28, Sep, 23

MTG Players Disappointed by New ”Unfinished” Artwork

Article at a Glance

Innistrad: Double Feature was a new type of MTG product that was released not too long ago. We’d never gotten what is basically a ‘reskin’ on existing MTG content at this scale. While the financial opportunities embedded within the set were interesting, the product overall was largely considered a big fat fail. There was little benefit to buying this premium-priced product over just buying the Standard product.

One of the defining aspects of the Double Feature set that ‘set’ it apart from the Standard release was the artwork. While the harkening to silver cinema screens was evident, the art treatment was simply not beloved by the community thanks to the cards being difficult to interpret. This is a recurring issue with some art treatments, with Phyrexian language cards causing problems in Draft Boosters during Phyrexia: All Will Be One. The recent Poster treatments in the Lord of the Rings Holiday release received similar commentary.

That’s not the only artwork that players have some gripes with. Another new artwork from the Lord of the Rings: Holiday Edition is under fire but for constructive reasons. There is a lot that this artwork is doing correctly but, unfortunately, one small detail really misses the mark.

The Showcase Scroll Treatment

For those unaware, the Holiday Edition for lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is much larger than you might expect. Unlike Innistrad: Double Feature, there is a lot of new content outside of art treatments being offered with this release. Whether it’s five new Jumpstart volume two rares or 20 new Hildebrandt-inspired reprints, there are some new goodies to achieve outside of new artworks.

Like chase cards? The Holiday edition has those too! A ton of new serialized selections with only 100 copies per card available have made their way into special edition Collector Booster packs. Unfortunately for a select few, this means that a previous chase treatment from Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth will be losing a lot of secondary market value.

Finally, we have the new Showcase Scroll treatment. These populate a large amount of the slots in the new special edition Collector Boosters, available in nonfoil and Silver Foil treatments. Offering a new art treatment to every single new to MTG card released as a part of Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, here is what you can expect to find in one special edition Collector Booster for this art treatment:

  • Two Silver Foil and two non-foil Showcase Scroll commons
  • Two Silver Foil and two non-foil Showcase Scroll uncommons
  • One Silver Foil and one non-foil Showcase Scroll Rare/Mythic

In other words, ten Showcase Scroll treatments should appear per every special edition Collector Booster, with five being Silver foil and five being non-foil.

Read More: Upcoming MTG Secret Lair Superdrop Promises Insane Foil Value

What’s up With the Border?

Frankly, these Showcase Scroll treatments appear very close to being a homerun. The artwork is quite elegant, giving a unique vibe that isn’t too difficult to read while making the card feel kind of special and rustic. That rustic feel, in the opinion of players, however, is contested by the bizarre thick black border at the ends of the card:

“The issue here is incredibly simple and I don’t even under how these made it past quality check phases. You have these “dilapidated, rough, ragged” pictures and scroll effects, and then completely harsh and cut to black borders on the side. Its an absolute visual disconnect, and makes the cards look completely unfinished.”


The above Reddit response from Koduy2 nails the problem on the head. Even a slight taper effect on the artwork would have made all the difference here, making Gandalf truly appear like an image on an old scroll, aged by time:

“I agree, if there was some kind of fraying in the image, I think it’d look a lot better.”


“if they just took care of the weird border section, it would be a phenomenal treatment”


The identification had a resounding response, with many replies agreeing with the statement. While the treatment overall is quite strong, the strong black border doesn’t seem to jive with the rest of the artwork.

“Thank you! I couldn’t tell what was so off about them, but that’s it”


An Easy Fix

While I personally believe a tapered effect would look best for the Showcase Scroll treatment, there is an even easier way to make this treatment look much better than the above examples. As suggested by the MTG community, this would have been a great opportunity for extended art treatments:

“They could have went with extended art for these and it would have looked better imo.”


“One of the few ways to make Extended Art really work and Wizards just drops the ball.”


While extended artwork doesn’t always get a resounding response from the MTG community, some agree that applying the common technique within MTG treatments would do dividends here. Sure, a tapered effect could still look better, but it would solve the harsh black border problem. Extended art is already something that Wizards of the Coast is doing, so applying this to future artworks that share similarities should be rather easy to do.

These Should Look Better on Paper

byu/Smashman2004 from discussion
byu/Smashman2004 from discussion

Even though the black border has some players perturbed, many others state that the Showcase Scroll treatment could look absolutely phenomenal in person. Unfortunately, until we’re face-to-face with the Showcase Scroll artwork, it will be tough to tell.

It may very well be the case that these look fantastic in person, but the criticism stands. While this treatment could stand to be great already, Wizards will hopefully hear the criticism and make even more gorgeous MTG cards in the future.

Read More: Wacky Unfinity Card is Crushing in Multiple Formats!

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