Wizards of the Coast has released a statement acknowledging growing accusations of plagiarism involving Magic: The Gathering.
Strixhaven: School of Mages, the next expansion due to be released for the long-running CCG, contains reprints of older creatures and spells, including those considered iconic. Originally printed for 2015’s Fate Reforged, Crux of Fate is a powerful 5 mana black sorcery that enables its user to choose between destroying all dragons or non-dragons currently in play. Along with a number of cards deemed memorable or otherwise special, several versions of the aforementioned board clear are available – including a borderless ‘showcase’ found exclusively in Set and Collectors boosters – all of which depict a battle between notable Magic characters Ugin and Nicol Bolas.
Jason Felix, who has contributed art to over 100 cards during his career, is credited on Crux of Fate as its illustrator, though it now appears as if he may have stolen various assets from others to create the final image. As spotted by a follower of his work, Twitter user scarypet points out that the model of Nicol Bolas used matches up almost perfectly with their own drawing uploaded previously to DeviantArt, and you can check out the video below for a direct comparison of both.
Should I be flattered?hehe.But seriously,#MtG has been a major influence that developed my love for making art. (and I've sent application/portfolio many times to WotC.) Now someone told me my art made it into a Card! Ironically,in a somewhat s̷t̷o̷l̷e̷n̷ way #MTGStrixhaven pic.twitter.com/1HvUXOgGZk
— ???????? (@omgscarypet) March 28, 2021
A strong resemblance, then, though it’s worth noting that the evidence above isn’t definitive proof. Clearly eager not to jump the gun and sever ties with Felix without having the full picture, Wizards of the Coast states that it’s suspended future commission work with him effective immediately. If found or believed to have knowingly plagiarized another’s content, the only acceptable outcome will be for Felix to be permanently blacklisted. With over 100 previous submissions to scrutinize, however, it could be some time before a conclusion is reached, so watch this space.
Magic: The Gathering – Strixhaven: School of Mages releases April 15th for Arena/Online and one week later for tabletop.