Popular card battler Magic: The Gathering has thousands of cards, so it’s easy for specific cards to get lost in the shuffle. But sometimes, a card does something special to stick out. Something like kicking ass, blazing trails, and smiling through all of it. Having introduced a gay couple and a character of unknown gender in last year’s Theros expansion, Wizards of the Coast (the company that produces Magic) has finally given the longstanding game its first trans character.
Dubbed Alesha, Who Smiles at Death, the card was a part of the Fate Reforged expansion that took place Jan. 23. It was released without any fanfare or mention that the character it depicts is transgender. Wizards, however, released a short story yesterday titled, “The Truth of Names,” which explores Alesha’s backstory as part of a powerful battle clan of humans, orcs, goblins, and more.
In this group, the Mardu Horde, warriors get to choose their own name upon great feats in battle, which Alesha takes as a moment to come out. Instantly, her clan shouts her new, female name in pride, showing no hesitation, and later she eventually becomes its Khan, or leader. Later, after a particularly intense battle in which Alesha takes down a dragon single-handed, a nameless orc who had previously criticized Alesha for being transgender show his respect by giving her a title, allowing for a second christening in which her clan again reaffirms its faith in her. It’s a gripping story about a trans woman in both military combat and political leadership, but it doesn’t hurt that it also involves dragons that fire lightning out of their mouths.