MTG’s Head Designer Points Out Too Many Planeswalker Names Start With K
It’s a ‘problem’ that few Magic: The Gathering players have likely noticed before, but one head designer Mark Rosewater has: too many Planeswalkers’ names begin with the letter K. Enough of them, in fact, that he has already raised the issue with his team at Wizards of the Coast.
Planeswalkers are powerful mages who can move between realities (or “Planes”), and are central to the MTG story. Over the years, dozens of them have been introduced, but a shockingly high number of them have similar names.
Answering a question on his Blogatog blog, where he often collects feedback from the community, Rosewater confirmed that the prevalence of Planeswalkers whose names start with K is something he has already noticed. In his answer he admitted he has “raised that very issue”, suggesting we could see fewer K- Planeswalkers in the future.
At first, this sounds like a silly problem. They’re just names, it doesn’t matter. That is, until you actually look at how many of them there are. Only counting Planeswalkers who have had printed cards, we have: Kaito, Karn, Kasmina, Kaya, Kiora, Koth, and, if you want to be technical about it, Kytheon, the original name of Gideon Jura.
It’s not just first names, though: surnames beginning with K are also shockingly common. Rowan Kenrith, Will Kenrith, Basri Ket, and Arlin Kord are all also afflicted with the letter.
While Rosewater didn’t expand any further on why this is something he’s raised to Wizards before, there is a gameplay problem with having so many similar-sounding names. Each Planeswalker has its own mechanical identity – for instance, Kaya’s cards often focus drawing cards exiling permanents, which is very different to the similarly-named Kiora’s emphasis on big, stompy creatures. Any chance for confusion should ideally be avoided ("It attack Kaya, no, I meant Kiora", for example), even if such mistakes might only happen once in a thousand games.
For those curious about other oddly-named ‘walkers, there are lots of Ds (Dack, Daretti, Dakkon, Davriel, Domri, and Dovin), Ts (Tamiyo, Teferi, Teyo, Tezzeret, Tibalt, and Tyvar), and, surprisingly, a lot of Js (Jace, Jared, Jaya, and Jeska). However, K still has them all beat.
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