Magic: The Gathering has always inspired creativity from fans, whether through alters, custom cards, or fan art. It’s also a game with a rich and celebrated history – just look how many MTG sets there’ve been! So it only makes sense to combine that history with a bit of artistic know-how and give some classic Magic cards the retro treatment. That’s what Reddit user and pixel artist Irbif has done here, creating pixel art versions of the first five Planeswalker cards in Magic: The Gathering.
Irbif, who’s been making pixel art for around a year and a half (and has been an MTG fan for far longer) told Wargamer the Planeswalker project was born out of a desire for a colour-based challenge. “I always use a lot of colours in my pixel art, and I’m not really used to working with a very limited palette of shades,” they said. “Since Magic cards are split into five colours of mana, it fit perfectly for the occasion.”
Over the course of one week, Irbif turned out pixel versions of five mono-coloured Planeswalker cards, using only the cards’ mana colours in different shades (along with black and white). For the project they chose the first five MTG Planeswalker cards ever printed – Garruk Wildspeaker, Chandra Nalaar, Ajani Goldmane, Liliana Vess, and Jace Beleren – because they felt “each of them are the most representative of their own colour.”
According to Irbif, the most challenging part of the work was taking care to ensure enough detail remained that the Planeswalker characters could still be identified. It has to be said, this has paid off, as while the text is obviously completely illegible, the cards can still be instantly grokked.
Now a fundamental part of the game, Planeswalker cards weren’t invented until MTG was already an unruly teen, first showing up in Magic: The Gathering’s Lorwyn set in 2007. The card type was so popular with fans that it soon grew from an experiment to an every-set occurrence.
Irbif typically creates artwork inspired by movies and video games (and tarot), sharing it on Instagram. They say if they take on more MTG content in the near future, they’ll tackle “ten of the most famous double-colour Planeswalkers”. We’ll be looking expectantly for their work in an MTG Secret Lair drop in a few years’ time.
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If you’re feeling artsy, but don’t know how to wield a brush, let alone create digital work, you may be interested in our painting miniatures guide. Or if you want to know more about these mysterious ‘walkers’ of ‘planes’, here are the best MTG Planeswalker cards.