Parental Advisory Review – Gatecrash

Standard Introduction

Let me start by saying that I know my standards are not those of everyone else. My goal is simply to highlight images with a potential to concern or disturb, and offer some basic evaluation. My guiding questions are “Would I want my teenager to be viewing this in a movie or on TV?” or “Would I let my teenager out of the house dressed like that?” In many ways, this set represents a continuation of the norm, which isn’t really a good endorsement.

The main categories of evaluation are GRAPHIC VIOLENCE, NIGHTMARE HORROR, PROVOCATIVE DRESS, IMPLIED NUDITY, and BLATANT SEXUALITY. I will conclude with an examination of a side issue that is often raised, the question of the inequality in the portrayals of women. I think it’s pretty obvious that a game marketed primarily towards young lonely males is not going to be equal in its treatment of the sexes—how many of these guys really want to stare at a ripped male hotty? But it’s also unfair to simply assert that men are never portrayed provocatively or in some state of undress and women always are. So, I’ll try to highlight this issue a little by noticing these sort of depictions of males and also some of the more positive portrayals of women.

Graphic Violence

Gatecrash continues the story set in the ecumenopolis of Ravnica, but this is still a fantasy story, so there will be some violence (two of the guilds in this set are particularly noted for their warlike tendencies: Boros and Gruul).

Grisly Spectacle

Just the one example, really, but it’s a doozy. I do believe that’s a headless corpse with copious amounts of blood splattered on the wall—a Grisly Spectacle indeed.

Nightmare Horror

This category is about disturbing images that linger in the mind, and sometimes come back to haunt you in your dreams! These are images that aren’t necessarily violent or gory, but might be described by many (note: not necessarily all) as ‘disturbing’, ‘evil’, or ‘horrific’. Perhaps that Grisly Spectacle belongs here as well.

Corpse Blockade Devour Flesh Dying Wish Thrull Parasite Wight of Precinct Six Act of Treason Wildwood Rebirth Coerced Confession Immortal Servitude

Again, these may not bother you, but I can certainly imagine a young teenager getting freaked out by some of these, especially if they think too much about what’s going on: hordes of the undead, being consumed from the inside out, monsters attacking, and a scene of torture. Also, what is going on with that fat guy’s stomach—I don’t really want to think about it; and then there’s that flavor text on Devour Flesh, which makes the picture above a particularly gruesome image.

Provocative Dress

You know, women can be quite beautiful to behold, and they can be so without displaying half of their skin, or at least their mammary glands, for all to gaze upon. Why does the art for Magic have to cater so much to the lowest common denominator—the horny young teenager (or worse, adult)? Just asking… Anyway, this set is pretty typical, although I will say that Magic is a little better than the typical fan service you see out there associated with the fantasy genre.

Shielded Passage Ætherize Metropolis Sprite Killing Glare Mental Vapors Shadow Alley Denizen Disciple of the Old Ways Aurelia's Fury Bane Alley Broker Deathpact Angel Fathom Mage Prime Speaker Zegana Burning-Tree Emissary Rubblebelt Raiders

I get that that’s a dryad in Shielded Passage, and I suppose that with that shield around her she doesn’t need any armor, but a little clothing or even more foliage couldn’t hurt, could it?

That mage in Aetherize is the most perplexing figure in the set for me—she’s clearly a powerful magic-wielder, so why does she have to settle for only buying half of a dress and then going into battle wearing it? Does clothing somehow impede the flow of magic within someone? At least, I guess, the artist is showing us her naked back instead of one more boob shot that is so typical of the rest of these gals who got short-changed at the clothiers—just a little off the top and the bottom, and then perhaps a little more…  The only one that makes any sense is the merfolk choosing to go with less; I imagine proper clothes do impede your ability to swim under the sea.

Worth an extra comment, however, is that Disciple of the Old Ways. Apparently when we read “Old Ways” we should read ‘primal’, as in some sort of Freudian primal state of our animal nature. That female creature may be tough, but her stance there just yells out, “Someone mate me with me—we’ll make hardy babies together.” Just like some wild dog…

Implied Nudity

This set is definitely better than average in this category.

Totally Lost Experiment One

OK, Fblthp is cute, and a homunculus, but he’s also naked as far as I can tell. And I suppose when you’re fresh out of the vat, you have some excuse for not having thought to bring a towel.

Blatant Sexuality

Perhaps even worse than the scantily-clad women above is this:

Skyknight Legionnaire

Now, you might be thinking, but wait, she’s completely covered! Well, sure, but with what the angle of the art gives us to look at, there can only be one thing on most men’s minds—how do I get her out of that armor and get me some of that? I’m sorry, but you know that’s what they’re thinking—like I said: lowest common denominator.

Men vs. Women

This is the section where we see if men get objectified and how many positive portrayals of women we can find. There are definitely some men getting short-changed at the clothier’s shop as well, and some definitely have something to put on display as well. Some are just wild creatures or experiments that we probably can’t hold to any real standards.

Keymaster Rogue Rapid Hybridization Spell Rupture Act of Treason Madcap Skills Skinbrand Goblin Towering Thunderfist Wrecking Ogre Wildwood Rebirth Fortress Cyclops Primal Visitation Bioshift

And here are a few tough broads who are more interested in doing their job than showing off their bodies:

Angelic Skirmisher Boros Elite Court Street Denizen Guardian of the Gateless Arrows of Justice

The numbers here are a little disappointing, I must admit.

Now let’s tally up the results for Gatecrash (249 cards total in the set):

Graphic Violence: 1
Nightmare Horror: 9
Provocative Dress: 14
Implied Nudity: 2
Blatant Sexuality: 1
Objectified Males: 12
Female Protagonists: 5

Some of the numbers are definitely down compared to other recent sets, but that includes the Female Protagonists. I’m not sure if its a good thing that objectified males are on the rise, though—I guess it brings some parity.


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