Magic: The Gathering – The Best Art In Dominaria Remastered

Dominaria Remastered is a landmark set for Magic: The Gathering. A grand union of 27 classic expansions, it's a monument to 30 years of design and development, highs and lows, heroes and villains; it’s a reminder of what made, and continues to make, Magic one of the greatest trading card games of all time.

A large part of the game’s ongoing success is, undoubtedly, the incredible artwork that accompanies each card. Just as Dominaria Remastered brings together some of the game’s greatest sets, so too does it bring together some of its greatest artists, to deliver sparkling new renditions of time-honoured classics. Here are ten of our favourites; ten pieces that put the ‘master’ in ‘Dominaria Remastered’.

10 No Mercy, By Ron Spencer

Showcasing the first Phyrexian invasion of Dominaria, Ron Spencer’s fresh take on No Mercy is bursting with life, despite dealing primarily with the subject of death. Emerging from a deep purple portal in the background, a Phyrexian horror effortlessly dismantles a mechanical warrior, its cruel talons weaving their way through the warrior’s synthetic flesh.

It’s a surprisingly colourful take on such a dark moment, the crackling purples and bright blues playing nicely off each other to create a sense of Hollywood spectacle. As the battle rages, we’re given a glimpse of the residences in the background, the homes of the innocent that will soon be reduced to rubble. It’s a piece that discusses the horrors of war without wallowing in them tonally, making it a standout in this, or any, Magic set.

9 Exploration, By Lindsey Look

A love letter to the joys of cartography, this piece presents the concept of Exploration from a less literal angle than its predecessors. The central character is engrossed in a map here, making notes on its surface. Their imagination overflows as they do so, represented by the huge maps unfurling into the distance.

It’s a wonderfully creative piece, the incidental details of maps, such as ships and monstrous tentacles, rising out of the paper and becoming a real part of the scene. It’s rare that you see a convincing vision of the imagination put down on paper, but Lindsay Look succeeds in creating just that with this piece.

8 Legacy Weapon, By Ryan Pancoast

A piece that’s as remarkable for what it shows as how it shows it, this is one of the few glimpses Magic fans have been afforded at the nightmarish final form of Yawgmoth, after his ascent into what is essentially godhood. It’s an interpretation that lives up to the hype, too, with the Father of Phyrexia appearing as a shifting mass of black cloud, wrapping his nefarious tentacles around the Weatherlight’s hull.

Beyond this, the centre of the piece is rich with story detail, a five-colour prism reflecting all the people and objects that came together to build the weapon that would finally bring Yawgmoth down. It is perhaps the most climactic moment in the history of Magic’s long-running narrative, and this piece by Ryan Pancoast more than does it justice.

7 Denizen Of The Deep, By Mark Tedin

This piece from Mark Tedin is a masterclass in scale. Magic has many sea monsters in its lengthy bestiary, but few live up to the ‘monster’ part of that title like this Denizen of the Deep. Emerging from (or more likely causing) a huge wave, the Denizen displaces two different ships, as its colossal green eye looks on from the background.

The use of perspective here is great as well, giving us a look right down the monster’s gullet. As a lovely final touch, the many rows of oddly-spaced teeth reinforce just how alien the Denizen is, reminding us of the countless unknown horrors that lurk beneath the waves.

6 Worldgorger Dragon, By RK Post

A gloriously literal interpretation of a classic card, this version of Worldgorger Dragon zooms the camera way out, showing us an entire planet set to be devoured by the titular beast. The star-spotted backdrop frames the scene nicely, giving us a sense of the cosmic scale the piece is working on, while also framing the Dragon itself perfectly.

And what a Dragon it is. With its wispy wings and multitude of mouths, this may be one of the most unique Dragons Magic has seen. The way it wraps itself around the central planet, as a lesser Dragon would do with a treasure hoard, creates a sense of true power on par with any major Magic antagonist.

5 Vampiric Tutor, By Richard Kane Ferguson

It’s hard to go wrong with a piece from legendary Magic artist Richard Kane Ferguson: a statement which Wizards of the Coast apparently agrees with, given that they brought him on to deliver alternate art for all of the reprinted Tutor cards in Dominaria Remastered. Each is brilliant in its own right, but the standout has to be his take on Vampiric Tutor.

Depicting a Vampire claiming a powerful artifact from within a treacherous, lava-filled cave, the piece feels incredibly dynamic, thanks to the sharp lines of the Vampire’s cape and lava flows creating a strong sense of movement. The use of colour is brilliant here too, making what could easily have been a dull cave scene visually exciting to look at.

4 Birds Of Paradise, By Darrel Riche

Most versions of Birds of Paradise place the emphasis on the ‘Paradise’ part, but this rendition from Darrel Riche is an exception, with the Bird itself proudly taking centre stage in this vivid piece. It’s a wonder to behold: a living gradient of orange to purple, swooping its way through a lush green forest, teeming with life.

The Bird’s colourful nature is, of course, highly appropriate given its mechanical usage in the game, but it also serves to create a powerful contrast with the jungle background, and its more subdued tones. It’s an excellent version of a classic card, one that could very well become a classic in its own right given time.

3 Street Wraith, By Pete Venters

A truly horrific vision, this piece by Pete Venters brings us up close and personal with a nightmarish Wraith, letting us breathe in the stench of his domain under the rickety walkways of some swamp-based town. The creature itself is terrifying, with exposed bones, wiry hair and rat-like teeth all conspiring to make you shuffle the card back into your deck immediately.

Stick around, though, and you can enjoy the subtle, but equally terrible, details that exist on the periphery of this piece. The walkway above, lit by a burning orange lamp, may be empty for now, but soon another unfortunate soul will walk across it, perhaps falling victim to the Wraith’s clutching claws just as we, the viewers, seemingly have.

2 Sylvan Library, By Mark Poole

Channelling Tolkien’s elegant Elvish citadels, this new vision of Sylvan Library feels just as serene and otherworldly as the forest of Lothlorien. The tree trunks bend in a way that feels intentional, yet could just as easily be the work of nature, and the Library itself has been seamlessly constructed around their sinuous weavings.

There’s a delicate contrast between the natural and the Elf-made here, the dull browns of the wood illuminated in the subtle orange lights that mark the limits of the Library. The central window, carved from bark in a stunning allegory for stained-glass, anchors the piece with a powerful core element.

1 Time Stretch, By Dominik Mayer

Layering an astrological chart on top of the Tolarian Academy, Dominik Mayer’s take on this extra turn spell shows us snapshots of the iconic location at different points in time. The three coloured circles serve as windows into different events, letting us see the Academy’s original construction, its glory days, and its destruction, all in a single snapshot.

It’s a very effective way of packing the history of one of the game’s most storied locations into a single piece, made all the better by the stellar use of colour and the apt technical chart motif. It wouldn’t be a Stretch to say that checking out this art is one of the best possible uses of your Time.

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