If my previous posts haven’t made it exceedingly obvious, please know that the art of Magic is something I am extremely passionate about. Simply put, some of the art on these cards are masterpieces in their own right. May artists found their bearings by creating for Magic, while other classical artist have lent their talent to the game. That being said, not every piece of art in Magic is, well, good. Some are bad. Some are awful. Here are number 10-6 of what I think are the worst card arts in Magic.
The only redeeming quality of this card is the amount of detail put into it. However, more doesn’t necessarily mean better. This card is straight out of the movie The Pagemaster. Anthropomorphic kitchen appliances gone bad? It’s like The Brave Little Toaster’s deranged brother. Whatever they were originally trying to go for in the card is just completely lost. Thematically it does not fit into Mirage. There is too much going on, and the colors are distracting from any focus the artist may have had.
Jesper Myrfors was the original art director for Magic, and held that position from Alpha through Fallen Empires. You may recognize his art on Armageddon, Bad Moon, and Bayou. This means Word of Command is completely unforgivable. It’s bad because of the lack of detail. I mean c’mon. Were they running out of time? Did Richard Garfield accidentally order a keg of black paint and before sending it back Jesper said “wait, we can use this.” I don’t know who dropped the ball on this or how, but it’s just bad.
Why this card was not reprinted in Theros I have no idea. It just oozes the lore they were trying to achieve. The art is eerily reminiscent of an Ancient Greece project I had in the second grade, except instead of using tin foil for Medusa’s hair, I used macaroni. Actually, macaroni may have saved this card art; it could have been a nonchalant “we didn’t even try” situation. But unfortunately the artist did try, and it resulted in this off-proportioned monstrosity. I actually had to verify that this art was a real card and not a poor attempt at fan art.
This is just straight out of Nightmare Before Christmas. You see, I used another animated movie reference as a call-back to previous items on this list. Continuity is important. This card should just be renamed “This is Halloween” and play a musical number when cast. It has so much potential to be a cool looking card. The silhouette could’ve been of one of the many cool looking legendary cards printed in the set. But, instead we got a generic devil pumpkin who is about to carve a turkey.
I was torn on this card, because I genuinely do like it. It’s a good card that’s extremely fun to play in stax decks like Atraxa (A-STAX-A, amiritie?). But, it just looks awful. I can’t even begin to articulate what it is that is truly going on in the art. On the left side we have a clown all in white prepping to lay down some wicked karate movies. On the right side we have a blindfolded Anubis kissing a present. A present for the clown? How sweet. In between them is a floating painter’s palette and a moon. This is all occurring while the clown and Anubis are balanced on a teeter-totter that has smoke rising from it. Or is the smoke coming from the clown’s face? Is Anubis’ gift to the clown a new face? Leaving art open for interpretation is one of the most powerful things an artist can do, but this piece takes it to an extreme.
I hope you enjoyed reading about what I find to be some of the worst art in Magic. Tune-in next time to see the final 5 on the list. Please like and share, and do comment if I missed your favorite worst art.
While not a mix of sugar, spice, and everything nice, Loren wishes to share his love of Magic with everyone. Loren plays Modern (not well) and EDH (not well). He lives in northern Arizona with his girlfriend and vault of artist signed cards.