What do Reality Twist, Verduran Emissary and Look at me I'm the DCI have in common?
"No it isn't that they could be fun in a Bant deck."
The answer is they are one shot magic the gathering artist cards. Yes everyone has that Magic the Gathering artist they love be it Rebecca Guay, John Avon or Aleksi Briclot but for every artist that has contributed numerous pieces of art to the game there are those who have just provided one bit of art for one card.
I thought it would be nice to explore this area for a bit of fun. In total there are 25 MtG cards that have a unique artist so let's dive in chronologically with:
Fay Jones is the artist of Stasis and was asked to do the piece as a favour to Richard Garfield in the very first Magic the Gathering set. Unique with the abstract choice of a clown and Jackal balancing on a seesaw wile painting. Some like this, others hate it but for me it is as iconic as you can get with Magic card art. Also the card is a pain in the ass when you get locked down in a game.
War Elephant is a card in Arabian Nights by Kristen Bishop. A fantastic piece of an elephant roaming the plains which I like a lot.
This dragon by Michael Whelan was a special promo card given out at Dragoncon in 1994, it honestly looks like it should be in a set like Mirage.
Ah yes Ice Age the set covering everything in snow. Folk of the Pines is kind of cheating a bit as Nene Thomas has plenty of Magic card art, but it is unique for being painted by two artists not one the other being Catherine Buck who only contributed to this piece.
Which is shared with Stormbind another combination piece by Nene Thomas and this time Phillip Mosness. I like this art of some magical spirit cursing a cold arctic weather front on someone.
The final Ice Age art is just odd. James Ernest goes all out here as reality itself twists out of control which involves chess pieces and some dude with a hat in space??
Moving on to the Visions set now and we have Solfatara. Which in real life is a shallow volcanic crater that emits sulphuric gases. The art for this is really good and I am surprised Omaha Perez didn't get a chance to do any other artwork.
Staying with Visions we have Craig Hooper and the Dragon Mask. I don't really get the feeling this is a mask and could just be the head of a very hungry dragon. (On further investigation this was the intention of the artist but R&D didn't like it, so it became a dragon mask).
Fun fact, I'm a big fan of all things Gorgon and Medusa. As a kid the Perseus story and 80s Clash of the Titans was one of my favorite greek myths and movie. I think this is a strikingly different and unique style from Darbury Stenderu you just don't see to often in MtG.
Tempest is one of the best sets in Magic, certainly one I remember enjoying a lot. What surprises me is that Jeff Reitz only did this one card. I think the image of the energy bolt frying the spider is really good and a bit of shame this is his only card in Magic.
Ah Portal the set for new players that never really worked as intended. This is the Cris Dornaus version of Bee Sting and I'd say it's better than the Phil Foglio one which is a bit too silly even by Foglio standards. This goblin is really should look elsewhere for honey.
The one piece of art that we all know will ever to be painted (drawn) by Mark Rosewater. Unglued had some weird ideas and this certainly fits.
Sometimes you really have to look at a piece of art. This ogre by Daniel R. Horne appears to be holding two joints of meat while beating up a large cat in a street. What is distracting though is the left leg which appears to be dislocated or about 10m long. Also he appears to have only three toes??
Like Flailing Ogre this is also in the Mercadian Masques set. I don't know why Sean McConnell was one and done with this piece, it's a nice piece of a woodlot. Let's get chopping for the fire.
Meanwhile in Dominaria a soldier clad in a yellow jump suit fights colossus from the x-men. In my mind flint is usually a dullish brown or grey rock so why this golem is almost shiny or made of steel I'm not entirely sure. Lou Harrison the artist of this card in Nemesis.
Two cards hit the "one artist & done" target with the Invasion set and this one is awesome (not for it's actual ability as a card) but because it seems such a happy critter. Jacques Bredy knocked this one out the park!
The other Invasion card is by Alton Lawson and I see why this is the only one. It comes across as way too Saturday morning cartoon to my eyes. Also why is an emissary 'a diplomatic role' blasting a phyrexian creature with lightning? Let's carry on shall we :)
In the Judgement set Squid people are the tribal blue race. In this art one of them probably Aboshan seems to be watching a battle form his Squid viewing room. I like the art of Fred Rahmqvist so again puzzled that we only got this.
In Ravnica: City of Guilds we got a lot of cool art, especially in black. But sometimes we get things like this which on first look seem gruesome and then you notice the kid with a party hat grinning in the background and it ruins the whole thing. Chengo McFlingers is in fact Robert Bliss who made the awesome Pacifism card art but it still counts for this list.
Staying in Ravnica we have this amazing bit of art for Crown of Convergence. Elegant and the crown really draws in the eye, I really like this by Jen Page.
We're going to the past, to re-visit sets in a glacial past. Coldsnap is the third set of the Ice age series and this lovely artwork is Rebekah Lynn's Vanish into Memory. Clearly computer art is used but it is still a great image and striking.
The Future Sight set like the ghost of Christmas yet to come predicted where magic might go in the future. One of those predictions was Lorwyn and although giants from Boldwyr would show up, they were never quite this red! Esad Ribic the artist is actually a very prolific comic book artist so check out his other work if you can.
We arrive in Lorwyn a land of fairytale creatures and whimsy. The merfolk returned and this sorcery card by Paul Chadwick depicts one going fishing. The artist is behind the comicbook sereis Concrete so I can understand this being a one shot.
Jace takes on Alhammarret in this artwork by Yan Li in Magic Origins. Cool art I hope Yan Li may return to do more. As an aside I am liking the new path Jace is on as before he wasn't teribly likable but he has grown a lot journeying with Pirates and Dinosaurs on Ixalan.
The final card art of a Pirate running on water is by G-Host Lee. As this is in Rivals of Ixalan this could very soon become irrelevant to the list especially if you look this chap up on the internet. His painting and artwork is amazing!
There you have it then twenty five unique Magic the Gathering card art.
Until next time.