The Magic The Gathering Grand Prix Reminded Me Just How Special The Game Is

About 12 years ago, I was a spotty 12 year old goofball. I was really into video games and Star Wars and I was still heavily invested in the Pokemon card game, but it seemed like most people had moved on to Yu-Gi-Oh, or Beyblades or Tazos. This was before Twitter, iPhones, Flappy Bird and even mobile internet, so basically everything that I do now to pass the time didn’t exist yet. I was bored. I needed something new.

I remember my mum buying me a deck of Magic cards. It was a green/blue (Island and Forest) deck, a deck which I still have to this day. She had decided I wasn’t allowed to have it until my birthday, so I was a little let down because I was completely ready to get into something new. I had only caught a glimpse at the gorgeous art style on the box and one or two of the cards, and I was very interested indeed. I had never really experienced a game of Magic before, apart from seeing some of the older kids at school playing it, but I had never even held a card at that point. Eventually, mum decided to give me the deck and the second those cards hit my hands, I was in love. I spent the next few years dueling everyone that I could and I dare say, I got pretty good at the game. The last few years it’s gotten a bit harder to play in real life, everyone that I used to play with has moved on, gotten married, had kids and bought a lawn mower. I do play Magic via the various apps available, but it’s nowhere near the same as holding the real cards. So when I was invited to the Grand Prix in Sydney, let’s just say I was completely ready to be around Magic again.Magic-PeopleAs soon as we arrived the Magic fan in me took over and I was completely overwhelmed by how many people were there. It had to be thousands, all devout Magic fans, from all walks of life, sitting around having a great time playing Magic. I was home. I ran around the outside of the playing area and took a bunch of photos, the scope of the area was insane. I still can’t believe how many people were there! I was then taken to the media area and given a bunch of cards to build a deck, which to my embarrassment, I had never done before. I had always bought the pre-made decks just to keep up with it, also they are only about $25 that way, which made it really easy to stay on top of the different sets that come out each year.

After building a deck, it was time to get started. To this day, my favourite thing about Magic, and in particular, the Magic community is how welcoming it is. There was all sorts of people playing, from international pros, to middle aged seasoned players. I spoke to one man who told me had been playing since the 90’s and at the same table there was a woman who had been playing for 2 months. The diversity and sense of welcoming was just incredible, exactly how I remember Magic. There was such a great sense of fun in the room, a sense that I don’t get as often as I would like. Magic-CardsIn this current set, there is a new feature that I had never seen before called ‘Transform’. I had decided to use a Forest deck again, so a lot of my cards were human werewolves that could transform and become significantly more powerful for the right mana cost. I am quite fond of these abilities, just because it’s almost like a surprise attack. There was a handful of times where my partner thought she had me, but with the use of Transform, my creature sometimes doubled it’s power and flipped the table on the game, which was very cool. Unfortunately, I did end up losing but I put up a good fight and I’m looking forward to playing more with my cards and tightening up my deck.

Some time passed and I decided to take a walk around the room to chat to some of the players and check out the prizes. I didn’t want to interrupt too many people, so I decided to head to the prize wall. Apart from the insane cash prizes, there was a lot of cool Magic merch for people to win. Everything from oversized cards to limited edition artwork and play mats, there was definitely something there for every Magic player to drool over.Magic-Price-WallInside the hall, where the game was being played, it was very serious. People were having fun for sure, but it was quiet. Concentration was the first priority and with $10,000 on the line, I didn’t expect anyone to be taking their eyes off the prize for very long. However, out in the lines, waiting for hot chips and sandwiches, I was overhearing some really great stories. There was a lot of people, talking about their first experiences with Magic, their previous competitive ventures and how far they had come in terms of skill. I love hearing those kinds of stories, the ones that no one ever tells because they are embarrassed. I overheard one guy say how he had been too nervous to compete this year, but his friend had been taking him to some local events in their area and he decided to go anyway. Best of all, he was doing really well, and you could tell by his genuine excitement that he was glad he did. That was probably my favourite moment from the day and I still hope that kid won.

The Magic Grand Prix was such an awesome event, and an excellent reminder for me. I had forgotten how special Magic can be and it’s made me want to get back into the game so much. As soon as I got home, I jumped on the Googlenets and found out that there is a Good Game store right near my house that has regular Magic events, so I will be tuning my deck and heading to those events for sure. If you are like me and have been missing the good old Magic days, I highly recommend getting back into it. The current set is really cool and I’m sure most of you would enjoy playing again. If you’re reading this and are wanting to get into Magic, now is the best time. Even if you have no idea where to start, just pop into a game store and ask, they are all so friendly and helpful! If you want to check out the Grand Prix event for yourself, you can watch a bunch of the live streams from Magic’s Twitch channel here. I hope to see some of you guys around playing Magic!