When you say “Magic” some peoples first thoughts are of magicians like Copperfield and Houdini, but others like myself, think of something very different and will add the words “The Gathering” right away. Recently I was invited to attend “Magic on Tap” here in Sydney, an event designed to showcase the latest of what’s available in the Magic The Gathering universe, catering to both seasoned pros, occasional players and complete rookies to the game.
Upon arrival I was fortunate enough to get into a game pretty quickly using a demo deck and squared off against one of the seasoned Magic players who were there to help demo the game and assist new players. My first game was an unexpected win, with me dealing an additional 11 points of damage on top of the kill to win the game and looking back it might not have been a smart move on my part, as it would come back to bite me later in the night. Up next was a ‘Sealed deck’ game which meant I was given 6 boosters packs to open and then construct a 40-card deck to battle my opponent based on the cards I was lucky enough to get. While in the past I’ve had a preference for Red/ Black or Blue/White decks I found myself creating a Black/White deck just for the hell of it and initially it was doing well, until the Magic player I was paired against previously spotted me playing and decided to give my opponent a few pointers and aid her in not only smashing my forces but to also do an additional 19-points of damage on top of the kill to add further insult to injury and ensure my defeat.
As the night progressed I enjoyed a few standard games with prebuilt decks, played in Two Headed Giant match (two players per side sharing 30 life points total) had another go at a sealed deck build and even taught a friend to play, who subsequently kicked my ass. While I may not have won many games that night the real fun for me comes from being a part of that community. The unexpected rush and trepidation that comes from opening a booster pack and not knowing what gem you might be lucky enough to get, interacting with other players, building your decks and having peers from within the community help you along the way. I was also lucky enough to have the opportunity to see a couple of top tier players go at it in various formats during the night in some no holds bared competition with tactics (and a dash of luck) that made for some incredible battles and some truly entrancing gameplay (for a regular player like me at least).
For those that where more inclined towards using a digital medium than a physical one, there was also plenty of access to the digital version of the game. while its just as enjoyable (and a lot easier on the wallet) for me nothing will ever beat that feeling of having something tangible in your hands and seeing the look on you opponents face when you drop a massive creature (and then a similar joy that get when they see the look on your face as they instantly somehow kill it and destroy your well laid plans for victory).
Throughout the evening it was great to be in a atmosphere that was reminisce of the Magic The Gathering events I use to attend so many years ago and enjoyed so much (except with less arguing over the meaning of cards and more alcohol). For me Magic has always been one of those games that caters to all ages and types of players, from causal players like myself, to seasoned tournament champions. With Wizards of the Coast having such a strong focus on community and supporting both new and existing players to make sure that no matter what your skill level is to make sure that you can enjoy the game, this event was the perfect embodiment of those values.
A massive thanks to Double Jump and Wizards of the Coast for not only a fantastic evening and a brilliant event but for rekindling my love for Magic The Gathering, now if you’ll excuse me I have boosters to open and decks to build.