A nonbinary Magic: The Gathering champion is replacing an existing pro in their tournament.
Following allegations that pro player Owen Turtenwald was inappropriate to female friends and fans, the game’s publisher removed him from the tournament lineup. In his place is Autumn Burchett, a talented nonbinary gamer who won a championship in February.
Late March, ahead of the new Magic Pro League’s first tournament, the game’s publisher, Wizards of the Coast (WoTC), announced that Turtenwald would not be participating. They made this announcement on Twitter and did not offer an explanation. However, gaming website Kotaku spoke to numerous women who knew Turtenwald personally.
‘A lot of women in the community have warned other women about Owen,’ Magic player Mary Louke told Kotaku. Louke herself had a ‘complex’ relationship with Turtenwald, one that was briefly romantic but took a negative turn. Louke alleges that Turtenwald made her physically and verbally uncomfortable at hang outs, would ask her for nude photos, and once told her that her looks were distracting to him.
‘I thought, in my head, it was just because have this history,’ Louke explained. ‘It wasn’t until later when I heard stories from other people of him doing inappropriate things that I realized it was not just me.’
Meet Autumn Burchett
On 25 April, WoTC announced that streamer and top player Autumn Burchett will joining the Pro League for its 2019 season in place of Turtenwald. Following this, Turtenwald allegedly deleted all the content on his Twitter account, including any mentions of the Pro League. He was also removed from the MTGesports website’s roster of gamers.
Autumn Burchett is a medium-scale streamer and the co-host of a Magic podcast. They became more widely-known following their win in a February championship game.
WoTC is working to transform perception of Magic’s players from that of a ‘boy’s club’ to a game welcoming of all. In fact. Burchett is the first person in the league who is not a cisgender man.