Struggles between the new and old are ingrained in the human experience. Magic players see this arise in the form of new cards with each set released for the game. Power level, rarity, creature types, every new card brings up comparisons to the old and conflicts arise in their evaluation.
But what of the reprints? Functionally identical in the player’s hands, they nonetheless introduce new elements to the game with their updated illustrations. Classic images envisioned through the eyes of a new artist come out entirely different, yet whether improvement is achieved is up to the viewer.
Does the original art stand the test of time, or do new images take up the banner of our imagination?
The eternal struggle continues… it’s the Reprint Rumble: Amonkhet Welcome Decks!
Classic Genius vs. New Hotness, who will survive this neophyte challenge? Sides have been drawn, choose your champion!
Love those spikey bits.
There are several ways to show age in an illustration. James takes a more standard approach, with age = worn down. It works, the colors are nice, and I enjoy the scale lillypads, but the end product is not exactly exciting.
Steve Prescott's crab, by comparison, is just such a happy crustacean, with a shell adorned with years of growths and additions. Maybe it's the contrasting blues and oranges, but it's oddly welcoming. I just want to give it hug.
One of the best aspects of the Amonkhet image is the change in scale of the creature being flung about. Instead of measly goblins or humans, we're chucking Minotaurs at your face now!
I consider the new art an upgrade of the vision provided by Paolo in Stronghold. A well thought out and lit background, combined with an intensely detailed main figure makes this one of my favorite images in the set.
I think Aaron did a great job with his Amonkhet update to one of the most reprinted Magic cards in existence. The tilted viewing angle and implied motion of the bird delivers a dynamic scene that I greatly enjoy.
The thing is, I can only put it at the #2 spot, because Randy broke the mold in Portal. There is a reason Randy's illustration has been used for so many reprints, it simply exquisite. (For a giant, human devouring, 8 legged monstrosity that is)
I'm a big fan of incorporating themes seen in classic art inside Magic art. Scott Fischer's Kiora, Steve Belledin's Rampant Growth, along with so many others, breaking the fourth wall with inspirations from the ages.
The original Tempest image, with its character contemplating existence in the eyes of the dead, very much reminds me of Rodin's The Thinker. While the posing and subject matter are obviously different, it hits those same contemplative notes and turns an otherwise simple common into something much more complex.
While the original illustration depends on knowledge of the Kaladesh storyline (or at least the flavor text) to make sense, it delivers in all the right places.
Instead of a character waiting to act, you have one already in motion, tossed into the fray with overwhelming zeal. It certainly doesn't hurt that this is one of the most energetic illustrations of Ajani that we've seen to date. Typically stoic, it's rare to see him so, charging headlong into battle.
While flying elephants and leaps into the void are enjoyable, it's hard to beat a well executed background, all else being equal.
Not only is the perspective different from the original versions, but the Amonkhet art hits the same notes while giving us a great overhead view of the unique architecture of the plane.
That lady has an insanely long left forearm.
Sure, it could just be the effects of the spell, or the elongated fingers tricking my eye, but the proportions of the main figure's arms just don't look right.
While I think the perspective of the new art makes it look like the bottom half of the bird soldier is missing, it hits all of the notes required. The original art, long arms aside, presents an interesting scene, but comes up short in the end.
While we here at OMA score it a 4-3 win for Classic Genius, we won’t know the eventual winner until we hear from you so vote early, vote often for your favorite art!
Remember that every piece of art should be celebrated and appreciated. The artists, art directors, and everyone involved in the creative team all bring the game to life and their contributions should never go unnoticed.
Each set provides a new chance to tell a story and capture the imagination of the players. Thanks go out to everyone involved in this creative process and I look forward to seeing the contestants for the next Reprint Rumble.
Until next time!