Flavor text

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Flavor text is the italicized text (but not in parentheses) on a Magic card that serves to provide a mood or give background information on the game world, but has no effect on gameplay.

Description[edit | edit source]

Flavor text is written by freelance writers, contracted by Wizards of the Coast to submit names and flavor text for cards on an online database. The writers are paid if their submissions are accepted by the creative team.

Real-world quotations (mostly literature, the bible and so on) were a thing in early sets, but nowadays they are mostly avoided. Exceptions may appear in core sets and on promos. A few iconic cards in core sets (e.g. Wrath of God, Lightning Bolt, Disenchant) have no flavor text, even though there is room for it. Flavor text was actually seen as detracting from the overall aesthetics of these staples.

Rules[edit | edit source]

Any italicized text in parentheses is not flavor text, but reminder text.

From the Comprehensive Rules (Guilds of Ravnica (January 25, 2019))

  • 207.2. The text box may also contain italicized text that has no game function.
    • 207.2a Reminder text is italicized text within parentheses that summarizes a rule that applies to that card. It usually appears on the same line as the ability it's relevant to, but it may appear on its own line if it applies to an aspect of the card other than an ability.
    • 207.2b Flavor text is italicized text that, like the illustration, adds artistic appeal to the game. It appears below the rules text.
    • 207.2c An ability word appears in italics at the beginning of some abilities. Ability words are similar to keywords in that they tie together cards that have similar functionality, but they have no special rules meaning and no individual entries in the Comprehensive Rules. The ability words are addendum, battalion, bloodrush, channel, chroma, cohort, constellation, converge, council's dilemma, delirium, domain, eminence, enrage, fateful hour, ferocious, formidable, grandeur, hellbent, heroic, imprint, inspired, join forces, kinship, landfall, lieutenant, metalcraft, morbid, parley, radiance, raid, rally, revolt, spell mastery, strive, sweep, tempting offer, threshold, undergrowth, and will of the council.

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (Guilds of Ravnica (January 25, 2019))

Flavor Text
Text in italics (but not in parentheses) in the text box of a card that has no effect on play. See rule 207.2.

Four-letter flavor text[edit | edit source]

Starting with Mirage expansion that flavor text team always included a four-letter piece of flavor text. Mirage had "Heel" on Ray of Command, Visions had "BOOM!" on Magma Mine and "Next!" on Goblin Recruiter, Weatherlight had "Ewww!" on Mwonvuli Ooze, Tempest had "Here" on Jinxed Idol, Stronghold had "Mine" on Cannibalize, and Exodus had "Stay" on Monstrous Hound. The team decided to end the trend in Unglued with "Mooo" on Hungry Hungry Heifer in extra-large type.[1]

Flavor text matters[edit | edit source]

Un-cards may care about flavor text. Flavor text matters is featured in Unhinged (Carnivorous Death-Parrot and My First Tome) and Unstable (Ineffable Blessing).[2]

List of mentioned persons[edit | edit source]

  • The List of secondary characters is a comprehensive sortable table that lists every character that is mentioned in flavor text, but only played a minor role or even have never appeared in the storyline.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Magic Arcana. (March 21, 2002.) "Four-letter words", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Adam Styborski. (November 14, 2017.) "Welcome to Flavortown! (Or Not)", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit | edit source]