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: Duel Decks: Merfolk vs. Goblins!
Classic Genius vs. New Hotness, with a new war about to begin, only the best will prevail!
As much as I’m a sucker for Lorwyn art, I think that the reprint wins this round. The original is a little too much like a slip-and-slide whereas the new one shows an entire forest underwater. The reprint also has this subtle touch where it feels like the land has only recently been submerged; the forest-y features are still there but are slowly giving way to moss and fish.
Old Gempalm is basically an aging punk rocker who got too frazzled in his youth. Maybe there’s some charm there. But, I find the new art to be a lot cleaner while still maintaining the essential fiery expertise of the goblin.
The new Goblin Goon looks like that really pumped up guy at the gym who clearly wasn’t hugged enough as a child. It’s pretty endearing, actually. By way of contrast, the old Goblin Goon looks too much like a Bizzaro Hulk, for my tastes.
This is just a matter of preference. The core art in both iterations is good and clearly depict the card’s effect. What puts the Theros Master of Waves over the top for me is the detail given to the elementals. Rather than just having the elementals just be a few extra waves, as is the case in the reprint, the original’s waves are crafted into all manner of sea-creature.
Plus, some pegasi were thrown in there as a shout out to the block’s foundational Greek mythology (Poseidon fathered the Pegasus).
It’s goblins all the way down! I just love the idea that there’s a never-ending stream of goblins who won’t rest until you’re defeated. Goblins have this is expendable quality, and I think that the new art presents that well.
This is a classic case of taking an old Magic card and bringing it up to modern standards. The new art looks less like a Castlevania monster and more like a fearsome merfolk warrior. It’s still not totally clear to me how this guy is gonna fly (Do the waves carry him?), but it definitely is a nice improvement over the old one.
Which warren is this new Warren Instigator instigating? #FAKENEWS? The new art has some nice details like how the reflection of water on the goblin’s face lends it a certain sinister quality. But, it just isn’t connected enough to the card’s effect to surpass Robinson’s original effort.
While we here at OMA score it a 5-2 win for New Hotness, 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!
Magic has a certain aesthetic to it. Set in a fantasy world, the artwork has a kind of cohesion... most of the time. Sig highlights some examples where it absolutely did not.