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  • February 27, 2024 3 min read 0 Comments

    “The next time that creature would be destroyed this turn, it isn’t.”

    The first line of reminder text for regenerate, an ability I was surprised to learn debuted in Alpha. A simple summary of the way the effect replaces a typical action in Magic: “it isn’t.” The latter half of the text reads differently though – “instead, tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat.” It reads like instructions for tucking a loved one into bed.

    Unlike most things in Magic, it tells you how to take care of something, tend to it, instead of annihilating it, or conjuring it into unconsenting existence. For this same reason regenerate was removed from Magic after Oath of the Gatewatch in 2016 where it joined banding, horsemanship, and other difficult to parse and harder still to time mechanics in the scrapheap of history, to be replaced instead with abilities like hexproof, ward, or protection.

    I find regenerate more poetic, though. Where Gods Willing can be cast in an instant, illustrating the fickle moods of the Theros gods, regenerate comes with a promise. When activated, regenerate saves a life that was cast, perhaps recklessly, into damnation. The game itself stops, breathes, and unwinds its own clock. A rare and consequently awkward interaction between the game world and our own. Imperative, however, the creature must be destroyed for this promise to come to fruition. The veil must be breached.

    Cards that illustrate this event are few. The ability is frequently tacked onto creatures and are not the focus of many cards function as a game piece. As I mentioned, regenerate appears in Alpha and mostly on creatures and cards that bar the ability such as Wrath of God and Terror. One card, however, enchants a creature with the ability: Regeneration.

    regeneration art mtg

    Regeneration was first printed with art by Quinton Hoover, one of the few artists who have made a lasting impact on Magic: the Gathering, and who unfortunately passed away 10 years ago. Like any artists who leave behind their body of work, which will live on forever, Hoover’s paintings are now fixed and finite.

    Of course, this means if they were not already highly coveted, they will undoubtedly skyrocket in price. In the case of Hoover’s body of work they were already coveted and have only grown in appeal and value. It is not, however, a particularly bullish market; doubly so for art perhaps. It was odd then, and quite reasonable to make news, when the owner of Quinton Hoover’s original artwork for Regeneration announced they were entertaining offers for the piece. It was originally painted in 1993 and is mixed medium; watercolor, acrylic, and ink on paper.

    The poetry I find in the ability regenerate is quite personal and perhaps not shared with anyone at all. The poetry of Regeneration is rather impersonal, on the other hand. A great deal of Magic players cite Hoover and Regeneration specifically as their inspiration to play Magic or consume art or both, and so this news spread fast.

    I first heard the news of it potentially changing hands from Tyler Walpole’s post on X (formerly Twitter). In it he cites Hoover as the reason he decided to try his hand at Magic art. He also admits he could in no way afford it. The painting is listed for $220,000 in the museum it currently resides in and the current owner was only entertaining offers over $80,000.

    Whether the painting finds a new home or not it will always be one of most beautiful works ever done for Magic. For a budding card game in 1994, it set a standard. Where many artists were themselves still developing, Hoover had bloomed. His style is iconic, indicative of an era, but not derivative of his predecessors.

    If you’re interested in this piece or paying attention to other original paintings and sketches, join the MtG Art Market Facebook group.


    Magali Villeneuve is known throughout Magic: The Gathering for illustrating some of the game's incredible Planeswalkers and many of its most iconic characters.

    Now Magali has teamed up with the OMA Store to offer a limited edition collection of licensed Magic: The Gathering playmats and prints, gorgeously extended to see the full scene. 

    magali playmat collection kickstarter