"De-Oracle-izing" and "Antiquating" Modern Cards

EDIT: For some reason I could see images in the preview and on my screen but no one else could! Trying a re-upload and thanks for everyone's patience 🙂

So, I'm hoping that Art and Collecting is the right place for this!

The recent announcement that the words "Mana Pool" will no longer be part of rules text is just yet another nail in the coffin for nostalgia-fiend Vorthos folk like myself, who still think the whole 8th edition border was a huge mistake.

So, a while ago I started to to try my hand at alternative (not altered) art proxies for cube. I thought that since my friends for the most part share my feelings about Magic design, that it would be fun to remake some staples in the style of cards from the nineties, with all of their ambiguous/extraneous wording and old school art that makes them so much fun to read and play with. I thought I'd post these here and invite people to try the same with their favorite cards! Please remember this is an exercise in flavor, attempting to capture the function of the card, occasionally with intended inaccuracies for nostalgic effect, so make of that what you will! Without further ado:


First off, Shaun Tan is such a fun illustrator that when I was looking for a good Golem, I thought of The Lost Thing as a great place to start, and I've used his art on several occasions for cube proxies. Wizards in the early days tended to overexplain things, so I thought it was a fun chance to do just that! I know that creatures could cover artifact creatures, but this felt like something where eratta would probably have eventually been written for it to prevent Gamma testing Time Walk "Target Player Loses Next Turn" effects 🙂


Ah Crucible, we shall never see your like again (Am I the only one still groaning about Waste Not?)...oh but wait, what's that you say? Now you're a snake guy?.... Anyhow, I love the silly reminder text that Wizards always added to early cards so wanted to take a stab at what this might have looked like.


I picked this one because I liked the thought experiment of how you might have described Phyrexian Mana in the 90's. The ambiguity around the words sacrifice and discard (as mentioned in the recent SMIP review of Arabian Nights) gives me warm fuzzy feelings for some reason. I also wanted to use the flavor of the original Clone here, as Upon Summoning makes you feel a lot more like a Wizard than ETB.


So this one shouldn't require much explanation except to say that modern oracle text, while I understand is important for clarification etc etc, loses a lot of the original flavor of the game, as does the reliance on incredible over-directed artwork. I liked this iconic art for Chalice, because early magic was ever so slightly Pythonesque in a way that current design simply ignores.

I miss the humor and occasionally cartoonish sensibilities of the early sets, it really gave the game such an element of fun that the modern game sacrifices (or discards?) and leaves me feeling frequently like I'm playing a giant game of Mountain Dew advertising.

Anyhow, I hope folks enjoyed these, and if not, thanks for tolerating them! I've done some other cube stuff that I'd be happy to share if there is any interest, but would love to see what others here would come up with for ways to make your favorite modern face cards more Old School Garfieldian.

last edited by BandsWithOthers

My favorite of these is the chalice. I do wish Wizards would have more humor infused. I know there is still occasional ones such as Cloud of Pollen and the one with the roadkill caught in bright lights. I really would have loved an Amonkhet Jace the Pharaoh Mind Sculptor Masterpiece.

Great nostalgic flavor on these. Brings back memories of when Legends had just come out.

These are awesome man. More!

My most cherished thing I own is my old-frame cube (Alpha to Scourge). There have been times that I've wanted to re-template/re-design some choice modern cards to slot in from time to time to shake things up.

@dr-j and @darkquarterer Thanks! I'll see if I can resize a couple more down. I said in another post a couple of days ago that the Legends era is easily my favorite just because art and flavor were so high, along with the utter weirdness of some design choices.

I ended up making this Metalworker, not because I don't think the original art is incredibly cool, but because I needed one for the cube and enjoyed the clunky text as a sort of a nod to the steampunk sensibility of the card.


last edited by BandsWithOthers

I can't overstate how much more beautiful I find these than contemporary cards.

Crucible and metalworker are amazing. Great job.

@mediumsteve @Senor_Bisquick Thanks for the props! I thought I'd share this one as well:


I didn't add planeswalkers here because again I figured that it would be something that wouldn't exist in an older set! Also there are no planeswalkers in this particular cube so it doesn't become much of an issue. Once again, trying to capture the flavor of cards like Nevinyrral's Disc calling out everything except lands, and the more conversational tone of early rules text.

I thought I'd post this one as well, I forgot I do have ONE planeswalker in the cube. Posted large here for obvious reasons 🙂

This was a toughie, but I think captures a key element of early magic: Ye Olde Wall of Text a la Chains of Mephistopheles! While it doesn't necessarily nail every nuance of planeswalkers, I like the vibe so much! Why aren't there old people in the (airquotes) Gatewatch??? Young people. And their "loyalty" counters. That's why.

In MY Day we had CHIPS and we LIKED 'em!


Holy God, that's what I'm talking about! I could totally imagine pulling this guy out of a Legends pack. Great work!

@bandswithothers seems sweet. But what’s with the combat redirection part? Shouldn’t it read combat damage done to you can be re-directed to Jace? Not from Jace to a creature.
The abilities should also read only once per turn and as a sorcery.
Needs more text 🙂

@mourningpalace Hah! You know I almost made him a Wall to keep from having to add the cannot attack text. Maybe I can take another look at the template and go down to 4 point text...from 4.5 or whatever it currently is! The nice thing about cube is that we all know what the cards do so it’s just a goof....but now that you’ve said it...challenge accepted....

Also, the combat redirection was trying to get the fact that he can be attacked directly instead of you, but that you can still assign a blocker. Maybe should also add something about only spells that could target a player can target him.

last edited by BandsWithOthers

Okay @mourningpalace after a lot of squinting and figuring out where I installed all of my fonts...My one big worry going with text this small is that it starts to look "not like a magic card" lol, but I think it gets the job done...


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