Domri Rade by Tyler Jacobsen
If you’re tired of always seeing dudes cosplay Jace, this is the article for you. Today, I have a real treat for those with more savage tastes: Domri Rade, by cosplayer Chris Slade, complete with animal skull fresh from the taxidermist’s.
Domri Rade is the youthful planeswalking scion of the Gruul Clan. The Gruul are a fierce tribal bunch—a motley crew of ogres, centaurs, humans and more—who live in the wilder areas of the city-covered plane of Ravnica.
Gruul Turf by John Avon
The symbol of the Gruul is a bloody, ogre-eye slashy thing that looks pretty wicked. It hints at the ferocity and virility the Gruul naturally embody. They’re a free people who fight for what they believe in, fight to settle disputes, fight for fun—okay, they just like to freakin’ fight.
Gruul Signet from Magic Online
I love Chris Slade’s Domri cosplay because he really captured the cocky take-all-comers attitude of the Gruul. Domri is both wild ‘n out and, in his quieter moments, simply stern—and Chris did a great job channeling both parts of the ’Walker’s persona. Domri Rade also has some great flavor text quotes—check out the cards below.
I had the opportunity to interview Chris about his Domri Rade; I hope you enjoy the cosplay as well as his answers to my questions. Ready to see some pictures!? You can follow Chris Slade’s costume exploits at Slade Loves Cosplay. And now, on to the RAWR . . .
Domri soaks up a little mood lighting. Romantic evening of bashing things and roasting fresh kills over an open fire? Sign me up. Domri Rade by Chris Slade.
1. How did you decide on cosplaying Domri? Do you identify with him on some level? Do you actually play Gruul when you sling spells? What drew you to this character?
Domri Rade holds a special place in my heart as the first ’Walker I ever pulled. I had played Magic back in high school, and I loved the Gruul clans back then. After Lorwyn/Shadowmoor, I quit and didn't play much until the release of Dragon’s Maze. At the prerelease event, I choose to champion the Gruul War Clan again, and lo and behold, who shows up but the boy himself, Domri Rade.
Naturally, this bond led to my choice to cosplay Domri. When it came to cementing the decision, it was how Domri awakened his spark that did the deal. See, most ’Walkers awaken their sparks after a near-death experience. Domri was buried alive as a trial to join his clan, and he envisioned a world without the city of Ravnica. He awoke on Naya and felt at home. He returns after only a short time on the wild plane, and back home, he joins his clan.
R/G is one of my personal favorite color combos due to the power it brings to the table—literally. It’s almost guaranteed that when I play Magic, my deck will have red in it. I've yet to find a deck I like playing without something red. Hell, I play Legacy Goblins, my Commander is Krenko, Mob Boss, and I'm building Boros Burn for Standard. I like red, haha!
Gruul Keyrune by Daniel Ljunggren
2. Tell us a little about your persona in "real" life. What's the daily grind like for Chris?
In real life, I am in fact not a Planeswalker—shocker, I know. In fact, I'm just a humble factory worker for now with dreams of being an actor someday. My free time consists of playing Magic, reading comics and books, writing character stories, roleplaying in various MMOs, and playing WoW on top of all of it. I also enjoy playing with my pet cat Sancho. Heehee.
“Got beef, brah?” Careful, your bones might end up as his next pieces of flair. Domri Rade by Chris Slade.
3. Give us some insight on how you made such a wicked looking Domri staff! Is that a real skull!?
The skull is in fact real. The main staff is an old walking stick I had lying around that was sanded and then stained to give it a more natural look. The bottom bone plate is woodcut roughly in the shape shown in the art for Domri. The whole staff was a good forty hours of work altogether, but it only cost approximately $40. The skull was $30, and the leather and bolts used to hold everything were about $10. It’s among my favorite items I own, and it’s one that will be hard to top. On a side note, I initially planned on cutting off the horns of the skull, but after thinking about what Domri would do with the skull, I kept them and was satisfied with look in the end. That is actually paint that is on the skull, and I decided to add the flair on the horns, as it felt more authentic for a wild child of Ravnica.
