Hello folks! I hope that you are doing well and keeping yourself safe in our modern COVID-19 world!
Today I want to look at 10 pieces of art from the latest set that inspire me as a player and writer. Art is a key part of the game, and without it, I doubt that MTG would ever have caught on like it did. Everyone has a favorite artist! (Mine is the watercolors of Tom Wänerstrand). Given that this is a vital part of the game, I wanted to look at recent art from Commander Legends today and share some of my favorite pieces. Please note that I am coming to you as a fan, not as a trained art critic or an artist. Please understand that going in. Despite that, I hope to really demonstrate the great cards and art from this set!
To make the cut in the below list, the art in question must be new. A reprinted card like Vampiric Tutor with new art is eligible for this list. However, reprints like Seraph of Dawn with the same art are not eligible. A reprint like Mana Drain with new art from their debut that appeared already is also not eligible for this list.
Honorable Mention #1 - Three Visits
In order to really show off the quality of this card, take a look at its original version from Portal: Three Kingdoms.
The original version is a by-the-numbers piece of art that shows a place in time that is a story note from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms as our ruler is humbling himself before a potential adviser that the leader wants to recruit. The original art is fine, and it works, but I've never thought to myself that it was one of the best in the set. But Yeong-Hao Han? That version is really nicely done, fleshed out, with a great eye for detail. From the detailed plant life to Yeong-Hao Han's take on the Fairy creatures, there is a lot here to really sink your teeth into. Good job! This is Yeong-Hao Han's 111th picture for the game, with some famous and commonly played cards like Burnished Hart, the God's Weapons cycle (Bow of Nylea et all), Carnage Tyrant and Shadowspear. My favorite is probably Ketria Crystal.
Honorable Mention #2 - Rebbec, Architect of Ascension
Hello fans of older characters to the Thran Empire a long time ago. This is Rebbec, and she was an important character who gave her life to safe the plane of Dominaria. Magali Villeneuve's art is pretty powerful and I love the details and colors in the background. I also adore the lush colors and clothing in the foreground as Magali Villeneuve seems to really know how to handle that from the curves of the cloth to its shifting colors. Magali Villeneuve has done 125 cards for the game that include cards like Chandra, Torch of Defiance; Jaya Ballard; Jhoira of the Ghitu (Duel Decks version); Klothys, God of Destiny; Narset, Enlightened Master; or Teysa Karlov. My favorite by Magali Villeneuve is either Leovold, Emissary of Trest or maybe it's Rashmi, Eternities Crafter. I'm unsure. Magali's works are all over the game and you definitely know them; and Magali is an accomplished artist.
Ready for the Top Ten proper? Let's do it!
10. Breeches, Brazen Plunderer
I really enjoy this lush boat scene. Svetlin Velinov did a great job with it! From the coins at the foot of Breeches in the lower left corner to the cordage in the upper left one, there is a lot of great detail here. This is an old school fleshed out leader for your deck like the remake of Jhoira of the Ghitu mentioned above or the Terese Nielsen remake of Hanna, Ship's Navigator in Commander 2016. Breeches has that feel to me, which I love. That's one angry Monkey Goblin, and our good Svetlin Velinov also does a great job showing the expression on its face. Good job! Now if you featured one piece of art by Svetlin Velinov each day do you know how many days you'd have before you ran out of art? 258! That's a big amount of art! I don't even know where to start! You can check them all out here. The first card alphabetically is the heavily played Abrupt Decay, and that's a good place to begin to dig into this great and prolific artist.
9. Tormod, the Desecrator
Hello Tormod's Crypt fans! I hope your day is going well! Take a gander at Grzegorz Rutkowski's iteration of this Lich... er... Zombie Wizard. My favorite part is the energy that runs from hand to the other hand and its skull. That color really sets off the piece nicely. The details that Grzegorz Rutkowski does in Tormod's body are quite well done and I really enjoy the dark rich colors there in the clothing. Grzegorz Rutkowski has 71 pieces of art and is our first one without triple digits. You might know Rutkowski's Alela, Artful Provocateur; Ancient Greenwarden; Darigaaz Reincarnated; Growing Rites of Itlimoc; Sarkhan, Fireblood; and Urza, Lord High Artificer. My favorite one? It's probably Torment of Hailfire or Gutterbones. I really enjoy his Black stuff the best. Good job!
8. Azure Fleet Admiral
Look at this Human Pirate. Isn't it pretty? Well detailed? Look at the wood on the bottom and left of the and the detailing thereof. And the colors? So nice! And the rope and the details on it are nice too. The figure and looking up at it from below it well detailed and adds colors to the piece. I enjoy the red bit of flashy color there. And the sky and clouds are wonderfully detailed as well. The artist of this piece, Sidharth Chaturvedi, should be really proud! Sidharth has 62 credits! These include several cards from Commander Legends as well as Daring Archaeologist, Demon of Catastrophes, Guild Summit, Hullbreacher, and Trostani, Selesnya's Voice. I think the Archeologist is my favorite of the 62. Good job Sidharth Chaturvedi!
