Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The GatheringMagic Community Top 8, and, Oh, Some Fetches Too.

Are you sure?


And I'm on this list? I can't even put into words what this means to me. I see amazing community members every day, and would never have imagined being nominated, much less picked, to be among 8 fellow MTG folks to receive this honor.

Thank you.

Enough Sappiness, Cards!

I agree, In honor of being chosen, I shall open the (imaginary) vault and share the newest cycle of Fetchlands that I've rendered out. The article makes more mention of the Beta renders, but I've not shared these anywhere before. Enjoy!

Art from everywhere, seriously, Google Image Search 'em. :)

Where Can I Bug You?

You can always find me on Twitter @TheProxyGuy

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fate Reforged Beta Seven


For those seeing one of these for the first time, the thought is to take 7 cards from the most recent set and reimagine them as if they had existed in Beta. There will be much discussion of rules text that doesn't work, is broken, or is flat out wrong. I am open to these discussions, but be prepared for references, especially with wording.

Of note if it get's used. "Bury" did not exist until Legends. This comes up a lot. And Legends didn't exist in Beta, but they are used in this instance because, well, they need to be.


Some point to Day 1 posts as these were once spread out over a week.

The Cards


Social Media

Like what you see? Have a request for a render? Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @TheProxyGuy

Art Links

Tasigur -
Monastery Mentor -
Whisperwood Elemental -
Flamewake Phoenix -
Temporal Trespass -
Goblin Boom Keg -
Crucible of the Spirit Dragon -

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Modern Classic, Uncommons

What's Old Is New(ish) Again

The classic MTG frame. For those of you new to the game, you'd most likely call it the Pre-8th Edition frame. Whatever you call it, it evokes a myriad of responses and can be quite polarizing. 

Personally, I love it, It's the frame I started with way back in Revised. The first time I saw the 8th Edition frame, I hated it. This was not what a Magic card was supposed to look like. Considering the alternative, the 8th frame was amazing. 

Yeah, this pile of trash was almost the modern frame.


Fast forward to the announcement of the M15 frame change, Again, I disliked it. It was making every card look like a Planeswalker, and removing the specialness of the PW frame. But then, after rendering out an absurd amount of cards in the new frame, it grew on me. And now, it's vastly superior to what we had pre-M15.

I was inspired to complete this project from a contest entry on The Factory by Tyler O'Halloran. he submitted a modern/classic Plains;
Now this I could get into. Classic and Modern, joined seamlessly. And that's exactly what I did. 

I asked via Twitter for Legacy uncommons in need of a reprint, furthering the old and new merging. As much as possible, I used new arts with oracle text, and the old mana symbol colorings. Enjoy!


Social Media

Looking for a particular card or have a request? I'm always available on Twitter @TheProxy Guy

Arts used available from pretty much everywhere. Google Image Search is your friend.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Factory Worker Contest Ending 11/21

The Theme

Gone till November, I'll be gone till November. Yo, tell my girl that I'll be gone till November. 11's are wild this time around. Whether the CMC adds up to 11, or it's a 1/1 creature, as long as it features 11, it's game. And now the good and sad news. This is the last contest of 2014, and the last contest in this format. While on hiatus, we will be discussing ways to improve the contest, especially for new members who might be discouraged that they could compete at the established levels. Stay tuned, we'll let you know the details as soon as we iron them out.

The Sponsors

The home of the contest is the The Factory Google+ Community. Our amazing friends at ManaDeprived and Face to Face Games are the proud sponsors of the contest, with store credit prizes of $40 to first and $10 to second place.

The Entries

Alexander Storm
Overall Score - 21.5
 There is a strong foundation here. The framing of the art choice is spot on, though the frame elements are, pardon the pun, dis-jointed. Mind the small things, the creature type line, the mana cost. These are the elements that lead the viewer to know they are looking at a Magic card. Keep at it, I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.

The choice of background colour, artwork and font are quite fitting for this card (Alucard matches the Noble very neatly!). I like the use of the wood paneling to frame the design, but the additional use of the bone framing makes the card feel a little inconsistent. Perhaps my weightiest criticism is that the text box is too dark - darker than the rest of the card and to the point where it is difficult to read. There are also a few key pieces of card information missing - something to note for future entries. I like where you going with this, but doesn't quite hit the mark for me in the end.
Welcome to the contests! This is a very good first effort in Photoshop. I think I've seen this card frame used for a Kessig Wolf Run that was done for a contest a while back, but if you are going to use a template I would suggest one of the ones in the Tools of the Trade section that have more of a classic MTG feel. Once you get comfortable and practiced with that, then I would suggest going "outside the box". The mana cost and copyright information are missing which are important pieces of the card. Keep at it and you'll be a pro in no time.

