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Monday, 31 January 2022 21:43

A look at Crusade: Recently one of Magic's more tumultuous cards

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A look at Crusade: Recently one of Magic's more tumultuous cards WOTC/D, ALEXANDER GREGORY

Every so often Magic does something where cards or artwork need to be changed. Many times it can be chalked up to cultural differences. Like when some artwork included skeletons back in the day, the Chinese versions made hem into the undead to get around local belief and superstition. Other times it can even be religious, like with how Unholy Strength included a pentagram and had to be changed.

Of course those aren't the only examples, and sometimes it can be both. One of the oddest examples in Magic history was actually a card simply known as Crusade.

A rare two white mana card that boosts up all white colored card +1/1, it provided a quick kick to many decks from Alpha on But, well, let us take a look at the art work.

Notice anything, like, the crosses? Well, while Magic doesn't shy away from religious iconography, the crosses on the knights caused some people get to be a little skittish. Like with the original artwork for Unholy Strength, there were some write-ins over it. So, like before, Wizards of the Coast listened, and by the time reprints came up, all-new artwork had come out. While it still had a crusader-like scene, the crosses were replaced by banners. Plus there was the silhouette of an airborne angelic warrior now! Problem solved right?


More or less. Besides, there was yet another card art for the it that came out as recently as 2010 within the supplemental product Duel Decks: Elspeth vs Tezzeret.

In 2020, however, the world was becoming a different place. After calls for more racial justice following the George Floyd protests, WotC took some time to reevaluate some of their older cards to see how racially sensitive some of them were. Most held up. A few did not. Alongside cards like Jihad and Invoke Prejudice was one Crusade. Whereas in the 90s it was a simple display of religious symbols, it was ultimately a callback to the violent clashes over the perceived holy lands between Muslims and Christians that occurred well over half a Millenia ago. Crusade simply had to go (though, ironically, cards with the word crusade in the name with examples Tivadar's Crusade and Cathar's Crusade, were deemed to be just fine).

WotC itself doesn't even show the image officially anymore on Gatherer, Magic's official online card database.  Many retailers also stopped selling the card.

It's not often that a card goes through the wringer like this, but the world changes over time and sometimes things that were acceptable in the past no longer are so, as well as the other way around.

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