Strixhaven: School of Mages, a new set of Magic: The Gathering cards, is due for release next month, but one of its cards is already generating controversy after it emerged that the artist responsible for drawing it sure did borrow a lot of stuff from another, uncredited artist.
Veteran artist Jason Felix is credited on the card (above), which is called Crux of Fate. Not long after the card’s art was revealed by Wizards of the Coast, though, some eagle-eyed observers started noting some similarities between one of the dragons depicted on the card and the work of artist Kitt Lapeña, specifically this piece from 2016 called Nicol Bolas.
Lapeña details the similarities between their dragon and Felix’s card art below, showing just how close the character’s head and arm match, noting that while the torso is different, this could just have been because Lapeña’s original has a huge Deviantart watermark across its chest.
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
While artists use references all the time, this goes well beyond that. Even the skin folds on the dragon’s hands are the same! Making matters worse is that, as Lapeña explains, they’ve sent their portfolio into Wizards of the Coast previously.
Kotaku has contacted Felix for comment, and will update if we hear back.
UPDATE: Wizards of the Coast have issued a statement saying “These actions do not reflect the values of Wizards, and, as a result, we will be suspending future work with Jason Felix until we have been able to bring this matter to successful conclusion.”