A Glimpse of the ‘Eternal’

The art of the new Magic: The Gathering set Eternal Masters links the past and present to deliver a visual experience like few others.

Beginning Monday, May 23, members of the Magic: The Gathering community became glued to their screens as spoilers began for the much-anticipated Eternal Masters set. By feverishly hitting the refresh button on websites and social media, players soon noticed that something special was happening: Eternal Masters was going to be a set for the ages, not just in terms of raw power, but also in vivid reinvention. Cards that hadn’t been printed in 20 years or more were once again seeing the light of day, some with flavorful new artwork to match the game’s current aesthetic.

Finally, normal players — not just judges or MTG veterans — would be able to get lands like Karakas, while creatures like Baleful Strix and Shardless Agent would be getting premium foil versions for the first time.

But what was perhaps most exciting for players and fans was seeing which art would be used as each new card was revealed. Would it be something that had previously been printed as a limited edition promo or exclusively on Magic: The Gathering Online? Or would it be a new take on an old subject?

Art aficionados were not disappointed.

From returning favorites like Rob Alexander to current illustrators like Eric Deschamps, Eternal Masters succeeds in mixing the old and the new — with explosively ingenious results.



Announced Feb. 15, Eternal Masters invited players to “draw on some of the most sought-after cards from throughout the history of Magic.” Coupled with the announcement was an extraordinary revelation: that beloved artist Terese Nielsen had reimagined one of her first (and most popular) cards from the game, namely Force of Will.

fow 2

For Eternal Masters, Terese Nielsen reinterpreted one of her first Magic cards: Force of Will.  Shown above is the original artwork framed {Vintage Magic Collection}

fow sketch 3

For Eternal Masters, Terese Nielsen reinterpreted one of her first Magic cards: Force of Will.    Shown above is the original sketch framed {Vintage Magic Collection}

“Being asked to recreate this incredibly popular card a second time was and is an incredible honor,” Terese told shortly after the announcement. “Somehow the stars have aligned in a way that has allowed me to continue creating art for this remarkable game. I feel head-shakingly lucky each time I’m asked to participate in another set.”

Players who appreciate Terese’s art are lucky, too, since she has nine pieces — both old and new — in Eternal Masters, including a reinterpretation of the Alpha card Control Magic.

“I was unaware (as is quite normal for me) that Control Magic was already a card,” Terese added in an email to Vintage Magic. “Occasionally I’ll do a search when I’m assigned a card just to see if it’s an entirely new one or a new interpretation of an old card. I didn’t think about it this time and just went ahead with what came to mind from the art description I was given.”

This concept of reinterpretation has seeped into every aspect of Eternal Masters’ design and deployment. Drawing on cards from as early as Alpha and as recent as Conspiracy, the set serves as an opportunity for players to meet some of their favorite spells and creatures in an exciting new context. After all, it’s been nearly 20 years since players have drafted copies of Humble or Peregrine Drake.

Of particular excitement for flavor fans was the fact that it wasn’t just “money” cards that were getting a sparkling new veneer. Cards like Prodigal Sorcerer (known affectionately to players as “Tim”) got new art for the first time in more than 20 years.

“For me, it was just like any other Magic assignment, and I approached it the same way as always — to try and make the coolest, most awesome giant tortoise,” said Richard Wright, who composed new artwork for Giant Tortoise from Arabian Nights and Phantom Monster from Alpha.

Giant Tortoise

The original artwork for Giant Tortoise, created by Kaja Foglio, is getting an update for the first time in the game’s history, courtesy of artist Richard Wright



Just like the field of imaginative realism is full of artists who work digitally and traditionally, so too is the new art for Eternal Masters a mix of old and new mediums.

For instance, Victor Adame Minguez used his spectacular digital brush skills to create a new interpretation of Maelstrom Wanderer. Originally printed in Planechase 2012, the new art uses similar blue energy and fleeing animals to link them together thematically.

Maelstrom Wanderer

The original Maelstrom Wanderer by Thomas M. Baxa (left) shares certain elements with the new art by Victor Adame Minguez


“It would have been rather difficult to do traditionally due to time constraints and the complexity of all elements,” said Victor. “I went out of my comfort zone. Paintings of this kind that involve a lot of natural elements — landscapes and/or animals — is not what I’m known for, so it was quite challenging but rewarding in the end.”

Conversely, artist Lindsey Look took a traditional approach for her new take on Mystical Tutor. Painted with oil on board, the new art appears to have little in common with the learned woman so many players are familiar with — that is, until the viewer notices the little animal skull on the desk and the filigree on the edge of the table, which harkens back to the window frame design of the original.

Mystical Tutor

Lindsey Look’s new version of Mystical Tutor (right) has at least three Easter eggs that reference back to the original art by David O’Connor


“Frankly, when I got the art order for Mystical Tutor, it took a few minutes for the gravity of it to sink in,” said Lindsey. “It’s exciting, but really daunting to do new artwork for an old favorite.”

Regardless of the medium, both artists expressed their enthusiasm over their assignments for the set. Explained Victor, “I was really excited to work on it. As a commander player myself, I knew the importance of this guy, and how he is beloved and hated by many players. So the pressure to do an ‘A’ job was there.”

Lindsey agrees: “I always get a little nervous that I won’t be able to do the card justice. The commission description for the art was completely different from the original, but I’m glad it was because I love painting hands.”

Wizards of the Coast hopes that same level of anticipation will spill over to players when Eternal Masters finally hits shelves. If the wow-factor of the set’s art direction is any indication, spell slingers are in for an experience that will go down as one of the pinnacles of Magic’s history.


Eternal Masters New Artwork List

By Patrick Scalisi


Land, Artifact, & Blue Cards


Ashnod’s Altar

Chrome Mox

Emmessi Tome

Goblin Charbelcher

Sensei’s Divining Top

Ticking Gnomes

Control Magic



Diminishing Returns

Force of Will

Giant Tortoise

Glacial Wall


Memory Lapse

Mystical Tutor

Peregrine Drake

Phantom Monster

Prodigal Sorcerer

Stupefying Touch

Black Cards

Animate Dead


Havoc Demon


Prowling Pangolin

Sengir Autocrat


Vampiric Tutor

Red Cards




Ghitu Slinger

Mogg War Marshall

Price of Progress


Rorix Bladewing

Tooth and Claw

Green Cards

Ancestral Mask

Elvish Vanguard


Nimble Mongoose


Seal of Strength

Timberwatch Elf


Wirewood Symbiote

White Cards

Enlightened Tutor


Gold Cards

Bloodbraid Elf

Goblin Trenches

Maelstrom Wanderer


Giant Solifuge

Seal of Cleansing



IX Redux – Vintage Magic says:

Nov 21,2016

[…] expansion Ice Age and the reimagined “Force of Will” by Terese Nielsen’s from this summer’s Eternal Masters. (Many pieces of original Magic art are available for purchase at […]

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