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: Kaladesh Inventions!
Classic Genius vs. New Hotness, whose creation will the judges select? Sides have been drawn, choose your champion!
Man, these rumbles are going to be tough.
The Masterpiece art is simply outstanding. Objectively, it’s an amazing piece of art, but for the purpose of this rumble, does it really fit the idea of an Aether Vial?
It’s beautiful, granted and I can’t say that enough, but isn’t it a bit… large for a vial? A Vial for Giants, sure, but assuming we’re dealing with beings of roughly human stature, this looks more like an Aether Reservoir than a Vial.
Artistically, it’s superior, but flavor wise the originals win out. Classic Genius takes the round.
Both versions succeed in illustrating a helm, the original with a bit more menace and the new with a bit more elegance. Overall, I think going by the helms themselves, it’s pretty close to a tie.
With the objects in the foreground fairly evenly matched, we move to the background to determine our winner.
The original is fairly plain, with some curtains and curved molding to solidify the perspective of looking up at the helm. Given then angle of the podium and our implied viewpoint, it almost looks like the helm is teetering on the edge. Since we see it directly face on, it must be leaning over, seemingly ready to fall off.
Lindsey Look’s update doesn’t have those issues and includes a much richer background. New Hotness wins the background contest and takes the round.
I initially judged this rumble pretty close, but one extra detail pushed one version over the top. Whereas the original has white, blue, black, red, green (and yellow?!?) shown inside the lantern, the update takes a different approach with only a few colors displayed directly and wispy tendrils of the other colors shown in the background.
It’s the tendrils emanating from the unseen panels of the Kaladesh art that did it for me. I’m just a sucker for Tendrils.
This leads to a much more flavorful image and wins the round for New Hotness.
“I’m a let you finish, but the original Mirrodin Chrome Mox is the best there is, was, and ever will be.” – Kanye West
Or at least, that’s what I think he said.
All of the Chrome Moxen are effective in illustrating a Chrome “Mox” in that there are reflective, metallic objects in the frame that could roughly be considered jewelry-esque, but the original Mirrodin art by Donato is simply outstanding.
Not only do you get the feeling of molten chrome with the “setting” of the Mox, but you also have a reflection shown on the chrome “gem”. It’s those little touches that make Donato the master that he is.
Classic Genius forever.
While both versions capture the “curiosity” aspect of Cloudstone Curio, the updated art by Noah Bradley absolutely nails the “Cloudstone” effect.
The flavor text enhances this as well. You can totally believe that this is what a captured piece of the sky would look like.
Noah, being the savage that he is, knocked this one out of the park. New Hotness wins, no contest.
While the updated art is much closer to what a Crucible actually looks like, the original does a much better job of capturing the scale of a Crucible of Worlds.
Sure, it looks more like an Hourglass of Worlds, but with the metallic phyrexianized world being transformed into a lush forest through its aperture, it’s obviously a fundamentally different object. Add in the orbiting suns and other sundry cosmic objects and it’s obvious that we are dealing with something BIG. Large enough to craft entire planes of existence.
The Kaladesh art is great, no question, but it doesn’t create the same epic atmosphere that we see in the original.
Classic Genius takes the round. Bigger sometimes is better.
While glowing blue energy tendrils (did someone say Tendrils?) is an overly used trope to signify power, it works here.
The original is successfully a Gauntlet, with a bit of bling at that, but nothing really strikes me as it being particularly powerful. Given it’s boxy appearance, it looks like it might actually be a bit unwieldy in use.
The Kaladesh version, with it’s more ergonomic design and call back to Thanos’ Infinity Guantlet, captures the idea of a Gauntlet of Power perfectly.
New Hotness wins the round. Thanos approves.
Daarken did an excellent job with the original Hangarback Walker. Scale Thopters in the background, loose wires and a somewhat ungainly stride illustrate the variable and changing nature of the construct. Not bad for a first release.
Hangarback Walker 2.0 – Kaladesh Edition has all of those same features, but in a streamlined and colorful package. Adam’s Walker is one of my favorite pieces from the set and perfectly exhibits the fair atmosphere with the crowds and other inventions scattered throughout the frame.
Strict upgrade and win for New Hotness.
Illustrating equipment must be a bit of a challenge, especially when the equipment grants abilities like Haste.
You want to include movement in the piece, but the focus has to be on the equipment. You can’t have full figures in the frame, and for Lightning Greaves you basically have to make armored shoes look fast and nimble.
