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Terese Nielsen is one of Magic’s more enduring artists, providing card illustrations since 1996. Her style is instantly recognisable, and yet manages to fit into to many of Magic’s varied settings, making her an artist featured in set after set. Terese Nielsen also consistently depicts strong female characters in her art, stopping the game from being to heavily skewed towards one gender.
With over 180 cards illustrated, choosing just five for this article was no easy process, but is it ever? (It is not).
Basandra, Battle Seraph
This is a unusual style of angel for Magic: the Gathering, and very different to styles used by artists such as Greg Staples. Were it put to the vote, I’d like to see more angels in the style of Basandra.
This card and its image have become a part of many players’ binders. The card itself serves an important game function for casual and competitive play, meaning lots of different players have a need for it. The art is another reason why so many players choose to collect copies. Eternal Witness has been reprinted several times, but still commands a premium in comparison with other similar cards.
This card is a call-out to the golden fleece of Greek myth. Instead of spun gold, this creature has a fleece made of the star fields of Theros. As the art shows, some hero has already acquired it!
Call of the Conclave
Centaurs are often depicted as either wild bestial creatures, or more rarely as sombre tutors. Nielsen’s piece evokes both of these to show a creature dedicated to peace, but ready for war.
For this piece the artist drew heavily on her own family background. She explained the genesis of this piece in a great article on her website. A very personal piece turned into a truly classic card art.
See all cards illustrated by Terese Nielsen here.