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Top Ten Arts from Midnight Hunt

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Hello happy people! I hope that you are having an awesome and wonderfully delightful day today! I am off this week on vacation. I am at Albuquerque, NM for the week, and I want to visit every state in America. After this? I'll have left California, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Hawaii, Alaska and randomly Arkansas. I've already booked a sunrise hot air balloon trip and a ghost tour of the city as well as other cool things. I really hope to enjoy myself while I am there!

Because I am not physically at my laptop to write up my normal article, I have written today's Top Ten article weeks ago. What am I going to write it about? I thought about writing on my next version of my Random Top Ten, where I take a random card from Gatherer and do a deep dive on it ten times. I love that sub-series of this one. But there is something else that has been moving me that I've wanted to write on for months now, but the sets are too close together. I normally spend a few weeks with Top Tens on X Recent Set as well as on the Commander cards released from that set as well. However, afterwards, I would often write up a week or three on my favorite art from those sets as well. However, the next spoiled set is now happening so soon after the previous one that there is no time to really sink my...er...claws...(That is a Werewolf joke) into the art of a given set anymore. Sorry!

But now...since I am writing this well ahead of publication when I am away on vacation, let's look at this as an opportunity and write up my favorite art from Midnight Hunt! Now, please note, that I am neither an artist, nor am I a trained critic. Therefore, my reviews of the art below are just coming from a fan, not a critic or a fellow art.

Ready? Let's do our deep dive! I am considering cards from the Commander set for this as well as the regular Midnight Hunt. (My top card is from the Commander set - what is it?) I am also only looking at the base art, not the art that comes from promos or alternate versions of cards.

Honorable Mention. Sigarda, Champion of Light

Check out this cool story spotlight card that was created by Howard Lyon. As you can see, there is our (new?) leader of the Humans against the degenerate forces of the world like Zombies, Werewolves and Vampires that seek to take them out or subsume them. As you can see, Howard chooses to show light streaming down on her face from above, which is nicely done. The body of Champion of Light looks just like a realistic body would, and the artist did that nicely. You can also see the candles are ably done here as well. Howard has done 119 pieces of art for the game, so he is in the 100 Card Club. You might know Ancient Tomb from Zendikar Expeditions, Basilisk Collar, Bojuka Bog, Cathartic Reunion, Cream of the Crop, Death's Shadow, Fabled Passage, Harmless Offering, Idyllic Tutor, and his Vivid Grove. I really like Conclave Naturalists. Check him out!

#10. Join the Dance with a shoutout to Raze the Effigy

Join the Dance
Raze the Effigy

I really enjoy the large grass-made statues in this set's art. Both of these cards show that image well, with one being celebrated and danced around, while the other is set on fire. Check out Raoul Vitale's work. As you can see, the person with the pretty crown is facing out and holding out a hand as if to beckon the watcher to join him. That sounds like fun! The scene is lit up nicely. I enjoy the artist's use of colors for the crowns, the color in the flames, as well as the effigy. Also note that the fire only penetrates so far and beyond it are dead trees. Good stuff! Raoul has done 64 works and they include Darkmoss Bridge, Dismantling Wave, Esika's Chariot, Fury, Nyx Lotus, as well as the Cluestone cycle like Orzhov Cluestone. Good stuff!

#9. Augur of Autumn

Augur of Autumn

As you can see, this pretty Green card looks awesome. I love the Human Druid here! The eyes that would enchant a thousand souls? The detailed headgear? The color of the candles? The lantern in the corner? This Augur is ready for business! The artist, Billy Christian, has created 20 cards for the game, including Cultivate from Core Set 21, Teyo, Aegis Adept, and White Dragon. I really like Billy's Tempted by the Oriq as well. Well...maybe Reckless Endeavor? What's your favorite by Billy Christian?

#8. Arlinn, the Pack's Hope // Arlinn, the Moon's Fury

Our only transforming card on today's list is everyone's favorite Werewolf planeswalker, Arlinn. The front side of this picture has wonderfully lush colors with the trees that frame the central art as one of my favorite parts of the art. As you can see by the look in her face and the hand, Arlinn truly cares about her pack. And then we have the other where the Werewolf has taken over, and she appears to be in the same space at night. I really enjoy both sides here.

This is also the 64th work by Anna Steinbauer. Weird right? Two artists both with 64 pieces making the cut? Some of the pieces you might know by our good Anna Steinbauer include Ajani, Valiant Protector; Chandra, Acolyte of Flame; Ellywick Tumblestrum; Jace, Wielder of Mysteries; Syr Konrad, the Grim; Vivien Reid; and Will Kenrith. This will not be the last time that Anna Steinbauer hit this chart either...hint hint...

#7. Lier, Disciple of the Drowned

I really enjoy the art on this 5-drop, 3/4 powerhouse that I added to my Type Four Stack. This is also a powerhouse in casual land and Standard. But let's look beyond the house-ery and at the art proper. Check out the gorgeous water and its effects here. Wow that's a good job! And then the power of the Human's form is very well done as well. From that detailed staff to the bird flying overhead, everything is just gorgeous here, right?

And who created this art? Ekaterina Burmak did! This is not the first time that Ekaternina has appeared in one of these articles, despite just 28 pieces of art to their name. Those include Atla Palani, Nest Tender; Blex, Vexing Pest; Bruvac the Grandiloquent; Geyadrone Dihada; Grand Master of Flowers; and Wish. Good stuff!

