Apparently cats are offensive now?


The Tentacled One

We are continuously reviewing our card catalogue and finding ways to update the game's language and visual representation with the processes, care, and sensitivity built into modern sets. As such, and to make our game as inclusive and welcoming as possible, we have several changes upcoming.

Coming with the Magic: The Gathering Arena rollout of Khans of Tarkir on December 12, new Rakshasa card art will follow updated creative guidelines, and we are removing "Cat" as a subtype for the creatures below:
  • Rakshasa Deathdealer
  • Rakshasa Debaser
  • Rakshasa Gravecaller
  • Rakshasa Vizier
  • Soulhunter Rakshasa (MTG Arena digital-only card)
  • Mahadi, Emporium Master
You will see this change reflected in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Oracle text updates and in the next Gatherer update. It will also be updated in Magic: The Gathering Online on November 8.

Additionally, we will be making a few terminology changes in upcoming sets. These will include the following:
  • "Umbra armor" will replace "totem armor" as a keyword ability.
  • "Kindred" will replace "tribal" as a card type.
  • "Snake" will replace "Naga" as a subtype.
I honestly don't know whether to be annoyed or fascinated with this stuff. It feels like if I were to try and guess which things WotC would retroactively decide were offensive, I'd fail spectacularly. I knew that they decided "tribal" was a bad word, but this whole rakshasa thing wasn't even on my radar! I assumed that the Tarkir rakshasas were based on D&D rakshasas, so making them cats was a deliberate choice. If they'd wanted them not to be cats, they could have made them not be cats! They could have put rakshasas on some new plane and made those ones dogs. There's no actual rule about any of this!

Apparently it wasn't here at the CPA (or at least I can't find it), but nagas being snakes was definitely something I asked for in the past. Happy for the win on that one, regardless of the reason. Really, the naga thing is the only mechanically relevant change in the whole announcement, other than the cornercase of rakshasas in Cat Tribal decks. So I guess this is a net win? Cool! It just seems so weird.

Also, the phrase "umbra armor" has a very, very different connotation from "totem armor." Like, I just roll my eyes at "kindred" because it's whatever. But an umbra is part of a shadow. Seems like they just picked a random word.