Seriously? Come on, Wizards.

So, Mirrodin Besieged is fast approaching and Wizards just recently announced the Prerelease Promo card – Hero of Bladehold.
Stats-wise, this is a perfectly reasonable card. It survives Lightning Bolt and is sort of a mini-Titan, bringing on the bonus soldiers each time it swings.
Here’s the actual preview art:
HeroofBladeholdPreview.jpg
Which brings us back to my title for today’s post.
Are you kidding me?
I’m used to feeling that the promo art is generally worse than the original art for a given card.
But there’s a wide gulf between “I don’t like the promo art for Anathemancer” and “please don’t let your freelancers use porn for their photoreferencing.”
One of the things I’ve genuinely appreciated about Wizards over the years is their approach to issues like how women are represented in their games. I’ll return once more to a now five-year-old article that I’ve talked about before in which Matt Cavotta cites this line from the Magic: the Gathering Style Guide:
Feel free to paint beautiful women, as long as they’re shown kicking ass. No damsels in distress. No ridiculously exaggerated breasts. No nudity.
So how are we doing on that four-part test?
Is the Hero kicking ass? Hard to say, but I think we can at least credit her with the intent to kick ass, considering her expression. And she has a spear or something, so there’s that.
Is she in distress? Nah.
Ridiculous breasts? Now we’re sliding off the four-point scale here. Exactly how is it helpful for her to go into battle in that steel push-up monstrosity?
Nudity? The Hero is not formally nude, but she’s more “end-stage-stripper” in attire than anything else.
And although Matt did not specifically address this in the section he quoted from the Style Guide, the combination of emaciation with those gigantic breasts really cements the impression that either that Auriok heroes moonlight as porn stars or that Scott Chou, whose art I otherwise tend to like, thought that this was a good fit for the concept of “hero who fights world-devouring menace.” Although, in fairness to Scott, Jeremy Jarvis had to have approved his initial sketch, which presumably was just as porny-rather-than-heroey.
Incidentally, Scott Chou can illustrate kickass hotties who aren’t horrifying:
KorSpiritdancer.jpg
The Spiritdancer is actually a pretty solid counterpoint to the Hero. She’s also basically in a bikini, yet instead of feeling like we interrupted her pole dancing routine, we imagine that she’s about to have all her magical beasties kick our asses.
But then, Mirrodin has always been, inexplicably, the land of random boobs:
ReversalofFortune.jpg
I mean, what doesn’t that picture convey about the feeling of having one of your spells played against you?
Or something.
Anyway, the Hero is not just bad, but kind of insultingly bad. It’s also a rare major misstep in terms of art from Wizards, which is why I thought I’d bring it up.
Less of this, please. Seriously, always less of this.

6 thoughts on “Seriously? Come on, Wizards.

  1. but it honestly just looks like she’s a little muscular in the pectoral area, not like bulbous breasts. Without the “pushup bra” i’d just think she was a dude. She does appear super skinny with the ribs showing, but it appears to me she’s just inhaled deeply to prepare for the battle cry! get over it.

  2. No, I’m gonna stay not over it.
    Honestly, if she’s meant to be prepping for the battle cry, then the illustration also runs counter to what we’ve heard from Wizards before about card art, at least as relayed by Doug Beyer – if she’s battle crying, she should be yelling in the picture, not thinking about yelling.
    As for potential dudeness…she still has the wrong hips for a dude, and even without the power boobs, is maintaining an otherwise porny/strippery physique. But setting aside the power boobs is a pretty big loophole in figuring out whether this art is bad or not, so I’m disinclined to do so.
    This is pretty poor stuff, unfortunately.

  3. i agree its bad. i just think porny/strippery is not very fair in this particular case. not that there hasn’t been severe cases of that in other contexts, i dont think of a stripper. i think of a manly looking chick, who’s riding into battle with her team behind her. I agree her hips are clearly feminine. On the otherhand, the spiritmaster is dressed scantily and is in a seductive pose. Just because she’s not as skinny as the other one, is pretty irrelevant. the Spirit master is definitely more of a ‘sexy’ pose, and there’s not any indication she’s going to have those animals do anything, other than make her look sexier.
    Really, she’s just too skinny. I dont think too skinny= stripper/porn. In fact most strippers have a little bit more meat on their bones, from my extensive experience on that subject.

  4. Also, that “steel” monstrosity is a bra. I could imagine riding a chrome steed may not be the smoothest ride, and its probably for comfort more than anything else. and since we’re on mirrodin its not like she can just head into macy’s and buy a cross-your-heart conservative looking one. she gets metal, we’re on mirrodin.

  5. Don’t Forget that auriok of both sexes tend to wear very little. Really She isn’t wearing much less then other auriok females. Most auriok men don’t even wear a shirt of any kind. That being said I do think she looks a bit to skinny and a little oversexualized. Still I’m not to particularly perturbed by the art

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