Also, being Greaves, you would expect the item to provide protection on both sides. The Kaladesh version looks more like Lightning Shinguards as they are open on the back.
Since the new art gives a static picture of half-greaves, I give the win to the FNM art that puts what looks like proper greaves into motion.
Classic Genius takes the round.
I had to fight back the nostalgia a bit, but the updated art is simply spectacular and easily takes the round.
April did a great job with the original, capturing the power emanating from a single petal of the mythical Black Lotus, but Slawomir simply took the idea to another plane of existence. Love the intricacy of the gearwork and filigree on the petal. You can tell he really took his time and poured his heart into this piece.
New Hotness, not close.
I wonder if Volkan just finished watching a Thor movie marathon before getting this assignment. His Mana Crypt is very reminiscent of Odin’s throne room.
That aside, I enjoy his take on the idea and am not surprised that Wizards used this piece to debut the idea of Masterpieces in Kaladesh.
I’ve always been a fan of Mark Tedin’s Pac-Man corridor, but Volkan upped the ante with his new art. Along with Hangarback Walker and Cloudstone Curio, it is one of my favorite images from the set.
New Hotness takes the round.
When I first saw Mark Tedin’s Mana Vault, I thought, “So, that’s what you store Mana in. Ok. Weird, oddly fleshy, but ok.” It’s doesn’t look like something I would want to store something in, but it’s been Mana Vault to me ever since.
The Vintage Masters art didn’t really change it, looking more like a Mana Bank or Church/Temple, but with the advent of Kaladesh, I’ve been forced to revisit my understanding of what a “Mana Vault” should look like.
One of the aspects of the new art that I greatly enjoy is leaving the door partially open. Showing just a hint of whats inside the intricate cube draws me into the narrative of the piece.
Was it opened on purpose? Did someone break in? What else could be inside? Is it a boat?
The piece has a level of interest that piques my curiosity in way that the originals fail to achieve. Another win for New Hotness.
What does this guy have against turtles? Why does he want to see them dismembered like that? Pretty sick, Wizards, why are you so anti-turtle?
While I see what they were going for with the Kaladesh art, I think that the Commander’s Arsenal captured it in a much more elegant fashion.
Sure, it depends on the trope of the “third eye” to compete, but it does it so very well. Karl’s palette here is dark, but bright where it counts. The yellows, oranges and reds make for a beautiful image and an excellent illustration of the concept.
Classic Genius wins. Be nice to turtles.
Yowza, Chris Rahn is really good at this art stuff.
One of the elements of the Kaladesh art that I really enjoy is the design Chris used for the opal. Displaying it front and center, iridescent in its setting, perfect for foiling, this piece must look fabulous in print.
Volkan’s original version is good, but the Opal is the least interesting aspect of the piece. You’ve got some colors on the stone, but it looks much more like painted rock than the natural swirls you see in opals.
For the rendering of the opal alone, New Hotness wins.
While I know of one Magic art collector that will consider this blasphemy, this seems like a pretty obvious win for New Hotness.
Nothing about the original really sticks out as being associated in any way with painters, painting or the production of art in general. There are loose sticks around that may be brushes, but its a scarecrow. Loose sticks tend to be a normal occurrence for them.
The new art, by comparison, is all about that
bass art. You can even see it making it’s own spray painted version of Birds of Paradise.
Magali captured the essence of an automated Painter’s Servant perfectly.
Flames = Bright? Check
Rings = Bright? Check
It’s basically a push for me.
In the end, I give the edge to New Hotness for the more complex background and setting.
Complex is not automatically better, but the added details and texture here make for a more engaging scene.
Oh Jason, what a fun contraption you’ve built. Comparing the two, the infomercial almost writes itself.
“Are you tired of searching for hours for the scroll you need?”
“Sick of getting paper cuts from those endless hours of scholarly research?
“Well, worry no more with Scroll Rack 2.0”
“It sorts, it writes, it cleans. You name it, if it involves Scrolls, new Scroll Rack 2.0 will meet your needs”
“It even delivers your scrolls with perfect aim! Only 6 easy payments of $49.99. Call now, supplies are limited”
I enjoy the contraption oriented Kaladesh art, over the more obvious original art. I’m sold on New Hotness.
Hmmmm, sounds like the Kaladesh art should be for “Self-Sculpting Steel”.