#6. Champion of the Perished

Champion of the Perished

I really enjoy this card and its throwback. Let's look at it to Consider what we are looking at: Champion of the Parish. Both are 1-drop 1/1s with the ability to net counters as other folks in their tribe arrive to the party. I enjoy what The Perished is doing here, as it features a decayed version of a human. Check out its hat, its big fat sword, it's spike in the armor, the birds in the background and much more. Good stuff!

It seems like the new artist was able to do an homage without actually being forced into the same location, facing, and more. I appreciate it. This is also Kekai Kotaki's 28th piece. Another double number...weird. Anyways, you might know Extus, Oriq Overlord; Cubwarden; Gaea's Revenge; Kamahl, Heart of Krosa; Lorthos, the Tidemaker and recently Shadrix Silverquill. Good set of cards!

And now let's turn to my Top 5!

#5. Can't Stay Away

Can't Stay Away

Our top-scoring White card (sorta, if gold counts) is this gold two color rare! Is it just me...or are contractions in titles reading weirdly to you as well? I feel like this would be better titled "Cannot Stay Away" but maybe that's just me. As you can see, this fun card, illustrated by Milivoj ?eran, (One of 53 cards, just one more than a deck of cards) has an epic number of cats in the art. This fuzzy fun time looks quite nice, and I enjoy how each cat's eyes look. Take a deep gander therein.

Do you enjoy this cat-tastic piece of work? I hope so to! Other pieces by Milivoj ?eran include Cauldron Familiar; Chatterfang, Squirrel General; Chatterstorm; Persist; Vanquisher's Banner and War Room. My favorite is likely Earthshaker Giant. Shout out to another Cat - Generous Stray. Welcome to top five!

#4. Triskaidekaphile

Triskaidekaphile

Take a look-see at Slawomir Maniak's 168th piece for the game! Pretty nice right? I love the hands in the back pinned to the circle. I love the storm and the lightning. I love the colors in this piece. Want to know what I love the most here? Great question! It's the look on the face on the Human Wizard. Wow that's good stuff Slawomir Maniak!

Some works by Slawomir you may have seen before (get ready) are: Aurelia, the Warleader; Clever Impostor; Disciple of Bolas; several masterpieces, Falkenrath Noble; Flametongue Kavu; Harvester of Souls; Iroas, God of Victory; Liesa, Shroud of Dusk; Lurrus of the Dream-Den; Magda, Brazen Outlaw; Sphinx's Revelation; Stormbreath Dragon; Vastwood Hydra; and Zegana, Utopian Speaker. Wow.

#3. Turn the Earth

Turn the Earth

Our highest-scoring mono-color card is this 1-drop instant uncommon in Green. Check out the artist's craft at work. See how Alayna puts that green energy in the eyes of the leafy creature? The same energy coming from the wisps of the leaves that seem like horns made of vegetable matter? See how the fruit is around the figure showing off its size? See the pretty colors in the sky above the scene? It all works wonderfully together. This is Alayna Danner's 52nd card.

Anyways, you might remember cards like Access Tunnel, Alpine Moon, Archmage's Charm, Cleric Class, Highland Forest, Jeweled Lotus, Path of Ancestry, and Witherbloom Campus. My favorite piece remains the Moon. This is not Alayna's first appearance on my list, it seems like she makes it a few times each year. I really love her stuff!

Two more left! Both are gold! One is rare and the other is mythic.

#2. Croaking Counterpart

Croaking Counterpart

Our highest-scoring Green card is this Frog-caring sorcery. It's just sooo...croakingly cute! I love the art here! As you can see, the Counterpart has a great Frog riding a bird. The Frog is wearing the same hat as others in the plane, but it is made of a leaf, and has what looks like homemade armor around it. It appears to want to be something else; a proper Cathar looking Frog. I love the big eyes of our focus. Great stuff! Yeong-Hao Han is also part of the 100 Card Club with 132 and they include: Basalt Monolith; Bident of Thassa, Burnished Hart; Carnage Tyrant; Court of Cunning; Dance of the Manse; Oblivion Stone (From Kaladesh Masterpieces); Shadowspear; Steam Vents and Thaumatic Compass.. Love Yeong-Hao Han a lot, how about you?

And now let's turn to my Top Art.

#1. Lynde, Cheerful Tormentor

Lynde, Cheerful Tormentor

A few years ago the powers that be decided to really flesh out the art for potential Commanders or for reprints of popular leaders in supplemental sets.

Let me show you what I mean in action:

Invasion version and Commander 2016 version and Double Masters version

These are all three of the arts for the popular Commander and character in the uber-set narrative, Hanna, Ship's Navigator. As you can see, the first art from way back in Invasion was adequate but didn't really show off the popular Commander. The second art from Commander 2016 was lusher and more detailed and clearly spent some time on it. And then you got another lush slate of art back for Double Masters that shows our iconic love interest for Gerrard looking over the Weatherlight. Pretty good growth, right?

Lynde is the beneficiary of this change, and is wonderfully done by our return trip by Anna Steinbauer. The art here is amazing, I mean that literally (the pieces of art in the image) and figuratively (the piece that Anna crafted). Isn't it strong? The detailing of the wood is so well crafted. I love the candelabra off to the right. I love the figure of Lynde herself. I love that doll in her hand. I love the look of the clothing that she is wearing. Anna has crafted a greatly moving piece here, right? I think so too!

And there we go! There are my Top Ten, with an Honorable Mention, of Art from Midnight Hunt and its Commander set. I hope you enjoyed my choices from the set. What are yours?

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