Wizards of the Coast
Bob Ross, the painter who calmed and delighted America throughout the 1980s, is coming to the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering. Wizards of the Coast (WotC), Magic’s publisher, has partnered with the Ross estate for a limited edition set called Happy Little Gathering.
The set will feature two Ross landscapes representing each of Magic’s five different land types—plains, swamps, forests, islands, and mountains. “I thought swamp was going to be the hardest, but it turned out to be plains,” Tom Jenkot, Sr. Creative Art Director at WotC, told Motherboard in an email. “I did have to cheat a little with one of the plains by zooming in on the painting.”
Lands are the lifeblood of any Magic: The Gathering deck. Players use swamps, mountains, planes, islands, and forests to fuel their spells. Soon players can use cards adorned with Ross’ iconic work to power spells that will summon goblins or drain the life from their opponents. The Ross collection of cards will have the same backing as normal Magic cards and be completely playable.
Also in the set will be a Ross painting representing “Evolving Wilds,” a card that can transform into any other land type. According to Jenkot, it was the hardest to nail down. “While there weren’t a lot of options for swamps, there were some obvious choices. The island, mountain, and forest choices were plentiful,” he said. “But the biggest achievement was finding a Bob Ross painting that worked for ‘Evolving Wilds!’ The painting has a forest, mountain, water, plains, plus an unearthly glow on the underside of the wave to hit on the evolving aspect.”
The Ross cards will be part of a limited run of Magic cards released through WotC’s Secret Lair line of cards. Secret Lair cards are reprints of Magic cards with alternate art, typically done by famous artists. A previous Secret Lair set consisted of five ooze and slime based cards drawn by Los Angeles artist Dakota Cates. Another recent Secret Lair set used characters from The Walking Dead.