In this series, I’m going to go through my cube, section by section, and compare the available printings of each card. I’ll give my opinion on which is the coolest/prettiest/most charmingly old-school, but since this is a side by side comparison of art and version, it should be a useful reference even if you don’t agree. If I missed something, let me know! Note: I’m working on the general rule that I would like cards to be foil, but I’d rather have nice art than foil if that’s the choice.
Please follow Milo’s awesome example, and let me know what your picks are in the comments.
If you missed it, here’s Part 1: White .
So we begin the trend of hilarously literal art in blue. Dude is starting a storm, with his brain. Yep. FNM all the way.
Eh. Kev Walker’s is the prettiest, but I like the Onslaught version as well. We run the Onslaught one- Justin’s choice.
Does blue seriously have to make up for having good cards by having terrible art? The Jace one at least doesn’t make me think that it belongs to a card that is, you know, only sideboard material if it cantrips. Maybe when Counterspell is reprinted the art will be awesome, and it will involve an elemental fish with wings cameo, and everything will be ok. Until then…
I’m sure there’s some associated loss of street cred, but I just want to not memorize the order on this card, or you know, exactly which stupidly good things it does. Text-full!
I just can’t resist the urge to put these two next to each other. /aside
So, I tried to tell Justin that I liked the new art better- it at least makes me think that something cool is happening, not just goblins rifling through papers- and he went off on a long tangent about Squee being put into the graveyard through FoF and then coming back. So I guess I have to say that maybe the old art has some sort of reason to it, but I’m going with prettiness here- I like the new one.
Same beautiful art, but shinier. Yes please.
So, blue is pretty light on promo and alternate art cards in general (at least compared to white- I guess I should finish the rest before passing judgment), and a lot of the promos have the same art. So here we are. Does this art make you think of drawing cards? I’m not sure impulsiveness is really the same as being a thief. Oh well- foil it is.
Alright, baby Jace isn’t actually in my cube anymore, but I had to mention him, because this might be the most offensively bad art in this entire section. I love Kev Walker, but what were you thinking? Is Jace a frat boy? Does he listen to Dave Matthews? Does casting blue spells just make you feel really bro-y?
The book version is fine, but I don’t know why you wouldn’t just run the original.
Thanks, M11! I really like the new art here. The textless is also rad, but excluded due to new-player-friendliness.
A jellyfish eating a shark is clearly cool, but the portal wording (“from your hand”) isn’t real. I like the Jace vs. Chandra version.
Ughh, why must they do this? Why give a promo new art (when the old art is already awesome) unless you are going to make an effort to have the new art be good as well? The original art is awesome- you think, I like this fish. It has wings. I can see that it likes me back, hence the card draw. What is that new thing? Is it even a fish anymore? This is just the worst.
Again with the balancing broken cards by giving them bad art. I don’t find either of these particularly flavorful or evocative of what the card does, but at least the Urza’s Destiny one is blackbordered.
I feel like this one comes down to a personal decision about merfolk nipples. I’m going with the M10 version myself, but I could see running the textless one if I was ok with that in the cube.
Wow- nothing better than the old wording, where they remind you that your cards might have drawbacks. Adorable.
Until I started writing this article, I actually didn’t know that this guy was in Jace vs. Chandra. They did a really nice job with the art though- just like Akroma’s Vengeance, the newer version is really bright and crisp. I’ll be upgrading.
How could you not love the revised version? I love the hilarious mismatch of badass not-really-blue-creature with doily-wearing man. But this card was constantly getting sorted into green, so now I run the FTV:Exiled version, which lacks charm but has shininess.
Judge Foils with the normal expansion symbol are a little odd- but nothing much to see here. I run the foil, 100% personal preference.
I’m honestly surprised that this card has 5 printings and only two distinct arts. I like the Destiny one- I think it reads well and is kind of adorable, but both are well-done. Can we get a sweet promo?
I’m kind of sucker for ladies rather than not ladies in my magic art, and I think the promo is very pretty although the straightforward interpretation of the original charms me. “Hey guys, I’m literally drinking a vial of knowledge!” I’m going with the FNM promo.
Obviously just the foil vs nonfoil, old vs new border issue here- I do wish there was a version without reminder text on morph. For some reason that’s just the tweaky thing I’m into now. Personally, I like the foil and I like the new border, so I’m going with the FNM promo. But you can have basically any permutation you want of the same art, which is kind of cool.