MTG: Introducing — Vox Maxima

It is 917. You are anxious about the news. You knew things were going to go badly, but you didn’t know they’d be this bad. You run through the streets of the city, trying to get the feelings out of your heart, feeling your fingertips numb, the swell in your throat and the agony of knowing, of knowing this.

The world is going to end. Sometime in the next few years. Sometime soon.

It’s called the Necrocalypse. The actual specifics are confusing – there’s a confluence of so many magical factors, and it seems to be directly tied to activities of spellcasters. The same people who made the world you live in, with the towering, safe, well-cared for and healthy hallmarks of the life you lived were all at the expense of something… coming. Something eventual. Something inevitable.

You take in a deep, helpless breath.

You close your eyes.

You open your eyes. It is 927.

You stand in the bazaar, surrounded by the noise and sound of the clink of coins and the lowing of the camels and the other animals here for trade. Everyone around you hesitates too – you can see it, the moment that happened to everyone else. You know where you are – a Kraivh Cremains Bazaar, here to trade with the bone dust that drives the heart of the Kraivh Assembly’s great industrial and military engine…

… but you have no idea what you did yesterday.

Or the day before that.

Ten years of your life, disappeared, and ten years of everyone’s life.

Ten years missing.

What happened?


You blinked, and ten years disappeared. The world is changed, with five factions grappling to contend with this new reality and its new crusades, rebuilding the missing time and what it means, in the great empire of the Kraivh Assembly.


One person in nine is gone. A whole Empire, spread across what were a host of countries, holds the world together, handling the tragedy. But as instantly as the Empire appeared, so to do its enemies – beset from without and within by threats to its tenuous stability. The machinery of war has been set in motion as everyone contends with the sudden, widespread loss of their time.

Planeswalkers are stranded, unable to Planeswalk away. The Emperor holds the Assembly together with both hands, turning to his daughters to quest to save the Empire. They travel the land, meeting its people, and trying to understand the words that destroyed a decade. They seek to express the Vox Maxima – the greatest voice.

Warning: Wizards employees, this post contains unsolicited designs of custom magic cards.

Vox Maxima is a custom magic set created by Talen Lee. It’s composed of 187 cards, with 71 commons, 60 uncommons, 41 rares, and 15 mythic rares. The block’s main theme is +1/+1 counters, with a focus on cards for a multiplayer commander environment that express its five three-colour factions.

  • The Kraivh Assembly (white-black-red), which commands the vast, sprawling empire under Emperor Kraivh. At some point in the lost decade, the Empire was formed, commanded the world and industrialised through its use of necromantic magic. People in the Empire often don’t have to worry about labor or want, as so many jobs are now handled by nectrotechnical advancement.
  • The Iacon College (white-blue-black), an associate of researchers who are trying to explain the missing decade. Surrounded by technical devices, and elaborate machines, the Iacon are trying to determine what their machines were made for, and what happened to their College in the intervening time. The Iacon have filled their space with all sorts of wonderful machinery, but in the process, risked losing their humanity and ability to contribute to the necropolity. Such sayeth the Emperor, be he loved.
  • The Jatku Outcasts (blue-black-green), a collection of strange insect monster-people, inhuman forms, that the Empire has declared outlaws and monsters, people to be eschewed. The Jatku kill people, filling their body with bug eggs, and corrupt and transform them into buzing, strange, insect hybrid monsters. Such sayeth the Emperor, be he loved. The Jatku even refuse to die properly.
  • The Aszyt  Uprising (blue-red-green), a rebellion of deep-sea monsters and coastal pirates who formed some sort of eerie cult, attacking the Empire for their hatred and fear of its ideology of freedom and justice. Such sayeth the Emperor, be he loved. The Aszyt feed on mana and know deep, terrible secrets from the depths of the ocean.
  • The Rudel Verge (white-red-green), a post-civilisation culture of barbarians and warriors that refuse to belong to the Empire. They have drawn their line and dismantled their cities and burned their books and lost their truths, and they only can manage to scrape out a meagre existence through desperate interdependence – where one is lost, one is lost to all. Such sayeth the Emperor, be he loved. The Verge use magic to impart powerful lessons on one another, whispering secrets through the trees.

