Magic: the Gathering artist Jason Felix admitted that he used other artists’ work in the creation of his Crux of Fate card for Magic’s latest expansion set, Strixhaven: School of Mages. The art appears on the Mystical Archive variant of the card.

The illustration of Crux of Fate in question, used on the Mystical Archive variant.

Allegations arose on Twitter when artist Kitt Lapeña, known online as scarypet, posted to Twitter that someone had commented on their DeviantArt page that a painting of theirs had been seen on the new Mystical Archive variant of Crux of Fate in Strixhaven. The work from 2016 is entitled “Nicol Bolas” and appears derivative of Izzy’s official Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker from 2011. It can be seen with only mild alteration on the right side of the Felix’s illustration.

“Nicol Bolas” by scarypet. Digital.

Lapeña’s post included a video showing how their work lined up almost perfectly in the new artwork, which went viral almost immediately within the Magic community on Twitter.

Shortly thereafter, Magic artist Ilse Gort posted a video showing the likeness of the Ugin seen in the new card with that of Raymond Swanland’s Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. The video has since been deleted, but they noted their intention within the original thread.

Ugin the Spirit Dragon by Raymond Swanand. Digital.

Two days later, Wizards of the Coast made a statement acknowledging that the issue had been brought to their attention and that they were suspending future work with Felix until a conclusion could be made.

“It has come to our attention that the card Crux of Fate from the Strixhaven: School of Mages Mystical Archive may overtly feature Magic: the Gathering fan art and the contracted artist did not receive permission for this incorporation,” Wizards said. “These actions do not reflect the values of Wizards, and, as a result, we will be suspending future work with Jason Felix until we have been able to bring this matter to successful conclusion.”

The following day, Felix took to Twitter and admitted fault, citing that he was overworked but that it was no excuse for his actions. He went on to say that he would be compensating the two affected artists, and advocating for their name to appear on the card instead of his own.

Lapeña tweeted following Felix’s statement that they and Wizards were “working something out,” though no further details were given.

Many arguments and comments published online cited Wizards long-standing Fan Content Policy, which was made public in 2018 in anticipation of the Dominaria expansion. It covered what could and could not be created using Wizards intellectual property, and how copyright of those created works was handled. However as of the writing of this article, the webpage that hosted the policy is unavailable. It is unknown whether the policy is under revision in light of these recent events.

It is also unclear whether or not Wizards of the Coast will move forward with suspending work with Felix or outright terminating their relationship with the artist. Wizards broke ties with two artists in 2020, both Terese Nielsen and Noah Bradley, though for reasons unrelated to plagiarism.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned to Hipsters of the Coast for updates as new information becomes available.

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