– UPDATE 2017 –
Hello dear reader, I know that this blog post sometimes get linked in discussions about MTG cards and some of the problematic art that may appear in the game. Sometimes, linked also in discussions about Wizards way of handling and answering to the community. In the past years I’ve always found it fun to see my written text used in this discussion, until I actually took the time to read it again.
Now I mostly feel silly, ashamed and also very surprised about the person I was only a few years back. Much has happened since then of course, when it comes to discussing issues and problematic trends in game design.
And I just want you to know that my opinion on these topics have changed drastically, not becuase I’m a great defender of justice, not because I got brainwashed, but because I’ve taken the time to learn, listen and realize that me and my opinions are not set in stone, rather they are set in a formable clay. And I will happily reform that clay and add to it by learning and creating a greater understanding of the world around me.
Now, I will not remove or change the original text, it stands as a reminder to myself that I in fact changed alot the last few years, and I’m very proud of that evolution.
To end with a quick thought, Wizard clearly did the right thing to apoligize for the art itself and to not use it in future printings of the card. If a big part of their community feels affected and troubled by the card art, it’s a problem. MTG is a game that in itself should welcome all players and groups, and this kind of card just did not fit into that. It created a situation online and at events that became very non-welcoming to the games non-male demographic. I will leave it that for now, and clarify in the comments if you have any questions.
We can all learn. We can all change.
I just did not imagine that I would do so without actually realizing that I did.
I’m sitting here with a feeling of: what just happened? I’ve been following discussions on Twitter that has been going on for the last few hours. The discussions concern a new card from Avacyn Restored; Triumph of Ferocity.
Can you guess why this card has been wildly discussed? I think you can, but it may not be as clear as you think. As it seems, it’s about 50/50 in what people see in this picture. I for one actually liked this artwork, it shows the struggle between Garruk and Liliana, he’s about to smack her down and she is just about to throw a spell in his face. I bet many of you see that as well, but some of you will see something completely different. Something that I understand can be disturbing; and that is that the whole scene taking place symbolizes rape.
Taking a step back, yes it’s a struggle between a man and woman. Had this been two men fighting, I doubt we would be having this discussion right now. Maybe we would have, but I doubt it. I respect the fact that some people see this in the artwork, and I understand where it comes from. But I almost feel as if this issue or idea has been taken a bit… far.
Why do you see “rape” when you look at this image?
Is it because we see a female in a weaker position towards a male? Is it because of the position of the bodies, and again the fact that the male character has a more aggressive/overhead stance over her? That’s what I’m guessing and yes I see that too, but where is the part that says rape? Why is he forced to be judged as someone that is about to rape a woman?
Turn the two roles around, let’s imagine Liliana (the woman) pushing Garruk down towards a rock. Now he is the spell caster, what would you think of the art? Just a quick thought would be: “Sweet! She is kicking ass!” instead of right now; “Why is he forcing her down like that?!”
It annoys me greatly that a struggle between a male character and a female character where the man is winning apparently is not accepted as artwork.
But, I understand, once again, where you’re coming from with these thoughts. I respect that fact, but I also hope that you can respect that I disagree. Artworks in a game will “always” at one time or another, create these emotions. And that is what this card was created for, emotion of what is taking place. I think that this one card may have captured it better than any card in Avacyn Restored. Not only do we realize it, a lot of you feel it so strongly that you turn it into a problem.
I’ll gladly get some comments on this, cause I’m writing straight out of my head. I probably didn’t follow up on all my thoughts or explained them well enough. If so, comment, discuss and I will be back with a follow up.
Until next time Nurglings, take care.
Warning: This is a very long article!
I thought I would share something that has been… not bothering me, but it’s a thought that has been twirling around in my head. Lately there have been a lot of articles posted about the female players of Magic, how they are looked at by 90% of the players who are male. And thankfully also their accomplishments in Magic.
I was thinking about this at the same time as I was sitting down at my local hobby shop, looking through my Yu Gi Oh collection. At the same time I was talking with a few of my friends that plays Magic the Gathering. The room was crowded with players playing different card games. A World of Warcraft TCG tournament was taking place in the room, some Yu Gi Oh players took up a big table discussing the game and playing it, and in front of me my friends were sleeving The Spoils decks to demo the game at an event here in Gothenburg the next day. A huge mix of games and players of all ages, it was a good day for card games.
In the past I was very active in the Yu Gi Oh community, as a gamer and collector. I’m still a moderator at the biggest Yu Gi Oh forum in Sweden, and I try to stay somewhat up to date so I can join the discussions or at least understand them. A year or so ago I switched my focus to other card games and haven’t really been active with Yu Gi Oh.
Recently the Yu Gi Oh Swedish national was announced, and I thought I would join in. Meeting with the people again and doing something that I actually enjoy more than gaming; going to events and experiencing the social side of card gaming. When sitting with the cards I was met by skepticism from the other Yu Gi Oh players. Mainly because I wasn’t active anymore, and they questioned why I would start with it now instead of just keep playing Magic the Gathering.
