No card has ever been reprinted in an expert expansion with the same artwork. Same-art reprints are familiar in supplemental products, precons, duel decks, and of course, core sets. With core sets now gone, Wizards is experimenting with same-art reprints in main sets.

circle of protection art

This feels weird. Sure, Wizards makes unexpected changes to the game mutiple times a year, but this rule felt unshakable, like a Reserved List for art. Every time a card was reprinted, we always received the gift of new artwork and either the joy of a new, preferred visualization or a reason to collectively and nostalgically complain about how the old art is ‘so much better.’ It was just a thing that always happened. Obviously, reprints won’t always have old artwork, but we now live in a world where sometimes they will.

Dragonmaster Outcast

Felidar Sovereign and Dragonmaster Outcast, two cards with immense casual appeal and fairly high price tags, are back, looking just as they did last time we visited Zendikar. Felidar Sovereign has been downshifted to rare, whereas Dragonmaster Outcast retains its mythic rarity.

Is it good that Dragonmaster Outcast is a mythic? It’s obviously strong enough in Limited to warrant being opened infrequently, but will it help sell the set? We know that chase mythic reprints (with the same artwork, no less) can and do sell sets; the Titans, Baneslayer Angel, and planeswalkers all made core sets have financial value, Standard impact, and excitement. Will Dragonmaster Outcast generate comparable excitement for Battle for Zendikar? Will it incentivize us to crack packs, despite that having poor Expected Value? Do we, as players, even care about the purpose of mythics?

Arid Mesa Expedition

Thinking about it rationally, Dragonmaster Outcast doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things. It’s in a set that will already sell like hotcakes because of the Expeditions, full art lands, nostalgia, and good storytelling. It’s there for the folks who don’t already own a copy. It might make ripples in Standard. It has pretty cool artwork already. It’s not a big deal.

It’s unsurprising that change can evoke a strong emotional reaction. It’s intriguing that a lack of change can evoke the same. But I’m curious… what do you all think? Do you like having identical artwork reprints in Battle for Zendikar? Dislike it? Don’t care at all? Do you find it lazy and cheap of Wizards to skimp on artwork or commendable that they’ll introduce more opportunities for nostalgia?

Do you think having such reprints will keep card prices down? Identical card artworks tend to command similar prices, whereas distinct iterations (like MMA2015 Vendilion Clique) tend to have higher prices. What do you think of having reprinted mythics in an expert expansion? Would you prefer to see lower rarity cards or higher rarity cards so-reprinted?

I invite you to voice your opinions in the comments below. And, as always, thanks for reading.

—Zachary Barash

Zachary Barash has been playing Magic on and off since 1994. He loves Limited and drafts every available format (including several that aren’t entirely meant to be drafted). He’s a proud Cube owner, improviser, and game designer. He has an obsession with Indian food that borders on being unhealthy.

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