The set symbol is the shape of the Kraivh Empire’s imperial seal, a design meant to evoke the shape of a vertebrae, part of the spinal column, to represent the way that the Empire is structural to all things, in all places, and in all ways. This set features, for its major mechanics:

  • Amass
  • Backup
  • Fabricate
  • Ravenous
  • Undying

There are also cards that feature

  • Eminence
  • Goad
  • Double-faced cards
  • Sagas
"Assembly Militant 3R Creature — Human Knight Whenever Assembly Militant becomes blocked, amass Skeletons 1. (Put a +1/+1 counter on an Army you control. It’s also a Skeleton. If you don’t control an Army, create a 0/0 black Skeleton Army creature token first.) One way or another, all conflict enriches the empire. 4/3"
"Sixfold Wingseer 1W Artifact Creature — Angel Flying, vigilance Fabricate 1 (When this permanent enters the battlefield, you may put a +1/+1 counter on it. If you don’t, create a 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature token.) Some Iacon angels were designed to reassure and warn. 1/1"
"Chitin Dancer B Creature — Human Wizard Menace Sacrifice Chitin Dancer: Another target creature gains undying until end of turn. (When that creature dies, if it had no +1/+1 counters on it, return it to the battlefield under its owner’s control with a +1/+1 counter on it.) Where Kraivh sought to undo death, Jatku created a single endless life. 1/1"
"Aszyt Yearfeaster XU Creature — Merfolk Wizard Ravenous (This creature enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it. If X is 5 or more, draw a card when it enters.) When Aszyt Yearfeaster enters the battlefield, return target creature an opponent controls to its owner’s hand. Might enough to undo deeds. 0/0"
"Autumnal Laminae 1G Creature — Dryad Mystic Backup 1 (When this creature enters the battlefield, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature. If that’s another creature, it gains the following abilities until end of turn.) Whenever this creature deals combat damage to an opponent, create a tapped 1/1 green Forest Dryad land creature token. Verge dryads dress in nature’s gold. 1/2"
"Niamh, Billion’s Avenger WW Legendary Creature — Human Knight Eminence — As long as Niamh is on the battlefield or in the command zone, you may spend W as if it were U, B, R, or G to cast spells that are creatures with base power, base toughness and mana value 2. Lifelink “None of us are strong as all of us!” 2/2"

These are all pre-existing mechanics, with no new rules. Every single card is designed to slot functionally into existing Magic: The Gathering and balanced for the casual, non-competitive commander format, rather than any attempt to push designs that are meant to exist in a modern or standard competitive environment.

The tokens for this set are as follows:

  • A 1/1 Servo artifact creature token
  • An artifact Treasure token
  • A 3/3 green Beast creature token
  • A 1/1 green and black Insect creature token
  • A 1/1 blue Kraken creature token
  • A 8/8 blue Kraken creature token
  • A 1/1 green Forest Dryad land creature token
A 1/1 green Forest Land Dryad creature token
a treasure token
A 0/0 black zombie army creature token
a 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature
a 1/1 blue kraken creature token
a 8/8 blue kraken creature token
a 1/1 green and black insect creature token
a 3/3 green beast creature token

Over the course of this first month, there will be daily updates providing a small introduction to the factions and the world they’re in. There’s also going to be daily posts to my Cohost, to the Kind.Social instance of Mastodon under the hashtag #VoxMaxima, and to the Custom Magic subreddit, which you can check out in those links.


Here’s another thing, the big thing I reflected on being a problem back when I made The Usurper’s Palace. I had the components of a story but no actual story. The world needed to exist enough to justify the factions and figures in the world, but there wasn’t anything that I could tell you about what happened in sequence of the narrative. I didn’t know how it ended.

But this time I do.

What that means is that once the month is over, next month, there’s going to be a spoiler, breakdown post, that kind of thing, which gives mechanical insight and describes ideas I used to inform the set and also just be an alt-text-full gallery of all the cards I posted in the past month, but then the next day, will be a summary of the story so far. Summary, not the actual, like, narrative, because I am not Seanan McGuire nor do I have Seanan McGuire money for my silly magic fan set.

It’s okay, don’t worry about it, you’ll see what it looks like when we get there.