The Walk of Women: Planeswalkers and Representation

Next year, planeswalker cards will have been around for the majority of Magic's existence. They shape the game in many ways: story protagonists, crowd-pleasers, marketing tools, merchandising icons, meta warpers. 55 such characters have been created, of whom 25 present as female. Let's meet these influential ladies.

Magic: The Gathering has a bit of a checkered past where the depiction of women on the cards and related artwork is concerned. During the early years, a few faux pas have been committed, but it would be hard to argue, for instance, that the late Quinton Hoover intended to uphold a chauvinist agenda when he created the art for Earthbind. For comparison, consider this is the same company that gave an open white supremacist the go-ahead to express himself on a card called Invoke Prejudice, with unsurprising and still disturbing results.

Nonetheless, there was room for improvement on the topic of proper representation, so the Magic creative team actively worked to keep pace with the progress of the collective awareness, particularly during the last decade. This trend is easily detected in the increased sensitivity the portrayal of female planeswalkers has received throughout the years. It's not just a matter of outward appearance. We must question whether these characters have offered women the same treatment reserved to planeswalkers of other genders (29 male, one nonbinary). It's about embodying power, as a planeswalker inevitably does, without necessarily being also aesthetically pleasing if not outright sexually appealing.

planeswalker pantheon
Brad Rigney's 2011 Planeswalker Pantheon is out-of-date in several regards, but still covers the full range of sexualization, from fully clothed Elspeth to suggestive Chandra to scantily clad Kiora and Liliana

Let's review all the planeswalking ladies, human or otherwise, in chronological order of their first introduction in card form.

1. Chandra

Chandra, Novice Pyromancer art

Chandra is arguably the most successful, most beloved planeswalker Wizards of the Coast ever designed, as well as the one with the greatest number of different avatars to her name: in average, we've gotten a new Chandra each year, more than any other planeswalker of any gender. She's followed by Ajani with twelve incarnations and Jace with eleven. Her genesis is simple: she's meant to personify red mana, so she's reckless, passionate, destructive … and a ginger. Her full name, Chandra Nalaar, always sounded South Asian, but it took eight years to establish she's actually from an India-inspired plane, Kaladesh, except she's a genetic anomaly that makes her look like a Caucasian with red hair and freckles, which is undeniably preposterous.

Chandra's evolution comprised the cumulative expansion of this initial "fiery redhead" archetype, mostly leveraging her young age to turn her more into a funny, endearing, occasionally clumsy firebrand who has the biggest heart of all and the best of intentions, but most often than not ends up making a mess of things — in short, Magic's closest thing to the anime version of a tomboyish character. Over time, this rebellious monk and former orphan saw a conspicuous change in her general aspect, marked by the almost comical fact that she started wearing pants. Her previous signature look fell indeed squarely on the titillating side, with eye-catching long boots surmounted by just a piece of fluttering cloth draped around her waist that left her thighs exposed.

By all means, modern Chandra can still make "hot" jokes about herself, but at least her attire now feels less like it belongs to a superheroine pinup: contrast, for instance, Magic 2013's Chandra, the Firebrand and Flames of the Firebrand to Kaladesh's Chandra, Torch of Defiance or Dominaria's Fiery Intervention. The eventual official confirmation of her bisexuality, in the wake of the whole Forsaken novel debacle, is also a welcome progressive stance Chandra gets to exemplify, if maybe a little too mildly.

2. Liliana

Liliana, Death's Majesty art

If early Chandra felt somewhat objectified, the only other woman in the original batch of planeswalkers had "overly sexual" as a large part of her constituent nature. Now, the femme fatale is a perfectly legitimate trope, and it's undeniable that the artists and designers (especially Steve Argyle) had fun with this side of Liliana. She's a nearly immortal, extremely dangerous necromancer of enormous power who's also a wily seductress and uses her sex appeal as a weapon, making all susceptible people deeply uncomfortable.

It's, however, an element that risked to backfire in the long term, and had the added issue of her romantic pairing with Jace, the emo kid who could easily be taken as an insert for the more stereotypical audience to identify with. The quiet nerd being constantly intimidated and often betrayed by a tremendously attractive, overly confident older woman? Yeah, problematic.

