26 years later, an obscure bit of Godzilla lore doesn’t sound quite so fun.

While the Godzilla franchise has had a few somber movies in its 60-plus years, when most people think of the series, they’re thinking of wacky, kinetic popcorn entertainment. That aura of powerfully silly power is no doubt what the makers of collectible card game Magic: The Gathering were hoping to channel when they added Godzilla and a selection of his kaiju costars to Magic’s Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths expansion, which is new to the game this month.

Unfortunately, it turns out one Godzilla card’s text doesn’t feel so fun in the current health climate.

Splashed right at the top of the card is the chilling proclamation “Spacegodzilla, Death Corona,” and the combination of those last two words probably isn’t something most Magic players want to see during the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Things are even more disturbing on the Japanese version of the card, where the header text says:

Corona Beam of Death, SpaceGodzilla

Despite the name, though, SpaceGodzilla isn’t actually spewing COVID-19 from his mouth in the illustration. Corona Beam just happens to be what the character’s energy breath attack has been called since his debut in the 1994 film Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, with the name likely chosen because of the word “corona” meaning “crown” in Latin, in hope of evoking an aura of power and dominion.

▼ Trailer for Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, in which regular Godzilla (EarthGodzilla?) fights the villainous SpaceGodzilla, born from some Godzilla cells that Mothra flew out into space and got zapped by black hole radiation (also the yakuza kidnap a lady who has psychic powers)

Still, Wizards of the Coast, the company that owns the Magic brand, has issued a statement regarding the card’s text. The company says that Ikoria’s content was finalized months ago, and they were “unable to change our printing in time to address the new meaning of corona.” The statement goes on to say:

“The initial printing of Ikoria will arrive on shelves soon and this card will be part of the set, but we are taking steps to remove or change the card where possible.

First, all reprints of Ikoria will remove this card. Second, we’ll be renaming the card on Magic: The Gathering Arena to Spacegodzilla, Void Invader. Finally, Magic Online, which will be offering the special Godzilla Series Monster versions of cards only in Treasure Chests, will not distribute this card.

Note that this is a special version of the card Void Beckoner, which will not be affected by any changes.”

▼ Altered English card

▼ Altered Japanese card, whose text translates to “Void Invader, SpaceGodzilla”

While hardcore fans will be sad to see a part of franchise lore swept under the rug, it’s an understandable decision, especially when you consider that when he’s not knocking over skyscrapers, Godzilla is a pretty friendly, and even respectable, citizen.

Source: Magic: The Gathering official website (1, 2) via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Magic: The Gathering official website
Insert images: Magic: The Gathering official website (1, 2)
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where it’s impossible for him to write about Godzilla without hearing his theme music in his head.