Q: "I noticed that Betrayers of Kamigawa includes two creatures, Matsu-Tribe Sniper and Takeno's Cavalry, that have creature type Archer. Previously, when creature types were being consolidated, a number of older creatuers, such as D'Avenant Archer and Longbow Archer, with creature type Archer were reprinted with creature type Soldier. Why the policy change? Are there any plans to make the old Archers back into creature type Archer?"
Columbus, Ohio, USA
A: From Brady Dommermuth, Magic Creative Director:
"Chris, Magic's creature types are -- how do I put this delicately? -- problematic. Little thought was given to them in the early days, then there were various attempts to clean them up. Some of these attempts were partially successful, some were, um, well intentioned. Then came Onslaught, which upped the stakes on the whole issue. The Onslaught block made players pay attention to creature type, and the flaws and weirdness became all the more apparent.
"One of the problems with creature types is that we're very hesitant to change anything 'retroactively.' In other words, now that we support the Archer type, it's very unlikely that we'll comb through the 10,000 distinct cards in Magic and put Archer on the ones for whom it makes sense. Instead we'll simply apply Archer as appropriate going forward, and Magic's past will remain the messy, patchwork beast that it's been for many years. I know that may not sound ideal, but the alternative is far worse -- asking players to memorize Oracle from month to month so they can track the changes we've made."