As with many players my age, I started Magic young, quit, and came back later. My previous post addressed when I first got into Magic. This post will address the second, and most recent time, that I started playing Magic.
College isn’t for everyone. It wasn’t for me. In 2007, I came home from The University of Oklahoma and would not be returning. When I returned home, the only friends I had that wouldn’t be heading back to school at the end of the summer were the few people I knew from high school who’d chosen to go to school locally, at The University of Houston. One such friend was Mia.
This story isn’t about Mia, so I won’t talk about her too much. One late night, after an alcohol-fueled evening of MarioKart and good food (her roommates were both Hotel and Restaurant Management majors), I crashed on Mia’s couch. I didn’t have anything to do in the morning, so she suggested I go with her [then] boyfriend, Will, to play games at the local Games Workshop. This would be my first introduction to serious gaming.
The abridged version of the next year or so is as follows. I got into gaming. First Warhammer: Fantasy Battles then Warhammer 40,000. Will took me to a real (ie, not corporately owned where you can only play that company’s games) game store. There, I was introduced to Warmachine and Hordes. Eventually, Will took a job at that same Games Workshop store.
I don’t know the exact technicalities and whether it was a lay off or a firing, or what the preferred nomenclature is. Either way, Will came to no longer be employed at GW. We’d become friends with another guy who worked there who also lost his job, and the idea slowly struck: They’d start their own game store.
Again, I’ll skip ahead a bit. On Wednesday, the third of December, 2008, Asgard Games opened for business.
That Friday, Asgard held their first ever Friday Night Magic event. Out of excitement and, looking back on it, perhaps a bit of solidarity, the attendance was huge. Just about every gamer has played Magic at some time in their life and those that had showed up to play Magic again.
The event was quite confusing. It was many people’s first Magic event. Heck, it was the store’s first Magic event! The pre-draft announcements included explaining how drafting works, the correct way to shuffle and mulligan in a real event, and an explanation of how planeswalkers, which most of us had never encountered, work. This was finished with an announcement that plagued every FNM for the next year or two: “Planeswalkers are not creatures!”
The set was Shards of Alara. If I had to guess, most of us hadn’t read the spoiler or even knew anything about the set. I tore open my first pack, thumbed to the back (I knew enough to check for the rare first!) and I saw not only my first planeswalker, but my first ever foil: Elspeth, Knight-Errant
I couldn’t tell you much about that deck. I unknowingly played Bant. I had a fair number of Exalted dudes, including Akrasan Squires and a quite nice threat to combine them with in Jhessian Infiltrator.
What I can tell you is this: Without this store, this draft, and perhaps even this awesome first pick, I would not be writing this and you certainly wouldn’t be reading it.
I went on to draft more and eventually build an okay standard deck. Naturally, I stuck to Bant, building an Exalted deck. Back then, Lifelink still went on the stack. In my first standard tournament, I went to time in game one of round one when both of us had multiple exalted creatures, including multiple Battlegrace Angels swinging our life totals into the three figures.
When I learned about other formats, the first format I was interested in was Vintage. People were okay with proxies and a new deck called “Noble Fish” used many of the cards I already owned.
Eventually I got into what is now my primary love, Legacy. I identified Bant as the deck that I wanted to play. So I started, as many did then, with Merfolk. Buying into cards like Daze and Force of Will meant that my journey into other decks would be a bit easier. In those days, people were playing Tarmogoyf as a finisher in Merfolk, so I got those as well as the Misty Rainforests and Tropical Islands to support it.
All this started with one card. So Elspeth, I thank you. Thanks for getting me back into what I hope will be a lifelong hobby. And damn you for untold dollars I could’ve spent elsewhere!