Top 10 Showcase art styles in Magic

The Top 10 Showcase Art Styles in Magic

Janel SantaCruz CampbellStandard

Showcase art styles are some of the most flavorful elements of any Magic: The Gathering set since their first appearance in Throne of Eldraine. In March of the Machine, which showcase art treatments are we most excited to see return?

As March of the Machine draws near, we’ll soon see heroes across the multiverse of Magic: The Gathering join forces. With wild team-ups on legendary cards like Drana and Linvala or Thalia and the Gitrog Monster, we are seeing multiverse mashups never before expected but very much welcome. 

Thalia and The Gitrog Monster
Thalia and The Gitrog Monster

Along the lines of unexpected mashups, March of the Machine will bring past art showcase treatments back for new cards from this set, such as the autumnal “equinox” art style of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt on Thalia and the Gitrog Monster. While both Thalia and Gitrog both hail from the plane of Innistrad, this equinox treatment was seen almost exclusively on werewolves and warlocks previously, making the collaboration of past showcase art on new cards very intriguing. 

These treatments will be mostly found in collector booster packs, though some should still show up in set and draft boosters. That being said, with so many options, we couldn’t help but compare them. So let’s get right into the top 10 showcase art styles we’ve seen so far in Magic: The Gathering to get hyped up for all the new cards we’ll see in March of the Machine.

10. Classic Rulebook  

For those of us table-top role-playing nerds, the collaboration between Magic and the world of Dungeons & Dragons felt absolutely correct when Adventures in the Forgotten Realms hit shelves. In AFR’s classic “rulebook frame” showcase art, the cards evoke a sense of Monster-Manual-familiarity on the D&D side while inspiring a sense of adventurous exploration on the MTG side. This treatment really tells a story that anyone can feel just by looking at the art.

This is also one of the few showcase styles to make a quick return! Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, another Dungeons & Dragons inspired set dipped back into this same pool and gave us even more art to enjoy. 

It’s unlikely we’ll see this style in March of the Machine, but we couldn’t deny it a place on this list all the same. We’ll certainly be glad to see it back, again, whenever that time may come. 

9. Comic Book

Ikoria: Lair of the Behemoth’s showcase is one of the only treatments to include lands, and it’s one that packs power in its punch. Each showcase card in Ikora feels as if it’s in motion. And with Ikoria being a plane of giant creatures, that provides some serious intimidation to your opponents.

Ikoria’s comic book showcase style was previously unique to its land Triomes and creatures with the mutate mechanic, but getting to see this treatment applied to other terrifying creatures would be especially fun. In March of the Machine, I’m sure we’ll see many legendary creatures teaming to fight Elesh Norn’s army of Phyrexians, and the comic book showcase style would be absolutely fitting for a battle of such epic proportions.

8. Viking Legends

Kaldheim is one set that oozes with flavor, particularly with its showcase cards. Chock full of snow lands, snow creatures and even snow enchantments, Kaldheim’s showcase style of metal Viking art perfectly suits the hardcore, wintery theme Kaldheim presents.

In these past showcase cards, the metal Viking treatment was only applied to legendary creatures, one legendary artifact and one very special enchantment: The Prismatic Bridge. This art style pays tribute to the power of its Viking roots, and in March of the Machine, we’d love to see more cards with this particular treatment. 

7. Constellation

Theros Beyond Death was a set heavy on enchantments, and in THB, we saw showcase cards that featured starry constellations on Legendary Enchantment Creatures. This constellation treatment suits these legendary Gods and Demigods since they are larger-than-life beings and very much out of this world. How can we not be stoked to see this art style return?

Demonstrating the return of the constellation showcase, we have Heliod, one of the most iconic Legendary Enchantment Creatures, who was compleated during March of the Machine. Heliod, the Warped Eclipse still brings the stars to life, but his constellation looks more like an omen of bad tidings, this time. It’ll certainly be interesting to see whether any other gods get the same look!

