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Book Review

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Magic: The Gathering
Rise of the Gatewatch

A Visual History (Hardback)


Editor: Eric Klopfer
Publisher: Abrams ComicArts
243 pages
RRP: £13.99, US $19.99, Cdn $24.99
ISBN: 978 1 4197 3647 6
Publication Date: 23 July 2019

Originally published by Wizards of the Coast in 1993, Magic: The Gathering is a collectible card game which remains ever popular to this day. Magic: The Gathering: Rise of Gatewatch is a visual celebration of this award-winning phenomenon...

Magic: The Gathering: Rise of Gatewatch showcases the history of the game’s most powerful mages: Planeswalkers. Planeswalkers are heroes who have sworn to defend the Multiverse from harm, and this book explores the history of Magic’s first team of Planeswalkers - Jace Beleren, Ajani Goldmane, Gideon Jura, Kaya, Chandra Nalaar, Nissa Revane, Liliana Vess, and Teferi. The Gatewatch’s character histories, from their origins through their final confrontation with Nicol Bolas, are presented via the very best card, packaging, and convention-exclusive artwork, all of it reproduced together here for the first time, some never-before-seen outside of the card frame.

I remember the first wave of the Magic: The Gathering craze... and if I'm being perfectly honest, I thought that, like Pokémon, they were both old phases that were no longer popular with the younger generation. How wrong I was (on both counts). Magic seems to be just as popular now than it ever was.

This book offers something a little different for fans as it showcases illustrations that even the most diehard fan will have had a hard time tracking down (some were convention exclusives and others have only been released on cards). It also sets out the history of some of the most notable Planeswalkers.

Today, Magic: The Gathering attracts roughly twenty million players and fans worldwide. There are nearly twenty thousand distinct cards in circulation, and each card features unique, imaginative, and colourful art from some of the best artists and illustrators working in the sci-fi and fantasy genres.

Rise of the Gatewatch is a giftable visual reference guide to this beautifully crafted and enduringly popular world, sure to appeal to new and longtime Magic fans alike. It's beautifully laid out, with glossy black pages, which helps to give it a unique look.


Nick Smithson

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