Hi there! My name is Shawn or as the title of the blog would suggest Island Looter. That’s my handle on Twitter and MTGO as I start covering my play on there. I haven’t been doused in gamma rays giving me cool powers but bear with me as I ramble through my origin story.
As a little background I am an amateur Magic The Gathering player, actively playing since about a week or so before the New Phyrexia pre-release weekend. I have actually played Magic for much much longer, but in such small amounts as to not really matter that much in today’s world. I started with a 5th edition starter pack and some random boosters including an Arabian Nights pack. Sadly best card I got from those packs was a Swords to Plowshares, but it was fun playing some jank decks against my brother over the kitchen table. I didn’t get to play much due to work and the cards went into a box, not seeing light until May of 2011 when I dug them back out to see if I hit any gold. The story that follows covers a bit of how I got here.
From my modest Magic beginnings along the way I played the varied Magic digital titles including the awesome Microprose Magic: The Gathering title from 1997 to get my fix. I was even a beta tester of the original Magic Online way back when.
Ultimately like many returning magic players it was Duels of the Planeswalkers that drew me back in. After years of only flitting about the fringes of Magic I was about to get thrown in pretty hard.
As an IT Consultant I get sent to cities all over and while that often doesn’t do much for my home, family or gaming time it does let me meet interesting people. Enter Mike M., a tournament organizer from the Vancouver area that has been doing this stuff forever. In the past Mike M. has seen his fair share of tournaments and probably run even more. Mike was working at the client site I was at and in our daily interaction started shooting the breeze about everything. It came out that he did the area events for Magic, I of course was familiar and he really got my interest peaked. The project was busy but one lunch before the end I brought a jank free 30 card starter deck I got at PAX the year before modified with some bulk singles my brother and I split for $10 and he promptly smashed me. He let me try out a Kuldotha Rebirth deck and I fumbled badly through that, those cards did a lot more stuff than I was used to, but the hook was set.
Finally work slowed down a little and I got a short term project in my home city of Victoria, BC. I decided to see what was going on in my local area. The Wizards Locator pointed me to a game store not 3 minutes from my house that I had no idea existed. I originally had wanted to try out the D&D Encounters session as that had always been an area of interest but in my conversations with Michael L. the proprietor he mentioned that their DM and retired but they had drop in game nights and had FNM. I asked what that was and after he described it I recalled my conversation with my friend Mike M. the TO from before and the ads on Duels.
The next Tuesday I drop down to the store, Skyhaven Games for it’s free drop in game night. I find a few nice younger gamers trying out a new strategy board game. I join in for a match and had a good time, all the while eyeing the packs of cards across the store. I walk over after and start taking to Michael about what would be needed to play at FNM. He points me towards the event decks he has, citing the mono red one being pretty good. I snap buy it and some card sleeves and make my way home to check it out.
|Into the Breach|
|1 Contested War Zone
|2 Darksteel Axe
2 Devastating Summons
2 Galvanic Blast
4 Kuldotha Rebirth
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Panic Spellbomb
16 other spells
I get home that night and tell my wife about the event and gained the wife approval to check out the FNM. We’re catching up on shows missed while I was on the road and I sleeve up the cards, barely even reading them but recognizing a few of them from my matches with Mike M. I show up Friday not even having shuffled or looked at the deck, work kept me busy and those with a family know how it can be.
My first match is against a young guy named Paul D. Paul has a really easy going attitude and I have told him many times since that if it wasn’t for him I may not have stuck with it. Most of my opponents that first night were great sports as I fumbled my way through the event. I am sure made more mistakes than would be normally legal but I got a lot of help and advice through the event. The environment at Skyhaven typically fosters new players and the store has a good rep for that, It can really pay off as the player base has grown considerably in the past year as the game has grown. Sadly the event was long enough ago that I can’t recall all the ins and outs but that deck was fast enough that I wrapped up that first FNM in 4th, good for a few packs. If I was hooked before this is the tug on the reel that sets it.
Turns out Kuldotha Rebirth was an excellent choice at that exact moment, finished 4th, 3rd, 7th, 4th in the first month and had a blast, accumulating a few cards and slowly improving my deck on an extreme budget as I wasn’t sure if I was going to stay with it long term. Even luckier operating on a budget with this deck was even easier as I came across Jacob Van Lunen’s now defunct but very good article on modifying the deck on a budget.
As you can suspect since I’m here writing this now surprisingly long intro article, I am still playing and Wizards has gotten their fair share of my spending money. I have dove in full bore and along the way met some amazing Magic personalities, attended 2, soon to be 3 Grand Prix, two PAX Magic parties and taken down a number of small events around my store and others as I travel.
Magic is an incredible game and I really appreciate what it has brought to my life as a long time gamer. An amazing community and personalities just round out the mix.
So what to expect from this blog? I’m pretty much going to use this to talk about my adventures in magic, events I go to and things I see and do. Long term I’d love to get more involved in the community through streaming, maybe a podcast. For now this will be my home in the community and I would like to extend a big thanks to Neal (wrongwaygoback) for providing a portal like this and allowing a player like myself a small footprint into this great community.
Stay tuned for my Return to Ravnica Game Day report, a recent RTR draft and maybe even a recorded draft stream if time allows. In a couple weeks I’ll cover some events as I travel around the US including a planned draft in Louisville, Kentucky leading up to Grand Prix Chicago as I travel for work.
To wrap this up I’ll just underline the fact I am an amateur player and I will make all kinds of mistakes along the way. I appreciate any of you that take the time to check out, comment and enjoy the stories and videos I make along the way. This likely won’t be any phenomenon like FNM Hero but at minimum we can share this game we love and help each other along the way.
If you made it this far you’re already my favorite person, thanks and look forward to my Game day post in the next day!