Flavor text is, for most competitive magic players, meaningless. Ben Stark famously said he wouldn’t mind it if Magic cards had no image or name at all — no flavor whatsoever — and the cards were merely identifiable by their special action and number. As someone who grew up staring at every card I owned, I admittedly found my connection to magic through the ‘spirit’ that lived in the flavor of the cards. Many of the vanilla creatures had wonderful, and sometimes humorous, flavor text that inspired me to expand the game inside my mind.

Certain Magic art pieces from early sets, depending upon the painter, possessed a very spirited and often times abstracted image that juxtaposed the special action of the card. This disconnect between word and image held the power of hidden information, of a hidden reality. Cards like StasisGreater Realm of Preservation, Flash Counter, Underworld Dreams, Storm Seeker, and Lands Edge point to some lightly obscured context. Narratives with which we have little to no immediate access to and must construct our story along with the flavor text in our hearts. Without the internet to guide our perception, the imagination could really run wild.

So what about today, in modern magic, where the stories are force fed to us. Where the flavor text doesn’t quote the likes of William Shakespear or Edgar Allen Poe? How can we find glimpses of those same imaginative stimulations in the complete, prepackaged form of 2015? It is this source point from where I begin my exploratory practice.

Using a typewriter, I have cut into bricks of flavor text in an attempt to break them from their own logic. By allowing the words to interplay free of context, the new word combinations can reveal surprising and even insightful realities. Let’s take a look at what happens when we cut into the flavor text of Dragons of Tarkir. How do the images change? And do they even change? What can we find out about the world of Tarkir when we read about it this way? Images, scenes, and characters communicate differently to us. In a world stormed by war, perhaps here, Tarkir can behold a poets glimpse of place, time, or silence.

Cut-up text can be traced back to Dadaism, and is by its very nature spontaneous. Let the words wash over you, and enjoy.


For hundreds of years Ugin slept — encased the Abzan revered their ancestors Sarkhan had created — using a shard of a Zen grove to make weapons — he scorns his spectral guardians — kept vigil —Martyr trusting his anger to keep him warm she now walks among them I would gladly — strength, unity, and honor — they whisper to victory — the aven are admired for they their world — many can stand where one is elegance in all the Ojutai do — even tell stops many predators but with a and the blood of my veins are the same Dromes a meal in a bowl — Atarka’s presence kind that I might use them in her service its elementals migrate or adapt —

strongholds ponders the puzzles of the grew that remain are the toughest of fear but for honor the dragonlords can be a revered accolade — for a wastes the storms are mine to command — Drome legends will endure despite the under her — in return for her protection kir continued to thrive — once it has weapons for her and her scalelords swamp to Ayagor — the remains of was executed many secretly maintained the land. Even paradise is not worth tragedies is immortal — most dragons are not when soul show you — the sands obscure the vision it changed Tarkir’s future —

The Sultai noses for a dragon among the Silumgar by the lord Silumgar and his clan — long as the krotiq itself — Dragons in your blade? Her sword has snagged an enticalelord patrol the skies over Arashin, ever alert in their watch over the great world — the Silumgar creep around ours is the ability to fly without wings it remain ever watchful — the Atarka use present — if it fight I might step on a — but away snow, trees, and enemy forces —

Wastes are Dromoka’s domain — she will nothing impenetrable defenses only draws are the brains of Dromoka’s army, the Supragons foster trust among their subjects with heat, send can form a delicate work quelling rebellion. When battling bulwark may our foes choke upon its horightning strikes the same place only Shifting Wastes provide our clan eternal also be deadly — Dromoka’s followers the favor — better scarves than scars — his greater family —

Silumgar never passes up for his foes dare not stand in his way — the sun that beats down upon Arashin’s sparks in the night — Dragon’s enlightenments Dragon’s exhale cooks what it inhales we trust in the scalelords bringers of skywise — see their enemies as puzzles stood alone she struck with the force of skull-grins and rattle-bones — we will purge from the sky — what use do they have —

awakened the statue in hopes of learning our mighty dragonlord? Why eat now what was interested only in war — Atarka have meditated on all outcomes my opponent, the dragon’s brood. Silumgar delights was so great that they didn’t care their to serve his own ravenous greed — question Ojutai may not like the answers Khanfall, when the dragons came to Great Wheel: those who best serve the Draves with the five dragonlords.


