Like many Magic: The Gathering players, I am an avid collector of cards with art drawn by a certain artist. Some might adore the works of Therese Nielsen, Christopher Rush and Rebecca Guay, who are just some of the most talented Magic artists of all time. I do like them too but I must say, Raymond Swanland is among those artists that is also well-equipped with experience and have a really unique style of his work. It's quite revolutionary, lots of spikes and details that most players would distinguish as his style. I think I have at least 60 - 70 pieces of foil cards with his art, including the Kaladesh invention Planar Bridge, Zendikar expedition of Tectonic Edge, foil Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh, etc. I am still missing a lot of it such as foil Arid Mesa, foil Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, which are quite expensive and I don't expect them to get low sooner or later but I will try to save and buy them when I can or trade if able.
Since I'm a huge fan of Raymond's Swanland's art, I've compiled a list of his 25 best here.
Fomori Nomad - Future Sight
If I am not mistaken, this is the first art he contributed for the game. When compared to the most recent cards he did, you can see how much he evolved in his very distinct style.
Marrow Shards - New Phyrexia
He nailed how creepy should Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite should look right here. She's so beautiful when she's furious.
Oracle's Insight - Journey into Nyx
Oh my, the details! Look at how he beautifully crafted the eyes. It's hypnotizing to look at and makes you wonder, how do you see yourself when you start to imagine how the universe really looks like?
Vampire Nocturnus - Magic 2010
Vampire Nocturnus - Magic 2010
If not because of Sengir Vampire, the classic one, this would probably be the best vampire next to the existence of Planeswalker Sorin Markov. He defined a quiet and dealdly vampire, which he should have always been. I have seen an altered art with piano in front, I wasn't just able to remember where I saw it but it looks cool too.
Thraximundar - Alara Reborn
This is not my most favorite but the first cards that made me a fan of Raymond Swanland and it's what made me want to start collecting foils of each Magic card he made. It's dark, lots of spikes, quite revolutionary, I must say.
Kresh the Bloodbraided
Kresh the Bloodbraided - Shards of Alara
He never fails to deliver an art that is very distinct to the name and theme given to him as his assignment. Kresh the Bloodbraided is one example of it.
Sweltering Suns - Amonkhet
One of his latest art that is very well-defined and clearly made. I'm not sure how he made it nor what he used to make it but this one seems more of an upgrade from his past few touches, it looks pretty clean.
Nyxathid - Conflux
A creepy dark elemental creature, well0defined and very scary. A creature mostly portrayed in stories to scare kids for them to sleep early at night.
Faith's Reward - Conspiracy: Take the Crown
He's an expert in what he does all the time, the background is also well-crafted. Only a few would recognize the background but this a good example of a perfect art, every detail is full of wonders.
Temple of Deceit
Temple of Deceit - Theros
It's like photography - you look at the scope, get an angle and shoot! This is quite a resemblance of what a corner in a creepy hunted house looks like.
Watery Grave - Dragon's Maze
If there is a place that looks exactly what is drawn here, I will probably book a ticket and fly there to see how amazing it looks in person.
I've seen a hanging graveyard site, flooded and floating ones in the internet but I haven't seen one yet that looks as creepy as what he did with this card.
Wurmcoil Engine - Scars of Mirrodin
Have we seen this in one of the Transformers films? I forgot the name of the film where it transformed from a yard full of metal scraps but I'm quite sure it almost looks like Wurmcoil Engine.
Diabolic Revelation - Magic 2013
A creepy dark art my wife likes a lot since she's a fan of dark and horror movies. There are no symbols included but we all know, see and feel how dark he made this art.
Voltaic Brawler - Kaladesh
I was surprised when I saw this card when the spoiler season for Kaladesh started. I have never thought of him making an art outside the realm of dark and creepy ones he made in the past but this is good, really good. Vibrant and elegant as what the plane requires, and he exceptionally made it absolutely beautiful.
Lightning Runner - Aether Revolt
He never stops suprising his fans. Here, he creates another beautifully-crafted art outside the usual dark themes he makes. One of the cards that made me even more enthusiastic about his art. He's really a master of his unique style.
Cabal Therapy - Eternal Masters
I have no doubt he's one of the best artists to create creepy illustrations such as this one. This will haunt you in your sleep if you stare at it for a long time.
Hour of Revelation
Hour of Revelation - Hour of Devastation
I have seen enough of how the entrance of heaven looks like in a lot of prophetical movies and here is an exceptional art of it used solely in the purpose of creating a card for the game and not another movie most people have no intention to watch again, again, again and again.
Ob Nixilis Reignited
Ob Nixilis Reignited - Duel Deck: Nissa vs. Ob Nixilis
He made a simple art of Ob Nixilis Reignited, not too much of details but still one of my top favorites. He captured the simplicity of what should it look like after getting free from the shackles and battling the members from Oath of the Gatewatch.
Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
Nissa, Voice of Zendikar - Duel Deck: Nissa vs. Ob Nixilis
Nissa is looking tired while giving Ob Nixilis a fight he deserves to lose. I named my 18-months-old daughter after her, she's pretty and so is my little kid.
Planar Bridge - Masterpiece Series: Kaladesh Inventions
One of the finest art I have ever seen from his list of illustrations made for the game. An exceptionally well-crafted art utilizing an advanced machine from the future of the future.
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon - Fate Reforged
Ugin at it's finest looks, undoubtedly. He crafted what seems to be a virtual dragon but no, it's a spirit and he did it very well. He made Ugin close to the looks of the Gods.
Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh - Hour of Devastation
Far from the previous versions of Nicol Bolas, this one is the best and very God-Dragon of him. I still love a the classic ones but this is by far my most favorite. Just a question, Is Nicol Bolas a Jack of All Trades? He's a Planeswalker, a Dragon and a God? What's next?
Mana Drain - Iconic Masters
The hardest part of a foil collector like me with an average salary is that when an extremely old and powerful card gets a reprint with new art, specially when it's done by Raymond Swanland, I have to keep my hopes up to pull one from the pack so I don't have to spend more or less $200 for a single card like this new version of Mana Drain from Iconic Masters
Vampiric Tutor - Eternal Master
The darkest illustration I've seen from his long list of art drawn for Magic: The Gathering,World of Warcraft and others. It really looks real and when I first saw it, I was really amazed. After all the years since he created the art for Fomori Nomad, it is undeniable that he became one of the greatest professional artists, one of the best I've ever known.
Glorious Anthem - Magic Scholarship Series
This one is not on the top because it's the very best art he created but this one has a rich history behind the beautiful art. It is also very rare and only a couple of it are available worldwide, it costs dearly around $200 each and very very hard to find one who would sell it.