With Witch a non-starter as a type, will Druid and Shaman soon be on the chopping block at Wizards of the Coast?
MTG has long taken inspiration from real-world sources for its lore and design, from history to myth. But, according to recent blog posts by MTG’s lead designer Mark Rosewater, the game may be moving away from some of its long-standing creature types in the future.
A recent discussion on Rosewater’s blog around declining to use Witch as a creature type has revealed that WOTC is potentially looking into retiring some of its older creature types like Druid and Shaman.
MTG Creature types explained
Magic: The Gathering’s creature types draw from a wide variety of inspirations, and are intended as a general category that can fit similar creatures seen across multiple worlds. For example, there may be small creatures on one world with a wholly different culture and design to those on another, but both groups fit into the category of ‘Halfling.’
While many of these creature types use existing terminology from fiction, some utilize terms with real-world associations. As recently discussed on Rosewater’s blog, ‘Druid’ and ‘Shaman’ are the most relevant here.
The topic arose when Rosewater responded to a comment asking why ‘Witch’ has been excluded from MTG because of its real-world religious association, if ‘Shaman’ and ‘Druid’ exist as creature types. Rosewater responded ‘We are currently examining that exact topic.’ Expanding in a later reply, he confirmed that the MTG team was considering phasing out the use of Druid and Shaman.
While the term sees regular use in MTG, Druid has arguably become synonymous with DND of late. Some of the most prevalent pop-culture representations of the game – like Critical Role, Honor among Thieves, and Baldur’s Gate 3 – foreground the class. If Wizards are looking into distancing themselves from Druid in future releases, it would be strange to only do so in MTG.
It may be that, while the topic of Druid has been brought up within Wizards, changes remain unnecessary overall. When responding to a subsequent posting asking for Druids not to be phased out, Rosewater responded ‘Druid is far less of an issue than Shaman.’ This gives some indication that, while Wizards may be looking to make some changes for the sake of cultural sensitivity, those changes will likely not all be going into effect at once, if at all.
Wizards has already been reckoning with and revisiting some of its long-standing language use recently, with MTG’s Tribal being internally redefined as Typal. Time will tell if these changes will begin to be felt across the board and if Wizards will bite the bullet and begin to rebrand one of its most iconic archetypes.
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