Magali did an amazing job with all of her art in the set and this piece is no different. Her use of light and attention to detail are excellent as always and it’s a testament to her ability that she was assigned Planeswalkers so early in her work for Magic.
In this case, I enjoy the actual sculpting that Heather included in the original. I can see the energy going into the crafting of the steel and begin to see the form of the object as it coalesces. We have some of the same present in the update, but the more visceral feel from the original wins the round for Classic Genius.
Come on. The original is a ring MADE OUT OF THE SUN. How much closer to “Sol Ring” can you ever get?
Sure, Volkan did an amazing job with the Kaladesh art and Mike with his, but Mark closed the book on this rumble 23 years ago with his Alpha art. This is one of the pieces that we are still searching for with the Alpha Art Project so please let us know if you have any information on its whereabouts.
Classic Genius. OG represent.
I have a confession to make.
I never thought that the original Solemn Simulacrum looked particularly solemn. Sad Robot? I didn’t see much sadness there.
The downward looking Magic 2012 art looked much more melancholy, even though it continued the trend of ignoring the significance of being an invitational card by excluding its creator. Maybe that’s why both of the newer versions actually look sad. I blame Wizards for this scourge of robot depression.
I would have been much more amenable to calling an effective tie between the Kaladesh and M12 arts but for one thing, Dan Scott went full Rob Liefeld and stranded his robot on his own tiny planet.
If you’re not familiar with Rob’s work. He hates to draw feet and constantly puts all of his characters on really small boulders/planetoids to avoid drawing them. You can read more about his “style” but little round planets is a go to of his from which Dan appears to have taken a page.
Luckily for Dan, its for effect and not simply lazy illustration.
While I enjoy Daarken’s version with the masterpiece hidden and ignored in the shadows, I have to give the edge to Dan for stranding his robot on a tiny moon, adrift and alone for eternity.
Classic Genius wins a close one.
This one comes down to personal opinion.
Each has an Orb, with a “global” effect implying it hits everyone. Some contain two figures, the new one doesn’t. That’s a bit of a flavor loss there, but its made up for with a vibrant color palette and interesting usage of rain to display the power of the orb.
I personally enjoy the original art from Tempest. The outstretched hand, the Frazetta-esque warriors, the exaggerated use of light and shadow to create depth, I dig it. Classic Genius for me.
It’s odd that they would pair that flavor text with the art from Kaladesh. If anything, the construct appears to be Overseeing the humans, and not a flock of clockworks.
The original art is all robot all the time, which is to be expected for such a robot centered card.
Flavorwise, I feel that the original art fits better, though if they had tweaked the Kaladesh flavor text to be a bit more sinister and have him overseeing the humans instead, I could be swayed.
Classic Genius wins, for now.
I’ve been waiting for Steven to get assigned another good card and I’m glad to see he didn’t let me down.
Illustrating the concepts of Feast and Famine within the framework that Chris created for the Sword cycle is definitely a challenge, but Steve broke the mold of utilizing the blades alone and tied it instead throughout the length of the weapon.
Not only did Steve improve on an existing trope within Magic, but he did it with style. Great job Steve.
New Hotness all the way.
Is it just me or does that Kaladesh sword look more like a Sword of Fire and Fire?
Sure, there’s blue in there, but it looks more like the aether reservoirs that we’ve seen throughout the set than anything related to ice.
Both of the original versions have the obvious distinction between the two sides of the sword, but unless I’m missing something, I don’t see it present in this update.
New Hotness forfeits the round and Mark Zug’s art wins because it helped me win my Darksteel Prerelease.
When I first looked at the Masterpiece SoLaS, I liked it, but felt that something was missing.
After tracking down the high-res version of the art, I’ve found it.
It’s missing a working hilt.
The colors are great and background is fantastic, but how in the world would you ever wield this sword? Not only are the hand guards spaced too tightly, but there is nothing to hold onto in the middle. Could it be invisible or a solid beam of light? Sure, anything is possible in Magic illustration, but as it appears on the stand, it’s a pretty blade with a non-functional hilt. An oversized letter opener.
The Modern Masters version by Chris Rahn appears to have a functioning handle and follows the same glowing side/wispy shadow side as the others. Teemed up with an eerie, shadowed background pierced by sunlight and you’ve got a winner. Classic Genius takes the last round, but is it enough to win the Rumble?
While we here at OMA score it as a 13-12 narrow win for New Hotness, 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!