"If Magic is dead, no one told us."
Magic: The Gathering has always been about two things: Magic, the card game itself, and The Gathering. Friday, March 5th, I discovered once again that these aren't two opposing forces, but pieces of a whole. Magic Con Minneapolis was the bullet that killed "Magic is dead", by showing all of us once and for all that as long as there are passionate fans on both sides of the equation, this game we love is far removed from its sunset.
One of the things that hit me about going to my first Magic Con was just how absolutely hard the fandom goes for their favorite parts of what makes this game so great. You had cosplay and Vorthos nerds talking about their favorite characters and which parts of the March of the Machine and Aftermath stories scarred them the most. Content creators showed off their decks against fans and friends alike, and the CEDH Spikes were roping in the wary casuals and demonstrating the joy of Playing to Win. Collectors like Infinity Bro Robbie were on the hunt for that card, pack, or in my case Fblthp Secret Lair that had eluded them for so long. In every sense of the phrase, there was Magic in The Gathering.
Like any good family party, there was as much conversation about the past ("What have you been up to?", "Did you ever finish that Rocco deck?") as there was about the future. Magic has a long and incredible history, but it's not a game just of the past and that was put on display in full force when this writer (despite a pounding headache) joined the chorus of shouts and screams of joy as we got to peek into the future in the form of the spoiler panels. News of Doctor Who, Wilds of Eldraine, Secret Lairs, and of course, Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth were all met with an uproar of excitement. If Magic is dead, no one told us.
Everyone was aflame with the joy and dare I say it... "Magic" of the event.
Throughout the entire experience, the mood was at a peak sort of electric excitement that arced from one person to the next infecting us all with that contagious smile. The best part about this, it wasn't exclusive to the audience. We were fortunate enough to make connections with the game designers, Wizards media team, artists, convention staff, and of course, the content creators we all know and love. Everyone was aflame with the joy and dare I say it... "Magic" of the event.
One moment in particular stood out to me was the opportunity I was given to join Steve Sunu (Wizards Global Product Marketing Manager), and Zac Clark (Eternal Durdles Host) in order to share a game of Commander and talk about the amazing Secret Lair Commander Deck: From Cute to Brute. It was a chance to showcase the deck capabilities and talk about the changes going on in both the design and distribution of Secret Lair products, but more importantly it was three fans of the game enjoying a conversation together. It's clear that these products aren't made just for fans, they are made by fans. For all the insight that was shared about the behind-the-scenes of Magic (like longer Secret Lair Drop windows), what I got most out of the conversation was that every person that touches a card from its inception to arriving in your hands, genuinely loves Magic.
"Fblthp had always hated crowds."
If you've known me for any amount of time you'd know that my all-time favorite character is Fblthp. Like Fblthp, I relate to feeling lost in the crowd; an extra in the background of someone else's art. Magic Con shattered that misconception. I may be one face in many, but each of us matters. We aren't lost in a crowd -- we are, together, The Gathering.
Jarret Curtis is the Magic sommelier of The Infinity Bros. If you wanna know which cheese pairs best with Codie Turbo Naus... he's your guy. (It's Havarti btw) Check him out on our new series Magic Monthly, and chat TCGs, CCGs, LCGs, and LFGs with him over on Twitter! (@JarretTheBear)