As any well educated young man I have plenty of interests – Italian football obviously being one of them. I am however also fond, to put it nicely (obsessive with be another and probably more suitable term) with the card game Magic the Gathering. Some of you might play it yourself, and for you I’m sure this article, not to speak of the ones yet to come, will be geeky and cleverly silly in just the right way – I hope.
For those of you who for whom Magic the Gathering represents some hazy high school memories this article might be ok funny and maybe give you some inspiration to take the game up again – I hope. For those of you who have no idea what so ever what I’m talking about this article will probably be a total blur. Bear with me. I couldn’t help it and probably need some kind of medication.
What I’m going to do is simply to match each of Magic’s five colours, red, black, blue, white, and green, with an Italian football team. The first color is blue, and the first team is Napoli. The coincidental color match between Magic’s blue and Napoli’s shirt has nothing to do with it. It’s the attributes of Walter Mazzarri’s team that put them firmly in blue – Magic’s reactive color.
The color of Magic are basically divided between fast aggressive strategies and slower more controlling ones. Despite Napoli’s fast pace they are, much like blue in Magic, defined by reaction en lieu of action and counterattacks in stead of taking initiatives.
If we start with the defense it’s pretty clear that we have a couple of players who solely are there to defend. Aronica is a bit like a Vertigo Spawn – high defensive toughness but no offensive power. When the opponents try to interact with Aronica there’s a good chance that they fall over and stay down for a while. His companion in the defense, Paolo Cannavaro, is more like a Fortress Crab , who might be able to go forward but does it rarely and to little result. He is there, not to look great, but to ensure that the opponents don’t do silly things while the rest of the team goes forward. He has what in Magic communities fondly is called ”a big butt”. In Magic as in football we often need just that.
Hugo Campagnaro is harder to describe. Sure, he’s a defender, but he is more than that. He enables and starts attacks, and he’s able to change roles. A bit like a Turtleshell Changeling you don’t know exactly what he is and you have the feeling that he could be something else if given the chance.
When we move further up the field the blue nature of Napoli becomes more and more apparent. It’s a team packed with counterspells, which they ideally unleash at the for the opponents most unfortunate times. With Mazzarri is the wizard on the sideline, they let the opposition come to them, slowly removing threats before taking over the game themselves.
While the defensive midfield is more green aligned, they play the part in a blue based strategy (and doing color combinations might just be to take the already far fetched idea a little further than needed).
The wingers Dossena and Maggio are somewhat like two versions of a Tidewater Minion. First they are defenders and then suddenly they are not – and they can help other both in attack an defense. Maggio might even be a Manor Gargoyle – defender, flying, indestructible in a confusing and everlasting cocktail.
As any attacking players the wingers benefit immensely from blues ability to make opponents disappear via strategically cast Unsummons. As the games in January have shown they often lack the raw power to trample over the opponents (that’s a green domain).
The lack of raw power is the weak side of blue. If the opposition comes too fast or forces blue to take the initiative, blue mages will often suffer – and so does Napoli. When forced into the so-called counterwars, skill and especially coldblooded routine is needed, and Napoli have suffered in that game. They do however thrive against heavy, typically green midrange opponents, who throw threats at them while making themselves vulnerable to Napoli’s counter punches.
To deliver the final points of damage Napoli have Cavani, who is hard for the opponents to get rid of on his own, byt typically, just like an Invisible Stalker, needs the right tools to shine the brightest. The tool could be a Sword of Light and Shadow – the preferred tool when playing against Juventus.
Just behind Cavani we have a Trinket Mage/Treasure Mage pair in the shape of Lavezzi and Hamsik who are there to dig up the right tools for the target man (remember – Cavani has hexproof so we can still target him) without being unable to attack themselves. Admittingly Lavezzi is more like a Delver of Secrets who’s sometimes flying and sometimes isn’t, but if he’s played correctly and hitting the right amount of luck he’s fast, clever and very dangerous.
You might disagree on some of the comparisons here, and I’d love to read your comments – I am however pretty sure that we can agree that Napoli is at heart a blue team. They react more than they act and they counter more than they pile pressure. That their fans (and president who I imagine like a red/blue legend in the vein of Niv-Mizzet) are much more hotheaded red is another story.
I hope you liked this little mind game. Until the next time you can entertain yourself by finding Serie A’s black aligned team. I have found mine.