Ken Peddle
Overall Score - 23.75
I would normally chastise the use of the black border on what otherwise could have been a super art render, but this one works. I'd go as far as to say that this would not be as striking without the border. You have an interesting amalgamation of rules texts there, sort of in between the original and oracle text. Keep pushing yourself, great job.

I think the greatest strength of this piece is its cohesiveness. The artwork's palette lends itself very well to complementing the new frame's colours, and the super art treatment really lets you take in Mark Tedin's distinct detailing. I love the sensation that the Kraken is rampaging through the card design, and the pop-out detail with the polar bear and the Kraken's crest is wonderfully implemented. The text size could be a bit smaller, and although I appreciate the adherence to the original rules text, recreating the card in an M15 frame should warrant an update to the current Oracle wording. Good work!
Welcome! I'm happy to see so many new members submitting this time. Interesting take on the M15 frame with being Super Art for the most part, but leaving the border on.  Good job on extending the original art farther down the left and right side. A few things that stick out to me as a little is using Matrix in place of Beleren (there is a link to the webfont in Tools of the Trade) on an M15 frame. Since we are going  M15, the typeline would read "Creature - Kraken". The font that is being used in the flavor text has an extremely sharp angled italic, you should be able to find MPlantin-Italic which will get you the look of the italics on cards. The P/T box is looks slightly chunky...this is from the bevel being applied to a curve that is not smooth, if that curve was worked on and the bevel re-applied it would look much cleaner. Very good first effort!

Nick Elnutz
Overall Score - 24.5
I love love love the flavor on this! I love the photo choice, and who knows, maybe he's a Catholic medic. The telegram rules text takes this straight over the top. Excellent work, I can't wait to see what you do next.

I like the approach you took to immerse the viewer in the card's theme - it's pretty clever. I feel though, that you could have gone a step even further. Despite the very thematic font you choose - and the additionally clever telegram-style language in the card text - the way you incorporated it into the card design feels a bit rushed. Instead of simple white bars, I might have chosen another method such as scraps of paper and photographs on a cork board. Again, a very cool idea, but could use a bit more elaboration.
I like the choice of the dogtag font for most of the text and think it works very well thematically for battlefield medic. I'm taking the "-(STOP)-" sections of the rules text to mimic relaying orders while in action which is a nice touch. The font change on the flavor text is a little out of place and would work better as the same font as the rest of the text. A very solid first submission and design that works well as a magic card without looking like a magic card.

Zeofar RM
Overall Score - 25
There's some strong work here, and some curious misses. The mask work on the blurred spill over the title bar is masterful. I'm not sold on the creature being black and blue either. But the biggest head scratched is the frame. You commented that you wanted to carry the pallet through to the frame, However, it totally draws me away from remembering on site that it's a UB card. Maybe muting the frames colors instead of changing the frame to an existing format would have helped.

I love the muted earth palette of this design. The colour choice for the text boxes is a very nice touch that complements the artwork while cleanly framing it. The blurring of the insects adds a frenzied, horrifying feel to the background, creating this sense of claustrophobia and helplessness in the piece - even if you can get away from the giant insect in your face, there are still tons more waiting in the background. My only nitpick would be that the insect arms' overlay is a little -too- clean when contrasted with the blurring in the rest of the piece, but this is otherwise minor to me in what is an excellent, cohesive work.
Some really cool things going on here. I like this super creepy art choice and really enjoy the blurred spill over the title bar. A few things that don't jive right with me is using Beleren for all the text in the render. This particular card should have a gold colored hybrid blue/black frame, which right now looks only black. This may have been a choice to make the frame fit more with the art, but I think it could have been added without losing any of that. The spill over the bottom twin really is one of those that needs some shadow work for it to hold its space correctly without looking too cut out against the textbox.

Patrick D
Overall Score - 25.25
I know this was a last second entry, but you still put together a compelling piece regardless of the time constraints. The title and mana cost needed some more work, as they are all but lost in the dark background. Good start, I'd love to see it fully finished.