4. How do you source materials for your costumes? Give us a brief summary of your process creating this cosplay.
Let’s see. The skull came from a taxidermist. The fur came from Etsy, and it is faux yak fur. It’s very soft, and it worked well to also line the inside of the right shoulder. The other shoulder is Styrofoam and leather from Hobby Lobby. The pants were old work pants I dyed, and the look is actually accidental, as I didn’t dye them correctly. But as with most great things in life, the accident turned out great! The fur around the ankles was actually just a pair of women’s boots from which I took the bottoms off, and the sandals were mine. The eyeliner was just a regular eyeliner pencil, although it should be noted that I had to reapply it several times during the day of wearing Domri. The rest of the pieces were also just standard clothing I ended up cutting up and using to obtain the desired effect.
Resourcefulness: a true Gruul trait and a cosplay pro tip for success. Domri Rade by Chris Slade.
5. What other MTG cosplays have you done and/or which will you will doing in the future that we can look forward to?
So far, Domri is my only one. Venser is coming up Kami Con weekend, which will be 2/27–3/1, 2015. I also have aspirations for a Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded and Karn Liberated; Tasigur, the Golden Fang (because someone I just met suggested it—wink wink!); and possibly Nicol Bolas or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon if I can find the right way to plan them out. Other characters include Xenagos, the Reveler or Xenagos, God of Revels (Goat or God), Mogis, God of Slaughter (because he is a badass!), and Tajic, Blade of the Legion from Ravnica.
6. What keeps you inspired as an MTG cosplayer?
Oh, man. It’s probably the looks on people’s face when they realize, "Holy sh*t, that’s Domri Rade.” The constant compliments I hear from people really help, as the case generally is you don’t feel you've done a good job on your own work until someone else says so. The biggest inspiration is the art, and I’m looking forward to more art from future sets. The art for Ugin was well worth the build-up—and his alternate art even more so!
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon by Chris Rahn
7. What do you feel are your biggest strengths as a cosplayer—what makes you unique, what do you do really well? And on the flip side, what do you feel are your weaknesses as a cosplayer that you'd like to work on?
I like working with wood and metal. I have a certification in welding, and I like welding in my free time. My dad helps me with woodwork, as he’s better with a saw than I am. I also enjoy getting into the character I am cosplaying, and I can go really in-depth with it after a few minutes. Weaknesses include sewing, leatherwork, and overall armor-creation. I’m more a weapons guy, though the Domri shoulders turned out looking great. The sad part is the Styrofoam shoulder fell apart and needs to be remade before Domri’s next outing.
Gruul Guildgate by Randy Gallegos
8. What formats do you enjoy? What are your favorite decks to pilot?
I love the Commander format. I currently have two decks: a Narset, Enlightened Master Voltron deck and a Krenko Mono-Red Goblins deck. In Standard, I’m currently building Boros Burn thanks to a few new cards from Fate Reforged, and Burn has always been a deck type I like. I’m not big on swinging with monsters or playing counters, but with a Mono-Red Burn deck, I feel at home. Sometimes, the deck needs a bit more oomph in it to really get the big spells—or to hit the good stuff—so Boros Burn and R/G Aggro suit me, too. U/R is when I want janky nonsense, and B/R is where I go evil. Prior to last rotation, I was Top 8’ing with a Mogis "Control" deck—a lot of burn, a lots of sacs, a lot of kill, and a lot of sad-faced players when Mogis swings for the fences.
Mogis, God of Slaughter by Chris Mohrbacher
9. What's the best piece of advice you have for people thinking about trying an MTG cosplay but who are feeling hesitant about taking the plunge?
Don't ever say you can't do something. That is what stopped me from making Jace and Sorin a long time ago. And don't say you won't cosplay just because you don’t have the skills to make the outfit. That's one of the other reasons I chose Domri: I knew—I knew!—I could do this guy. I could make him and make a standard. And last, always ask for help from others. Ask for assistance, ask for ideas, and above all, always be willing to ask what the price is for a commission.
You never know: a Planeswalker meetup might manifest in a hallway near you. Domri Rade by Chris Slade.
Want more MTG cosplay? Follow Chris Slade at Slade Loves Cosplay, and check out the Magic: The Gathering Cosplay group. I hope to bring you more of these cosplayer features in the near future, so if you like what you’re seeing, please support these artists in the comments or by dropping by their pages!
Till next time, may Magic be your gigantic deer-skull piece of flair.