Wizards of the Coast has issued a statement regarding the unfortunate naming of a card – or, at least, the unfortunate timing surrounding that name.
Magic: The Gathering's newest set, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, is due to release worldwide next month. However, the initial printing process for cards can take many months to finalize. "Spacegodzilla, Death Corona", which is a variant of the card "Void Beckoner", had its name finalized at the worst possible time for reasons that are only now very apparent to Wizards of the Coast.
For the purposes of this card's future printings, in order to stifle any associative controversies with COVID-19, printings of the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths collector boosters after the initial one will not include this card in any form. Keep advised that this decision on Wizards of the Coast's part will make this particular card remarkably scarce. Meanwhile, the normal version of Void Beckoner will remain the same in draft boosters for Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.
As for Magic: The Gathering: Arena, on such an interface that can rectify errors like this, "Spacegodzilla, Death Corona" will be renamed to "Spacegodzilla, Void Invader" in order for Wizards of the Coast to continue using the art.
The press statement surrounding this decision is below:
Months ago, when Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths was finalized, the world was a very different place. As we all adjust to a world altered by the spread of COVID-19, the word "corona" has taken on a new meaning.
In context, the card we're about to show you made sense when it was originally conceived—"the Corona Beam" is Spacegodzilla's traditional breath weapon. However, we were unable to change our printing in time to address the new meaning of corona. The initial printing of Ikoria will arrive on shelves soon and this card will be part of the set, but we are taking steps to remove or change the card where possible.
First, all reprints of Ikoria will remove this card. 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.
Everyone's health and safety are important to us during this time. For more on how Wizards of the Coast is addressing COVID-19, please click here. Stay safe, and we appreciate your understanding and patience.
What do you think of this decision? Surely it is wise to change this variant card's official name, but is it wise to take this printing off of the market for tabletop Magic players? Let us know your opinion below!