Tuesday, 08 November 2022 09:08

Pemmin's Aura: A Magic card that's more "super" than you might expect

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Artwork for the card Pemmin's Aura. Artwork for the card Pemmin's Aura. GREG STAPLES/WOTC

The game of Magic: The Gathering seems to have a pension for including the fans or taking fan nicknames and making it an official part of the CCG.

The game has a direct route, such as winners of a specific, special tournament literally being in their own cards. There is also a more subtle option -- one of hidden jokes and names that fly over the heads of most.

One of the more subtle ones that wasn't confirmed for over a decade started in 1998. That year, Urza's Saga came out and kicked off the Urza block. While noted for a lot of powerful cards, the most surprising of this bunch was Morphling. Despite it being a five-drop 3/3, the card was rather powerful back in its day.

A somewhat normal card becomes virtually invincible. Once players began figuring this out, Morphling became a centerpiece of many a decks and even got the fan nickname "Superman".

For the Magic folks at Wizards of the Coast, they had unwittingly unleashed a pretty powerful card out there. In short, they felt they needed to correct it. After a few years of cooling off, they decided to put out an answer to Morphling in the 2003 expansion Scourge. In came Pemmin's Aura which, if you read the card's rules text, may seem a tad familiar.

Yeah, they pretty much made "Morphling 2: Aura Boogaloo."

But the big thing was the name.

Remember how we said Magic liked to include fan names and things? Well Pemmin's Aura is a bit of an anagram. Specifically it spells out "I am Superman". And the folks behind Magic wouldn't even own up to that fact for another 11 years until MTG head designer Mark Rosewater more or less confirmed it was all intentional.

Now, if they can just find a way to fit "I am Groot" into a card name somewhere...