Monday, December 3, 2012

Alter 60 - Edric, Spymaster of Trest

Being on the coverage team for GPs is interesting. You get exposed to a lot of different people, none more different than Rusty. Rusty is a true character, and one you just want to be around to see what he says next. He is also a Commander fan, and has a pretty sweet Edric deck. Seems appropriate to make him a full art version.

Alter 59 - Ghost Council of Orzhova

My buddy Chuck wanted to make a Commander deck so we looked up some lists and did some tweaking. I don't get a chance to play much Commander (and vastly prefer playing one on one), but he plays even less. Interestingly, he loves building and putting together Commander decks, so he did for this one. I have been able to play with it more times than he did, but either way I figured an alter was in order.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Alter 58 - Brion Stoutarm

Another buddy of mine from Renton, Harry, enjoys using Brion here to throw helpless mammals in the general direction of his opponents. It felt appropriate to alter one of these up for him :)

I had a realization whilst painting this one. I like to change some stuff on these cards, and there is a pattern forming. I seem to be into punching up the backgrounds and kind of giving my alters a bit of a dramatic vibe.

I used to get nervous that it wouldn't turn out well, or that the person I was making it for wouldn't agree with my take on it.

I have gotten over it.

I realized that while not everyone will agree with how I do these, I have started to develop my own style and that is part of what I enjoy about altering. If someone brings an alter to me, they can expect to get something along these lines.

If they wanted something else they would have gone to someone else right? :)

 I'll just keep telling myself that.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Alter 57 - Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

I won't be doing too much painting during the summer as I have motorcylces to ride, mountains to hike, and events to cover. That said, I set aside some time to do this one (and will be doing a couple more shortly as well)

A friend of mine from Renton promised that if I did this alter for him, he would do some crazy combo using this card. Who am I to stand in the way of such ambition??

I thought the artwork for Tamiyo was really good when I first saw it, and it has grown on me even more since then. I like how she is understated yet has this sort of menacing feel about her. Like a kind but strict teacher, if you cross her you will pay dearly for it. But otherwise she is pretty cool.

Also, socks with sandals.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Alter 56 - Animar, Soul of Elements

Ah yes, my favorite 3 color combo in Magic. I think RUG my favorite, it might be BUG though. Forced to choose, I would take RUG so I thought this guy would make a great Commander for my latest deck.

I have had a hard time really grasping Commander as a format, always feeling like my decks were either too good or woefully underpowered. Finding the balance is really tough it turns out.

One thing I really like about Commander though is the deckbuilding process. I get excited to play with all these cool old cards, and getting a sweet altered Commander to get things going is a great place to start in my opinion :)

I did this alter on the magic cruise, but I found a pretty calm part of the ship to paint on and had a great experience painting and hanging with people finishing a cube draft and such. I'll always have a good memory of that to associate with this alter.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Alter 55 - Jaya Ballard, Task Mage

 This was the 2nd of the alters for Graham. Jaya Ballard has pretty tame artwork overall, and even though I realized there was some risk involved, I decided to push it in a direction that I personally like. I like bold earthy tones and decided to throw caution to the wind and make this how I would want it. I hope that Graham does too.

Alter 54 - Sigarda, Host of Herons

This was part 1 of a 2 part commission for some Commander generals. They are for my friend Graham from Loading Ready Run (@graham_lrr) commissioned by his lady friend Kathleen (@kathleen_lrr). The artwork on this card is particularly good in my estimation, and this made it so that no matter what I came up with I wouldn't be 100% happy.

Then again, I never am when it comes to these alters :) I was satisfied with this one however. One note, I did do this alter on a cruise ship (yes, during the Magic Cruise 2012) and this presented some unique challenges. Ships move around a lot it turns out, and keeping a steady hand on them is about impossible. I was able to find a reasonable zone to alter in though, and it all worked out in the end. :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Alter 53 - Drogskol Reaver

It's interesting what kind of journey you take just by reading a card and piecing together what it actually does. I saw this guy and was like "NOPE, 7-DROP", but after working through what actually happens when you have this card, I changed my tune. Drawing 2 cards, gaining 6 life and hitting for 6 before you even start any shenanigans is just awesome. I hope that after some rotations happen we see a format where we can play this guy, I probably will if I can :)

Alter 52 - ?

See what I did? ;)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Alter 51 - Evolving Wilds

My podcasting co-host and good friend Jon Loucks (@jonloucks) is a man who loves many cards. Most of the decks he builds feature a rotating cast of Reveillarks, 2 power guys, crazy lifegain, or just plain greedy builds. I was trying to decide which of these was the Loucksiest, when I came to the conclusion that made the most sense: Evolving Wilds.

The Loucksasaurus doesn't play mono colored decks, and the fact that this is A) Slow and B) Gets any color of mana means that it perfectly fits into his deck style on both levels. This is the card that Jon wants to have access to the most, in Standard as well as Limited. Also, the artwork is sweet and I just happened to have a Japanese version too :)

I'm happy with how it turned out, and I hope he is too.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Alter 50 - Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

This card has made a bit of a splash. Easy to see why, they clearly pushed it a bit. Giving her the full ability of Thorn of Amethyst along with a very useable and aggressive 2/1 with first strike means that this card sees play all the way back to Legacy.

I like the art a lot, and wanted to make it sort of darker with more contrast overall. I wanted the background to be more brooding, but have some lighter colored highlights on her sash. I also wanted to clean up some of the other elements like the grass.

Normally these are used for framing purposes, but sometimes they can act as distractions, which I felt they did a bit of here.

Well, I made the background more brooding, livened up the sash a bit, and cleaned up the distractions. That said, I'm not really happy with this one.