But good news, they fixed it! Liliana remains the most likely to turn heads whenever she walks into a room, but her relationship with Jace has been downplayed, and she's not showing as much skin as she did in her Liliana of the Dark Realms and Liliana of the Veil days. The focus has now shifted to her elegance and pose, as she still looks fabulous in her Liliana, Death's Majesty attire without dressing like an exotic dancer — give or take the occasional Liliana, Untouched by Death midriff-baring relapse. Such would make it difficult for her to convey the emotional depth and ethic struggles we saw on display in the War of the Spark trailer.

At the onset of the Bolas Arc, in the first scene of a story, Homesick, that marks the very beginning of contemporary Magic lore, the new Liliana meets the new Chandra, and their more defined qualities are perfectly exhibited: the flawless, unflappable necromancer amused while soft-mentoring the messy, awkward firemage who's still sleepy after spending a night out at the Izzet races. Chandra is clearly the more relatable here, but both personify different notions of personal freedom. The mordant Liliana becomes an inspirational model of self-assurance and independence, with some moral quandaries to make it all the more complex.

3. Elspeth

Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Guilds of Ravnica Mythic Edition art

Elspeth is perhaps the most image-positive of all the early women planeswalkers, since she's never been sexualized in the slightest: she's a knight, hence she dresses as a knight and acts as a knight, nothing less, nothing more. Granted, she's still very pretty, resembling more some kind of warrior princess (except, not Xena) than she does Joan of Arc or Brienne of Tarth.

Then again, her major flaw might just be that she's kind of boring. She's very white, in all possible senses; a heroes' hero, steadfast, uncompromising, she relentlessly fights for her cause, then gets betrayed by her god, dies a honorable death and, after seven years in limbo, comes back, with only a few nightmares and the regretful memory of one star-crossed lover (Daxos) as a reward. She's a tragic figure, but not a very compelling one.

In some of the depictions from after she conquered death, they appear to be trying to downplay her attractiveness — see for example her Elspeth, Undaunted Hero portrait — though mostly to no avail. They also seem to be going for a more Mediterranean look, despite Elspeth not actually being a Greek-flavored Therosian.

4. Nissa

Nissa, Who Shakes the World art

Nissa's career had a rough start. Introduced with a truly forgettable card during our first visit to her home plane of Zendikar, the green-eyed elf was initially more of an unpleasant racial supremacist than a soulful animist. It took some drastic reworking of her character to arrive at her current personality: the introverted "leyline whisperer," plagued with extreme social anxiety, who prefers the company of her plants and elemental friends, while at the same time craving for meaningful connections with her peers.

Something she had finally found in her polar opposite Chandra, whose energetic demeanor and unrestrained feelings never fail to fascinate Nissa. The two formed a profound tie, especially after they soul-bonded during their Channel/Fireball moment at the culmination of the Battle for Zendikar saga. This long-simmering love story quickly became a fan favorite, offering a chance at representing homosexuality in a big, positive way, with two major members of the Gatewatch navigating their shared romantic and sexual attraction.

Too bad Forsaken author Greg Weisman and the powers that be ultimately determined the Gruulfriends had to be broken up, reinforcing negative stereotypes that maintain that same-sex relationships are inevitably doomed to tragedy; a move that, conspiracy theories aside, sadly betrays an awfully myopic attitude from everyone in charge of the decision.

This unfortunate episode notwithstanding, Nissa does a good job at representing the more pensive and inward-looking aspects of femininity, apparently shy but rich with an inner, hidden power that might well be the greatest of all, as Nissa is able to speak with the planes themselves, tapping into whole planetary resources and rousing the very land into battle. We shouldn't forget the unfathomable Emrakul (who in turn chooses to present as female) singled Nissa out among the Gatewatchers, and urged her to become "the hand that moves" — a narrative loose end still in wait of a follow-up. Is there a heel turn of some sort in the future of our broken-hearted elementalist?

As for her physical portrayal, despite the initial mishap where her outfit was deemed too revealing for the Duels of the Planeswalkers game, Nissa routinely keeps all her clothes on, looking stylish yet practical. However, the cleavage remained a focus point in her depictions, possibly suggesting a maternal image.

