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Here’s why MTG tribal decks are now called ‘typal’

MTG head designer Mark Rosewater says Wizards no longer uses the word 'tribal' due to consultants pointing out its "negative connotations".

MTG tribal decks renamed typal - Wizards card art wallpaper from Lotus Cobra

MTG head designer Mark Rosewater has expanded on his comments revealing that MTG Tribal decks are now referred to as ‘typal’ within Magic: The Gathering‘s R&D team, after consultants recommended the term be dropped. Having revealed the design lingo switch-up in a blog post last week, Rosewater published four more tweets on Sunday explaining exactly why ‘Tribal’ – a MTG set or MTG deck theme where key mechanics are based on MTG creature types – had been replaced in Wizards’ internal slang.

In the short thread, Rosewater acknowledges there’s been “a lot of talk” on Twitter about the Tribal/Typal language change, and says ‘typal’ was chosen mostly because it conveys much the same meaning and has the same number of syllables.

He also says the new ‘typal’ term is “an internal vocabulary word” that’s “not officially used anywhere on cards”; Rosewater says fans will only see it in places where he uses “internal design slang”, namely his columns, podcasts, blogs, and social media.

However, as MTG fans have already pointed out on Twitter, numerous past Magic: The Gathering cards – such as All is Dust and Bitterblossom – have included ‘Tribal’ on their printed card text, to denote special effects based on creature types.

So it seems likely that either future MTG sets will avoid those mechanics entirely, or – more likely – that those cards will use ‘typal’ instead. Neither Wizards nor Rosewater has yet commented on that.

MTG tribal decks renamed typal - Wizards card art wallpaper from Omnath Locus of Creation

In the original ‘Lessons Learned’ design blog post, published on June 19, Rosewater made a seemingly throwaway confirmation that ‘Tribal’ – a theme of “creature type mattering mechanically” – had been replaced in Wizards’ internal slang due to “numerous consultants” having “stressed that it carries negative connotations”.

Neither Wizards nor Rosewater has given any further detail on these consultants, or exactly what they recommended regarding the negative connotations of ‘tribal’, though many Twitter users have speculated the term was judged offensive to members of real life tribal communities.

MTG tribal decks renamed typal - Wizards card art wallpaper from Dracula Lord of Bats

This change in terminology aside, there are plenty of awesome tribal/typal decks you can try out right now. Check out these spider and horse MTG Lord of the Rings commanders, or our guides to the best MTG goblins, the best MTG changelings, or the best MTG slivers. Our staff writer Matt Bassil also created the perfect MTG Salamanders deck recently, if that’s your bag.

Alternatively, if you’re just looking to top up your digital card stocks, check our guide to the latest MTG Arena codes to get all the free cards on offer.