6. Travel Poster

In addition to beautiful, full art, showcase lands, Zendikar Rising was a set that featured travel poster style art on creatures, giving players a peek into the plane of Zendikar. This showcase style likes to accentuate colors and features creatures in their natural habitat, almost like a Discovery channel documentary set in the world of Magic: the Gathering

The travel poster style of Zendikar Rising is also minimalistic with translucent oracle text boxes, letting players enjoy more of the showcase artwork. In ZNR, this showcase style is featured mostly on non-legendary creatures, giving those creatures a way to shine on the battlefield and letting you enter the plane of Zendikar. Fingers crossed the Roil fights back with plenty of new creatures in this treatment during March of the Machine.

5. Golden Age

Streets of New Capenna brought us the “golden age” treatment with its showcase cards, and its elegant art style is one we are excited to see return. This set brought us to a plane rich in culture, so the golden showcase art style is right on theme. Plus, New Capenna features prominently within March of the Machine’s stroy, so glamor is well deserved.

With its angular style, this border echoes the structure of the city of New Capenna and its art deco influence. Like the travel poster showcase in Zendikar Rising, the golden age showcase in SNC also features a translucent oracle text box. This showcase art is truly a mood and toward the top of our list as a favorite.

4. Soft Glow

We returned to the plane of Kamigawa with Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, and it gave us a boost of color through its showcase cards. With a mixture of futuristic Ninja and Samurai and the natural calm of Kami, the variety of this showcase treatment made the set very exciting to open.

The soft glow treatment in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty blends colors beautifully, making cards feel otherworldly. Ultimately, Kamigawa is a plane with a vibrant history, and we know March of the Machine will be going down in the books. Seeing this treatment again would be a perfect fit.

3. Oil Slick

There were multiple special art treatments in Phyrexia: All Will Be One, but cards that featured the Oil Slick Foil style (found in the Compleat Bundles) were especially unique. These cards felt as if they had been touched by Phyrexians themselves as they glistened black in a bit of light. 

Only 25 cards in Phyrexia: All Will Be One received the Oil Slick Foil treatment, with the majority being Legendary Planeswalkers and Legendary Creatures, like Atraxa, Grand Unifier. Naturally we would be stoked to see more of this unique treatment in March of the Machine, but we may end up with the Ichor frame instead (which was also as fearsome as it was awesome). Either way, we’d just love to see such a quality treatment come with any new set full of Phyrexians.

2. Storybook

Entering the fairytale, fantasy land of Eldraine, we have the very first showcase art style in Magic: the Gathering, featured in Throne of Eldraine. In the land of giants, fairies and porridge-stealing little girls, Eldraine gave us lovely storybook frames that surround familiar characters from our childhood. The oracle text box mimics an open fairytale book with weathered edges, enhancing the storytelling aspect seen on the plane.

This whimsical border of entwining vines truly makes us wonder what lurks in the shadows of these fantastical woods and beyond, especially when Phyrexians get involved with this treatment during March of the Machine

Overall, Throne of Eldraine’s showcase art is a welcome hit of childhood nostalgia in Magic, making it one showcase treatment we would love to see return.

1. Stained Glass

With its thousand-year history, stained glass art is one that evokes a feeling of weight and importance — and in Dominaria: United, we received my favorite showcase art style of all: the Stained Glass treatment. 

In Dominaria United, the stained glass showcase art was applied only to Legendary Creatures, making this treatment particularly special since the plane features an abundance of history and beloved characters. 

For many of us who play, Magic is more than just a game, and it’s inspiring to see some of our favorite characters encapsulated in this illuminated showcase. This style plays with colors and shapes wonderfully, making these cards a delight to have on the table. 

We truly loved seeing this energy in Dominaria United and hope to see more of this elegant style in March of the Machine.


All in all, showcase art styles have been an excellent addition since Throne of Eldraine’s release, and it’s great to see some of these return. While we can’t wait to see what future showcases have in store for us, we’re also looking forward to revisiting art styles in upcoming collector booster boxes and beyond.