Arcana

Know Your Spawn!

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We're taking a two-week holiday break and will be back with new stuff on Monday, January 3, 2011. Until then, please enjoy our favorite Arcanas of 2010. This article originally ran June 15, 2010.

The letter A!s you might have read in Savor the Flavor, each of the three Eldrazi titans has its own "brood lineage" of foul spawn, and the three lineages have different physical characteristics. And as you might have noticed, there are three different Eldrazi Spawn tokens in Rise of the Eldrazi—one for each lineage—and many of the cards that create Eldrazi Spawn reference one of the titans or its lineage, either explicitly or obliquely.

From left: Eldrazi Spawn of the Ulamog, Emrakul, and Kozilek lineages

When you're actually playing, you probably just grab whatever tokens are handy—and for most people, that's fine. If you're a flavor goob, though, some part of you longs to root around for the right Eldrazi Spawn tokens for the lineage in question. In some cases it's obvious which lineage that is; in others, it's less obvious. Fortunately, between the card names, the art descriptions, and the Rise of the Eldrazi style guide, Magic Arcana can help!

The mighty Emrakul gets the short end of the stick by a long shot, with only two cards that create tokens of its lineage: the obvious Emrakul's Hatcher, plus Nest Invader, which clearly shows the baleen-like fleshy lattice of the Emrakul-lineage spawn. (As a consolation prize to the lineage, Emrakul itself appears in art all over the set.)

The Ulamog lineage, with their fleshy tentacles and featureless, skull-like heads, appear not only on the eponymous Pawn of Ulamog and Spawnsire of Ulamog, but also on Brood Birthing and Growth Spasm. The spawn in the art of Awakening Zone also look a lot like Ulamog-lineage spawn—note the tentacles and featureless heads—although the art description doesn't specify.

Awakening Zone | Art by Johann Bodin

The winner of the bunch is the Kozilek lineage, whose spawn appear in the art of Kozilek's Predator, Dread Drone, Corpsehatch, Rapacious One, and Spawning Breath. Although the Kozilek-lineage Eldrazi Spawn token shows off the characteristic branching limbs and strangely placed eyes of its lineage, the spawn in the art of Essence Feed have the winglike obsidian structures that are also an identifying mark of the Kozilek lineage.

Essence Feed | Art by Daarken

That leaves one more card that makes Eldrazi Spawn, which at first we weren't sure how to classify: Skittering Invasion. The art description doesn't specify the lineage, and the spawn in the art don't look like they belong to particular lineages at first glance. But then we took a closer look:

Skittering Invasion | Art by Eric Deschamps

It's actually a mix of lineages, pouring out of the sea in a horrifying tide of multihued flesh. We count three Ulamog-lineage spawn (the one in the foreground on the left, plus the two on the shoreline), one Emrakul-lineage spawn (out in the water), and one Kozilek-lineage spawn (in the foreground on the right).

Here's a handy table:

Card Lineage and Number of Spawn
  Emrakul Kozilek Ulamog
Awakening Zone     1*
Brood Birthing     1 or 3
Corpsehatch   2  
Dread Drone   2  
Emrakul's Hatcher 3    
Essence Feed   3  
Growth Spasm     1
Kozilek's Predator   2  
Nest Invader 1    
Pawn of Ulamog     1*
Rapacious One   1**  
Skittering Invasion 1 1 3
Spawning Breath   1  
Spawnsire of Ulamog     2*

* per trigger or activation
** per damage dealt

Now, the next time you reach for your Spawn tokens, you'll know which ones to grab!

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