Ongoing civil unrest and discussions surrounding racial justice, policing, and other heavy topics are continuing to spill over into the entertainment world. Wizards of the Coast, publisher of Magic: The Gathering, recently announced in a blog post that they will be removing certain cards from the game’s database and banning them from all sanctioned tournament play because of their “racist depiction, text, or combination thereof.”
Wizards of the Coast singled out “Invoke Prejudice” as a major offender in their blog post, but also included “Cleanse,” “Stone-Throwing Devils,” “Pradesh Gypsies,” “Jihad,” “Imprison,” and “Crusade.” Printed in 1994, “Invoke Prejudice” appears to depict a hooded Klansman holding an axe. This, combined with its multiverse ID, prompted Wizards to apologize to their community and condemn the card. “The card is racist and made even worse by the multiverse ID it was unfortunately codified with years ago. There’s no place for racism in our game, nor anywhere else,” the publisher said.
Wizards cited recent events and “the ongoing conversation about how we can better support people of color” as reasons for the decision to remove these cards. After vowing to be better in the future, Wizards made it known that in lieu of displaying the specified card images in the database, the following statement will be shown in its place:
“We have removed this card image from our database due to its racist depiction, text, or combination thereof. Racism in any form is unacceptable and has no place in our games, nor anywhere else.”
We are starting a review of every card we have printed. This first pass isn't meant to be an exhaustive catalogue of every problematic card in Magic’s history, and we will continue to take actions on similar cards in the future.
— Magic: The Gathering (@wizards_magic) June 10, 2020
Wizards later tweeted that this is just the first step of the process. “This first pass isn’t meant to be an exhaustive catalogue of every problematic card in Magic’s history, and we will continue to take actions on similar cards in the future,” the company explained.
The response to this move has predictably been mixed. Some are saying that this is a decent first step in making an old game more appropriate for modern times. At the same time, others have pointed out that even though some cards make reference to ”black” or “white,” that doesn’t mean it should be interpreted through a racially charged lens. Whichever side people choose to fall on, it looks like Magic will be going through some changes in the near future.
Max is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, Washington. Armed with a BS in Game Design, he is mainly focused on covering Call of Duty, Legends of Runeterra, and streamer culture for Level Push.