This was discussed and dismissed previously because no official API was provided, but an API does exist for automatic hover over images and links. The Wizards published API service called AutoCard Window would be a great start. Here is a quote that would seem to answer any questions about legality. (My emphasis)

Keep in mind that moving these images anywhere off of our servers is still a violation however, by having us host the images and using our function to access them, you are in the clear.

This functionality should not auto-link the terms but rather be used by specific syntax or markup. With so many Magic cards in existence, a lot of common terms would get linked accidentally if it were automatic.

Btw, ghoppe pointed this out

  • Really interesting question Jim. I am afraid that the jsfiddle link is broken, FYI.
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 19:20
  • 1
    @DarkCygnus Guess it expired. It was 4 years old. I removed it from the question. Commented Feb 9, 2018 at 23:43

4 Answers 4


I'll hack something together, hopefully in the next week or so.

We're thinking syntax* like

[mtg:The Cheese Stands Alone]

but we'll have to play with it a little bit.

Do note that the AutoCard feature only seems to document opening new windows, that nifty hover affect is something else. I'll do some digging to see if that is documented anywhere, but if not we can't copy that particular behavior.

Whelp, in theory this is done.

Take a gander: The Cheese Stands Alone

*Draw3Cards syntax is a little too "global" for a game-specific syntax I feel.

  • The syntax works for me. Looking forward to the feature. The AutoCard page seems to indicate it it supports the hover image. Also the jsfiddle by ghoppe provides the hover affect too, so take a look at that. Commented Apr 21, 2012 at 2:57
  • @Jim - No, the hover image is using an OpenTip function which is not documented there. It looks like a later addition, that article is just talking about opening a window when you click a link. This question's linked jsfiddle seems to have lifted that function out of wizards.com/Assets/scripts/miscellaneous.js . Note that it's using /Handlers/Image.ashx, which isn't mentioned in that post. Commented Apr 21, 2012 at 3:08
  • Ah, you are correct, but it looks like that still meets their requirements of keeping the images on their server. Commented Apr 21, 2012 at 3:23
  • Thanks @KevinMontrose!
    – Pat Ludwig Mod
    Commented Apr 24, 2012 at 14:26
  • 1
    Thanks for the card links. As the guy who whipped up the jsfiddle, I admit I lifted the tooltip function (which is open source) to speed the creation of the popup. But there is an API to retrieve just the images from gatherer — any popup script could be used. e.g. The Cheese Stands Alone I completely understand the stance of not wanting to use undocumented APIs, so I'll take what we can get. ;)
    – ghoppe
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 1:13
  • Yaaaaaaaaaaaay! Commented May 3, 2012 at 3:35
  • Would have liked to have tool tip, but this is great. Thanks! Commented May 3, 2012 at 6:14

Kevin Montrose's answer in that question provides all the reasons an image hotlink is not legally or technologically a good idea. Yes, it is frustrating that everybody and their brother has an autocard feature. An homegrown hotlink system will likely never happen, for the reasons he provided.

EDIT: However, the Wizards-official AutoCard feature you suggest means that Kevin's answer should be reevaluated - given that it's an official API, it should alleviate all of their concerns.

Secondarily, if it is decided (for whatever reason) that the AutoCard definitely won't work (meaning we can't use the official API, and we almost certainly can't use image hotlinking for the reasons previously provided), I don't believe we've heard anything yet about my suggestion. It's been revised some since the last time we discussed all this. It does unfortunately share some of the technological hiccups - we'd be autogenerating a search link for Gatherer, and if Gatherer ever changes, it's possible for our links to go kerblooey. However, it does mitigate the legal issues somewhat, and given that we aren't hotlinking to a specific ID-based page or anything (just a search), it seems a bit less risky to me.

TL;DR - AutoCard please!

  • 8
    I'd like to see that status-declined reveiwed again. We did not have the link to the published api of Autocard Windows at that time. That was one of the major sticking points.
    – Pat Ludwig Mod
    Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 14:06
  • 1
    The AutoCard API is published by Wizards specifically to be allowed under their TOC. Commented Apr 3, 2012 at 16:45
  • @JimMcKeeth I'd love for official AutoCard - my suggestion is merely a "if we can't have that, can we at least have this?" Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 15:34
  • I voted for you in both places. I'd still suggest putting it as a feature request on its own, instead of an answer on another. Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 21:39
  • @JimMcKeeth I'll certainly do that if it ever comes time, but for the moment I don't want to distract anyone from this particular feature request. I now realize I say that in a comment on an answer which is possibly distracting... Commented Apr 17, 2012 at 22:39

New feature, hurray! This helps a lot when you've got 30 links in a post.

Some slight issues:

  1. The preview view doesn't seem to parse [mtg:Cardname], even when it is handled correctly in the finished product.

  2. Plurals or shortened names are likely to be a problem (I've already had to change a bunch of [mtg:Pyroclasms] to [mtg:Pyroclasm]s. Is there a possibility for a Wikipedia-like [mtg:Cardname|Linkname] syntax?

  • 1
    Can you ask these as questions so they don't get lost in here? I'd call the first one a bug and the second one a feature-request
    – Pat Ludwig Mod
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 3:38
  • The second is likely not going to be possible - plurals are too nasty (see Triumph of the Hordes, etc.), and unless we're going to resolve URLs before autolinking, I doubt it'll happen. We (I) just need to be careful with the amazing new feature! :) Commented May 3, 2012 at 3:46
  • @IanPugsley Well, hence my suggestion of having you figure out what the right singular is. :)
    – Alex P
    Commented May 3, 2012 at 3:53

There's a browser extension that does exactly this - automatically recognises card names on any page you visit (even those without support on their end, such as this one) and links automatically, with popup images. It's called AutocardAnywhere and is available here: http://www.pwpoints.com/extensions

  • Also, it has options that allow you to control which cards it links and where to avoid the cancel issue highlighted above.
    – user2692
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 8:11
  • The advantage of the AutoCard API is it only turns tagged card names into rollover links. Also it gives the enhanced MTG support experience to all visitors, not just those with the extension loaded. Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 15:47
  • I'd say that's a disadvantage as then you have to rely on the person posting the message correctly tagging all the cards they mention. There are thousands of forum threads all over the net started by someone who doesn't bother using the card tags, immediately followed by half a dozen comments from people complaining that they haven't used tags.
    – user2692
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 16:01
  • 6
    @user2692 Luckily, B&CG SE isn't a forum. It's pretty easy for another user to edit in the card tags if the OP didn't. Much easier than having to manually add Gatherer links, which is what happens a lot anyway right now!
    – Alex P
    Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 16:10
  • Hopefully there will be hints on how to add the special tags by the edit window, and someone else can easily edit the questions and answers to add tags, just as @AlexP suggested. Commented Apr 4, 2012 at 18:22
  • 3
    I tried that extension. On my mac with Firefox, it showed strong evidence of a large memory leak. The highlighting was also not completely reliable, in addition to popping up where I didn't want it to. I won't doubt that I probably could have spent time to make it work better for me, but it was a lot easier to uninstall.
    – Pat Ludwig Mod
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 3:42
  • 6
    Furthermore, we want to aim the site at the 80%+ that visit from Google. Giving them a good experience shouldn't involve asking everyone to install a browser extension.
    – Pat Ludwig Mod
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 3:42
  • Works perfectly for me in Chrome on Windows, and fixes the problem everywhere - random forums, chatting on Facebook or Twitter etc, etc.
    – user2692
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 8:28

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