Here are a couple of often overlooked facts about Nissa: she's supposed to be exceptionally beautiful, even for elvish standards: both the aesthetic-obsessed elves of Lorwyn and the hedonist Aetherborn of Kaladesh agree on that. So we're once again dealing with the "women must be pretty" axiom, but at least in Nissa's case it's kind of a plot point. On the other hand, she's the only original member of the Gatewatch aside from Gideon who's adept at hand-to-hand combat.

5. Tamiyo

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage art

When Tamiyo debuted at the end of the first Innistrad block, 28 other planeswalker cards had been printed, but only eight of them were women. Tamiyo immediately felt new. Her style was different, her ethnicity the first case of a non-Caucasian woman being represented as planeswalker; I know Nissa is an elf, but that just means she's a white girl with weird ears. Beyond the trappings of the Moonfolk race — fun fact: the Soratami are based on the Japanese "rabbit in the moon" folklore, so those things dangling from the side of Tamiyo's head are actually bunny ears! — here's a pale Japanese woman wielding the power of knowledge and storytelling. A scientist and researcher, Tamiyo is the ultimate nerd. Who doesn't smile hearing her cry "To the library!" on MTG Arena?

She's a mom, with a beloved husband who patiently waits for her to return home from her transplanar travels, and a ton of children — there might be a rabbit joke here. Also, she has her own multiverse-spanning book club, called the Story Circle, which she uses to exchange stories and information with other planeswalkers. Members include Ajani, Elspeth, and Narset. Yes, Tamiyo is all kinds of amazing.

6. Vraska

Vraska, Golgari Queen art

At first sight, Vraska might look like the first true departure from human-like aesthetic conventions in female planeswalkers — note that their male counterparts already count at this stage a bipedal lion, a dragon, a golem, and a devil. Nissa has donkey ears while Tamiyo has rabbit ears and a pallid complexion, but Vraska is a green-skinned gorgon with tentacles for hair, which marks a whole other level. Of course she's female, so this doesn't prevent objectification. It shouldn't come as a surprise, considering Vraska bears some resemblance with a Twi'lek from the Star Wars universe, a crucial precedent for tentacle-haired women being heavily sexualized.

This doesn't work against Vraska, though. In fact, regardless of the intentions, it ends up being sort of empowering in a way. Vraska doesn't conform to any predetermined idea of female beauty. She's an outcast, a freedom fighter, a respected pirate captain (during her stay on Ixalan). And she leads the Golgari now, which might be Magic's most blatant metaphor for the revenge of the oppressed and pariahs. Vraska has a strong sense of community and attachment to her people (she's part green, after all), while being a ruthless killer with great ambitions (she's part black, after all).

She's also Jace's latest lover. So the character whom the target audience allegedly sees themselves in went from the very conventionally attractive Liliana to the sexy-monstrous Vraska? That doesn't sound like a bad thing. Regardless, Vraska is a great creation mostly because nothing she does or stands for required her to be any specific gender, which is the true measure of equality.

7. Kiora

Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner art
  • First introduced: Born of the Gods, February 2014
  • Number of incarnations: three
  • Popular incarnations: Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner

Here's another technically nonhuman girl who doesn't take much to see her physical idiosyncrasies filtered out so her underlying sexiness can surface. There's an issue at the source here: being a merfolk, Kiora is constantly in a skimpy bathing suit, which is by far the most revealing outfit any of the planeswalkers routinely wears. It's not even entirely justified by her aquatic nature, since there are merfolk who wear clothes — look at Jadelight Ranger and her comfy overalls! — and others who look like actual fish people — Sygg, River Cutthroat, Wanderwine Prophets, Tatyova, Benthic Druid — rather than beauty queens out of an Esther Williams movie. Sure, Kiora is blue-skinned and has gills; but does it really matter?

I don't mean this to sound like an indictment of Kiora. The fact that her body is pretty much constantly exposed, or even the questionable quality of her cards so far, are more than outweighed by her being so damn entertaining. Kiora's personality is not what you'd expect. She's not the concerned environmentalist who communes with the oceans. She does deeply love her sea monsters, and she does feel the call of nature. But otherwise, Kiora is not your regular Simic kid — she's just crazy.