Very striking and powerful choice of artwork, but I'm not entirely sure it fits the theme of the card. The palette is darker than I would expect for a white card, and while I can see the portrait as one of strength in the face of time and age, I don't think it fits the themes of protection and sacrifice that Mother of Runes tends to evoke. While the P/T and card type and set symbol are cleverly incorporated into the artwork, the card name and mana cost are a little too dark and obscured for my liking. I don't question the technical skill on display, but there is a bit too much of a visual and thematic disconnect in this piece.
Your level of finish is always impressive, but I think there's a few misses here. In an attempt to call out my inner Vorthos, I find this piece of art more peasant than cleric. Since you chose to keep the Urza's Legacy typeline I also would have liked to see the mana symbol in the background to be the same style as the white mana of the same period. As a mana cost it starts to wander a bit too far away and becomes more of a background design element than translating as the cost. I do like the treatment of the textbox and legal, but miss the "Where's Waldo" game I normally play while looking at one of your renders, you've spoiled me. 

Josh Coleman
Overall Score - 25.5
High praise indeed for trying to tackle what I feel is the most difficult job in rendering; taking modern text and trying to make it work in Beta. As the frame is pretty cut-and-dry. I'll focus on the text mostly, and this will sound very nitpicky. Summon Worldspine should be Summon Wurm. The rules text works, though is of a size that makes it impossible to read. As this is a passion of mine, here's my take on the rules text:
If Wurm is destroyed, create three Wurms, 5/5 creatures with trample. Represent Wurms with tokens, making sure to indicate when each Wurm is tapped. Wurms can't attack during the turn created. Treat Wurms like green creatures in every way, except that they are removed from the game entirely if they ever leave play.If Wurm would be put into a graveyard from anywhere, instead shuffle it into its owner's library.

The art is a great choice, though a tad dark.

This is a great Beta design attempt that stumbles a bit in its text treatment. The colours, card name and artwork are all spot-on. The biggest weakness of the card, though, is that the card text is so hard to read - this is exacerbated by just how much of it there is. The copyright/credit text is also a little too bunched together, making it look rushed. I think the creature type line should also be "Summon Wurm," following the precedent set by Craw Wurm. There are a lot of good things going on here, but as some may have caught on, legibility is a huge deal for me.
You're making me do my homework with this one! First off I think the piece of art you chose for this works tremendously with the beta frame, looks great with the dot matrix pattern over top. This card presented quite a few challenges in the textbox that I think you handled very well by templating the text similar to the Hive. I'm not positive about the way the last sentence is worded (Josh might be able to give more insight), but I feel it does a great job at explaining the functionality. I do find the text a bit hard to read with the faint amount of glow behind it. Your execution on the frame is very nice, the only thing I see missing is the shadow on the p/t. Very nice job.

Ings Isungga
Overall Score - 25.5
The bane of renders is calling them clean. Clean is good, not great. Clean is calling a dry piece of meat "lean" instead of "dry. I like the initiative taken to change the frame to fit the M15 format. This is a technically strong piece, and would fit into a Commander deck or Cube with no hesitation. I'd love to see you expand and maybe test your comfort zone a bit.

I'm impressed by the cleanliness of this redesign. I also believe this is the first Level Up card I've seen in a custom M15 frame, so it is especially a treat. I love the extra touch with the pop-out art at the top frame, and I'm on board with your decision to emphasize the focus on the Tuskcaller herself in this piece. Her figure against sky really makes her feel epic (perhaps too epic for a 1/1?). A solid submission overall - well done.
I'm a huge fan of using original card arts and extending them for Super Art treatment, so I really like what you have done here. I'm impressed with how cleanly you executed the addition of the M15 holofoil to this Zen frame. The art works perfectly for the Super Art treatment, though I may have zoomed it back ever so slightly, if only to try and get a little more of the flavorful elephants in frame. Something very minor I noticed...the foliage far left in line with the Creature type translates somewhat awkwardly without being able to see the rest that is in the original art. In this situation I would find a way to paint it out..but again that is very minor. I'm not sure about the choice of purple instead of gold for the expansion and on Super Arts I would leave the bevel highlight on the outside frame off. Overall I would say that even though this is a very straight forward render, other than a couple very minor things...this is an extremely well executed the end result is a very striking render. Well done.

