This entry is part 7 of 14 in the series Massive Art Attack

Posted by Chris-B

Like it or not I’m back and it’s time for Massive Art Attack once again.  I was on vaca last week, so I didn’t have any terrible art to serve up and abuse your eyes with.  This week I once again don’t have any terrible art for you, but we do have some very nice alters from a very creative reader, stilledsilence.  As I’ve been mentioning in my articles, if you have cool alters that you would like to share send them on in to and I’ll make sure I feature them in an upcoming article.  Stilledsilence not only responded to the call, but he also has some pretty sweet 3D alters to show off.  Lets take a look.



I personally am not fortunate enough to own a hand crafted 3D alter, but I do want to get my mitts on one eventually.  If you are not familiar with 3D alters it basically involves taking multiple copies of the same card and cutting each copy differently so that it forms a 3D relief of the cards art.  For example, lets take a look at a Tenth Edition Terror.  The art here is very solid all on its own.  We’ve got skinless man, eating skeleton man, eating living man.  Adam Rex nailed this one.















3D movies may be played out, but the alters are still pretty fresh, and you can see the results on the left.

A swamp is used for the background while various layers of Terror form the main image.  We also get a very handy life counter included in the card itself as well.  Much more stylish than a spin down.  Now that should clarify what a 3D alter is to all of those who were uninitiated, but I bet a lot of readers are somewhat familiar with them since many commander players do enjoy their pimp.
















One thing about stilledsilence ‘s work that makes it pop out is the level of detail he uses.  Also he does something I personally hadn’t seen before.  He actually adds shape to certain layers of the card to really enhance the that third dimension as in the Prized Unicorn alter.  But how does he get that level of detail in his work?  Read on to hear how he does it in his own words.















As stilledsilence explains it he incorporates many layers to get the full effect he’s looking for:

“I started off small by making a 3D soldier token from Alara block, that way I could get a better idea of what it would take to make a really detailed alter. After doing 2 or 3 where I just built the layers right on top of one another I decided to try and make them look more 3D by creating detail pieces and placing them at the correct depth in the alter as you can see in Ashling and Kazuul. My first few alters used about 4-6 copies of a card with a few spacers. I realized that if I wanted to make something more detailed it would take many more cards and layers. So now I don’t use less than 10 copies but on average hit about 13 cards with around 24 spacing layers to really give the card depth. I also wanted my alters to stand out a bit so I started shaping and bending the cardboard to make the alter look like it is coming out of the frame at you (see Doran, Kazuul, and Izzet Signet). I start each alter by making a layering guide in photoshop so that I know what I need to cut out of each card and what pieces go where. This takes a bit but helps to alleviate cutting mistakes down the line. Next I start cutting out the layers which requires me to be very patient as I go. You never want to rush a cut because you will easily end up ruining the layer if you don’t take your time. After all the layers and detail pieces are cut I assemble the most detailed object in the alter, usually the focal character or object, apart from the background. I then begin gluing the background together with the spacers from the furthest forward layer all the way to the very back of the alter. I then glue the completed detail piece in and add the top layers to finish the alter. It’s a long process, anywhere between 5 hrs for the less detailed and 12 for the most detailed, but I really enjoy making them and I don’t think I will stop anytime soon.”


There is a dragon on the blade folks, order now.
















I think the Izzet Signet is my favorite of the bunch. A lot of details on those wings.

















If you want to check out stilledsilence ‘s latest alters or his additional work-in-progress photos head on over and check out

If you want to know more about the man behind the alters he had this to say:

“I’m 30 years old and work as a Counselor at a Youth Intervention Center. I have a wife, Emily, and a 9-month old son whose name is Jace. Ya, I named my son after a magic card because I’m a Baller! I’ve been playing magic since Invasion block and tried my hand at competitive play for a time but have always really loved the more casual formats, especially Commander. I became interested in 3D alters after reading an article by Andrew Sitte on last August. He has made some amazing 3D alters and his articles gave me the inspiration to try my hand at it. I’ve been making them ever since and have 10 alters under my belt, with each one more detailed and difficult than the last. My next project is an abacus life counter for the Tenth Edition version of “Terror”, which will be insane to make but should hopefully look amazing in the end. I am also available for commissions if anyone feels like pimping out their Commander deck with a 3D General or wants an Abacus life counter, just hit me up on my site at


That’s right he named his child after a Magic character, so you know he’s fully committed at this point, so go ahead and give his deviant art site a look.  As always if you have some interesting alters to show off, drop me a line at  To follow up my last article I had dug up the art for Hatred during the Brom discussion.  At the time I was debating what new deck I should use to build around Hatred.  I’ve decided on a budget Korlash deck.  Perhaps at the end of the season I’ll deviate away from art for a quick deck list sidebar in case anyone interested in how it came out.  I mean seriously, let’s get it right?  Thanks for reading.  Until next week.


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