Wizards of the Coast wanted a lion upskirt for MTG Modern Horizons 3 (seriously)

Traditional painting of a muscular anthropomorphic lion. His fur is white and he wears a blue loincloth.
(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast / Art by Ilse Gort)

With nine sets on the 2024 release calendar, you could fill an entire gallery with all the stunning Magic: The Gathering illustrations we’re set to see this year, and from what we’ve seen so far, MTG Modern Horizons 3 is no exception. However, some are stunning for... well, different reasons.

Players have been finding certain cards particularly aesthetically pleasing, shall we say. Just earlier this week, we got our first look at this year's additions to one of the best card games, and a certain pointy-eared bad boy left fans blushing. Then MTG Modern Horizons 3 arrived with an answer to this in the form of Ajani Goldmane and his brother Jazal. While the set has a Modern focus, these two leonin beefcakes seem to have rejected the contemporary social norm of wearing a shirt. It's all good though, it's not like the furries are complaining.

As you can see from the art below, one of these cards has an upskirt shot of Ajani as he stands rather proudly amongst the treetops.

However, this wasn't all on the artist. Ilse Gort (A.K.A. Caraid) is an illustrator, self-professed “cat lady”, and the brush behind the gorgeously rendered borderless Ajani, Nacatl Pariah art. She hopped on Twitter to address the heated fan response to the card’s reveal and pointed out that MTG publisher Wizards of the Coast "CHOSE the upskirt shot. So this is really only partially on me." 

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While Caraid proudly claims the furry label, she says that her art director choosing to “lean into” the anthropomorphic pinup vision was an unexpected development for her.

Alongside her statement, the artist posted images of the three original digital sketches as well as the full traditional painting. Thankfully, it turns out that all that the card’s text box conceals is a little pair of blue modesty shorts (if you wear skirts, you already know what’s up).  

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Cat warrior Ajani has had it real rough as of late. After seeing him receive some brutal cybernetic treatment during last year’s March of the Machines arc, I’m happy to see him living his best life in what seems to be his home plane shard of Naya, gallanting through the treeline and feeling the wind in his hair (or fur, I suppose).

If you’re keen to add a tasteful bit of Ajani upskirt to your collection, I'm afraid you’re going to have to hold out until Magic: The Gathering - Modern Horizons 3 releases on June 14. 


If you're on the hunt for more gems to add to your tabletop gaming collection, why not check out the best board games and the best tabletop RPGs?

Abigail Shannon
Tabletop & Merch Writer

Abigail is a Tabletop & Merch writer at Gamesradar+. She carries at least one Magic: The Gathering deck in her backpack at all times and always spends far too long writing her D&D character backstory. She’s a lover of all things cute, creepy, and creepy-cute.