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: Battlebond!
Classic Genius vs. New Hotness, who will emerge victorious?
I love the huge amount of purple that they included in the Battlebond art for Diabolic Intent. Not only does it recall the color's regal history, but it easily conveys a bit of unstated malevolence. Great color choice.
Sadly, even with the great hue, it pales in comparison to the sadistic glee see on Crovax's face in the original Planeshift art. Pulling out a dagger, even one as violet as in the new version, doesn't communicate the same level of "joy at the pain of others" that Dave Dorman captured in the first printing of the card.
I vacilated between the Ravnica and Judge arts for quite a while before finally settling on the Chuck Lukacs art. In the end, I just liked the parchment and hydra combination more than Ravnica's version of Saprolings. If they were Dominarian, I may have changed my mind.
Either way, I was definitely going to pick either of the old versions over the Battlebond art. As powerful as the card is, it should look better than the "Build Your Own Palace" artwork from old Civilization games. It's not bad, but the small scale ends up with semi-pixelated artwork. I'm sure it looks much better in full size.
Both images communicate the idea of a "Last Gasp" effectively, but I prefer the white spell effects and chunkier shapes of the original over the Jason Engle update.
It's a Scott on Scott battle!
This round is a great opportunity to view Scott's growth as an artist. With Royal Trooper being one of his first pieces, and the Battlebond artwork his most recent, it's pretty clear that his style and approach to posing, anatomy, and color have developed over time.
Not only is the new artwork more colorful, but it also has a more realistic and organic pose (though still using boob armor, odd art direction from WotC there). Win for New Hotness.
Simply put, the new artwork is much more "Tyrant" than the original. Look at the facial expressions and see the difference. The Orizio character looks miffed, while the Battlebond artwork has a regal pose and presentation with a much stronger impact.
While I am a sucker for old, curled up maps, the new artwork has a higher level of detail, stronger anatomy (look at the left arm on the original), and a more engaging narrative. New Hotness all the way.
While we here at OMA score it a 3-3 tie, 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!