Dragons. Learn to see an obstacle from atop Arashin, the central city — Rakshasa made no opportunity to display itself — this pestilence robs us of a sorcerous duel — the small are mostly ath with full bellies and drown trying whole life that the great Ojutai holing temples on the tortoise’s back forbears know — who you are constantly runs Sultai — Though it harkens back to and quiet the heart — only then will you to walk his territory as a warning to cannot be an Ojutai monk — they prize wisdom starve while she feasts upon the though they may soar — I could never fly as ever more lands just for the sake of secrets lie in the darkest places of the Adat, the fire rim, long ago, winning another set of eyes —

A dragon learns humi the glory of fire to all the world — I tire of your prattle and your face — and terribly hungry — Atarka goblins Draconic before his students can benefit counterparts did, but usually under smallest cracks in the mountain, emerging coat themselves with grease imbued it cannot go, for what hold back the heir ravenous masters from adding them — Tarkir’s monks to learn from the truly the charge — If their ears are to the Dragonlord we strike like wild lightning — honorable to use every part of the rarely stay clean for long — The crave to annihilate our enemies — she the dragon — Every Silumgar blade carries for battle sated only on bloodshed — hated to limit her options — Silumgar’s moment of rage —

our shamans assert their secrets and subtle traps — seclusion is one clans attempts to stand in the way dragonslayer for lord Silumgar — there is Atarka and when the time comes it will — Wars are decided one life at a time — Sark hiding places — Intruders in the lands until he saw how lovely his old foe had bed by fire or be consumed by maw — in the basket is entitled to the servants of the dragon man called Sarkhan who take no trophies — they find true fulfill upon the world around him, the dragons of steel and thunder of hooves — the cycle like a fire in his soul —

my dragonlords foul-tongue shamans draw their powers from shaman opened the earth beneath their language — Lord Silumgar has given you Ayagor for Atarka to devour at those whom he favors in his magic — Do you not hunt the across the land — Kolaghan’s army rushes fire as fierce as the bear that fears no dragon’s wrath — now vengeance is his sole een — their meat is as tender as a bears victims — they have so much knowledge to lure prey that will please Atarka —

Kneel a whisper will suffice — dying for the green it turns to leave — attracting a dragons linger beyond death — the Kolaghan send them a stricken, whole Nicol Bolas moved fight the next wave the Kolaghan send — It hers are trained in Dakla the way of them — they can’t get frostbite — Silumgar tightning to strike their target, no Sibsig — the Silumgar hide behind the dead — as we have learned from Kolaghan to rather scheme in their jungle palaces than the shortest path to victory — whatever —

Dying is far more terrifying than death — heir wealth and power, even in the midst glorious death in battle — we starve to ignored by dragons — I’ve been told to slake our unnatural thirst — the crumb lids all knowledge, but I wonder what our monuments to the decadence of the Anci’s toward who you will be — still the wind the era of the Khans, Silumgar allows it — ear the Multiverse’s great truths — You those who would oppose him — Atarka’s people and skill and you have neither — Bounty of their hunts — They must conquer high as the dragons — The most profound their own subsistence — Atarka conquered world —

It can be prudent to make use of over its efreet with a promise to spread only in the moments before its death — Dragons emerge from tempests fully formed — Tai’s words must be translated from meet their demise as readily as their Tem from their wisdom — It slips through the big, winged shadows —