This onetime thing didn’t really bother me too much, I know the Yu Gi Oh players around here and shortly after I was offered to borrow cards for Nationals if I really wanted to join. I KNEW this, but what if I was a new player, sitting down for the first time, building a deck for a tournament that is way over my head (and still is to be honest). Just to hear: why are you even trying?
Yu Gi Oh is a constant eternal format just like Magic the Gatherings Vintage or Legacy. All cards are allowed in tournaments except for a selected few on a banlist. These types of formats and games usually costs more than games focused around new cards and sets. This is because of a simple thing: supply and demand. The older the set gets, the cards from it gets harder to find and fewer and fewer cards keep rotating between players. The prices go up and it becomes less interesting for new players to join that type of game because of this.
But not only is the cost a problem, but the community that plays these eternal formats are usually players that have stuck with it for a long time. What I’ve noticed with these players is the fact that not many of them allow new players to “join in”. New blood is considered players without skills and without decks and cards that are interesting to play against. And that may be true, new players don’t have the decks or skills yet, but why shut them out just because they aren’t at your level?
I think this is one of many things that are happening within Magic right now, discussing the female players. The male demographic is having issues with the fact that this smaller group of players that haven’t really been successful before, are starting to become worthy opponents. If a smaller group of Legacy players have issues with new players without skills or decks. The male gaming community as a whole has been having this issue with female players. It’s time to become more accepting of new players, especially if we want our gaming groups or games in general to grow.
We can’t let the new players be shut out just because they don’t know everything from the start. If we talk about the game with them, play it with them and discuss things that they may want to think about. They will find that once you become a part of the community, the community is awesome. The social aspect of card games is a huge thing, blogs, forums, gaming groups, these are all huge and important things for a card game to have. But as a social game, we also need to respect each other and people we meet through gaming. No matter the gender, what they’ve played before, how much they’ve played or even what their names are.
Learn the basics:
If you’re a new player, or someone that wants to try a new game out. Try and look at the rules before you head down to your local hobby or gaming store. The more of the basic rules you know, the easier it will be for the older players to respect you as a new player.
Even if the gamers there may a bit nervous with you being new. Talk to them, they are not as dangerous as they look.
Put your hard skin on:
As the new player you will realize that there is a lot of “friendly bullying” going on between players. And this is nothing to be afraid of, this is something that is very common within any type of gaming, online or offline.
Ask other players for help (even if you don’t really want it):
People that think they are good at any game, love to talk about their skills. Ask the other players for help, about your deck, gaming style or whatever. They love to share what they think is best. This way it’s easier to talk to them afterwards and that is a huge positive side effect of asking a simple question.
Well that was it for now everyone.
Until next time Nurglings, take care.
Do you know what’s really trendy right now? To talk about female Magic the Gathering players, but not just any of course, rather the few that lately has been appearing in top 8’s at bigger tournaments like various Grand Prix’s.
I tend to root for them when they are reaching a position where they can end up in the finals, but I always root for the underdog, and I’m not saying that the female players are worse than the male players. I’m just saying when it comes to numbers = they are outnumbered. So it’s always fun to see them punch a hole in a very male dominant game.
I lift my hat to these women and I really hope they will stick with the game to show the world that it’s okay to be a lady and play card games like Magic The Gathering. From what I’ve read and seen, it’s a very intimidating thing to be a female magic player, mostly because the younger guys are not used to seeing girls at their local hobby shops or tournaments. Staring… is not okay guys. Really.
So I wanted to make a small tribute and show you the women that have been slowly (and some rather quickly) made their face known in the Magic community.
The latest woman to make a huge top 8 finish. This happened just this weekend at Grand Prix Nashville. She managed to get an amazing record, ending day 1 with eight wins and a single loss. And going 3-0 and 2-1 and in the day 2 drafts. A hard achievement for any Magic players.
Not only was she a lady; she also had some swag with that awesome hat when she managed to top 8 at Grand Prix Lincoln 2012 with her “Infinty” deck (Modern Format). Deciding to play the deck just days before the tournament she managed to collect the whole deck on site. And she was able to say that she owned every single card in her deck (borrowing being something very common when going to bigger events).
As many others on this list Jackie had no previous Pro Tour or Grand Prix top 8s before going to Grand Prix Baltimore 2012. She managed to kick some ass all the way to the top 8 with a Red/Green agro deck (Standard Format).
Melissa has been playing magic for some time now, and is a familiar name for most Magic players. So it was all happy news when she managed to top 8 at Grand Prix Santiago 2011. She even won the quarter final game against one of Magic the Gathering’s most skilled players: Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa.
So here are just a few inspiring female Magic the Gathering players. If you have more stories, players or something else to share about female players be sure to leave a comment.
Until next time Nurglings, take care.