Wizards of the Coast has suspended all involvement with Magic: The Gathering freelance artist Jason Felix, after the artist’s Crux of Fate illustration was accused of plagiarizing a piece of fan art. The original artist has also released a video comparing the two, which has most of the Magic community convinced.
Crux of Fate is an element card from the new Strixhaven: School of Mages set, and the illustration of the elder dragon Nicol Bolas is the design being scrutinized. DeviantArt artist Kitt Lapeña – also known as Scarypet – was surprised when members of the Magic community began congratulating them on getting their artwork featured on an official card. However, Lapeña quickly realized that something was amiss. The artist’s drawing of Nicol Bolas from 2016 may not look anything like Felix’s illustration at a quick glance, but Lapeña’s comparison shows similarities that cannot be overlooked.
Lapeña took to Twitter to calmly point out the plagiarized elements of his Nicol Bolas illustration, responding relatively calmly to the accusations. “Should I be flattered?” Lapeña asked in the tweet, before revealing that they had sent their portfolio to Wizards of the Coast before. In Lapeña’s video, the artist zooms in on the dragon and layers Felix’s illustration over the top. The dragon’s silhouette matches perfectly to Lapeña’s sketch, right down to the skin folds and the position of the fingers. It clearly looks like the dragon has been traced in those areas, and while most modern illustrations of Nicol Bolas has three fingers, Lapeña’s has five, and Felix’s illustration also has five.
Wizards of the Coast quickly released a statement on the trading card game’s official website, confirming that all future work with Jason Felix had been suspended. The company stated that this possible act of plagiarism did not represent its values, and Wizards of the Coast is looking to bring the matter to a “successful conclusion.”
In other Magic: The Gathering news, one fan and investor purchased a very rare Beta set of the trading card game, and accidentally opened it to find an unbelievable pull. After trying to see what cards were in the pack without opening it, the fan unintentionally ripped open the pack and found a Black Lotus card inside – which sells for around $60,000.
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