Hello folks! I hope that you are having a rock-tastic day today! Last week I looked at my Top Ten Favorite Pieces of Art from Kaldheim! This is a deep set and I wanted to bring to your attention another 10 (-ish, 11 actually) pieces that I really enjoy the art for!
As a reminder, I do not come to this series of articles as a fellow artist nor a trained critic, but just as a fan thereof.
Ready? Let's get started!
Honorable Mention #1. Goldspan Dragon
Every time a Dragon is printed, a creative choice is made, and I think you get one of two options. First: make said new Dragon something that plays into the trope and what is expected of Dragons and their art in the game. Second, make said new Dragon something that breaks out of the tropes and shows something new in the art. Goldspan Dragon with the faint runes in its wings and four wings looks different than the typical draconic choice and I enjoy it here. I'm not sure if that was the artist or the creative team or maybe a bit of both, but I enjoy what Andrew Mar did here. This is just his sixth card! Instead of my normal list of the top five or seven pieces, I'll give you his other five pieces! Burning-Rune Demon; Fire Giant's Fury; Raven Wings; Starnheim Courser; Svella, Ice Shaper. Andrew started in this set and made one of my favorite pieces of art so that's great to see! Welcome Andrew Mar to the game and the art thereof!
10. Toski, Bearer of Secrets
9. Raiders' Karve
Hello fans of Viking Ships in your gaming! No worries, I got you! The runed prow? The detailed mast and sail? The colors in the sail and the wood and the shields and more? The detailing thereof? This is a great piece and I really enjoy the Viking Ship...er...Raiders' Karve. Who did this work? Aaron Miller did! And Aaron has brought with him 82 total cards for the game. Solid stuff! This is not his first appearance in one of my lists either. You might know his Ajani, Mentor of Heroes; Bloodsoaked Champion; the Module Cycle in Kaladesh including Animation Module; Chained to the Rocks; Fabled Hero; Jazal Goldmane; Kaseto, Orochi Archmage; Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist; and Dominaria's Siege-Gang Commander. Lots of great stuff there Aaron Miller!
8. Firja, Judge of Valor
I enjoyed Firja's backstory on the WOTC homepage. I like this card so much that I built a Commander deck around it! I didn't mention it in my article there because I was saving my comments for this article, but I love the art in this Angel Cleric! Don't you? My favorite part here are those feathers which are done so well. They look so tender and delicate and well-colored. The pose of Firja makes sense and the rest of the art is just...so well-crafted right? Right? Right! I think so as well! Firja was created by Livia Prima which has to be one of the coolest names of any artist ever. It reminds me of the birth name of pulp writer Manly Wade Wellman which just drips awesome, his name sounds like a pulp hero! (His life was like it too; born in Africa, toured Europe as a kid, went to one of the best schools in the country, and was a prolific athlete.) Livia Prima! Sounds awesome. What other works has Livia Prima done? 34 total other works including Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis; Emry, Lurker of the Loch; Force of Virtue; Liliana, the Necromancer; Sephara, Sky's Blade; Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools; and Vraska, Golgari Queen from the Guilds of Ravnica Mythic Edition. My favorite work is Emry followed by Firja. Love it!
7. Depart the Realm
Hello Denman Rooke fans! This is just the ninth card that Denman Rooke has illustrated for the game. Let's get them to double digits okay! The art here is just gorgeous. Like really...gorgeous! I am in love with the colors here that surround the card and the scene therein. Aren't they lovely? Didn't Denman Rooke do a good job with them? This is my favorite piece by Denman Rooke, also check out Court of Grace, Elvish Doomsayer and Keeper of the Accord.
6. Crippling Fear
I like an artist with three names; it's pretty cool. Crippling Fear is Crippling Awesome, amiright? Look at the amazing details of the house in the background or each of the people in the scene. Pretty good, right? I think so as well! The color usage fleshes out the scene ably. And who gave us this Crippling Awesome card? The man with the three names - Nestor Ossandon Leal. Good ol' Nestor! Did you know that has the fewest cards for our countdown today? He has.....THREE pieces of MTG art and that's it. Voice of the Woods and Dual Strike are the other two. Those are both Kaldheim or its Commander set. Like Andrew Mar, the dude just got started with the game, and those two combined have fewer than 10 pieces. Here's hoping for long careers with the game for both of you!
