Mark Rosewater and the Jacetice League

There was a time in Magic: The Gathering history where saying "Jacetice League" would tick a lot of people at Wizards off

From Battle for Zendikar in late 2015 to to the War of the Spark in early 2019, Magic had their own Avengers-like group of Planeswalkers going about known as the Gatewatch. Comprised of planes walkers such as Jace Beleren and Gideon Jura, the team soon led many fans to compare it to the superhero teams of the time often found at the cinema.

Add to the fact that there were some characters in the Gatwatch not exactly liked by fans and that the Gatewatch just continued on for years, many Magic players began souring on the team just a year or so in.

Much like superheroes post-Endgame, there was a Gatewatch fatigue setting in.

And, because the teams was going through similar highs and lows, the Gatewatch soon got a nickname: "The Jacetice League." It really took off, with more and more people not even calling the group the Gatewatch anymore, but the Jacetice League. They even began asking questions to Magic employees using the derivative name rather than the original.

This set many people off.  Chief amongst them was Mark Rosewater, MTG's head designer.

In one Q and A where a fan asked a question referring to the Gatewatch as the Jacetice League, Rosewater said "Please don’t be disrespectful of the story. You might not care but others do."

Others in Magic refused to respond to tweets where the name was mentioned. However, eventually, the creators came out. They said they weren't mad, but that they had worked hard to create it and that "Jacetice League" kind of demeaned all that work.

As Rosewater responded: "Let me give a little context because I agree that it came across harsher than I intended. I get a lot of questions. I read as many as I can and I try to answer as many as I can. You all don’t see what I don’t answer, only what I do. Yesterday, I got a bunch of mean spirited questions about the story all clumped together. I work closely with the creative team and I know how hard they work to create the story.

"So I took the most benign question, because I didn’t want to publish the meaner ones, and posted my single response to the clump of questions. As you guys only saw the most benign question, I agree that my response felt a bit disconnected.

"Here’s my issue. I have no problem with criticism. I have no problem with people not liking something. All I ask on my blog (note not the Internet, just on my blog) is for people to be polite (I would like people to be polite across the Internet, but that is beyond my control). If you honestly dislike something, including any aspect of the story, I don’t mind you saying so, but please do it in a way that isn’t demeaning of the work.

"For example," he continued, "if you are referring to the Gatewatch, please call them the Gatewatch. If you’re referring to a character or mechanic or place, please use the actual name."

"There is a way to address serious feedback that does not require people to trash the things they are asking about. The people that make Magic work really hard to create something awesome for you all to enjoy, so I’m simply asking (once again here on my blog) for you to do so with some civility.

"We’re not perfect. We’ll make mistakes or choices you disagree with. I want to hear those disagreements. I want to hear how you believe we can improve and do better but I do not want you needlessly insulting my coworkers and their work."

Those responses went a long way, but even to this day, just as many people use Jacetice League to refer to this time rather than Gatewatch.

The Magic team really hasn't commented this in recent years, but, as tragedy plus time equals comedy, we might see a card itself saying "Jacetice League", most likely in the "Un" series, sometime in the future (should Un-sets be a thing ever again).


Evan Symon

Evan Symon is a graduate of The University of Akron and has been a working journalist ever since with works published by Cracked, GeekNifty, the Pasadena Independent, California Globe, and, of course, Magic Untapped.