In one of her best stories from the Battle for Zendikar cycle, she storms into the situation room where Gideon et al. are strategizing and essentially shouts, "Y'all talk too much! I've defied gods! I'll show these big dorks the power of the sea!" Then she storms out and proceeds to mount a completely disastrous assault against Ulamog. Her greatest accomplishment, immortalized on Kiora Bests the Sea God, is a combination of thievery and blasphemy. She's basically this close to being black-red.

And the voice actress on MTG Arena making her sound like a self-absorbed mean girl from Neptune is just the icing on her briny cake. Everybody would love Kiora even if she looked like Thassa's Oracle.

8. Freyalise

Nissa, Vital Force 2018 Comic-Con art

Supplemental products have started to call back to events and people from older stories. Freyalise, a half-elf planeswalker who used to be one of Urza's Nine Titans (sort of a precursor to the Gatewatch, but with more giant mechas) was one of the first attempts at giving one-shot cards to a deceased character, as she met her demise during the Time Spiral storyline. The problem in translating oldwalkers into cards is that they'll never feel right, as their powers used to be immense. The Mending was engineered precisely to allow for planeswalkers to have workable avatars in the game.

Freyalise, Llanowar Fury is an okay card in general, but deeply disappointing if we consider that the same template was improved upon by Vivien Reid a few years later. Appearance-wise, the green-clad planeswalker just resembles a less attractive Nissa with an eye patch. The link between the two, which includes the xenophobic stance of both Freyalise and Nissa's first iteration, is brought to light by the 2018 Comic Con version of Nissa, Vital Force (see above). On one hand, the missing eye makes her more fierce and de-emphasizes stereotypes about the beauty of elves. On the other hand, it just looks out of place, poorly integrated in a coherent ensemble, like a drunken cosplayer who got her elf and pirate costumes mixed up.

9. Nahiri

Nahiri the Harbinger art

For several years, we had known there was a third planeswalker who assisted Sorin and Ugin in sealing the Eldrazi on Zendikar the first time around, but their identity was unknown. Commander 2014 answered that open question by giving this Kor lady the title of Lithomancer. Later, she would join the current storyline, mostly by violently feuding with her old vampiric pal.

Nahiri is an intriguing character with a ton of unfulfilled potential. The decision to make her go off into a vicious rage against Sorin, which ended up causing massive collateral damage, deprived us of the chance to see her interact with the other planeswalkers involved in the War of the Spark, and almost turned Nahiri into a villain. Which bears some degree of interest, but didn't feel particularly well-developed, given that she wasn't pursuing some elaborate agenda, she was just being unreasonable and vindictive.

Visually, the Kor's pseudo-albino skin and features — contrasted with her picaresque dark leather pants and top — as well as the assured way she carries herself result in a more striking than pretty appearance. We absolutely need to see more of Nahiri.

10. Narset

Narset, Enlightened Master art
  • First introduced: Dragons of Tarkir, March 2015 (as a creature: Khans of Tarkir, September 2014)
  • Number of incarnations: two
  • Popular incarnations: Narset, Parter of Veils

If Tamiyo's ethnicity is complicated by her being a Moonfolk, Narset is bona fide Chinese, from a block that had a clear Central Asian flavor. So she could be claimed as the first woman planeswalker that unambiguously represents a real-world ethnic group different from Caucasian. She's a bit clichéd about it, going strong with the classic trope of the martial artist, but she also feels like she came right out of a wuxia film, and that's a winning reference that justifies the formulaic approach as well as the movie-star good looks.

Narset also brings another representation to the game, since she's described as being on the autism spectrum, and that's Magic nicely acknowledging neuroatypical people through a major character.

11. Arlinn

Arlinn Kord art

Ten years it took, but we've finally got there: a female planeswalker who doesn't look like she's in her twenties! She doesn't look actually old either — we'll need to wait a couple more sets for that — but it's an important step nonetheless. That's pretty much everything there is to say about this werewolf lady, but at least it's a good thing.

