I Had To Notice Magic’s Crotch Flaps, And Now So Do You

If you've been online for long enough, you may have run into the concept of an ‘infohazard’, or information so heinous that simply knowing about it can be dangerous. While traditionally it's been attributed to things like how to make a nuclear bomb, Roko's Basilisk, or the McCollough Effect, there is another one lurking, sitting in relative obscurity for years.

Once you know it, your enjoyment of Magic The Gathering may warp and corrupt. You may no longer be able to look at each new set release without thinking ‘well, there it is’. Once you see it, you can never go back to the person you were before: Wizards of the Coast has been denying us Planeswalker Bussy for years.

Looking through every Planeswalker card ever printed, there is a definite tendency for Wizards to hide the goods with an obtrusive tabard or loincloth. Ajani, Teferi, Tyvar, Basri, Calix, Dovin, Garruk, Jiang Yanggu, Koth, Ob Nixilis, Sarkhan, Tezzeret, Venser, and Xenagos all have tactically placed scraps of fabric to cover their modesties. Daretti even goes one step further and hides his cash and prizes in a mechanical spider. It's just not on, Wizards! The most egregious example by far is Karn. We've seen Karn's junk – or complete lack of a junk – on multiple cards, yet for Dominaria we had Karn, Scion of Urza give him a big ol' robe to cover that previously absent chrome-plated tallywhacker.

‘But it's a fantasy setting, they're just wearing robes’ the well-adjusted (read: not horny for Garruk) crowd might say. But it's not true – Magic is set in a multiverse where every world is radically different from the last. In some worlds it'd make sense – Eldraine, for instance, is more outrightly Medieval-inspired than most other worlds in the Magic multiverse – but in others, it screams ‘Hey fans, just covering up the dick and balls here, don't you worry’.

Take Streets of New Capenna. This is an outrightly modern world based on 1920s America. It's full of sharp suits and flowing dresses, with very little of its magical influence to be seen in the fashion. So why on earth does Ob Nixilis rock up, looking like an otherwise total snack, and then cover up his Coveted Jewel with an out of place red loincloth? The alternate art by Igor Kierlyuk is great, and the red does provide some much-needed contrast to the piece. Still, I'd have loved to have been in the room when the art directors said, "New Capenna is going to be an unrelentingly sexy set with glamorous fashion and intimidatingly hot mob bosses, but we absolutely can't have you draw a suggestion of Ob Nixilis' genitals."

Of course, a few Planeswalkers proudly let their berries fly. So far grizzled, slightly unhinged daddy Lukka hasn't felt the need to cover up his bulge, and Angrath is too busy being an enraged minotaur to feel any shame for his assets. But they're the exception that proves the rule, and the rule, so far, is ‘for god's sake, cover it up’. Even one of the art styles for the Ob Nixilis card in New Capenna has bulge, but it just isn’t consistent in who may let it hang, and who can’t.

This isn't some weird vagina-bones-censorship-type tirade. Nobody actually wants to see Dovin Baan's entire penis proudly busting out of the card frame (mostly because he's dead, but still). It's not that I want my Magic to be sexier (just look at how hot Streets of New Capenna is). It's just another funny example of how Magic's art style has become slightly set in its ways.

This year we've seen two consecutive sets radically shake up the idea of what Magic's multiverse looks like. We had the futuristic cyberpunk of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, and then immediately headed to the art deco sensibilities of New Capenna. The worldbuilding in both was incredible, as Wizards managed to expertly balance the high-tech underpinnings of both worlds with the more magical and historical status quo of the rest of the multiverse. These could have been a step too far for Magic and made older worlds like Amonkhet and Theros feel pointless, but they didn't. And yet, for all that modernity Wizards managed to weave in, its characters are still covering up their Treasure tokens like they're serving in a court of Eldraine.

I'm planting my flag and weaponising this infohazard: Free the Planeswalker Bollocks. Not because I'm a thirsty, thirsty boy for Teferi, even though I'm sure he'd take his time to treat me just right, but for the good of the multiverse and the game's artistic cohesiveness as a whole. If we're exploring more sci-fi and modern worlds (which is likely considering how well Neon Dynasty did), the fashion needs to update and give us what we want. This is my justification and I'm sticking to it.

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