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Ready? This is a riddle that will be fun and reasonably easy for anyone experienced with the subject matter; otherwise it will likely prove difficult (though I think there are enough clues that you could piece some amount together). Try your hand if you think you can manage it:

I'd like to describe a magical place;
Where an archipelago fills the space.
There are other climates: mist, murk, mountain;
But all give way to the islands about them.
Some are quite green, vegetation-adorned;
Some filled with lava from which they were formed.
Besides all of these, there is one more land:
Lifeless and barren, its harvest is bland.
Spreads infertility, a rotting gust;
Looking for fear? Grab a handful of dust.

Delve into the isles, 3 natives you'll find;
And each one of them 3 more of their kind.
The first is a creature of quite small size;
An agile predator that snakes despise.
It eludes attempts to kill or cripple;
In an eye's blink, its size can triple.
Next is a man, an entemologist;
He's in need of a good psychologist.
Jars of experiments clutter his shelf;
Out of test subjects, he turns to himself.
The third is a beast of terror and dread;
What doesn't grow dies. It feeds on the dead.
Just like its cousin, its hunger for fawns
Is only surpassed by its hunger for Hans.

A stay on these isles can be quite fright'ning;
The storms abound with all types of lightning.
If all of these facts leave you in a daze;
This upcoming truth will really amaze.
The forces there excel at bereaving
They stifle any attempts at leaving.

Understand? Can you determine what this riddle is describing? What is the "place" in the riddle? Who are the "natives"? A correct answer will include explanations of the hidden meaning in the lines (you may not catch them all at first). I put a lot of work into this one so I hope y'all like it. Go!

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  • $\begingroup$ "Next is a man, an entemologist; He's in need of a good psychologist. Jars of experiments clutter his shelf; Out of test subjects, he turns to himself." This reminds me of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis for some reason. $\endgroup$ – Joe Z. Jul 22 '15 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ Would the trivia tag be relevant here? $\endgroup$ – Bailey M Jul 22 '15 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ @BaileyM Thanks, I didn't even know that existed $\endgroup$ – NeedAName Jul 22 '15 at 21:07
  • $\begingroup$ +1 for a poem that actually has decent metre (and good rhymes!) $\endgroup$ – GentlePurpleRain Jul 22 '15 at 21:13
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This is inspired by olop4444's answer - thanks! :D


I'd like to describe a magical place;
Where an archipelago fills the space.

What's being described here is RUG Delver, a Legacy deck in Magic: the Gathering. Let's go!

There are other climates: mist, murk, mountain;
But all give way to the islands about them.

This is a reference to the fetchlands, which include Misty Rainforest, Scalding Tarn, and Wooded Foothills.

Some are quite green, vegetation-adorned;
Some filled with lava from which they were formed.

These are the dual land islands, Tropical Island and Volcanic Island.

Besides all of these, there is one more land:
Lifeless and barren, its harvest is bland.
Spreads infertility, a rotting gust;
Looking for fear? Grab a handful of dust.

This land is Wasteland - truly lifeless and barren. The bland harvest refers to the fact that it produces colorless mana.

Delve into the isles, 3 natives you'll find;
And each one of them 3 more of their kind.
The first is a creature of quite small size;
An agile predator that snakes despise.
It eludes attempts to kill or cripple;
In an eye's blink, its size can triple.

Here we're talking about Nimble Mongoose, which is a 1/1 and gets +2/+2 when you have Threshold (size can triple) and can't be targeted by spells or abilities (eludes attempts).

Next is a man, an entemologist;
He's in need of a good psychologist.
Jars of experiments clutter his shelf;
Out of test subjects, he turns to himself.

This one is, in fact, Delver of Secrets, which transforms itself to Insectile Aberration!

The third is a beast of terror and dread;
What doesn't grow dies. It feeds on the dead.
Just like its cousin, its hunger for fawns
Is only surpassed by its hunger for Hans.

This is Tarmogoyf, which gets bigger when there are more creatures of different types in the graveyard. It's a Lhurgoyf creature type, similar to Lhurgoyf itself, which is featured on the Joke card, "Ach, Hans, Run!"

A stay on these isles can be quite fright'ning;
The storms abound with all types of lightning.

This is the card Lightning Bolt! 3 damage for 1 mana is good.

If all of these facts leave you in a daze;
This upcoming truth will really amaze.

This is a reference to the Magic card Daze...

The forces there excel at bereaving

...and Force of Will...

They stifle any attempts at leaving.

...and Stifle!

P.S. "A Magical Riddle", indeed.

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  • $\begingroup$ Truly impressive work! I thought I had outdone myself but you made short work of it. Hope you had fun :) $\endgroup$ – NeedAName Jul 22 '15 at 22:07
  • $\begingroup$ @NeedAName I happen to have watched a lot of M:tG coverage in the last couple years, so I'm familiar with RUG Delver as a deck. When Delver was pointed out to me, and I recognized Tarmogoyf, the rest became pretty easy. It was fun! :) $\endgroup$ – Bailey M Jul 23 '15 at 14:18
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"Next is a man, an entemologist;
He's in need of a good psychologist.
Jars of experiments clutter his shelf;
Out of test subjects, he turns to himself."

This part strongly points to the following Magic the Gathering card: http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?name=delver+of+secrets
An entomologist is a scientist who studies insects, and the scientist in the card ends up turning himself into an insect.

The title of the puzzle ("A Magical Riddle") also points to Magic the Gathering.

Furthermore the description of climates seems to refer to the various lands in Magic (Mist -> ?, Murk -> Swamp, Mountain -> Mountain). Islands are also a land in Magic the Gathering, associated with the color blue (same as the above Magic card).

Therefore I believe that the "place" in the riddle refers to Islands in MTG.

The other two "natives" most likely refer to other blue Magic creatures.

"If all of these facts leave you in a daze;"
Perhaps refers to the blue spell Daze?

I'm unfortunately not familiar enough with MTG to recognize exactly which other cards are being referenced here.

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