12. Kaya

Kaya, Ghost Assassin art
  • First introduced: Conspiracy: Take the Crown, August 2016
  • Number of incarnations: three (or four if we count the Mystery Booster Kaya)
  • Popular incarnations: Kaya, Ghost Assassin, Kaya, Orzhov Usurper

After checking the non-Caucasian, neurodivergent, and anti-ageist boxes, Kaya marks the first female planeswalker of black ethnicity. She debuted a bit on the sly in a supplemental product, but later was able to take center stage. She gained control of the Orzhov Syndicate, distinguished herself during the War of the Spark, and even joined the Gatewatch, all while lending her name to some very prominent cards like Kaya's Wrath and Oath of Kaya.

Also, she's likely the most lethal assassin in the whole multiverse — give or take a Massacre Girl — and she's capable of being effortlessly cool without having to dress provocatively. Plus her oath was just the best: "So everyone gets what they truly deserve." If only.

13. Saheeli


Meet our first South Asian planeswalker, the wonderful Saheeli. Please note how we're getting close to the present date, and yet we're still only halfway through our list of 25 walkers, meaning Wizards of the Coast's attitude has undergone more and more changes in the past few years. Admittely, the end of the block paradigm means we visit more different worlds per year, granting more opportunities for debuting new planeswalkers.

With Saheeli, a colorful, friendly inventor of exquisitely crafted gadgets, we also see a woman who is closer to what real girls look like as opposed to fashion magazine icons, with a more natural body shape than most of her predecessors. I mean, she could still be in movies, but she's not modeled after Aishwarya Rai. Bonus points: all her card incarnations are great, and so very combolicious!

14. Samut

Samut, Voice of Dissent art

By this point, it almost seems like Wizards of the Coast was just going through a list of missing ethnicities, something I'm not opposed to. Diversity in a game is not just socially relevant, it's a way to actively fight monotony. Samut comes from the Egyptian-inspired world of Amonkhet, and she looks properly African, as well as an accomplished athlete and ardent warrior. She opposed Bolas and saved Hazoret. Anybody said "role model"?

15. Huatli

Huatli, Dinosaur Knight art

New setting, new planeswalker; this time it was the moment to get Mesoamerican with the dinosaur trainer Huatli, who's also a poet and a singer — she sang a poem to Gideon's funeral! The design followed Samut's example, trying to convey her specific ethnicity in the most genuine way, and focusing on those elements more apt to get across her role, culture, and mindset, without trying to doll her up in the least.

16. Jaya

Jaya Ballard Ravnica Allegiance Mythic Edition art

We know what Jaya Ballard, Task Mage looked like when she was younger and her spark had not ignited yet. She looked like a stunning, leather-clad badass. Sixty years later, her hair is white and her face is wrinkled, but she's still a badass — even just when posing as Mother Luti and teaching Chandra the way of the pyromancers.

The existence of two planeswalker cards depicting Jaya as a senior citizen might represent the most significant development we commented upon so far, because, yes, older women do exist and they're as much of a valid choice for a hero as any other woman on this entire list.

17. Rowan

Huddle Up art

Weirdly enough, we've first met Rowan and her twin brother Will, with whom she uniquely shares her planeswalker spark, at a later time in their life, when they were competing in the arena of Kylem, showing off their complementary powers and considerable fashion sense: they could give some tips to Chandra and Jace. What we were going to find out about younger Rowan in Throne of Eldraine — she's a princess, she's impetuous, she sometimes wears a red riding hood for no particular reason — didn't color too much our initial perception of the wonder twins: they're impossibly pretty, kind of Aryan-looking stunners. Also, they speak in a Scottish accent.

So Rowan is no step forward, but being prettified is different than being objectified. The latter can be truly problematic, while the former speaks more of promoting unrealistic standards of physical beauty versus an image the average audience member can more easily identify with. Then again, these are supposed to be superhuman beings, not the boy and girl next door. It's a balancing act for sure. And after what the creative team showed to be willing to do to endorse representation with the six or seven prior entries, I'd say they earned the right to have themselves a Rowan once in a while, more so when inextricably paired with her male and equally gorgeous counterpart.

18. Yanling

Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer art
  • First introduced: Global Series: Jiang Yanggu and Mu Yanling, June 2018
  • Number of incarnations: three
  • Popular incarnations: Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer

The same considerations made for Rowan apply to Yanling too. However, she's a whole different ethnicity, in that she's a Chinese planeswalker based on Chinese folklore and first appeared in a special set aimed exclusively at the Chinese market. She was subsequently moved to the main storyline, missing War of the Spark but taking from Jace the coveted spot of the blue representative in Core Set 2020. Plus, her looks are particularly ethereal, evoking tales of some dazzling goddess of the wind. Sometimes, beauty may become its own narrative.

