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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: From the Vault: Lore!

Classic Genius vs. New Hotness, who will tell the best tale in this storytelling battle? Sides have been drawn, choose your champion!

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OMA's Pick:

New Hotness

You don’t see pinks and purples used so effectively very often in Magic art.  The Hildebrandts came together to make a great initial rendition of Cabal Ritual, but Kieran Yanner’s new art is by far my favorite piece from the set.  Personally, it’s my favorite “Ritual” art that I’ve ever seen in a Magic frame.

At first glance I thought the piece was done by Donato Giancola due to the rich colors and the prevalence of hands.   That Kieran is able to achieve the same level of talent is a testament to his growth as an artist.

New Hotness wins the first round with time to spare.

 

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OMA's Pick:

Classic Genius – Judge Promo

I’m guessing it is difficult to illustrate something as ephemeral as a Mind’s Desire as it can be so many things all at once.  You see that in the original art from Scourge with endless forms and swirls of energy circling around the frame.  It’s hard to determine what exactly you’re seeing, which is fitting for such an expansive and oft complicated subject.

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The new art is a toned down version of the first, but loses much of the creativity that made the original so interesting.  You can see the calls to desires (wealth, power, happiness) but I find the surrounding mist to be more of a distraction than a unifying element.

While the Judge Promo art is a rather non-descript “MIND POWERS!!!” art that could fit with many different blue draw spells, I appreciate the epic feel that the piece emits.  All of the energy and radiance, which looks great in foil, comes through and ensures the viewer knows that this a very powerful spell.

Even though it may be a bit more generic, I prefer the Judge Promo art and give the round to Classic Genius.

 

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OMA's Pick:

Classic Genius

After looking at the large scale images for both versions, I feel that both lose a significant amount in the transition to a smaller frame.

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First off, the new Momir Vig looks the Grinch.

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Nope, not that one.

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Yep, that’s the one.

I wasn’t a fan of Jim Carrey as the grumpy kidnapper that everyone loves to hate but I do enjoy the new Momir Vig, Grinch makeup aside.

The background of the piece has some great details, from the sea dragon circling overhead to the always cute Frilled Oculus in Momir’ hand, and the menacing look is well executed.

Even with all of those points in its favor, I still prefer the original art from Dissension.

While the background may not have as many details, it does a much better job of framing the character with few distractions that pull the viewer away from Momir himself.  Easter eggs are great, but the less you focus on the main character, the more fitting the art is for a spell rather than a legendary creature.

The original art shows Momir deep in thought, front and center in the frame.  Victor did a great job with the updated illustration, but I prefer the framing and tighter focus of the original.

Classic Genius wins the final round of the Rumble.

 

While we here at OMA score it as a 2-1 victory for Classic Genius, 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!

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