Wizards previewed a new card in their upcoming Unstable set.
"Spike" is a term used to describe players who like proving themselves. They are competitive. (This contrasts with Johnny's: who want to express their creativity, and Timmy's: who enjoy the overall experience.)
Mark Rosewater is the head designer for MTG:
On Mark Rosewater's Q&A blog: he got this question: "Greetings Mr. Rosewater, may I ask why Spike is portrayed as a female, when only about 1% of professional players are girls, it's not honest to make people feel included in a representation of a player base they don't belong."
Here is Mark's full response:
"Spike is a psychographic of players who use the game as a means to prove something, often to themselves, sometimes to others. My best guess is that about 25% of the players are Spikes. Spikes are way more than just high end professional players.
Magic currently has somewhere around 12 million active players and the female percentage is somewhere between 25% and 35% (in total play including digital - they are a smaller percentage of people playing in organized play - not because they are uncompetitive but because the environment is often not welcoming).
Let’s assume the low end with 25%. That means there are somewhere around 750,000 female Spikes.
In Unglued, we made Timmy a male. In Unhinged, Johnny was a male. We were finishing out a cycle of which none of which so far had been female, so we decided, hey let’s have some female representation in the cycle rather than none.
Diversity and representation is something we take very seriously. Interestingly, I’ve gotten a lot more notes from people happy to see Spike portrayed as the card as a woman than upset by it.
So, all in all, I’m glad we did it and would do it again in a heartbeat if I had to make the decision again."
So those that resent attempts at diversity have latched on to this statement, specifically "12 million active players". They've gone back to past estimates that MtG has sold to 20 million people in a single year, and using this statement as proof that 8 million people have left the game.
They are blaming this loss in players on appealing to a diverse audience.
Obviously this is bs. Hasbro's public earnings statement shows that revenue from MtG is up.
If you can stomach it, take a look at the comments in this video:
The amount of hate towards women playing the game is staggering.
Poor Mark Rosewater has responded a few time to the hysteria on his Q&A blog.
"Once again, there has been no drastic change in player numbers. There are just different ways to count “Magic players”. I took the more conservative “active players” number."