It’s Journey into Nyx’s time to get the blur treatment. I layered all 165 Nyx cards, made them equally transparent, and squashed them into a single image. I do this to see if there’s anything that stands out when images, words, casting costs, and numbers are averaged visually.


Every one of these “blur of …” cards looks beautiful. I feel like I have to convince all you of you how beautiful. A few “Blur of …” articles have been posted to Reddit and received some nasty comments about how these layered transparent images look like nothing, how it’s a pointless exercise, etc. I’ve probably written about it before. It’s not very interesting to approach an image, an idea, a bit of writing, and dismiss it without engaging it. I’m guilty of this, too. I often look at paintings and think “I’m not interested, this work is _____,” with the line often filed with a number of dismissive phrases including and not limited to:

market based
strategy art
style based/superficial
aimed at another audience
too masculine
too feminine
too special interest
too cute
too dry

And on and on. There are always lots of excuses to not engage with a work of art. The same is true with writing, ideas, athletics, everything. It’s rarely that the thing itself is good/bad but that we are unwilling to put in the effort to “get” whatever it is. If something’s outside of our wheelhouse it needs even greater effort and energy to get into. Sometimes it’s not worth it, the ratio of energy to excitement, and I get that. In my experience any time you put the effort into exploring something it is worth it, but sometimes you have such a back up of stuff you already love and explore that you don’t really have room for new stuff.

The blur images take something familiar (fantasy art) that has become a sign of itself (for me) and gives it new purpose, renewed depth, and brings about references and relationships I had previously not expected. The blur images open up new possibilities for dialogue and exploration, filling a dried up well with life saving water. You know, if creative exploration required life saving water to keep going.

Here’re a bunch of already executed blurs from previous sets. Compare and contrast.

dragon m14-all

bornofgods all

nyx QWOlQxULEw_EN copy


Top 5 Journey into Nyx Illustrations

Honorable Mention #1: Fast Snail


How fast is this thing going? Really fast. It’s ridiculous.

Honorable Mention #2: Alternate Art Spaceman of Niagra Falls


The main art for this card shows up later on the list. I love the way Kruphix looks so much that he’s on here twice.

#5 Godhunter Octopus


I mean … it’s a multi-mouthed octopus eating a space mountain at sunset.

#4 Space-Hating Catman


I’m not totally sure why I love this card art as much as I do. Steve Prescott is one of the best Magic artists. The colors in this piece (yellows with purples) are spot on gorgeous. The curve of the tail and the peak of the slope of the mountain seem to make a kind of visual sense that I can’t actually explain. The cat monk is in pretty good comic art pose, too, and I’m trained to appreciate this.

#3 Two-Headed Flying Shark


There is almost nothing to explain here. It’s a flying two-headed shark. A shark-bat. It is awesome. Kiora’s flavor text nails it.

#2 Spaceman of Niagra Falls


I’m not a big Daarken fan (nor a fan of people with imaginary names). I love this card almost as much as I love the art. The colors are great. The scale of the god is great. The clouds. The mist. Get a room! Amirite?

#1 Cyclops Sheep Eater


This illustration belongs in Lorwyn, the greatest of all Magic sets. Prescott nails the perfect storm of terror and joy endured whilst watching a cyclops engage in a game of Chubby Bunny using sheep.

All in all the set looks pretty damn good. Nice job artists!

Thanks for reading,

Matt Jones (born 1980, Rochester, New York) is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY.  Matt works between a variety of inter-related genres that explore mythology, archeology, ancient history, theoretical physics, comedy, and the paranormal—all developed and inspired by research and personal experience. Together his bodies of work form a way for Matt to evaluate, negotiate, and play with the world around him. You can check out his art at

Matt’s played Magic since early 1995, took a break for a decade or so, and came back to the game the weekend after the Scars of Mirrodin release. With Hugh Kramer he formed New York’s Team Draft League and is one of the original writers for Hipsters of the Coast. Matt’s been sober for seven years.


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