Some things remind you of the persistence of certain functional memories. You never forget how to ride a bike, as they say, and I’ve never forgotten how to poorly shuffle 60 cards stuffed into individual Kevlar reinforced plastic sheet protectors. You see, unlike Rodney Redes or anything from Fanatics, these cards are valuable.
For those not well versed in Magic: The Gathering, it’s something nerds did in that wasteland between the advent of Dungeons and Dragons and the development of both cool video games and Pokemon cards (also known as the 90s). You collect a bunch of cards like an obsessive child desperately hunting individual Happy Meal prizes and then use them to wage war upon your opponent, who has similarly wasted time on these dumb pieces of easily damaged card stock with drawings of monsters and jewelry (and, on rare occasion, monsters wearing jewelry).
I’ve reproduced a deck I found at a garage sale recently that called to me from a bin. It’s half full and half of the cards were just piece of paper with the name of a real card on it. Nonetheless, I would be remiss if I didn’t turn this VerdeBlack (Green for life/attack, Black for death/defense) deck – that’s named “The Blair Witch Project” for some reason that the wisest sages haven’t yet been able to discern – into a discussion on Austin FC players. I’ve included the number of each card in the deck for those of you ultra-nerds who want to fact check this is a real thing:
4x Birds of Paradise
Cecilio Domínguez – Aside from the obvious aesthetic parallel, Cecilio can add one mana of any color to your pool then he’s tapped. He can play D. Or he can dribble. Or he can cross. Or he can shoot. But only one of these and it’ll take him a bit to recharge. Also has the minimum toughness allowable within the rules to be considered alive.
4x Oath of Druids
Diego Fagúndez – Diego Enchants defenses after his Exodus from New England. Furthermore, he allows Austin FC to draw supernatural feats of stamina while burying opponents one by one into a metaphorical graveyard. Plus, Diego has sworn oaths to Don Hewlett Chevrolet, based on my tedious notes of commercials after scrubbing my eyes from the SeatGeek ad. If you can’t tell how fast this article is going to go downhill, just wait until we get to Dual Lands.
4x Gaea’s Cradle
Sebastián Driussi – Classified as a Legendary Land, Driussi is an ever present and one of a kind staple of the Austin FC lineup. His smooth style, ability to pick the perfect pass, and calm demeanor has also led many to claim he’s so good it’s unfair, or “broken” in MTG parlance. Like his namesake card, Driussi makes everyone around him better. An original foil version of Gaea’s Cradle costs more than Driussi’s salary.
Alex Pring – Look I’m not gonna explain this in too much detail, just read the name of the card. It gives your player something called “Trample” and basically rage kills it the next turn.
4x Dark Ritual
Jhohan Romaña – This interrupt card allows you to add three black mana to your pool. If you have no idea what that means, I commend you, but it basically lets you stop what your opponent is doing and lay down triple death. If there is anything that describes Romaña and his thighs, it’s interrupting with triple death.
4x Yawgmoth’s Will
Julio Cascante – This is the most overrated card in Urza’s Saga, sure it lets you bail out your failings by playing dead cards, but it tends to end up hurting you more than it helps even though it looks super, super cool.
4x Demonic Tutor
Kippy Keller – This card allows you to search and pick out any card you want out of order. That’s basically what happened in the draft with how far Keller fell to land in Austin. I could totally see him in a demonic rock band called “Satanica” or something like that too. Unconfirmed reports he has a shrine to Moloch in his locker.
4 x Bayou
Jon Gallagher – Attacks and defends, about equally useful on both ends. Scored Austin’s first ever home goal and this card is from early Magic days. If you squint really hard, Bayous are kind of like peat bogs, which are common in Scotland, which people confuse for Ireland. Like a lot. Like a concerning amount.
Jared Stroud or Rodney Redes or Manny Perez? Do we still have him? The point is they’re interchangeable.
Nick Lima – Basic, boring, fine. You’ve read this far and you deserve a closing joke, see below.
We hope you tune in for another edition as soon as Wizards of the Coast introduces a Mint color deck to the Magic: The Gathering universe.