A new Magic: The Gathering card featuring Sheldon Menery, who passed away earlier this month, will be released in tribute of the Commander format pioneer.
Menery died on September 8th after a seven-year battle with throat cancer. Best known for shaping MTG’s popular Commander format - originally known as Elder Dragon Highlander - via his homebrew games while serving for two decades in the US Air Force, Menery went on to become a co-founder of the Commander Rules Committee dedicated to refining the format, as well as a prolific Magic: The Gathering writer and influential tournament judge within the TCG’s community.
Wizards of the Coast revealed artwork for the upcoming tribute card during a panel at MagicCon, its event held in Las Vegas last weekend. The illustration was shared on Twitter/X by MagiKids, an educational nonprofit that provides schools and children with MTG decks.
While no details on what the card itself will be, artist Donato Giancola’s illustration appears to show Menery casting a form of swirling black ink with glowing eyes and mouths. The ink-like swirls have led some to predict that the artwork may appear on a reprint of Inkshield, an instant spell designed for the 2021 Commander expansion in honour of Menery’s own deck.
Inkshield prevents all combat damage dealt during that turn, before allowing the player to create a 2/1 white and black Inkling creature token with flying for each damage prevented. The card costs three colourless mana, plus one white and one black.
Sheldon Menery will be on a Magic card. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/WVSGF79vCg— MagiKids.org ♻️ MTGSchools (@magikidsMTG) September 24, 2023
While an Inkshield reprint seems likely given the connection to Menery and the fitting art, other fans have suggested that the artwork may be used for a legendary creature - which could then be used as a commander - such as a Silverquill mage in recognition of Menery’s work on the 2021 Commander preconstructed deck Silverquill Statement, which also included the Inkshield card.
MagicCon paid further tribute to Menery with a sign in the event’s Command Zone area that invited visitors to share their memories of the MTG figure and donate to the American Cancer Society in his memory. The tribute was accompanied by a vase of white and black flowers - in a nod to Menery’s preferred colour combination - next to which players left Magic cards in respect, as per X user goberthicks.
“Known for his kindness and generosity among the community, he sought to make the game a welcoming and enjoyable experience for players of all levels and backgrounds,” the tribute read. “Sheldon is a legend who will be remembered for many years to come and whose legacy will live on through countless players.”