Will There Ever be a Native American-Themed Block?
Posted on Nov. 29, 2016, 9:54 p.m. by DemonDragonJ
WotC has now had a number of planes modeled after real-world cultures in Magic: the Gathering, so I wonder if they shall ever have a plane modeled after the Americas before the Europeans arrived, since there has never before been a native American-themed setting in this game, thus far.
What does everyone else here say about this? Do you believe that there might eventually be a native American-themed block in this game, and would you like to see such a block?
Maybe. It's a neat premise. I would expect to see a block based on the Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs first. Both would be interesting.
November 29, 2016 9:58 p.m.
I would also love this. I agree with OpenFire too; a great set premise would be Central American civilizations.
November 29, 2016 10:14 p.m.
Last time (as far as I know) MaRo asked about this Mesoamerica and Native America scored kind of in the middle of possible new Planes. So I'm guessing it'll probably happen, but probably not soon.
November 29, 2016 10:40 p.m.
It would be a bit of a minefield. Everything from the card names to the card art to the effects on cards would have to be scrutinized so as to avoid accusations of cultural insensitivity and perpetuating stereotypes. I doubt Wizards would be willing to risk controversy when they can just choose another pseudo-European or just plain fantasy setting for their next block and not have to worry about it.
November 30, 2016 1:59 a.m.
GolgariLeprechaun, Kaladesh did fine, did it not? People's focus leans to what the cards do anyways.
November 30, 2016 3:06 a.m.
With the exception of Kaladesh (and, arguably, Arabian Nights) Magic tries to veer away from doing blocks based on living cultures (And really, one of the criticisms of Kaladesh was that it was VERY surface level. Names and skin tones, and elephants, but not really much beyond that that screams India) for a variety of, mostly political, reasons.
It's why we'll see Aztec before Cree; it's why we've done a Greek Gods themed one, but not a Jewish block.
I've been wrong about things before, but this does seem to be Wizards policy.
November 30, 2016 9:34 a.m.
Great idea: yes for both native american and indo-american
Probability: Indo-American more likely than native American. WotC seem to prefer references to 'dead' cultural heritage over live ones, for reasons as stated above. In fact, only Kaladesh and Kamigawa seem to be the only exceptions...and those only brushed the surface of the source religious and cultural aspects. Still, I think there was a reference to ancient Indo-american cultures on Nacatl War-Pride
November 30, 2016 10:02 a.m.
GolgariLeprechaun, did anyone accuse Kamigawa of perpetuating any stereotypes? If not, why would a native American-themed block be any different?
Named_Tawyny, why, exactly, has there been a Greek-themed block but not a Hebrew-themed block, and why is WotC more likely to choose the Aztec over the Cree for a possible native American block? You above post did not explicitly explain that.
November 30, 2016 10:40 a.m.
Really it's just a reference material for naming conventions and some art direction, they still have to write their story in it and shoehorn the Justice League in.
Maybe they'd sample a creature type, or at least try to play one up a bit for relevance.
November 30, 2016 11:15 a.m.
GolgariLeprechaun is right. Look at all the flack the Washington RedSkins got, or the Cleveland Indians.
I'm actually very Native American, and none of these things have ever really bothered me. I've never felt that my culture and ancestry were insulted. As a matter of fact, I do believe that no Native Americans ever spoke out about those sports teams.
But this generation is obsessed with finding things to complain about, or finding another injustice that doesn't exist and/ or has nothing to do with them.
It would only take one SJW to see a Native American theme, and the internet would give WOTC hell about it.
November 30, 2016 11:48 a.m.
BattleDragon Kaladesh did do fine, but it is different for a number of reasons. First off, it is set in India, a region that is not North America (where wizards is based and where it's primary market is) and still controlled by its indigenous peoples, in contrast to North America. Also, there is a lot of racial tension between white people and native people both here in Canada and in many parts of the US. There are 30 million people here who see aboriginal-white relations in much the same way that most Americans look at white-black relations, and easily another 30 million on the other side of the border who are exposed to a similar dynamic, basically in any place with a significant population of Native Americans.
The point being, if WotC made a Native American themed block, it would be put under a microscope for anything that could be remotely considered stereotypical or whatever else various advocacy groups and PC internet trolls could come up with. In the end, there would be a considerable contingent that would manufacture something to be outraged about (no native americans on the design team for example), even if there really wasn't anything to complain about. I suspect they will steer clear of the idea.
DemonDragonJ Not that I am aware of, but I wasn't playing magic at the time Kamigawa was released. I think that block, like Theros, was based more on mythology than anything, and therefore got a pass. Also, that was released 12 years ago. Magic had a lower profile then and people weren't quite so rabid about perceived social injustices at the time. The era of the internet social just warrior had not yet begun. See above for other reasons.
November 30, 2016 12:37 p.m.
Yeah, I live in the Northwest Territories in Canada and I can tell you, racial tensions are high. Anything that can be construed as insensitive will blow up. That being said, the neighbouring community is about to set off their "native only" children's Christmas parties...and in response another community member has found success with their "white kid only" Christmas party...
