Spacegodzilla: Magic's biggest "oopsie" of 2020

The before (left) and after (right) of the amended Spacegodzilla card from Ikoria. (WOTC)

How the COVID-19 pandemic caused Wizards of the Coast to change one of Ikoria's Godzilla cards.

Wizards of the Coast has had a pretty good track-record of nipping anything problematic in the bud rather than let it fester and become a bigger problem than it should be. After all, Magic cards have been changed in the past due to cultural views and even earlier in 2020 due to a worldwide reexamination of race relations. However, every once in a while one seems to get through the cracks. Or in this year's case, was up for release a bit too far into the printing schedule and came out anyway.

Back in April, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths was introduced as the latest expansion, with the theme being based heavily off of Japanese-kaiju such as Godzilla, Rodan, and Mothra. Basically, it was all big monsters. A special Godzilla run was even printed, with several special Godzilla cards coming out during the spring. While many had fun names and were heavily influenced by the movies, one such card didn't go unnoticed because of it's name. Okay, so it came out in April 2020 - can you guess what worldwide phenomenon was happening at the time (let alone still happening)? Well, if you take one look at this card, you'll probably see what the issue was.

Yup, when COVID-19 (a.k.a. Coronavirus) was becoming a huge deal, WotC released a Magic card called the Spacegodzilla, Death Corona. As you may guess, or might have been part of, the name wasn't exactly popular among fans. Wizards was soon inundated with criticism over the name, despite being created well before COVID-19 was a big thing. WotC had to give a special press release about it. While they noted that the Corona beam was Spacegodzilla's traditional weapon, they also immediately fessed up to not stopping it in time. And they made changes. Fast.

"First, all reprints of Ikoria will remove this card," noted the release. "Second, we'll be renaming the card on Magic: The Gathering - Arena to Spacegodzilla, Void Invader. Finally, Magic Online, which will be offering the special Godzilla Series Monster versions of cards only in Treasure Chests, will not distribute this card.  Note that this is a special version of the card Void Beckoner, which will not be affected by any changes."

While it was a surprising gaffe, WotC made the correct changes quickly so that only the initial batch went out.

It was undeniably a cool card, especially the artwork of a really angry Godzilla. It was just cursed with having the worst possible name during the worst possible time already being shipped out worldwide when COVID-19 became a huge worldwide issue.

Despite the issue, at least it wasn't as bad a mistake as Magic: The Gathering's Secret Lair drop that featured characters from AMC's The Walking Dead.

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.