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Another MTG artist has been accused of plagiarism

MTG artist Donato Giancola has accused Fay Dalton of copying their (non-Magic) work to produce the Murders at Karlov Manor card Trouble in Pairs.

MTG art showing two warriors looking suspicious on a staircase

MTG artist Fay Dalton has been accused of plagiarism, after fans spotted similarities between one of her card illustrations and a 1990’s book cover. Dalton’s artwork for the recent Karlov Manor card Trouble in Pairs is alleged to reuse elements from the cover of Cyberpunk 2020 novel The Ravengers. The artist of that front cover, Donato Giancola, has threatened legal action.

A Redditor, HypnoticHog, spotted the similarities first and shared their findings on March 25. A day later, Giancola (who has also done work for Magic: The Gathering) expressed his anger via Facebook. He calls it “criminal copyright infringement”, pointing out the “exacting details in the neck, arms, background, and hand which show clear copied structures from my art”. Giancola then asks Dalton, “what other works have you stolen?”

A facebook post by an MTG artist frustrated at potential plagiarism.

Cue social media users poring over Dalton’s backlog, looking at her cards from previous MTG sets. Twitter user TheBoyRu points out that Dalton’s version of Gala Greeters from Streets of New Capenna also has a similar pose to Giancola’s Cyberpunk character, though to us this looks – if anything – like a simple case of using existing artwork for reference.

Wizards of the Coast has not yet commented on this latest plagiarism controversy. In the past, the company has ceased working with artists judged to have misused other people’s artwork. For instance, in November last year, David Sondered was dropped from Wizard’s pool of art freelancers over a copied background for his Wayfarer’s Bauble art for Lost Caverns of Ixalan.

MTG art comparison showing two similar figures

Only a few years earlier there was another instance of plagiarism, where MTG artist Jason Felix was suspended by Wizards for copying a piece of Nicol Bolas fan art for the card Crux of Fate.

Given the immense risks to doing so, and the non-negligible chance of getting caught, it raises the question of why some fantasy artists are cutting corners in the first place?

For more Magic: The Gathering news, check out all four of the new Commanders from MTG Outlaws of Thunder Junction. And don’t miss our MTG release schedule, for a broader look at 2024 as a whole.