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: Friday Night Magic 2016!
Classic Genius vs. New Hotness, who will claim victory in this pre-weekend contest? Sides have been drawn, choose your champion!
While the original art shows the typical encroaching Eldrazi corruption, it doesn’t look particularly blighted, at least when compared to the new Friday Night Magic promo art. Jason has a knack for capturing the otherworldy and disturbing aspects of Magic’s world and it shines through in this FNM update.
I can see how the original fits in with the storyline, but the new art simply incorporates the theme instead of making it entirely obvious. If you were to show me both images and ask me which is the Blighted Fen, the New Hotness would win every time.
Stop Magali, I can only take so much awesomeness at one time.
Not only is the new art depicting a much more powerful scene, it is also much more fitting to the “Rally the Banners” concept.
The original art is more subtle, showing Olivia elevating his soldiers through her version of vampiric knighthood, but at no point does it match the “full might of her bloodline” that you see in the updated illustration.
Just look at the new art and tell me you can’t hear the Game of Thrones theme song or Rains of Castermere playing in the background.
Easy win for New Hotness.
I can’t say that I was a big fan of the art from the original Clash of Wills and the FNM update hasn’t really brought anything new to the table to change my mind.
Random wizard vs. Sphinx and Jace vs. Eldrazi, both with requisite swirly blue energy tendrils. Yep, it’s a another rumble between generic blue spell illustrations.
In the end I give the edge to the original art as it better illustrates a “Clash” with two opposing colors instead of just deflecting some incoming “Mind Lasers”. You can see the two combatants struggling against each other, while Jace is simply turning aside an assault.
I give the edge to the more direct confrontation and the round to Classic Genius.
Jonas did everything right with this new FNM art. The lighting is excellent, the landscape and limited fauna fits the card perfectly and the overall image is great. Even so, I still had to give the win to Classic Genius.
I simply LOVE what Zack and the art directors did with the piece, capturing the last bit of mana left in the land before the Eldrazi corruption consumes it. You need to understand the storyline and the significance of the surrounding “creep” to get the full impact, but with that context in mind it’s pretty genius.
Jonas delivered an amazing piece of artwork but the narrative of the original art was just too good.
Classic Genius wins a close one.
The cartoony style of the original art doesn’t really hold up with the advent of these new printings. Sure, you can see a bit of maniacal glee in the eyes of the mage from Torment, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the wanton destruction shown in Shadows Over Innistrad and the silent fury of the FNM art.
Of the four, I feel that the SoI art does the best job of capturing a Fiery Temper, especially that of an Angel gone mad, set on destruction and fiery vengeance. The FNM art is a more personal piece, with a great use of expression and casual violence, but the wanton carnage shown in the SoI art is more fitting of a Madness enabled Fiery Temper.
Classic Genius takes another round.
Ummm, excuse me. I was told there would be some flaying in this Rumble. I specifically came here from some flaying.
It looks more like the Eldrazi is just bullying their way into a line a SDCC, rather than using their tendrils to inflict massive bodily harm.
Yes, that’s much more like it. Exactly what I was looking for.
We have Tendrils. We have Flaying. New Hotness wins by default.
I really wish I could find a full frame version of the FNM art as there may be many details left on the cropping room floor. Mark doesn’t often leave large elements like weapons and feet out of the frame, so it would be interesting to see what we are missing from the full art.
Comparing the two, I prefer the original version with its softer edges and more classical Goblin figures. The Hildebrandt’s cartoony style isn’t always my preference, but it works here.
My opinion might change if we could see the full art of the new Warchief, but, for now, Classic Genius takes the round.
I see Nissa in the FNM art, but nothing in the image really strikes me as a “pilgrimage” or related to a journey or exploring in any way. It could just as easily be Recollect or Cultivate or any number of land searching or graveyard retrieving spells. It’s too generic for its own good.
The original art, by contrast, fits the theme to a T, with Nissa exploring the world of Zendikar and peering off into the distance.
While the new art is good for a generic green spell, it’s still a generic green spell and doesn’t hold a candle to the excellent match of narrative and art seen in the art from Magic Origins.
Slam dunk for Classic Genius.
Both pieces of art successfully illustrate the concept of a watery undead horde coming ashore, but the FNM art does it with style.
Instead of the grim dark palette seen throughout Shadows over Innistrad, you have a call back to Pirates of the Carribean with a brighter palette and well defined figures. In lieu of malformed walking flesh-blobs, you have recognizably former human characters, even one with a tri-foil hat!
The FNM Promo is one of my favorite pieces of art from this Rumble and easily wins this round for New Hotness.
Let’s judge this round simply on the level of “smithereens” shown in the art.
The new art excels at smashing, with the club shown in the frame, but there is a distinct lack of smithereens here. Almost none. We see a Hedron being broken in half and a few pebbles being thrown off by the impact, but the results are almost entirely solid. With sufficient crazy glue it wouldn’t take very long to put everything back together.
The classic art, by comparison, is all about the smithereens (while lacking a bit in the smashing department). You’ve got shrapnel and pieces flying every which way and no idea what the original object looked like due to the resulting cloud of smithereens.
Classic Genius has a massive edge in quantity and quality of smithereens and wins the round.
Yeah, watching your arms and hands go all monstrously funky must be upsetting, but does it really compare to this?
Not being able to hold a regular size coffee cup is annoying, no doubt, but this… this is a whole new level of discomfort.
As a bonus, you’ve got some excellent hand work in the new art. The fingers, splayed out like they are, add even more pain to the level of “Ow” the character must be feeling. That is a great little touch in an already interesting piece of art.
New Hotness wins the round (and may need a bit of Icy/Hot in the future).
Finally, we’ve got some Scrying in our Sylvan Scrying.
It’s taken over 10 years to get there, but we’ve finally done it.
The original captured Sylvan very well and the BFZ art captured… something, but we haven’t seen our chocolate mix with our peanut butter until now.
While I have some misgivings about the hand in the FNM art, it still is the best match to the card and wins the final round for New Hotness.
While we here at OMA score it as a 6-6 tie, we won’t know who the eventual winner will be 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!