19. Vivien

Vivien Reid art

Vivien was seemingly introduced as the new face of green in Core Set 2019, but then Nissa came back into the Gatewatch, and Garruk got rid of the curse that prevented him from being monogreen, so the role is currently contended, or perhaps will be shared. As a character, Vivien feels a bit derivative, in that she's adverse to urban settings like Nissa, a survivalist hunter like Garruk, and her first incarnation seemed like a replica of Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury.

She also has some elements in her favor: she's a person of color, she's more assertive than Nissa yet more graceful than Garruk, and the whole business with her Arkbow shooting spiritual clones of the animals from her destroyed native plane is quite unique. The upcoming Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is going to feature more of this intense archer; in the meantime, all of her incarnations from regular sets have been pretty strong.

20. Aminatou

Aminatou, the Fateshifter art

Here's something new: a little girl planeswalker. We know very little about her. She seems to be from some kind of African setting, and supremely powerful, as she can manipulate the matrix of fate. I, for one, would have loved for the Bolas Arc to just end with Aminatou willing Bolas out of existence while stomping her foot and shouting, "You're a bad, bad dwagon!"

21. Estrid

Estrid, the Masked art
  • First introduced: Commander 2018, August 2018
  • Number of incarnations: one
  • Popular incarnations: Estrid, the Masked

Another Commander 2018 experiment with not much to note. Estrid is an enchantress specialized in masks, which she collects and imbues with the skills of various people and creatures, in a way slightly reminiscent of the Faceless Men from Game of Thrones. Her shaved head makes for a novel, unconventional look.

22. Kasmina

Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor art

Amidst the mass of returning faces, War of the Spark also introduced four new planeswalkers, half of which were women — a much better ratio than it used to be back when Elspeth was first introduced alongside four men. We don't know much about Kasmina, except that she's a teacher, and her magic is all about transformation and control. She's fairly young and good-looking, both traits that don't seem to serve any purpose if the goal was for her to be a mentor. Maybe it's the enigmatic part.

23. The Wanderer

The Wanderer art
  • First introduced: War of the Spark, April 2019
  • Number of incarnations: one
  • Popular incarnations: The Wanderer

Same as Kasmina, but in this case the mystery is a fundamental component of the character's description, seeing as we don't even know her real identity. Before Theros Beyond Death came out, people even thought she might have been a returned Elspeth. What we do know is that she's a formidable swordmaster, and she keeps jumping to random planes if she doesn't actively make an effort to prevent it, hence her nickname. We don't see her face — she might have been disfigured, possibly at the hand of Tezzeret — but we do see her legs, which makes for a curious sexualization conundrum. I guess not all skilled warriors wear pants; Gideon, for one, didn't always do.

24. Serra

Serra the Benevolent art
  • First introduced: Modern Horizons, June 2019
  • Number of incarnations: one
  • Popular incarnations: Serra the Benevolent

The name of Serra is one of the most familiar in the game, attached as it is to a number of popular cards from Serra Angel onward. She was an influential planeswalker from the old era — she died 800 years before current events — powerful to the point that she was mistaken for a goddess. Like, she created an entire plane. That kind of powerful. Giving +1/+1 to flyers doesn't really feel on the same level.

25. Wrenn

Wrenn and Six art
  • First introduced: Modern Horizons, June 2019
  • Number of incarnations: one
  • Popular incarnations: Wrenn and Six

One of the most notorious low-cost planeswalkers in recent memory managed to get herself banned in Legacy. Wrenn embodies a fantastically fascinating concept, a Dryad planeswalker who takes her expendable treefolk symbionts along for the ride — and she just numbers them, so maybe her next incarnation will be called Wrenn and Seven? I'm certainly up for seeing more of this strange gal; preferably with a safer converted mana cost.

In conclusion, the quantity of female planeswalkers has definitely increased in the last few years. Since Kaladesh, their number has more than doubled. And the quality of their portrayal has seen a much needed update, spanning different ethnicities, age groups, and body shapes.

