The Magic Invitational
The Magic Invitational started life as the Duelist Invitational, but when Duelist Magazine stopped existing, the name got changed. It was a sixteen-person tournament with the unique prize of getting to design a Magic card. And the winner would then get depicted in the art! Here's the list of winners:
- 1997: Olle Rade, creator of Sylvan Safekeeper
- 1998: Darwin Kastle, creator of Avalanche Riders
- 1999: Mike Long, creator of Rootwater Thief
- March, 2000: Chris Pikula, creator of Meddling Mage
- November, 2000: Jon Finkel, creator of Shadowmage Infiltrator
- 2001: Kai Budde, creator of Voidmage Prodigy
- 2002: Jens Thoren, creator of Solemn Simulacrum
- 2004: Bob Maher, creator of Dark Confidant
- 2005: Terry Soh, creator of Rakdos Augermage
- 2006: Antoine Ruel, creator of Ranger of Eos
- 2007: Tiago Chan, creator of Snapcaster Mage
Actually, though, that wasn't Tiago's original submission. This was his first request:
: Add to your mana pool.
, Discard Denying Channel: Counter target spell.
R&D tried this card out, but they decided that a land that could also be an uncounterable counterspell was too strong to print. So they asked Tiago for another version. And that turned into Snapcaster Mage!
So much for the text on the card. Let's move on to the art! Here's the art description that was given to Volkan Baga:
Color: Blue creature
Action: Start with the reference. Design a bad-ass human mage based on the reference. He is wearing a metal arm enhancement with glass tubing that contains ghost energy. We can see the ghosts swirling around inside the glass. The mage should look smart and powerful.
Focus: The mage
Mood: Powerful, smart, dangerous
Volkan decided to sketch in his own face for the early stages of the piece. Here's the first version:
The creative team decided the helmet was distracting and asked Volkan to remove it. He did so and made a variety of other little changes you can find for yourself:
By this time, Tiago had provided a few headshots of himself and Volkan finished the piece up with Tiago's face.
And here's the final card as it appears in Innistrad booster packs. Tiago Chan, everybody!