Five Bob Ross cards are now free for all Magic: The Gathering Arena players

Bob Ross
(Image credit: Bob Ross)

Wizards of the Coast has dropped codes for five of the ten Bob Ross illustrated cards in Magic: The Gathering Arena, which players have until December 14 to claim for free. The codes are:

  • DelightfulMeadow 
  • IslandWilderness 
  • TreeFriend 
  • MoveMountains 
  • HappySwamp

The remaining five cards are available for purchase through the Secret Lair website. Those codes will be redeemable for a full year, rather than expiring on December 14

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Original story:

I came to Bob Ross fairly late in life. To me, due to a particular mix of circumstance and indifference, he was just that dude with the hair in the painting meme. All that changed in 2015, when Twitch had the brilliant idea to marathon The Joy of Painting, the half-hour happy trees show on PBS that Ross hosted from 1983 to 1994. It was a revelation: I discovered the sublime beauty of Ross' ASMR-like approach to art, and a lively Twitch chat that wasn't a complete sewer. It was one of the most wholesome experiences I've ever had on the internet.

Now Wizards of the Coast is looking to bring a bit of the Bob Ross magic to Magic: The Gathering. As reported by Vice, it's partnered with the Ross estate for a limited edition set of Magic cards called Happy Little Gathering. Each of Magic's five basic land types—plains, swamps, forests, islands, and mountains—will be represented by two of Ross' landscapes, and there will also be one for the Evolving Wilds card, which can transform into any other land type.

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"While there weren’t a lot of options for swamps, there were some obvious choices. The island, mountain, and forest choices were plentiful," Wizards of the Coast senior creative art director Tom Jenkot 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."

Bob Ross has enjoyed something of a low-key resurgence among gamers since his initial triumphant Twitch appearance. XCOM 2 mod maker MacReady created an unofficial (but very good) Bob Ross voice pack, another mod maker brought him into Fire Pro Wrestling World, Blizzard got in on the action earlier this year with a "Bob Ross or Diablo" quiz, and he even got his own Humble Bundle in 2018. But this may be the first time that his work, rather than the man himself, is the focus.

And they are lovely.

The Vice report, as far as I can tell, refers strictly to the physical version of Magic: The Gathering, but based on leaks out of Reddit earlier this month it looks like it'll be released for Magic: The Gathering Arena as well. I've reached out to Wizards of the Coast to clarify and will update if I receive a reply.

The Happy Little Gathering set will be part of a limited run of Magic: The Gathering cards that will be available through the Secret Lair website from November 30 to December 14. The site itself will go live on November 25.

Update: The product page confirms that the Happy Little Gathering cards will be released for Magic: The Gathering Arena. Purchasing either the foil or non-foil versions of the cards will get you a code for five of the ten Bob Ross Basic Lands cards, and another for five cards in MTGO. A rep said the cards may be offered for separate purchase in Magic: The Gathering Arena at a later date. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.