It was harder than I expected for starters. Beyond that, my vision for it didn't really quite materialize and I was left a bit frustrated. I decided to leave it as is, and I'll revisit this type of project another time I think.

For now, she still attacks, blocks, and messes up their game plan :)

(I will note that the sloppy parts on the edges you see are not in fact me being lazy, but me being a little over-exuberant with the toothpick, marring the cards surface. I haven't done this in a while but it does happen sometimes)

Alter 49 - Earthquake

My buddy Nick (@Hawzzy) loves Earthquake. He eagerly awaits spoiler season to see if they are bringing back this beloved sorcery. I'm not sure which he enjoys more; winning a game off the back of a surprise Earthquake, or getting a draw in a game he couldn't have won otherwise.

I wanted to spice it up a bit so I decided to try for night-time Earthquake. I sketched it out in Photoshop and was pleased enough that I decided to give it a go. I don't normally bite off quite this much with my alters but figured why not, if you don't press on sometimes you get bored anyway.

It came out OK. This is the first time I have tried to go to a black night sky from a very bright one, and I honestly just sort of made it up. I'm sure I'll learn to do night clouds, moons, some patterns and better stars sometime. For now however, the sky is dark while the stars are not.

I'll try this idea on some more cards in the future I'm sure, but for now this will have to be good enough I suppose :)

(I realized the conundrum of having a light source that was above before change to below instead. I had some ideas about glowing lava and changing some lighting around, but realized that it was more than I was able to do for one card)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Alter 48 - Strangleroot Geist

I think this guy is one of those Uncommons that looks good at first, but eventually it will show that it's actually just very very good. He isn't a Kitchen Finks, but it took a while for that to really shine as one of the better creatures ever printed too.

But about the alter, I just liked the artwork and the fact that this is getting play in Standard in some decks. I wonder if this is cubeworthy? It doesn't seem like it would fit in Commander very well, just not enough impact I would assume.

I am also trying to work on improving my edges and borders. After looking closely at some of the work by the master himself, Eric Klug ( I realized that while I thought I was being fairly clean around the edges, I A) wasn't and B) was picking different edges for different cards sometimes. So I am attempting to clean that up.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Alter 47 - Endless Ranks of the Dead

I still haven't really gone off with this thing in limited, but a bunch of friends have. It's not really my style but I would certainly try it if the situation arose.

Beyond that, the artwork is just very good on this card. Such a cool scene. I have no clue what I am going to do with this one, (maybe it goes in a zombie themed Commander deck?) but I just wanted this because of the art.

I will note that the non-English cards seem to have a different makeup to them. They are far more fragile than the English ones. When you do these alters you usually use a toothpick to clean up the edges, and I do that on mine. But on these cards you get through the topmost part of the card very quickly compared to English cards. I don't know why. (You can see it on this card where it looks like there is extra paint on some parts but really it's just that the layer is gone there)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Alter 46 - Moorland Haunt

This card seemed unassuming to me at first, and even when people started playing it in Standard I kind of scoffed. It has proven it's mettle however and is now a staple in even a few other formats. I liked the spooky art on this right away and wanted to alter it for a while.

I finally go around to it when I picked up a neat Italian one. Problem is, I punted it pretty hard. I had to start it over a few times, was never happy with it, and ended up scrapping it. That sucked, and I wanted to jump right back in right away, but it got too late so I had to shelve it. I gave it another shot the next night with a fresh copy of the Haunt. THis is the first time I had attempted, failed, then retried the same card.

I am pretty content with the outcome, always learning from these things!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Alter 45 - Cruel Ultimatum

There are few things my buddy Zaiem (@zbeg) loves more in this world than savoring the expression on an opponents face after he resolves a Cruel Ultimatum against them. This card is insane. It's like they made a really mean laundry list of great stuff for you and awful stuff for your opponent and the first one that resolves this gets to read the list to the other player.

It's just disgusting. What could make this even worse for the opposing player?

"I get back Snapcaster Mage from my graveyard."


That said, it brings him so much joy I figured I would bring him a little more by altering this powerhouse of a Magic card for him :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Alter 44 - Twilight Shepherd

This is a card that has been around for a while now, and I have it in an Commander deck. If I ever played Commander I would probably even like this card more, but really this one is about the artwork. My gf said this is her favorite artwork, and since she doesn't play Magic at all that's probably saying something. The more I looked at the art, the more I liked it and this seemed like the logical conclusion :)

Alter 43 - Drogskol Captain

I really like these captains it turns out. At first I viewed them as a way to please the masses by giving them one thing they love; tribal lords. But after having played this in limited a bunch, I came around on them just being sweet, well designed cards on their own. My favorite is this guy however. Having 2 of these on the battlefield lifts my spirits like few other plays can.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Alter 42 - The Mimeoplasm

Altering Commander generals has become quite a thing. I have done quite a few now, and when my favorite Renton based employee wanted this one, who am I to say no? :)

BUG and RUG are 2 of my favorite color combos, but I don't currently have a BUG deck so making this for a friend seemed necessary.

This guy has a freakin' T-rex for an arm. Nothing else needs to be said here right? :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Alter 41 - Spider Spawning

Spider Spawning is a card with a lot of history behind it. This innocuous uncommon started as a later pick, sometimes weird splash but became the cornerstone for one of the coolest and strongest decks in Innistrad draft.

The deck spawned out of nowhere it seemed. We had Brian David-Marshall (@top8games) on Limited Resources where he talked about the archetype in detail, and that same week LSV had an article about it along with other outlets covered it too. Next thing you know you couldn't find any of the pieces in an 8-4 on modo.

As a tribute to the first place I heard about this deck, I did this alter and gave it to the guy that told me about it ;)

(reason picture is crappy is because I forgot to take one before delivering the goods, this will have to do)