Thomas Driessen
Overall Score - 25.75
Thank you for explaining the cultural significance of why you chose this for your entry. I'd be remiss to suggest that I'd have understood it out of hand. With the whimsical art, the harsh 90 degree angles of the frame are working against it. Some subtle hints of curves would have helped I think.

I really like the approach to this card. The colourful, whimsical feel of the artwork plays into the "revel" aspect (the piece itself is called Carnival - well played) but also subtly hints at the darkness behind it. The quote is also quite suited to Xenagos, as when a god falls (from grace or from hubris), it is generally not a small fall. I feel that the border was made brighter than usual to match the artwork, but also feel that it takes away from the "classic" look of the old border and creates some legibility issues with the card itself. The template set symbol makes the piece feel rushed, which is a bit unfortunate. The idea and execution are reasonably solid - just a few extra tweaks could put it over the top.
Out of all the submissions this time around I think you have put the most thought into how the card connects to the theme of 11. Even though it it seems easily apparent to you, I would not have found the connection without reading your writeup. The color of the mana cost and frame do fit perfectly into the theme of Carnival as well as the colorful choice of art. The frame borders on being a bit too much like molten metal for my taste but I feel its saturation works with the art. I would have liked to have seen the shadows on the text follow the shadowing on the frame and the art creds and legal stuff seems a bit light against the frame. Overall a good job.

Jason Sanderford
Overall Score - 25.75
Include Praise.lib
What an amazing idea for the rules text. From a Phyrexian perspective, this is exactly how they would formulate their ultimate creature weapon. The subtle scanlines in the text ares is a nice touch. I'd like to have seen maybe some glow on the text, as though we were viewing it on a computer screen. Excellent job taking this idea to the next level.

After recently finishing Transistor, I've become a huge fan of quasi-coding aesthetics. I really, really like the parallels that you draw between MTG rules language and computer-based logic. I don't think you understand just how much I like it. Ireally like it, and I would love to see more cards done like this. The flip side of this critique is that I feel the visual aesthetics of the design are a bit muddled. The human-programming language of the rules text is at odds with the Phyrexian-organic nature of the card. There is also a little inconsistency in that the copyright/artist text is treated in an entirely different manner than the rest of the card, breaking the illusion you created. And while your treatment of the text boxes visually resembles a computer screen, its black text is not necessarily what you would see on a monitor. I really like where you were going with this, but I feel it could be a little more visually consistent.
This is very cool. I love the idea of displaying the card text as programming code and I think you did a great job of balancing the complexity of the text, making it so even non-h4x0rs can easily understand it. The terminal like frame elements you created for this work really well and I love the choice of orange against the complimentary blue color...really makes them pop. The only place where some of this may warrant some more discussion is where you are loading "libs" such as trample and indestructible which are more physical attributes than something you might be able to turn on by altering programming, but then again maybe you could. I would have liked to have seen the Phyrexian symbol a bit more pixelated in the terminal section, and for the artist cred/copyright font to be more in the style of the rest, but overall I think this is a very well executed and thoughtful render. Great job.

Judson Gruber
Overall Score - 26.5
Save for the 2 same black splatters, the addition work on this render is seamless. I urge anyone to go look at the source material to see how much work Jud did that you might not have noticed otherwise. This could easily be an art print poster and I applaud the enormity of making it look like you did nothing at all.

The theme of the card is so well represented by its frenetic, whimsical approach to the artwork, design and font choice. I love the clever detailing, such as blue ink splotch for the mana symbol, and having the set symbol incorporated into the apprentice's hat. Most impressive is the flow that begins with the beaker/flask and guides the reader through the card. Another random tangent to note is that this piece feels thematically similar to Tyler's "Black Cat" submission in its French comic-like feel. I don't know why that is. It might be the shirt.
The process you go through with each of your renders from start to finish is a joy to watch. This render works extremely well as an homage to Ralph Steadman, every part feels like it could have been a part of the original piece. Once again I'm not really bothered by changing the aspect ratio of the original, which may be more problematic in other choices of art. Without looking at the original it would be hard to tell how much effort you put it this to make this read as blue, and I think your effort paid off well. Nice touch with the addition of the AVR symbol. The text is hard to read, but works so well with the art. Well done.

