Valve took to Twitter earlier this week to share its design philosophy regarding card interaction within Artifact. Although many were thrilled to learn what the collectible card game had in store, readers couldn’t help but notice an unfortunate choice in naming that resulted in racist connotations, prompting Valve rename the card.
The post centred on the player’s ability to “predict any card interaction,” showcasing how modification card “Crack the Whip” would chain its effect onto Untested Grunt. “If you play an Untested Grunt next to the whipped hero it will trigger again, and the Grunt will receive the bonus.”
Right below the domineering blue lizard-like creature, the text for “Crack the Whip” explains that the card will “Modify a black hero with ‘After you play a black card, give this hero and its allied neighbours +2 Attack this round’.” While ‘cracking the whip’ is a general saying to exert dominance or maintain order, it didn’t take long for the community to point out the obvious racial connotation when paired specifically with black heroes.
— even weirder move (@evenweirdermove) September 28, 2018
“You should REALLY change the name of this card,” suggests Twitter user Matt Frazier. “Having a card called “Crack the Whip” that says it modifies black heroes is not a good look, especially out of context. May I suggest something like “Intense Training”?”
Within the context of Artifact, cards are allocated a colour designation to represent their capabilities. Black is just one of four suits, acting as assassins while tanks and bruisers are red, magic is blue and jungle/support cards come in green. Two days after the connotations were highlight, Valve made the swift decision to change “Crack the Whip” into “Coordinated Assault.”
Beyond the subtle announcement of the name change, Valve has yet to openly comment on how such a clear mishap could slip through the cracks. No doubt the company is rigorously checking the remaining 279 cards to ensure such an overlap doesn’t happen again.
KitGuru Says: Props to the company for the swift change, but it is baffling how the card could not only make it into the final deck, but also be one of just two cards displayed in Valve’s recent Twitter post. Controversy aside, are you excited for Artifact?