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!
Classic Genius vs. New Hotness, which side will win gold in this contest of innovation? Sides have been drawn, choose your champion!
While I greatly enjoy the action and unique perspective of the original Aether Tradewinds, there is nothing that obviously symbolizes the “Aether” part of the name. Sure, there’s the nebulous blue cloud in the background, but it seems much heavier, almost blob-like, than I would expect for something usually associated with lightning and wisps of energy.
The New Hotness, captures a more traditional “Aether” concept and even has a call back to the original with the renegade engineer holding on for dear life. I greatly appreciate the effort that Kieran put in with the forced perspective, but the new art is a better depiction of the concept.
That’s right, we’re getting specific now. No more of this, “Classic Genius is my favorite,” when there are multiple options available. 7th Edition has always been my favorite Creeping Mold and the Kaladesh art didn’t change that.
The 9th Edition art may have more details, Mirrodin more style, and Kaladesh better lighting, but the scene and narrative created with the 7th Edition art simply can’t be beat.
It’s something straight out of an old fantasy novel or epic D&D spell description. A lone mage, decimating a century’s old castle in one devastating, though likely slow, blow. Classic Genius – 7th Edition all the way.
It’s interesting that Creeping Mold does such a good job of showing what the destruction of a land or artifact can look like while Demolish is much more focused on smaller scale destruction. They both can destroy Lands, entire swathes of fictional landscape, gone in a flash (or slowly growing mold infestation).
We get a hint of that with John Avon’s Magic 2011 artwork, but in full size, it looks less like utter devastation and more like a funky laser light show.
Sure, I see the rocks, and there were presumably buildings in their place beforehand, but it’s too clean. If it just hit the ground, there would be buildings falling over and much more debris, not just a light fog and some energy tendrils.
With none of the originals hitting the scope that I expect with a word like Demolish, though that Odyssey Dwarf is close, love the expression on his face, it comes down to who is causing the most damage in the scene.
Theros and Odyssey are up there, with Avacyn Restored looking much closer to a generic burn spell, but the pure, innocent destruction shown with the Kaladesh art is too good to not get the win. New Hotness won me over with cuteness.
I’m a big fan of the original Odyssey art. I actually have the original painting framed and hanging in my office. My wife hates it, but the price* has been paid to have it remain. The skulls, snakes and blue flames? Love it.
However, if I were to have done a Reprint Rumble back when 10th Edition was printed, the new art would have won. While I love all of the little details in the original, the update was a narrative home run. Embodiments of evil whispering dark secrets into your ears? Talk about a flavor bonanza. 10th Edition set the bar for Diabolic Tutor.
Then Kaladesh took that bar and shot it to the moon. The call back is obvious and greatly dependent on outside knowledge to understand why it’s so good, but it’s like a Penzey’s exploded it’s so full of flavor.
New Hotness for life!
*The deal was, I only get to hang 6 paintings in my office, but I get to choose which 6, no complaints, so up it went.
Does anyone else think it’s odd that the original Hunt the Weak from Magic 2014 doesn’t actually show you enough creatures to determined what is weak and what is strong? Maybe it got cropped out?
Nope. That’s odd. Well, moving on.
With the original out of the running due to flavor violations, it’s down to Fate Reforged and the new art from Kaladesh.
While Raoul’s use of light is outstanding as always, dappled beauty, I enjoy the story presented with the Fate Reforged art much more.
Lars captured the final result of a contest of epic beasts. Much more engaging than a 2/2 cat killing a 1/1 Thopter. Classic Genius wins the round.
Excuse me, Kaladesh art, but I was told there would be a charge today. Sure, you’re quite dashing, and the use of perspective and bright colors are thoroughly enjoyable, but you are quite static at the moment.
Both the Magic 2011 and Battle for Zendikar arts depict scenes with intense movement and action. The new art, well, they don’t appear to be in any sort of hurry. Quite relaxed actually.
New Hotness forfeits, Classic Genius wins by default.
As for the M11 art vs. BFZ, I stand behind my thoughts laid out in the Reprint Rumble: Battle for Zendikar and pick the original art by Wayne Reynolds.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the new Mind Rot at in Kaladesh. It’s very well done and one of my favorite pieces from the set, but, be honest, does it really say “Mind Rot” to you?
Go with me here. Put it in a blue frame and it could just as easily be a reprint of Narcolepsy or some other spell that puts creatures to sleep. It’s too generic for its own good.
When I hear the word Rot, I’m expecting at least some level of, you know, decay to be present. Cramming for a test is exhausting, I completely agree, but it’s not exactly going to cause a decomposition level event.
The new art doesn’t fit the bill, whereas the Return to Ravnica version is all about it. The guy/zombie even has a festering hole in their head. Classic Genius, but somewhat on a technicality.
This is pretty much a tie for me.
Both pieces are well executed, the original a bit more action packed, the new with a bit stronger narrative due to the sneaky nature of the scene. I could see the votes going either way but chose Classic Genius in the end. Why? Dragons > Mega-Foxes. Not the most scientific of reasons, but I’m ok with that.
Love that rainbow coloration of the stand in the Kaladesh art. Without it, we just have a Mirari clone. With it, we have another excellent piece of art by Noah Bradley, expertly tying in the theme of the card and the plane.
The original artworks are good, with the Gatecrash art being my preference of the two, but Noah, as he often tends to do, took the idea to another level.
Come on Noah, save something for next week’s Masterpiece Rumble.
New Hotness, no contest.
While both artworks do a good job of illustrating a “Stone Quarry”, the Shadows Over Innistrad art is just so darn dark. It’s hard to see what’s going on at card size. The original may be at a disadvantage here due to the mandatory grimdark of the setting, but couldn’t we have upped the brightness just a tad? Pretty please?
Maybe it’s a bit of an unfair fight, but the brightness and legibility of the new art takes the day. New Hotness, triumphant!
What you thought I wasn’t going to pick the Master of Dragons, Todd Lockwood, as the winner in a Dragon(kind) battle? Silly rabbit.
Wind Drake has become a fairly generic concept in Magic and the 6th version from Kaladesh doesn’t break into any new territory. However, it does a better job at capturing both elements of the name, Wind and Drake. New Hotness wins again.
If this were a “Creepy Mill” rumble, the Shadows Over Innistrad art would win by a landslide.
Immediate impressions would have the Kaladesh art as being the most obvious winner, but the original art has a lot of great things going on. The trees in the background are critical, of course, and James did an excellent job setting the mood with color and lighting allowed.
In the end, I have to give it to the brighter, more obvious illustration from Kaladesh.
New Hotness wins the last Rumble!
While we here at OMA score it as a 7-5 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!