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: Take the Crown!
Classic Genius vs. New Hotness, who will emerge The Monarch in this mystical game of thrones? Sides have been drawn, choose your champion!
Plants rapidly growing and overtaking a single tree? Somewhat impressive.
Vines and Trees quickly overtaking an entire village? Much more so.
Not only is the new Take the Crown a more exciting scene, it also has a much broader palette and a superior level of details. I can instantly tell what is going in, while the original is a bit harder to work out.
Easy win for New Hotness.
I’ve heard from several fans of the new art for Inquisition of Kozilek but I do not count myself among their ranks.
Sure, it’s more brutal, what with the bloodspatter and head butting, but I prefer the more creepy/horror vibe from the original art.
The creature design of the original is also much more interesting, capturing that otherworldly eldritch theme that would naturally induce madness in those nearby. I almost wish they had avoided using a corrupted humanoid in the updated illustration, opting for one of Kozilek’s more unique spawn instead.
Classic Genius takes the round.
I’m willing to guess that voting for this round will be heavily dependent on whether you played during Invasion Block and understand the significance of the original Phyrexian Arena art.
Without knowing who Gerard and Urza are and what happened after the scene depicted in the art, you lose much of what makes it so good. The Weatherlight Saga was a great set of stories and this piece illustrated one of its climatic moments.
Take that out and you lose much of the Magic that makes it interesting.
The updated art is not too dissimilar, as you have to recognize the character and the significance of them standing alone against oncoming phyrexian hordes. However, I think it works just as well, if not better, as a stand alone piece.
Sure, it’s less of a literal arena than the other two, but you can tell by corpses surrounding Koth that he’s been battling all comers for quite some time now.
Since I did follow along with the Weatherlight Saga, the nostalgia bug almost won the round for Classic Genius, but in the end New Hotness emerged the winner.
But why would I ever want to get a Verdeloth the Ancient without casting it with kicker or not cycle my Krosan Tusker? Think of all the value I’d be giving up.
Overall, I’d say the new art from Take the Crown is a strict upgrade from the original art from Time Spiral. While Mark did a great job capturing the likeness of two, at the time, popular cards, the new art just does it better. From details, to color, to scale, the new illustration presents a more enjoyable and engaging image.
The last round goes to New Hotness.
While we here at OMA score it as a 3-1 solid victory 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!