There’s a growing group of people obsessed with tweeting at Trump, replying to each of the president’s posts with either an insult or applause depending on where they fall along the political spectrum. It might help you pick up a few new followers, sure — but personally, it’s much more satisfying to tweet at @drilmagic, a new account that combines two of my favorite things in the world: Magic: The Gathering and Weird Twitter.
Wait, wait, don’t go anywhere.
If you’re confused by any of the terms above — or the image, which features a guy with a blurry Jack Nicholson avatar tweeting about skeletons — here’s a quick glossary. (It’s worth it. You’ll appreciate the internet on a whole new level.)
Magic: The Gathering is a trading card game first released in 1993. Players act as wizards, summoning creatures, spells and abilities to defeat each other in battle by drawing from a deck of cards. Magic was the first game of its kind — inspiring imitators like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards — and still has a devoted fanbase and regular releases of new cards.
Weird Twitter is a little tougher to explain, though BuzzFeed’s oral history is a good start. Weird Twitter is both a style of comedic writing used on the social network and a community of accounts that helped pioneer it. The most famous of those accounts is probably @dril, a mysterious, prolific and influential Twitter user who inspired many entries on Mic’s list of 101 canonical tweets.
Anyway, back to @drilmagic: The account first surfaced in April with a series of hilarious tweets matching Magic cards to Dril tweets. The concept is simple, but the execution — combining MTG’s fantastical art and self-serious names with Dril’s misspelled and often crude jokes — is priceless.
For about a month, @drilmagic posted regularly, offering up instant classics like this:
Then in May, something even more amazing happened. The account announced that it was done posting regular updates, but would continue to retweet other people’s creations. This prompted a huge influx of mashups, turning @drilmagic into a crowdfunded Twitter account and its 8,000 followers into a thriving community.
There’s an endless number of combinations to choose from, and every new Dril tweet prompts a flood of new entries for @drilmagic to share. Based on personal experience, it seems like as long as the joke mashup makes sense, the account will probably retweet you. Then the likes and retweets roll in from all its followers.
Making your own @drilmagic mashups is easy. Just grab an image of the magic card you want to use and open it in Preview on a Mac or MS Paint on a PC. Then screenshot the relevant @dril tweet, copy it into the same file and place it over the card’s description. Congrats, you just made a Dril-Magic card.
Here’s a GIF of me making one:
And here’s the finished product:
To get a better sense of why the rest of the @drilmagic community spends their time creating nonsensical mashups, I talked to a few other fans over Twitter DMs about what they like about the account and why they submit their own tweets.
It just clicks
“Really it’s just a mashup of two things that I enjoy,” Twitter user @OzKFodrotski, who’s submitted seven tweets to @drilmagic, said. “Magic is a great game, but there’s tons of strange card names and weird art that click with Dril’s signature absurdist humor. Plus, when it comes to Photoshop jokes, I’m all about low-hanging fruit.”
“Once the account put the format out there, a lot of ideas came to mind quickly,” @OzKFodrotski added. “It’s fun to put something together and see if others think it’s as funny as I do. It’s pretty niche, but people are making a lot of great gags.”
Katie Puckett, a serious Magic player who competes in tournaments, said creating @drilmagic mashups is a great complement to the actual game.
What I like most about it is that it is purely for fun and laughs,” she said. “Sometimes I take Magic a little too seriously for my own good, so it’s a nice diversion to just make some dumb thing in MS Paint that will make people laugh. ... It’s a fun mental exercise to look at @dril tweets and think ‘OK, I know there’s a card for this.’”
Others noted that @dril’s tweets and Magic cards actually pair surprisingly well.
“Magic has a very self-serious lore that is great foil for an account that so often has the self-serious in its crosshairs,” Ben Wilinofsky, a retired professional poker player who’s submitted one mashup to @drilmagic, said. “That, and both their body of works, card images and tweets, are prolific, so it’s easy to find a match that works for any tweet you like.”
“I think Magic: The Gathering works particularly well because each card offers different levels of interaction with the tweets,” said Josh Nalven, a manager at Dame Products who’s internet-famous for a canonical tweet known simply as “four eels.” “Like, the art is all very fantastical and over-the-top, which usually creates the comedy in a @drilmagic tweet.”
“This one [pictured above] is a fave of mine because the art, the name, and the flavor of the card all align,” Nalven said. “Like, of course a black-blue card would involve torturous, ass-sucking classical music.”
“Of course a black-blue card would involve torturous, ass-sucking classical music.” — Josh Nalven
The creator of @drilmagic, who still occasionally shares original creations, declined to comment for this story and said they wanted to remain anonymous.
Their original creations have taken a backseat to fan submissions, though, along with at least one other @drilmagic-inspired account. Clearly, this community isn’t going anywhere, even if its fearless leader isn’t running the show anymore.
More gaming news and updates
Check out the latest from Mic, like this deep dive into the cultural origins of Gamergate. Also, be sure to read this essay about what it’s like to cosplay while black, a roundup of family-friendly games to play with your kids and our interview with Adi Shankar, producer of the animated Castlevania Netflix series.