Tuesday, 31 January 2023 13:40

The Name Behind The Card: Rysorian Badger

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Artwork from the card Rysorian Badger. Artwork from the card Rysorian Badger. WOTC/HEATHER HUDSON

With well over 50,000 unique Magic: The Gathering cards having been printed to date, names can come from all over. Luckily, the game has a large pool of creatures, fantasy names, and other sources to draw from. But sometimes things are just thrown in for fun too, such as those involved with Magic. For example, there are several cards surrounding Magic creator Richard Garfield.

Some, however, are more hidden or subtle, with the names, art, even the creature type working together to create something of an in joke. Take the card Phelddagrif, which is a flying purple hippo with an anagram for, okay, that one is Garfield again. But it can get pretty insidery.  

Going back to 1995 and the Homelands expansion, there are a number of card names that are homages to something or someone in the real world. The card Trade Caravan, for example, is named in honor of an early Magic promotion called the Wizards of the Coast Caravan Tour. Leaping Lizard is named after the first MTG proto-meme. And Rysorian Badger? Well, this takes a bit of explanation.

Rhias Hall, the Assistant Director of Organized Play of WotC from 1994 to 2001, was a pretty big name even a year into her new role in 1995. She was also known as an editor and as the assistant director of the Duelists' Convocation, so, pretty busy. She's still well known today for her work too. Her work style even gave her a nickname early on, one lovingly known as "Auntie Badger".

As cards were being filled out for Homelands, some green creatures were still needed. At the same time, Magic always works to incorporate employees who have been doing a lot. It almost made too much sense. Coopting her first name and her nickname, Rhysorian Badger was made.

For a 2/2, 3 mana cost creature, wasn't all that bad for its time to boot thanks to its anti-graveyard tech coupled with life gain.  While not overpowered, it was (at the very least) useful.

There are many other examples of Magic employees kind of becoming part of the game but few could match the need and coincidence as Rysorian Badger had going for it.

Even better, today it still goes for pretty cheap, under $2.  Not to "badger" the point.