5. Run Ashore
Welcome to our highest charting common. This is Svetlin Velinov's first time making my list for Kaldheim, but he usually hits my lists regularly and Run Ashore is a good reason why. This one has consistent quality. Look at the waves here. Don't you love the details on the seafoam? The water? The boat about to smash ashore? Svetlin has done a brilliant job with colors and details alike and I really enjoy it! He has a ton of art in the game and is one of the most prolific with a massive 265 pieces of art, just a century short of the number of days in a year. Here's his work in case you want to check him out and do a deep dive.
4. Esika, God of the Tree // The Prismatic Bridge
Our only God on today's countdown is Esika and her Bridge! Each of these pieces of art is good enough to make this list today in my next list of favorite art! Did you read my article last week? Then you'll know that Johannes Voss also hit my First Top Ten. With what piece of art? You'll need to check it out to see! Esika is my second favorite work by Voss in the set. This is one of the most colorful pieces in today's countdown and Voss's use of colors are just incredible here. Love it! I love the strands of color dripping from Esika's hands in her art and I love the bridge of color I the Bridge art.
To be honest, I do prefer the Bridge art a bit more, but I love them both! Esika is a big hit in casual town with more than 390 decks registered this quickly with her as a leader. She is a unique Five-Color leader. Love her! Instead of the cards I listed last week, how about some new cards by Voss you might want to check out? How about Azor's Elocutors; Chasm Guide; Commander's Authority; Daybreak Coronet from Modern Masters 2015; Dragon Hunter; Dual Casting; Gift of Orzhova; Mirror March; Nymris, Oona's Trickster; the Sanctum Cycle including Sanctum of All; Rosethorn Acolyte; and Soulfire Grand Master. I know! Voss is good!
3. Gates of Istfell
Our highest-charting land and uncommon are the Gates of Istfell! It reminds me of the Fortress of Solitude in Superman lore, doesn't it? The tall tower over the gates is nicely done and the beautifully crafted battlements around it are also very nicely illustrated. In addition to the details the colors in this piece are just great as well. This is my third-favorite land art in the set and my top land in this 10-land uber-cycle at uncommon. Good stuff!
Who illustrated this piece of art? Anastasia Ovchinnikova has done so! She has 43 total pieces to her credit for the game. Like Voss, she also hit my top ten last week with my second favorite piece of land for the set at #7. Again, I'll give you a list of cards that's different than the ones I gave you last week. Check out her Battle Screech from Modern Horizons; Blessed Sanctuary; Commander's Insignia; Harmonious Archon; Headless Specter; Lost Legion; Suspicious Bookcase and Thundering Djinn. Good stuff Anastasia!
2. Runeforge Champion
Just 15. That's how many pieces Andrey Kuzinskiy has...forged. Sorry. Five were in Kaldheim and Andrey Kuzinskiy is a recent addition to the game, and thus this is the first appearance and mention in one of my lists. He clocks #2 on my second list and #12 overall in the set! This Dwarf Warrior has a great set of well-forged muscles and the weapons are rightly done as is the helmet. The scene is backlit by the forge fire and I enjoy how well it was done by our artist. It's very nicely detailed and I enjoy the work quite a lot! Andrey Kuzinskiy's works include Feed the Swarm, Hellkite Punisher, and Soulfire Eruption. This is my favorite piece. Good year rookie!
1. Glorious Protector
Our top card today is also an Angel - see last week's article for the Angel that topped it. As you can see, this is a beautifully well-done piece of art for the set and I really enjoy the colors here. Love them to death! I love the detailed and majestic sky, the figure is nicely done the weapon is great and there's nothing here that doesn't sing to me. Who sung this song? PINDURSKI who has sung 15 other songs for a total of 16. More please! You might want to check out Elite Guardmage; Legion Angel; Sphinx Mindbreaker and the Theros: Beyond Death version of Underworld Dreams. Well sung my artist; well sung!
And there you go! What did you think of some of my favorite pieces of art from the set? Agree or disagree? I'd love to talk with you more about it in the comments below, whatever your thoughts!!!
You know what? This is a set with a lot of great art! Let's do this dance once more, okay? Okay!