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I have written before of how important basic lands are visually to Magic. As cards that players see most often they are important in building a sense of place and even reinforcing the themes of the set visually.
In this article I’m going to showcase some (only some!) of my favourites from the years. Magic is set in varied places, and even the term ‘plains’ is reinterpreted from time to time to fit the demands of setting.
Shards of Alara Plains by Michael Komarck
The lush scenery of Bant is brought to life in this pic by Michael Komarck. Plains are rarely shown this verdant, I think because they might be mistaken at a glance for a forest. However this land is worth the double take.
Core Set Plains by Nils Hamm
Magic’s core sets are more generic in their setting. This basic land by Nils Hamm has become a favoured plains card of many players.
Kamigawa Plains by Greg Staples
Each of the basic lands of Kamigawa was drawn as a panorama, and then divided into four cards. This art above is from the left edge of the plains panorama drawn by Greg Staples.
Ravnica Plains by Richard Wright
Ravnica is a vast, world-spanning city. This required a degree of creativity when considering the concept of plains in a place with no wide open spaces. The art director and artists of the time came up with the ‘rooftop plains’ concept. The idea here is that plains are formed at roof level, with buildings of a similar height stretching away into the distance. Richard Wright illustrated the plains above. His land images for the original Ravnica were so popular they were reprinted again in the Return to Ravnica set eight years later.
Urza’s Saga Plains by Rob Alexander
Rob Alexander has illustrated more land art for Magic than I could count. His memorable contributions include some of the original dual lands, and the entire cycle of shock lands from Ravnica block. The art above shows the plains of Serra’s realm, floating patches of grass and rock. Probably best not to stand too close to the edge.