A Neat Use For Old Magic The Gathering Cards: Public Transport

One consequence of playing Magic: The Gathering is the hundreds, if not thousands, of useless cards that you inevitably collect. Here's a neat way to reuse at least one of those.

One Aussie user, YesICannabis420, posted a neat GIF of this trick on the Magic subreddit earlier this week. To the uninitiated, it looks like they're using a Swamp — one of the five basic lands in Magic — in place of an Opal Card, the smartcard for Sydney's public transport.

Image: Reddit

Naturally, an Opal card is still being used here. Over a few private messages, the user explained that they got the idea from a common line seen at Sydney train stations — "Don't Forget To Tap" — which made them think of Magic.

"In Magic The Gathering we 'tap' our land cards for mana and on our public transport we 'tap on/off' with our Opal card to get a ride, I love puns and wordplay so it just popped into my mind to 'tap on' using a land card," they explained.

Because Opal cards work using NFC, taping a card to the front — or back, where the Opal card number is listed — doesn't affect its functionality. And because the Myki cards in Melbourne use similar technology, there's no reason you couldn't spice up your tram or train card in Victoria with some M:TG love there.

And most importantly, because the land doesn't interfere with the card, it won't stop transport officers from checking the card's balance during random spot checks.

When asked why a Swamp — although as a former fan of Esper Control, I'm not hating — the Australian replied that it was just the card he had on hand. "I always do it now whenever I get a new Opal card," they explained. "My current [Opal cards] are a Plains and a Forest."

It's not a technically flashy trick, but it's a nice reuse of a Magic card that Magic players will have way too many of. You could also take the trick a lot further, depending on how much you want to freak out transport officers when they check your card. Ekundu Cyclops would get some looks. There's always Frog Tongue. Thought Lash is pretty gross. And handing over this would probably raise an eyebrow.


    I just tap my wallet.

      I was too, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to do that in Melbourne. The readers now complain about "Multiple cards detected" because it can't distinguish the myki card from my bank cards, so I'm back to having to get the damn thing out each time.

        I have an RFID shielded wallet with a pocket on the outside for a transport card... :)

    Just to let NSW and Vic know, Brisbane uses tap on Go Cards too. Because apparently the largest city in the country doesn't rate a mention.

      1 Sydney 4,741,874
      2 Melbourne 4,677,157
      3 Brisbane 2,326,656

      How is Brisbane the largest city, or are you not going by population?

        At a guess, they're talking about physical size:

        Brisbane: 15,842 sq. km
        Sydney: 12,367 sq. km
        Melbourne: 9,992 sq. km

        Seems pretty valid to talk about physical area on an article about public transport.

          Mount Isa - 45000, Kalgoorlie over 90000 ;)

          To be fair, most of the area is scrub or mines, but who's playing fair? :D

          I assume these are the size of the states, cos that would be a nightmare commute.

          Brisbane was 2nd largest in the entire world at one point. ????

        Doesn't work by area either, Kalgoorlie-Boulder and Mount Isa are waaaay bigger than any of the capital city council areas, and also bigger than the "greater" area for any of the capitals too.

    I wish they would let us use our phones already in Vic.

      When I was in London you didn't even need to buy a card you could just use any NFC credit card to tap on and off.

        That is exactly what I want. NFC based Paywave/Paypass tag on and or off. Then you can use your phone, watch, card, ring, etc. Most people use these services anyways and to the people that don't want to move to a debit/credit based account/card can still buy a myki and still use eftpos. But I think the cost of rolling out new machines across the network is what would turn them off.

    I think using a swamp card for Sydney is pretty spot on. Do they have a Cess Pit or Sewer card? Btw I live here, I can bag Sydney all I like, before anybody gets all huffy.

    BRB, gonna dig up an old Yu-gi-oh card from my box(es) of physical childhood memories and do this. Would love it if we could order our go-cards (or opal etc) with custom images for a fee.

    Last edited 05/10/18 3:23 pm

    I have seen in other places where people have taken the chip out of the cards (as they are relatively small) and stick them on the end of wands. So that they cast a spell every time they go through the gates and the gates magically open for them. Not sure on the legality of that extreme modification though!

    I am going to be "that" person. 100% certain there are 6 basic land cards now, not 5. Plains, Mountain, Swamp, Island, Forest & Wastes.

      I am actually wrong, because I am a dumb idiot. No one waste their time reading my previous comment.

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