Basically, the internet is overly sensitive and the internet trolls spread hate like wild fire. It may not be worth the backlash for them when groups start saying ban Hasbro and WotC for their "racism."
November 30, 2016 12:56 p.m.
Native American set prior to colonization = Mirrodin block.
Native American set during, and post-colonization = Scars of Mirrodin/ New Phyrexia.
Mechanics, tribes, and art would need to be changed, but really it is the same result. The Phyrexians have the imperative to compleat other life forms, so that all will be one. The West justified their exploitation of the colonies as a "civilizing mission", converting societies they saw as living in a lower state. In both cases the native culture was repurposed and made to service the dominate one.
November 30, 2016 11:11 p.m.
This may not be the place to mention this, but I was under the impression that most negative stereotypes about native Americans have vanished, or at least severely decreased, in recent years; compare animated movies and television series from the 1930's and 1940's to today's media: while Disney's Pocahontas and Dreamworks' The Road to El Dorado were not completely historically-accurate, thy did an excellent job of showing that there were good and evil among both the Europeans and native Americans, that neither culture was superior to the other, and that both sides were initially prejudiced against the other before learning to overcome those prejudices.
Therefore, is it not perfectly reasonable that WotC could make a native American-themed block that was similarly free of stereotypes and gave a positive portrayal of its culture?
December 2, 2016 12:30 a.m.
I haven't done the research empiracally but I feel like "our" culture is so far up it's own ass (a technical term) that it won't be able to accept a portrayal of a culture that isn't the authors own culture. Pocahontas is an example of people still getting worked up in despite of Disney's efforts to just tell a story. (Note that the above link does not necessarily represent the views of myself or TappedOut, but is provided for information purposes only.)
December 2, 2016 10:35 a.m.
@DemonDragonJ : "Therefore, is it not perfectly reasonable that WotC could make a native American-themed block that was similarly free of stereotypes and gave a positive portrayal of its culture?"
Reasonable? Yes. Accepted by everyone? No.
It's not that WotC can't do it. I'm sure they can because I have a lot confidence in their writing team. I think the biggest concern here is the acceptance from factions of society. We do live in a world where PETA attempted to say that sheering sheep tore skin and tortured the sheep when in actuality it helps them and is a necessity in some cases. So, I think that WotC would just rather avoid dealing with navigating that minefield all together.
December 2, 2016 11:43 a.m.
@DemonDragonJ: The reason why they'd do Greek Mythology but not Jewish, or Mayan but not Cree is because when you do a set based on a historic culture, there's nobody alive to protest. When you do a set about a current culture, there are a lot more landmines to trip over.
December 2, 2016 6:55 p.m.
Named_Tawyny, Greece still exists, so how did modern Greek people perceive Theros? How will modern Egyptians perceive Amonkhet? Why cannot WotC focus on making a good set and telling a good story, and not care what people think of it?
December 3, 2016 1:03 a.m.
Because people buy their products and if their set offends people less of them buy it?
December 3, 2016 1:33 a.m.
MindAblaze, WotC has enough money that if some of their products do not sell well, they shall survive.
December 3, 2016 9:56 a.m.
I don't think that's how businesses work though. They don't usually go in thinking "we can afford for this to flop."
December 3, 2016 11:26 a.m.
I think its less of a problem about money and more of a problem about unwanted controversey and starting a problem that has never really existed before.
December 3, 2016 11:33 a.m.
DemonDragonJ Both Greece and Egypt still exist, but neither ancient Egyptian nor classical Greek cultures still exist. The people that live in both countries today are vastly different in terms of culture, religion and even ethnicity to an extent compared to their predecessors. Your comparison is meaningless.
December 3, 2016 2:29 p.m.
GolgariLeprechaun, many native American tribes that once existed no longer exist, so I fail to see why WotC could not make a block inspired by those tribes.
December 3, 2016 10:37 p.m.
Atlazan is D&D related it looks like, and Wizards has said those are just mock ups and not actual set information.
December 8, 2016 8:08 p.m.
Just in case y'all hadn't seen this thread: Looks like the block after Amonkhet is an Aztec/Atlantis theme.
December 9, 2016 1:13 p.m.
Oh derp ... I totally didn't notice your post jchudz!
December 9, 2016 1:14 p.m.
It may be a minor difference, but WOTC actually said the spoiler image was from a survey "made to test packaging design concepts". They didn't say it wasn't actual set info.
December 9, 2016 1:18 p.m.
It's true. After having read it a few times since I posted that it's definitely ambiguous whether they (un)intentionally spoiled the upcoming set names or not
December 9, 2016 2:50 p.m.
If the Atlazan products are genuine, I am very excited; the idea of combining native American folklore with the myth of Atlantis is a very interesting and unusual combination, but it certainly could work, especially since Kaladesh, which combines Indian culture with steampunk, two elements that are not usually combined, seems to be very popular, thus far.