting and functional card design. Each ability depicts the theme of a voyage in a clever way, and both of them synergise together very nicely to form more than their sum. It's original, realistic, elegant and flavourful. I really enjoyed this entry! =D


    Thank you to every participant, it was a very fun challenge to judge and I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the deep historical cuts you went for :D

    As for the rewards: 

    HeroKP: Which 1 card would you like me to favourite?
    Arceus8523: Which 3 cards would you like me to favourite?
    Usaername: Which 5 cards would you like me to favourite?

    And, as usual, I'm going to conclude by posting a quick feedback paragraph on everyone's entry right below, so stay tuned!

    Thank you again everyone, and congratulations for all these nice entries! =D
  • edited May 3
    • LordTachanka123

    Baron of the Skies

    Inspired by Manfred von Richtofen, the Red Baron

    I really like how you re-interpreted the plane as a dragon with this choice of illustration. Mechanically, Knight tribal is a weird fit and the WU combination is a missed opportunity considering he’s known as “the Red Baron”. In addition, haste is not part of WU’s slice of the colour pie, which is another good reason to make this red instead. Still, a solid design overall and the flavour text is a particularly nice touch!

    • feralitator

    Hatecraft, Eldritch Horror

    Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft

    It’s a great tribute to have used an Eldrazi to represent Lovecraft as they were directly influenced by his work. Mechanically, the effect could have tied into the lore in a more flavourful way - Eldrazi or Horror tribal for instance - than a generic draining effect but it fits the bill nonetheless. I’m unsure why you added the green in there?

    • Usaername

    Odea, the Far-Travelled

    Inspired by Odysseus, a.k.a. Ulysses

    There are a lot of very elegant design choices that tie into the theme of a long journey. The second ability in particular is very evocative and re-purposes an ability we rarely see in MTG in a clever way. It reminds me a bit of Cosima God of the Voyage, which is on point. The first ability also represents discovering new lands in an elegant way and I especially like how it mechanically ties with the second ability. The stats are nicely balanced to compensate for the slow attack ability. Overall, a realistic, cohesive and flavourful design.

    Tzu, Stratagem Masterworker

    Inspired by Sun Tzu

    The mechanical aspects of the card ties into the character’s theme in a very original and flavourful way. I do think the way the swords and shields counters are handled is a bit clunky. If it’s something that’s going to change at the beginning of each of your upkeeps, I’d probably forget about using counters and instead use “You choose which creatures attack or block each combat” for instance.

  • edited May 3
    • Arceus8523

    GM08 & TB3, Human After All

    Inspired by Daft Punk

    The card is immensely flavourful and full of clever references. I like how you’re referencing their gimmick of acting like robots that try to make human music with that first ability. The second ability isn’t referencing anything particular, I believe, but it’s a nicely balanced variation of a type of effect we’re seeing more and more in RW recently. The GM and TB names are a nice touch as well, which I assume is a reference to their real names, Guy-Manuel (funnily enough that’s just his first name) and Thomas Bangalter.

    • Jadefire

    Sabian, False Disciple

    Inspired by Judas Iscariot

    The first ability is a very flavourful way to represent treason in MTG and immediately sets the most important part of the character. The way it goes first for another legendary creature is also very flavourful. However, it’s a tricky ability to make work because you could have done the same thing by keeping it on your side of the battlefield and just targeting the opponent with it. I believe two improvements would be to make sure this creates treasures for you to sacrifice, and making sure the fact that this is on the other side of the battlefield actually matters, by counting the number of creatures of its controller for instance.

    • pstmdrn

    Dandy, Prismari Portraitist

    Inspired by Andy Warhol

    I really like how you used existing MTG lore to make the card more realistic. The illustration choice is also a really good fit for the character. The card could have used a little more polish in order to look more realistic, though. Using the correct frame, centering the text vertically, writing exile with a capital E, and making sure the text doesn’t go over the border would have sold it a little more. The effect in itself is nice and the flavour text helps making the flavour connection, but I’m not sure a Treasure token was the most evocative it could have been.

    • KorandAngels

    Partette, Satirist Supreme

    Inspired by Terry Pratchett

    The card is realistic enough, probably a bit overpowered, though I’m not seeing a lot of references to the character it’s representing other than the name. Using the Inkling token is certainly a nice way to make the card more realistic by incorporating existing MTG lore and it does hint at a writer, which is a nice touch, but a flavour text would probably have helped selling it more, for instance. 

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