Mutzil, Malamet Exemplar | The Lost Caverns of Ixalan
25, Oct, 23

Illegible MTG Art Replaced by Gorgeous Showcase Treatments

Article at a Glance

Recently, there has been an awful lot going on in the wide world of MTG. We’ve seen set releases, teasers, and monolithic announcements dominating headlines over the past few days alone. As if this wasn’t enough to keep up with, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan is now here, with its spoiler season in full swing. 

For any normal set, spoiler season is already a lot to keep up with. Typically, dozens of cards are revealed every single day, and following them without missing a hidden gem is no easy feat! As if this wasn’t challenging enough to digest already, a cacophony of card variants makes surviving spoiler season that much more daunting. 

Despite the difficulties in properly appreciating and analyzing it all, so far, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan is knocking it out of the park. With new typal staples, powerful spoilers, and unique Universes Beyond cards, this set has it all. Alongside all these already incredible features, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan also has oodles of colorful, gorgeous, and seriously expensive art!

Coin Cards Begone

Etali, Primal Conqueror | Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might
Out with the old and in with the new.

Prior to the spoiler season for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan starting, MTG players had a few major art-based concerns. Stemming from a sneak peek during March of the Machine, there were real concerns about legibility. This was all thanks to the gold coin-inspired Showcase frame which appeared during the all-out multiversal war. 

While they did sport a unique, treasure-inspired inspired look that was befitting for Ixalan, the gold coin cards had some problems. As nice as they might have looked, each of the coin cards appeared incredibly similar to one another. While borders differed slightly and exact designs varied, each card looked like a coin.

As Innistrad: Double Feature proved, this can quickly turn into a frustrating problem, as players can’t identify cards. Needing to pick them up or lean in to read the name, near identical art massively limits card comprehension. Thanks to these concerns, there were major fears that The Lost Caverns of Ixalan may also be a confusing nightmare of identical art. 

Thankfully, despite initial concerns, now The Lost Caverns of Ixalan’s spoiler season has begun, we’ve seen these fears were unfounded. Rather than being the main showcase treatment of the set, coin cards are practically nowhere to be found. In fact, only six cards have anything vaguely reminiscent of the treatment. 

As seen in a new article from Wizards, March of the Machine’s coin-inspired art treatment has been turned into God Showcase Cards for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. Keeping the gorgeous border but losing the gold coin vibes, these cards instead just look like striking and unique artworks. While these may not play into the themes of Ixalan’s treasure-hunting antics, they are at least distinct from one another! 

Stunning Showcase Styles

We’re pretty sure we’ve got this right, but we can’t say for certain…

Thankfully, while the coin cards from March of the Machine may have disappeared, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan still has a lot to offer. Boasting a trio of striking showcase styles, the Mesoamerican-inspired set is unsurprisingly playing into its core aesthetic. To do this most of all, Wizards has the Borderless Oltec showcase frame. 

Appearing on 16 cards, these Borderless Oltec cards are said to feature “flavorful motifs of modern-day Mesoamerican art.” While I’m no Mesoamerican art expert to verify this claim, the cards nevertheless look stunning. Boasting gorgeous colors and undoubtedly striking art, these cards really set themselves apart. 

Similarly tapping into the set’s aesthetics, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan also has the Showcase Legends treatment. Styled after murals, these cards look like “living legends,” as Wizards describes. Thankfully, due to having a few splashes of color, these cards shouldn’t look too similar to one another on the battlefield.

Last, and by certainly no means least, there’s also the Borderless Dinosaur treatment. Aptly used on 14 of the set’s dinosaurs, this artwork is inspired by “classic dinosaur artbooks.” While art is subjective, once again, we’ve got to say this art looks absolutely fantastic. We can only hope that the other Dinosaurs look as good as [tooltips]Ghalta, Stampede Tyrant[/tooltips].

While all the different art treatments are certainly gorgeous, having four distinct showcase frames does complicate things somewhat. So much, in fact, that it seems even Wizards might have made a mistake in a recent article. In the Collecting The Lost Caverns of Ixalan post, the Borderless Oltec and Showcase Legends frames are identical. 

Unfortunately, since Wizards is meant to be the grand authority on card styles and names, it’s difficult to know what’s right. Ideally, they should be, however, it seems the actual art doesn’t line up with their descriptions. If you ask us, the Borderless Oltec treatment can be seen on the Huatli above, but we sadly don’t know for sure.

Amazingly Expensive Artwork 

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Neon Ink
The Neon Ink cards all look amazing, much to the dismay of my wallet.

Right now, considering the cards are only being spoiled, we don’t exactly know how much each art treatment will cost. Judging by past precedent, the better the art treatment, the higher the price, but that’s not always the case. For better or worse, there are always factors like rarity to consider which can throw off pricing predictions. 

While the borderless and showcase treatments may be a pricing mystery, we do know one art treatment will be seriously expensive.  First seen in Kamiawa: Neon Dynasty, Neon Ink cards are returning in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. Appearing on [tooltips]Cavern of Souls[/tooltips] and [tooltips]Mana Crypt[/tooltips], the rarest variants of these cards could easily sell for thousands of dollars! 

Looking back at Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, past precedent would indicate the red Neon Ink treatment will be the most expensive. For better or worse, this time around, that may not be the case. Due to the inclusion of “special three-color neon ink variants,” it seems the Neon Ink red may no longer be the rarest of them all. Whether or not this is the case, however, remains to be seen, as the odds haven’t been announced yet. 

Read More: MTG Lost Caverns of Ixalan Reveals Token Tripling Effect!?

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