Magic: The Gathering Bans 7 Incredibly Racist Cards

by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Jun, 11th 2020

This feels like a large case of “too little, too late.” I found Magic: The Gathering as a young Jewish person in the Bible Belt. It felt so weird to see racist symbolism in a nationwide card game, but these aren’t new! Some of these cards are as old as 1993/1994! I’m glad MTG finally added these cards to the ban list for their overwhelmingly racist overtones, but why did it take so long?

If your excuse is “well, they’re just pictures/text in a card game,” you have more problems than I’m willing/able to diagnose here. We as a people need to do better. This was the right move. Sadly, racism is still very much a reality in gaming, digital, or otherwise. Change is long overdue, so I’m glad this move is being made.

Completely Inexcusable

If you think these cards are the only racist ones in the bunch, well, I’m sorry to say they aren’t. Don’t excuse it by saying it was just “how things were” or “it’s not that bad.” Black creatures that are ⅗ because “slaves counted as 3/5ths of a person” is subtle but dreadful. Cleanse on the other hand is very overt. “Destroy all black creatures” as a White spell.

MTG’s ban list is going to see some more racist additions to the ban list before too long I’m sure. But these are just the most visible, awful offenders. It doesn’t help that the artist of Invoke Predjuce is an avowed racist and Neo-Nazi supporter.

The below cards are banned from all tournament/competitive play, so don’t ever expect to see them in MTG Arena. Not ever. Not as a joke, not as a mod. Which cards are now banned?

  • Invoke Prejudice
  • Cleanse
  • Stone-Throwing Devils
  • Pradesh Gypsies
  • Jihad
  • Imprison
  • Cleanse

Some of these are more overt than others. Crusade giving all White creatures +1/+1, and featuring the cross of the Crusades doesn’t help. Cleanse destroys all Black creatures. Invoke Prejudice has art depicting shadowy pointed hood figures brandishing axes. These cards are vile. Jihad sort of speaks for itself. It paints all followers of Islam as violent, racist, monsters.

Wizards of the Coast has made a statement on this move. “The events of the past weeks and the ongoing conversation about how we can better support people of color have caused us to examine ourselves, our actions, and our inactions.” Wizards stated. “We appreciate everyone helping us to recognize when we fall short. We should have been better, we can be better, and we will be better.”

These cards’ art has been removed from the online database and has the following message in their 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.”

Invoke Prejudice stands out the most. In the online database, it was also listed as 1488, which is slang for “Heil Hitler.” Your average viewer or player might not understand the significance of that number. That’s why it’s “subtle”. It also has the following text: “If opponent casts a Summon spell that does not match the color of one of the creatures under your control, that spell is countered.” Whew. That’s… that’s a thing that happened, all right. There are other, little things in the collection of MTG cards that are just filthy and vile.

Things don’t have to “be this way.” With these and other racist cards being added to the ban list, we can do better, and grow as a community. If this somehow offends you, that these repulsive cards are being removed, well, I feel for you. I can only hope those people can educate themselves and grow as people. Racism can be unlearned if the person wants to.


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