On the other hand, we still lack a counterpart to someone like Angrath. That kind of character, whose body is either biologically incompatible or utterly unappealing to the (still mainly perceived as male) audience, does not transcend the gender barrier yet. Where the male planeswalker pantheon includes minotaurs, dragons, goblins, and anthropomorphic lions (which might be attractive to a specific segment, but aren't generically considered so), the female nonhuman planeswalkers take the form of Vraska and Kiora, whose physical divergences aren't enough to become off-putting. It seems to be a planeswalker issue specifically, because in the realm of creatures we have females of all sizes and shapes, from goblin matrons to elder dragons, from deep-dwelling krakens to Eldrazi titans. Gender should just be a random factor in these cases, not an obstacle.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.


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RonePro(16.03.2020 12:05)

Amazing article Gianluca, thank you so much for all the effort and research you did for this one.


DarkCornflake(08.03.2020 23:31)

Ugh! Here we go again!

Jooster(12.03.2020 09:35)

DarkCornflake ... With what?

Ungroschaton(08.03.2020 20:13)

I don't see the problem with sexualizing some characters, as long as it's not all of them. Occasionally using a suggestive look for a character is part of the diversity WotC strives for. No need to be puritan to be progressive.

Miinalaiva(08.03.2020 11:50)


No need to wonder, because the answer is obvoius: we won´t. Both WotC, and Mark Rosewater in his blog, have made it blatantly clear. In War of the spark, all the named planeswalkers who died were male and in his blog, Maro defended sexualised art of male planeswalkers essentially with "we live in a society". Https://markrosewater. Tumblr. Com/post/188937859158/mark-why-is-a-super-sexy-male-fae-with-ripped-abs

Vizzerdix(08.03.2020 12:09)

Miinalaiva f you "qoute" somebody, you should qoute them correctly:

"We live in a world of imbalance, so keeping things “equal” in this circumstance only maintains that imbalance. The key to real change is recognizing those imbalances and adjusting accordingly."

TobiHenke(08.03.2020 15:52)

Miinalaiva - To be fair, "all the named planeswalkers who died" means Domri, Dack, and Gideon, so three. It isn't as if a whole bunch died. Meanwhile, two of the planeswalkers on this very list here were killed off even earlier. The genders aren't even balanced now, and the imbalance was much greater before War of the Spark.

Same for Oko, who makes one sexy male planeswalker, compared to a still much larger number on the other side. If you complain about that, you're inadvertently making Rosewater's point.

Miinalaiva(08.03.2020 17:24)

Vizzerdix I never claimed to quote Maro directly and i even said that what he says is "we live in a society", because that is what he essentially says, just with so many words

TobiHenke I never made any claims about the gender imbalance, I solely pointed out the fact that only male planeswalkers died and the that Wotc will continue continue to phase them out.

If you claim that Oko is the only male planeswalker presented in sexualised manner, then I have to assume you are making a argument in bad faith. Also, my argument was never about the amount of which gender has the most sexualised art made of them, but my argument was to point out the emptiness of Maro´s argument. I also don´t belive in this idea of making more sexualised images of male planswalkers somehow counteracts all the sexualised images of female planeswalkers. Two wrongs dont make a right.

Ungroschaton(08.03.2020 20:17)

Maro is advocating for discrimination as a means to fight discrimination, an "imbalance" to compensate for another "imbalance". He's entitled to his position, but I don't think most will agree (and that's ok too).

TobiHenke(09.03.2020 08:59)

Miinalaiva - You "just pointed out facts" and so did I. I was merely saying that *if* someone were to complain about the gender imbalance in 2019 (for example, more planeswalking women than men added to the game, one sexy male planeswalkers in skimpy clothing compared to just one new Kiora) that that'd be quite ridiculous. After all, on all of these axes, women characters have been disadvantaged in every year prior to 2019, and they're still disadvantaged in overall running totals now.

Platte7(08.03.2020 11:19)

I wonder if we will get a run through of all the male planeswalkers on international men's day.

MStahl(08.03.2020 14:01)

Isn't that... Every day?

Kratos219(08.03.2020 15:47)

MStahl No it isnt every day...

Meeshmarket(09.03.2020 12:50)

MStahl November 19th