Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Shadows over Artistrad

So majestic.
Internet friends, hi there. This is Dan. Today we're gonna avoid talking about playing Magic, and instead talk about looking at cards. This is an activity I feel I'm better suited for, since I'm not great at actually playing. But, being a respectable 6/10 myself, I can recognize a good lookin' card from a distance away.

Hey there good lookin', is that a spear in your pocket, or are you going to purge me like the unclean heretic I am?
So I think we can all agree that the art for SoI is on point. A lot of the cards have that nice spooky appeal that we'd expect from Magic's spoopiest plane, and the theme of madness and growing insanity gets conveyed nicely. After some overly-cartoony spaghetti monsters on Zendikar, it's a nice trip back to the quality art I expect from MTG. Well, most of it.

"Grim Nemesis" is actually the name of the shitty 80's metal band he plays in.
We're gonna take a look at some of our favorites. Art is super subjective, so I'm sure everyone will have differing opinions, but I'm the loudest so I'm the rightest. I'm going to go through each color (and maybe a few multicolored) and pick one of my favorite pics, and we can gush about how ballin' it is.


White, the color typically associated with abilities like Vigilance and Terrible Dancing has some great looking cards. Angelic Purge pictured above is terrifying. Odric looks like Sean Connery. Topplegeist is amazing, and probably in my top 5 for all MTG art ever. But I've talked about Toople in like 20 articles already, so I'm just going to go ahead and say he wins, and pick the runner up.

Apparently +1/+1 and vigilance is granted by scaring the everloving shit out of you.
Always Watching is a strong card, and is the basis of the Human agro decks in standard right now, so it's already on everyone's radar. But did you know above the disgusting game-winning text, there's a picture? It depicts angels about to ruin your day. Well, I'd assume ruin your day, unless your into getting ripped apart by a hundred spooky angels with glowing eyes. Hm. Aaand now I have a new fetish.

The art on this card is crazy nice looking, and does a great job showing just how insane the angels have become on Innistrad. A+ for Chase Stone for doing a good job on it.


Blue is a fishy color. Like literally; it has fish. It also has been known to make many a player rage-quit after they've had their fourth spell in a row countered.

"Seriously, why do you keep trying to cast those?"
I'm a blue player because I'm an asshole, and I'm quite pleased with blue this set. Sure, it's not great in draft, not that great in standard, and you know, just sort of not great all around, but whatever. At least it looks pretty, right? And that's all that truly matters in this world.

"Dang, whats up with all these books?!" - Anders
Trail of Evidence is cool as hell. The card is mostly unplayable in anything but casual decks, but I'd still recommend picking up a foil copy cause of how wonderful this card looks. I dunno why Mr./Mrs. Thraben Guy is standing on a pile of gigantic books, but they're doing it stoically as hell, and aren't super concerned about the fact that giant books are covering the earth. I guess that half-submerged giant's crown is more interesting. Way to go, Daniel Ljunggren. Also, how the hell am I supposed to pronounce that name?


You have to admit that black is lookin' good this set. There are plenty of zombies, and just the right amout of tentacle hands. Triskaidekaphobia has that cool "thirteen of a thing" theme going on, and it's fun to see how many of them you can spot. But one stuck out to me like a sore thumb in a pile of thumbs that aren't as sore as the noticeable one.

The horse is very upset about the ghost on his back.
Pale Rider of Trostad looks like a spooky ghost-man on an upset horse riding through a Bob Ross painting, and I love it. The whole atmosphere of the card has dat "Classic MTG art" thing goin' on. Like if this was art for a card printed 10 years ago, it would have fit right in. You can't say that about a lot of the new stuff, and though plenty of the modern card art is great in its own way, the Old Skool Kool look is always welcome. Also that sentence made me realize Kool is Look backwards. Neat. But anyways, good job Seb McKinnon, keep making spooky horses.


Red was a tough pick. The angry burn-y color of MTG has some beautiful lookin' cards. From the nightmare inducing Skin Invasion to Tibalt 2.0 (Sin Prodder), the color has a lot going for it. BUT THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE (unless for some arbitrary reason I decide to do two).

Most aggressive Salvation Army collector ever.
Iain McCaig sounds like a guy who knows what he's doing. Oh wait - cause he does. He also designed this guy:

In Iain's vision, Darth Maul was jacked as hell.
So it's no surprise that his card turned out looking great. Mad Prophet looks stark raving mad, as I imagine was the plan. And just look at the details in the art. The face-wrinkles are wicked realistic, and the crazy guy even has dirty fingernails. Art looks baller as hell, and I'm glad the guys ringing bells outside of the Kroger near me are slightly more composed.


Our multiple colored friends aren't plentiful, but it was still a rough choice. I really wanted to say Gitrog Monster, just because I'm playing a deck with him right now. Also he looks like hypnotoad. But in the end, one badass lady was significantly more badass than the others.

She is way cooler than I'll ever be.
Nahiri recently exploded in both modern and standard, and her price exploded just as much. Is it cause her art is awesome? Nah, its probably for turn 6 hasty Emrakul. But for Aleski Briclot's benefit, we'll say its his dope art that made the card so massively popular. Way to go dude, keep drawing cool ladies.


You know, there's not really an artifact that sticks out to me. They are all fairly average. I'll just mention one:

The stuff of nightmares.
I couldn't find a high-res picture of this art, and that's probably because it was too scary for the internet. Or I'm bad at googling. The artist name just says Izzy, and I assume that's because Wicker Witch ate his/her last name. Along with their hopes and dreams.


Doing this article has inspired me to do some awesome alters. Not because I'm a great artist or anything - in fact, for the exact opposite reason. I'm just so terrible that I need to erase good art so I don't feel as shitty about myself. Just so you have an idea, here's the best I can do:

Hire me, plz


Have some ideas of other beautiful cards that should be top dog? Interested in some high-quality Heavy Salami alters? Want to share a cool pasta recipe? Whatever the case, leave a comment or send us an email using the form off to the right!


  1. Wooo Pale Rider! #teamtrostad and I don't even know where Trostad is.

    I thought some of the pov art like Mad Prophet, Voldaren (did not spell that right on the first try) Duelist, and Village Messenger had a mixed impact on me. I liked the flip of Village Messenger the most (oh shit he's breaking through!) but red is hard, given how most red cards vary their palate all the way from maroon to vermilion. Burning Cinder Fury of Crimson Chaos Fire!

    1. Oh and nice work going the extra mile and getting the high res pictures as well. Always Watching is even creepier than I thought!