Outside-Designer Card Art, Part 1

Posted in Arcana on July 3, 2014

By Bonnie Bruenderman

Bonnie Bruenderman is a visual designer for DailyMTG. The authors write the articles; the editors edit; then she gets to add cards, images, funnies, charts, graphs... whatever the article needs above and beyond the text. She has a very nerdy sense of humor. (Someday, her illustrated mutant amalgamations shall take over the Multiverse! Patience, my pet. Patience.....)

You might have read about Magic 2015's outside-designer cards in Shawn Main's feature. I'm going to take us through a closer look at the art on those cards and the art descriptions. I think these pieces art do a particularly good job of illustrating the flavor and mechanics of the cards. We'll visit about half of these today and cover the rest in a later Arcana.

So, without further ado, enjoy!

Aggressive Mining

Aggressive Mining | Art by Franz Vohwinkel

Color: Red spell
Location: A strip mine in the mountains.
Action: Show a helicopter shot of a terraced strip mine operation. The special thing about this strip mine is that it is done in big chunks, somewhat like an inverted ziggurat.
Focus: The strangely carved strip mine.
Mood: Blocky excavating
Notes: This card was designed by the Minecraft guy, which is why this description asks for 'blocky' excavation. Play this with a straight face, we don't want it silly or any sort of 8-bit looking excavation. The goal is that if a player knows who the guy is, they get that this a representation of his game. If not, the player just sees another piece of awesome Magic art!

Avarice Amulet

Avarice Amulet | Art by Steven Belledin

Color: Colorless artifact
Action: This is a solid gold amulet that, while not a pocketwatch literally, it is similar in shape. It is round, with a crack across it. It is held by its chain by a partially in-frame hand that appears to have some dried blood on it.
Focus: The cursed pocket watch.
Mood: my precious...

Genesis Hydra

Genesis Hydra | Art by Peter Mohrbacher

Color: Green creature
Location: In a forest clearing.
Action: A phytohydra in Magic is a plant version of a hydra. Show a big (15'+) phytohydra whose multiple heads look like they are loosely based on venus flytraps. In the center of the "body" is a single pitcher plant that has a spider peeking out of it; they have some sort of symbiotic relationship. (the spider would be huge to a human, but is strongly secondary to the hydra).
Human skulls and some chunks of desiccated remains litter the ground around it.
Focus: The phytohydra.
Mood: Nature here can handle itself.

Hot Soup

Hot Soup | Art by David Palumbo

Color: Colorless artifact
Location: In the middle of a massive battle.
Action: Show a goblin precariously carrying a giant cauldron of bubbling soup, maybe on his head. Somehow the boiling soup has not been spilled but it doesn't look promising.
Focus: The cauldron of boiling soup.
Mood: It's only a matter of time.

Master of Predicaments

Master of Predicaments | Art by Matt Stewart

We already took a close look at this card, so go check it out! But for giggles, here's the art again.

Shield of the Avatar

Shield of the Avatar | Art by Volkan Baga

Color: Colorless artifact
Location: In a castle armory.
Action: Show us an ornate shield resting against the wall of the armory. The scene on the shield, either presented in relief or painted in lacquer on it, represents something about drawing power from your allies in battle. Other weapons and Equipment might be seen scattered about the immediate area as well, but unlike them, this shield is pristine, unscratched by the countless battles it has survived.
Focus: The awesome magical shield.
Mood: Carried by the kings of old!

Warden of the Beyond

Warden of the Beyond | Art by Raymond Swanland

Color: White creature
Location: In a stonework corridor with mirrors mounted to the walls.
Action: Show us a cleric dressed in a uniform of chainmail and light metal plates. He is holding a glowing orb as he patrols the corridor, walking toward the camera. The walls are adorned with mirrors in some sort of utilitarian frames that give this place the subtle tone of a cell-block.
Upon inspection we can see faces locked within the mirrors.
Focus: The cleric.
Mood: This is the keeper of those imprisoned in the "phantom-zone."

Xathrid Slyblade

Xathrid Slyblade | Art by Steve Prescott

Color: Black creature
Location: In a dark alley.
Action: Show a deadly female assassin partially obscured by shadow. Maybe we can only see the lower half of her face under a cowl. Maybe we only see the glint of a stiletto in the dark—up to you.
The parts of her we can see should look badass and armed for death-dealing.
Focus: The assassin.
Mood: A lethal killer.

Latest Arcana Articles


December 10, 2015

Best of 2015 and Holiday Treats by, Blake Rasmussen

With the holidays upon us, the crew at DailyMTG and the rest of Wizards of the Coast is going to be taking a bit of a break. But that doesn't mean there's nothing going on for you, gentle...

Learn More



Arcana Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All