Robert Calhoun
Overall Score - 27
Another flavor win. I love the title and mana cost work, but the rules text just doesn't do it for me. With such a strong art choice and especially with the work done on the title, I'd like to see something some more work on the rules text. It appears tacked on to an otherwise strong entry.

What I love most about this piece is that you took the essence of the original artwork - most suited for a black card - and added a twist to the theme to make it your own (gaining control of it, if you will). Your font choice and background treatment add a considerable flair to the piece, rendering an extra level of drama and movement. The apt choice of artwork is also reflected in the details, such as the red eyes that also break up the otherwise monochrome design. The fonts feel like a throwback to one of the 19th century advertisements you'd see in Bioshock Infinite. One nitpick is to double-check artists' names for typos when you plug them in. Otherwise, I think this is my favourite submission this week.
What a stunning piece of art you chose for this card! I absolutely love the top 3/4's of this card. The fonts you chose for the card title and the mana cost treatment work really well together and feel like they belong with the art, I quite like the addition of the diagonal graphic elements to the original art, but would urge you in the future to really zoom those areas far in to make sure you hit the positioning cleanly. The bottom text all-caps treamtent doesn't feel like it belongs to the same card, as well as the center positioned p/t. I would have liked to see you tuck that p/t somewhere in the space to right of the elbow with perhaps a font similar to the title or mimicking the flow of the fabric behin her, without using the normal frame element (as its the only one you used)

The Winners

Hot off of his appearance on the latest SVUCast, Trevor is back in the game and on the podium once again.
Welcome back! It's quite obvious that your skill has not diminished in your absence from the contests. This is another piece that begs the viewer top go and look at the original Kiciara art to see how much you added to it. This frame is an interesting mix of pre-M15 and m15 elements, and they work together better than I would have thought. I'd like to have seen some effect on the art and frame from the added lightning. Excellent work as always.
The strength of this piece comes from your choice of artwork and how you further enhanced it to emphasize the card's theme and feel. Everything about it is striking and dramatic: from the Berserker's pose right to the lightning arcs. The palette also matches the mood of the original artwork, evoking a subtle throwback in the viewer's mind. Great work with the blood spatters; however, the spatter on "creature" should change depth when moving to card text. It may also be me, but the blood could be a touch darker. Very strong thematic and visual ties lead to a strong piece.
Such a killer choice of art! Perfect choice for the card. The super art frame elements, blood spatter and spill are executed very cleanly, especially the care taken on the lightning bolts. If you had not seen the original art you would swear the bolts were part of the original, the texture of the mountains transformed into a bloody mist of charred ozone. The frame does appear to be a mixture of styles using Beleren for the title/type and pre-M15 layout for the legal/art cred. I admit I'm not a fan of using Beleren outside of the title/type but I think you get away with it here. I would have loved to see some light play on the frame to compliment the great job you did on spilling that bolt...just bringing the levels on the frame down slightly and adding some glow behind that bolt would really add quite a bit of atmosphere. Really solid work.

And taking the whole this down is Tyler with his strikingly simple Black Cat.
If you would have shown this to me, I'd have guessed this was some of Jud's work. Sometimes basic is strong, and this render pulls together all of the right elements to have it stand out. Superb work.
Dark yet playful, simple but elegant, cute but sharp - just like the Black Cat itself. It has the feel of one of those quirky French comics. I have nothing else to say - great job.
This render has that a special something about it that really clicks. Killer art. Even though the treatment is fairly minimal, the choices you made in regards to your font choices, mana symbols, and composition really do a ton of work making this feel very cohesive and hip. Using the brick wall as the backing for the text works great, I love how you repeated textures from the cat into the mana skull, and having the background a light gray vs the stark white of the original art adds to the color identity. Very, very well done sir.

Total Scores

Tyler O'Halloran - 28
Trevor Davis - 27.25
Robert Calhoun - 27
Judson Gruber - 26.5
Jason Sanderford - 25.75
Thomas Driessen - 25.75
Ings Isungga - 25.5
Josh Coleman - 25.5
Patrick D - 25.25
Zeofar RM - 25
Nick Elnutz - 24.5
Ken Peddle - 23.75

Social Media

You can find all of the judges on Twitter, so feel free to follow and bug us!
Josh - @TheProxyGuy
Dave - @derfington
Brandon - @iamnarb