Atarka serving goblin whole and unfettered — There is nowhere with noxious herbs hoping to discourage air itself? Ojutai’s rule has allowed to the meal — Just let loose and follow lightened — we are as brutal as our ground, we will make them bleed — It is feast on human flesh — Kolaghan blades animals we kill — especially if we use the Kneecleaver think she was bigger than a lifetime of discipline forsaken in a mond is a dark labyrinth, full of grim mastery over the land, thwarting the lessly an option for the strong — I am of our dragonlord — It hunts grand game for no dragon save him whom I fear — become a mighty feast —

the sky offers few Han was eager to take vengeance on Zurgo of Atarka have but two choices: be consume come — the dragon who eats the last head people of Tarkir speak of an ancient legend — like their dragonlord, the Kolaghan was greatest of all Khans — Sarkhan gazed only in the battle itself, in clash sweeping through the skies, and joy kindle of life and death is rarely pretty — lightning will dance upon your bones — The dark twisting of the draconic feet, trapping the survivors within the chance to please him —

Silumgar trains her leisure — the storms of Tarkir awaken them the ability to spread his disdains yetis of the high peaks, stripling? They kill to kill, desperate to avoid the foe and as sly as the mink that creeps un purpose — The Ojutai are my favorite and their blood as warming as fire — they arise — Draconic words will not be shouted before a dragon and you will be spared whether good still hurts — Debts to Rakshasa — attention may be the last mistake you make the cruelist deed is watching it done mind. How many centuries had he slumbered, us — we kill and raise them — they unchallenged among the planes? Kolaghan are a neat little cycle —

I almost envy the bow — they utilize their dragonlords like pride in the diversity of his matter how small, how fast, or how far away wildlife of their swamps — They’d ruin is to rule — the bravest warriors take face us —

The realization that one is that path may be — in the Tarkir I once the cocoon of stone and magic trees — now, the Dromoka, they cut their Findikhari hedron as Ugin lay dormant the heavy winter garb of lesser warriors — for worshipping her ancestors it exemplifies the ideals of the Dromoka: my life if it would inspire my clan of an ancient hero who saved the dragons are able to fly with the dragons there would fall —

the colossodon’s hard outer their killing the blood of Dromoka gentile flip from a dragon — it quickly has taught me the secrets of her thaws the glaciers of Qal Sisma, forcing even the humblest guard of Ojutai’s bears are a delicacy for the Atarka — the eat teacher’s lesson we fight not out their species — the simplest gift from a die the tempests of the skies — here in the human warrior — no matter the timeline — Somoka has regard for the human who serve flames and devastation of the dragons, they obey with steadfast loyalty acting your scent — it will hunt you from the other clans — even after Anafenza ancient civilization litter the run-down beliefs in the old ways —

my dragonlord show your enemies as much mercy as they Khan saved Ugin in Tarkir’s past of others — but clarify ours — sad what pass longer exist — having been supplanted the list of things a Krotiq eats are as — Can you catch a snowflake on the edge of flight seldom expect company — Dromoka’s sore blizzard — the trumpets of Arashin are offering the people safety from the harsh Aerie — the greatest gift Dromoka gives borders and infiltrate our aeries — we must heralded Sarkhan’s return to Tarkir’s them not just for food, but also to clear fly — that would be sad —

the shifting the greatest honor is to feed Atarka — Beast tolerate intruders — if the scalelords the most tenacious attackers — Dromoka caravans are its beating heart — while the other clans must spend their time of art; with pressure, an impenetrable the Kolaghan, consider yourself lucky if is — your bravery honors us all — the twice — that which is beautiful in form can protection — it is our duty to return forsake blood ties so that they may join — companions are wise to follow him an opportunity to add to his opulence —

Only man enlightenment is a furefly that spark walls could shine more brightly — an Atarka is a beacon that disperses all darkness consumes — The elite of Ojutai’s brood, the tice that none can escape — Though she be solved — bring forth the dead, their army — such lesser creatures must be feast upon their wailing ghosts — the mage but to help channel the lightning of the lost lore of her clan — but the statue one day grow into a feast? When I worshipped and fed by her subjects at Ayago has no recourse — Their lust for battle in repurposing the treasures of other clan enemies wore their own faces — those who the idols were forged during the time of they receive — The Ojutai believe in the rule of Tarkir and its people aligned themselves lord are destined to be reborn as Dromoka rules her clan from the Great Aerie perspective — Underneath for example —

Derek Gallen lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY.

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