7. Impulsive Pilferer
Hello lil' guy! D'awww... Your one-eyed self is so cute when it tries to look all scruffy. Goblin Pirates for the win! Unlike Breeches above, this one doesn't look like its fellow Ixalan Goblins, so it may not be from that plane. I love the art in this thing. From the teeth and the expression on this Goblin Pirate to the nest and coinage, there is a lot to really sink your teeth into here! I adore it. The artist, Jakub Kasper, has 55 cards to his credit over on Gatherer; these include cards like Felidar Guardian, Goblin Trashmaster, Kothophed, Soul Hoarder, Thrashing Brontodon and the Masterpiece version of Torrential Gearhulk. I think this might be my favorite by Jakub, although Leonin Warleader is close. Good job!
6. Wrong Turn
I love this art as it feels like it should be in fun Un- set, and yet... it's not! Looks are how horribly nasty the creature looks! Do you see the look of perplexment on its features? And the great library of books is done nicely as well. The result is a very well-done piece of art, (and a great bit of flavor text too, by the by). The talented artist who gave us this funny yet fleshed out piece is Filip Burburan, we have 78 total works for the game by Filip. They include Akim, the Soaring Wind; Brokkos, Apex of Forever; Deathmist Raptor; Ice-Fang Coatl; Ilharg, the Raze-Boar; Makeshift Munitions; Nyxbloom Ancient; Regal Caracal; Scuttling Doom Engine; and the Masterpiece version of Sword of War and Peace. My favorite piece by Filip? It's this Jugan! The re-art of Jugan, the Rising Star from Iconic Masters. Good stuff!
5. Dawnglade Regent
Hello pretty Elk! I really am fascinated by you! The majesty of its power. The light coming around it. The well-done trees in the background that are singing praise to the Regent. It's just such an amazingly illustrated scene by YW Tang. I'm sure you can see why this strikingly beautiful image hit my #6 spot. The artist has fewer than 30 pieces of art for MTG, and these include some you might know like Gurmag Angler, and the art of King Caesar, Awoken Titan which is the alternate version of Snapdax, Apex of the Hunt. Shout out to Leyline Prowler and Meandering Towershell. My favorite work by Tang might be the Dominaria version of Timber Gorge. It's so pretty!
4. Hunter's Insight
I adore this new art by Jim Murray, illustrator of 73 works for the game. This new art is our second-highest charting new art for a reprint, and just so cool! I love the colors of the dangerous cat and the details of the markings on it. The figure attacking it seems to really be shown well in its action. The colors of the woods and plant around are striking as well and I just enjoy this so much. Jim Murray has done a lot of older works like Bringer of the Green Dawn, Dune-Brood Nephilim, Emeria Angel, Godsire, Radha, Heir to Keld, Reaper King, Scion of the Ur-Dragon, and Voidslime. But would you like to see my favorite piece by him? It's the Tenth Edition version of Angelic Chorus, which was also reprinted in Battlebond. Isn't it awesome? Good job Jim!
3. Archelos, Lagoon Mystic
Our highest-scoring gold card is this fun Turtle Shaman! Dan Scott has done a great job with the fun, lush, design that that piece features. I love the green energy at the fingertips of Archelos, as well as the skin, plants, staff. There is just so much here to take in that I just sit here in awe of Scott's talent. And this isn't Dan Scott's only piece of work for the game...nope! He has clocked in an incredible 246 pieces of art...crazy I know! Here is full list! He's been doing MTG art for more than a decade and he has a lot of powerful casual or Commander hits like Arcane Signet and Ninja of the Deep Hours and Ponder and Terramorphic Expanse. Welcome Dan Scott to my Top Ten from Commander Legends!
2. Jeweled Lotus
Welcome to our penultimate card in today's countdown and the top artifact and mythic rare on our list. I love the lushly done petals in this piece of art. Isn't it gorgeous? I adore the light effects coming from inside, and I think that Alayna Danner has done an awesome job here! Don't forget the great windows, and the well-crafted pillow that the good Lotus rests upon. Every character in Alayna's picture is a piece of elegance. There are 34 other pieces Alayna has done (for a total of 35). They include Alpine Moon, the Zendikar Rising Expeditions version of Horizon Canopy, Verdant Catacombs and Razorverge Thicket, Path of Ancestry, and the Snow-Covered Lands in the Secret Lair drop. My favorite is likely the special art on Horizon Canopy with a shout out to Alpine Moon. Good stuff!
1. Pride of the Perfect
Look at this "Perfect" piece of art! (Sorry...)(...not really). I really enjoy Black card art that breaks out of dark colors trope and includes some beautiful colors! For a great example of what I mean, consider one of my favorite works of art in Black, a classic by Melissa Benson from Legends.
Isn't that pretty? The colors of the soul bubble things that were caught are beautiful and the purple background is great. I love this art just as much as I love Pride of the Perfect's colorful art. It's so beautiful! Lie Setiawan's art also has that purple rush in the background, and I love the light coming down illuminating the scene. I love the work on the Elven bodies, and the birds flying around are gorgeously well done. Good job Lie Setiawan! Our good artist has done 35 pieces of art for the game, and those include Garruk, Unleashed; Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale; Ox of Agonas and Lutri, the Spellchaser. I want to give a shout out to my fav which is Luminous Broodmoth. Good job Lie Setiawan!
And there we are! What did you think of my list? Any of these 13 cards resonate with you as well? Anything I missed?
You know what? There are a ton of cards in here that I really liked, so next week let's look at another ten pieces of art I really enjoyed from Commander Legends.