“Magic: The Gathering club attends Grand Prix Orlando”

Unbeknownst to many, the Magic: The Gathering (MTG) club is one of the most active student organizations on campus. The group congregates at least once a week in X promenade; however, through their Facebook page, many other club members setup unofficial meetings during the week. On top of that, players also regularly attend Friday Night Magic (FNM) and, about every four months, attend a series of prerelease events at Dark Side Comics.

“I wanna say I’ve done an average of one [event] every two weeks in the past year, so like 30 [in total],” second-year Miranda Day said.

MTG is, as their website defines, “a tradable card game where you build your collection of cards by trading with your friends, assembling decks of cards, and battling against an opponent and their deck” with “powerful spells” and “monstrous creatures.”

“I’ve always really liked strategy games my whole life, so it’s just like the perfect strategy game,” Day said.

The most recent event that the campus’ club attended was Grand Prix (GP) Orlando, held October 3-5 at the Orange County Convention Center. About 10 students attended the weekend-long excursion, competing in the main event against MTG players from around the country. Many other side events and casual games occur simultaneously at GPs, making the multifaceted convention the holy grail for active players.

“GP Orlando was pretty good,” third-year Ian McNair said. “It’s nice to see people that I’ve met from across the state and beyond.”

This was Day’s first GP, and she was excited to report that she placed approximately 300 out of 2,200. Her favorite part, however, was meeting and trading cards with Craig Wescoe, who is one of the best MTG players in the world.

“Always cool to see pro players floating around,” McNair said.

Day explained that to receive “one of the best in the world” status, a player needs to consistently win GPs, and then subsequently gain an invite to the exclusive Pro Tour, which contains about 200 participants.

“Even the lowest level games for the Pro Tour are really intense and people train for those specific match-ups and for that specific player,” Day said.

“When there’s a higher level event like a Pro Tour Qualifier in the vicinity I will try and go to those as well,” McNair, who attends a regular rules enforcement level event, such as a FNM, once a week, said.

“My favorite part about GP Orlando, and most GPs, are the vendors,” McNair continued. “It’s very easy to buy, sell, and trade into cards when there are a bunch of different people competing with each other. Trading with players was nice too.”

“Releases of new MTG sets occur a few times a year,” thesis student Tania Russell said. “Each year a new block [of cards] is released, and in each block there has traditionally been three new sets [of cards]; however, changes have recently been made to the structure of block releases and starting next year there will only be two sets of new cards released per block.”

A few weeks ago, club members attended the Khans of Tarkir prerelease events. The Khans of Tarkir set is the first in the Khans of Tarkir block. Russell explained that the next release will be in January, the second set of the Khans block entitled Fate Reforged.

Day won back enough store-credit to pay for her entry-fee to the midnight event. McNair and his teammate, who attended the special Two-Headed giant prerelease event that pits pairs against pairs, won first place.

“Right now it feels like we’re a loose association of people who come together for events or workshops to collaborate and just generally support each other when people need help,” McNair said.

Alum James Eveland (’10) started the club when he was a student with two other players on campus.

“We had a group of players but no real organization. I felt that there was space for a MTG club so I formed one,” Eveland said. “We started small, but grew after a few meetings. It was a welcoming and open environment for everyone to play and was something I was very proud of.”

“We got really disorganized last year, now we seem like an actual club again,” Day said. “We got a bunch of new members this year, and old members also show up for the organized stuff now, which is good, myself included.”

The club welcomes anyone at any skill level. Some players walked into the first meeting this year, which included complimentary starter packs, with absolutely no experience at all while some had been playing for years. For example, Eveland has played MTG, off and on, for about 15 years, while Day just started playing when she entered last year. McNair started around 2011, and Russell over three years ago.

Members embrace their inner “nerdiness.” “Well, it might be too nerdy,” Day warned before telling a story from GP Orlando.

“Right now it feels like we’re a loose association of people who come together for events or workshops to collaborate and just generally support each other when people need help,” McNair said.

“I think it’s a great place. I loved it when I was there and I made some of the best friendships I ever had through it. I owe the MTG club a lot, some of the members got me through some really rough times,” Eveland said. “I’m truly grateful for the friends I made.”

Information for this article was taken from http://magic.wizards.com.

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