Splendid Genesis and Fraternal Exaltation: The Magic cards specially made as baby announcements


Richard Garfield had special Magic cards made to announce the births of his children.

Every once in a while, a special Magic: The Gathering card is created to celebrate something not just unique but also personal to the higher-ups. For example, in the early days Magic creator Richard Garfield made a Proposal card for his real life proposal to Lily Wu and the Shichifukujin Dragon was made for a new center in Japan in 1996.

As the 1990s progressed, Magic grew to new heights, but so did Richard Garfield’s own life. He was married and soon enough he found out he was going to have a child in 1997 - more specifically a girl they would name Terry. In anticipation, Wizards of the Coast printed off a limited run of 110 cards to celebrate. 

Called Splendid Genesis, the green-color card featured the rules text "Shuffle all cards in the game together and deal them into three decks. The game continues with a new player."

The flavor text, a quote by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, really drove home the meaning:

“She discovered with great delight that one does not love one’s children because they are one’s children but because of the friendship formed while raising them.” 

But it didn't stop with Splendid Genesis.

In 1999 the Garfields were due for another child, this time a boy named Schuyler. And once again a card was made to celebrate this, albeit this time blue with a run of 220 cards. Although, with a name like Fraternal Exaltation, it was none too subtle like the previous one.

Reading "Sneak into your parents’ closet to get a deck. Your new brother is joining the game" with a Sarah Boynton quote of “… and when you want to go explore, the number you should have is four." as flavor text, the card seemingly was the final of the "celebration" cards for the Garfield family.

Today, the extreme rarity of the cards makes them on the Black Lotus level of affordability (if not more so) despite not having any play legality at all. One copy of Splendid Genesis, complete with birth announcement, has a sell price for $15,000. Having a run of 110 will do that to pretty much anything. And hey, if you have that money, you can still technically play it in kitchen table-style with friends or use it your very own birth announcements.

And while they remain expensive, they may not be the last ones. Mark Rosewater has joked that a black card simply called Eulogy will be the last after Garfield’s death. Or, well, at least we really hope he’s joking.

Evan Symon

Evan Symon is a graduate of The University of Akron and has been a working journalist ever since with works published by Cracked, GeekNifty, the Pasadena Independent, California Globe, and, of course, Magic Untapped.