The Art Of Magic: The Gathering – War Of The Spark Review: A Deeper Look At All Things Magic

Even if you’re not a fan of Magic: The Gathering, there’s no denying the allure of the iconic trading card game. Fantastical artwork, incredibly deep strategy, and a thriving community means there’s nothing quite like Magic on the market. Arguably the greatest TCG of all time, Magic continues to expand and iterate in new and exciting ways. It’s latest expansion – number 81, for those keeping track – is titled War of the Spark. It brings a new set of cards into the mix, but also introduces brand-new lore to the Multiverse.

The Art of Magic: The Gathering – War of the Spark is a perfect celebration of this content, delving deep into the mind of Nicol Bolas, while celebrating all things Magic along the way.

More Than Magical Art

First and foremost, The Art of Magic: The Gathering – War of the Spark is an artbook. And, not surprisingly, its pages are filled with never-before-seen illustrations spanning the history of Magic. Its focus is heavily on War of the Spark, but you’ll find content reaching back several years to help answers any lingering questions you might have on your mind. In fact, the majority of the 200+ page artbook is dedicated to fleshing out backstory and adding context to War of the Spark. Discussing Nicol Bolas, Planeswalkers, and various Planes of the Multiverse takes up the majority of the early portion of the book, with the “War of the Spark” section not surfacing until page 170.

But all the new artwork in the book is only half the story – the other half is the ridiculous amount of lore revealed from page to page. Nearly every single image is accompanied by several paragraphs, diving deep into the new illustrations and revealing more about the Multiverse and each of the characters inhabiting its Planes.

All of this is pulled together into a hardcover volume that is a work of art in its own right. The included dust jacket features an action shot of Nicol Bolas, but I’ve found that the artbook looks better with it off. Silver lettering on the spine and its dark blue binding makes it stand out on the bookshelf, offering a professional look and feel. It’s pages are a heavy satin stock, giving each image the premium look it deserves without letting images on the back of the page seep through. Every single page gives its content the respect it deserves, with nothing about the book’s construction detracting from the passion poured into every single image.

Engaging For Veterans And Beginners Alike

Whether you’re a Magic veteran or a long-time lurker hoping to learn more about the revered card game, The War of the Spark artbook has something to offer. I’m no longer as active in the world of Magic as I once was, but I’ve always been fascinated by the tale it’s able to tell in between cards. Even dedicated players might not realize all the plot twists occurring behind the scenes – the lore of Magic has become a beast of its own over the years.

No matter your background on the Multiverse, Planeswalkers, or the colors of magic, you’ll find that catching up on the chaos is easy with this book. As a jumping on point for newcomers, The Art of Magic delivers on all fronts. And, for long-time veterans, you’ll be able to pick up deeper understanding of Bolas, War of the Spark, and the various plans set in motion with the 81st expansion.

READ NEXT: Jumpstart Is The Perfect Way To Get Into (Or Back Into) Magic: The Gathering

The Art of Magic: The Gathering – War of the Spark is now available for $39.99. TheGamer was provided with a copy of the artbook for this review.

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Jon Bitner is an Associate Editor for TheGamer. His passion for gaming started with his first console (Sega Genesis) and he hasn’t stopped playing since. His favorite titles include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Team Fortress 2, Rainbow Six Siege, Pokémon Sword & Shield, Old School Runescape, Skyrim, and Breath of the Wild. He can usually be found playing the latest RPG, FPS, or some obscure mobile game. Before working as Associate News Editor, Jon earned a Biology degree and worked in the Biotechnology sector — experiences that taught him how to put words together and make sentences. When not playing or writing about the gaming industry, he enjoys sleeping, eating, and staring at birds.

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