On most Sunday afternoons, instead of going to church or doing my share of the chores around the house, I wonder to myself, sometimes aloud, “what is better than a Top 8 profile of a Magic player in a Grand Prix tournament?” The answer, of course, is nothing, because they let Magic players fill those things out themselves, and they are always, without fail, hilarious and awesome, and never stupid. Favorable matchup against MTGMOM??? Whaaaa? HILARITY. Magic players are the best.
Something that comes close to the sheer brilliance of a guy saying “I’m pro” in parenthesis in his Top 8 profile and thus cementing his “god-among-men” status is altered cards. Jeremy Froggatt, all around chill bro and bacon enthusiast, has his own column now, where he shows off card alters, and every single freakin’ one blows my mind. Some of the concepts are just out of this world, especially those badass GURU Force of Wills. The seasonal Wastelands are also one of my personal favorites.
I’m not usually one to go a long way to pimp out decks. My system for pimping out my standard/extended deck is really specific and kind of insane – Oldest edition of the card, non-promo, no Portal/Starter, no foils, English only. Aside from constantly praying that Birds of Paradise never shows up in a deck I want to play (Alpha price tag: $200), this system also means that I don’t go much for altered cards, but now that I get to see the cream of the crop on Jeremy’s column, I can now see them for all their awesomeness. Like anyone whose estimation of their own abilities far exceeds what they’re actually capable of, I figured I’d try my hand at it.
These are my supplies. Note the Super Nintendo in the background. Very pro. That bottled beer there, which will serve as my hors d’œuvre for that 12-pack of Killian’s, is a Southern Tier brew named Krampus, recommended to me by my hetero bro Brad. Quoted from the side of the bottle:
European tradition says while St. Nicolas is busy delivering presents to good little boys and girls, Krampus hands out punishments to the bad. A fanged, goat-horned bully, the Christmas Devil uses sticks and chains to beat the naughty children.
Jesus Christ. No wonder Dirk Nowitski has such weird taste in women. Sure beats Krampus.
My non-drinkable supplies are very limited, seeing as they’re all I could find on my first run-through of my kitchen drawers. I foresee the medium-sized black marker to be my workhorse, while the fat marker will pull some serious outlining jobs, and the orange one I’ll probably use for flames or cotton candy or something. The possibilities are literally endless.
The reason I chose Chrome Steed as my card to alter is a monetary one: I like to draft and do so often, thus I have lots of Chrome Steeds to burn.
If I’m being honest, I haven’t really drawn anything since junior high, and even then, those picture were just Dragonball Z doodles in my notebook. I had to get in a different mindset. It helped to ask: What was Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss’ inspiration here? And looking at this Chrome Steed art… well, it’s a horse. A horse made of metal. A Steed Made Of Chrome, if you will. Let’s take a peek at this flavor text-
“According to Auriok myth, it collects scrap in order to reassemble its lost rider.” Got it. What we have here is a metal rocking horse of accelerated intelligence, trying to find its lost jockey. BUT. Since metal horsie emotions, accelerated as they may be, are still not as acute as those of man, he’s trying to put his jockey back together with random scraps of garbage he finds across Mirrodin in order to create a cross between Tobey Maguire from Seabiscuit and Arnold Schwarzenegger from The Terminator. A kind of half-robot, half-man, half-jockey, if you will. Chrome Steed isn’t the brightest.
So what Chrome Steed is searching for is a half-robot, half-Seabiscuit-guy. Here is a rough sketch that I definitely didn’t draw in my notebook during Geology.
For the purposes of this alteration, we’re gonna go ahead and fulfill the flavor text and stay that El Steed-o de Chrome found and/or put back together his lost jockey. In the words of Evan Erwin, HERE WE GO, YA’LL! YEE HAW.
To start off, I went and did the outline in black, because I saw Jeremy do that a bunch on his cards and it seemed like the thing to do. It turned out okay, even though I messed up that bottom left corner a little bit. Additionally, it turns out that drawing on Magic cards is just like drawing on any kind of currency: it’s fun and awesome.
We start out with the face of our jockey, the most important part of any person, because, hey, let’s face it (fun wordplay!), if you are an ugly person, then you cannot possibly succeed, ever. Nothing will ever come easy to you and you will die bitter and alone. Thank God I’m handsome. So here we are creating a sort of alternate universe in which the steed is not looking for, but wistfully staring at, his chrome.
Here we kick off the starting of our sentient-cyborg-killer-jockey now, utilizing that wild-card orange marker we randomly found in the cupboard to bring attention to his metal parts and show that the are, in fact, shiny. And look! That bottom left-corner fixed itself!
I started to color the sky black, because I wish to convey a story with this piece about, no matter how bad you became in limited once Mirrodin Besieged hit, Chrome will always find Steed, no matter what the cost. So to raise the stakes a little bit (no, I am not sure how this actually raises the stakes), I made it dark outside, because it is HARD to find stuff in the dark. I still haven’t found my special black handcuffs I had made to play with the kids next door with. But then I realized, mid-coloring, that if I made the WHOLE sky black, you wouldn’t be able to see Tobey Maguire’s hook hand, and if you can’t see Tobey Maguire’s hook hand, well, WHAT IS THE POINT?
It’s worth noting that I’ve imbibed quite a bit of alcohol at this point.
So now it’s dark outside. What’s the next step?
Horse on fire! Despite having never seen it, thus not knowing what the basic premise of it is, I know that Man on Fire was a very popular movie. Since Man on Fire is about a man on fire (why else would you call your movie “man on fire?”), why not a horse on fire? Plus, I had to use that orange marker because I’m not about to grab an orange marker and ruin it by drawing all over black marker, just to make a robot appear shiny.
That’s dumb. I am better than that.
I wanted to draw a sun there, because it’s either Mirrodin or Tattooine, can’t remember which, that has two suns, and I wanted to illustrate that in this piece, TWO SUNS RULE THE DAY. However, some IDIOT decided it would be a good idea to black out the sky. I honestly don’t even remember why I ever thought that was a good idea.
And there is your finished product. As it turns out, the combination of alcohol, frustration, and no artistic ability whatsoever takes its toll. The odds were definitely stacked against me on this one.
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