Magic 30: The Networking Aspect

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Thus far, I’ve covered the Magic finance (buying, selling, vendors) experience at Magic 30 in Las Vegas and my personal tournament reports. They were my top two priorities for the weekend, and both were highly fulfilling.

That said, I did have another objective for the event: to meet and play fun games with as many of the people I’ve been networking with on Twitter and Discord over the years as I could. This extended to other finance folks, Limited experts, cosplayers, Magic personalities, Wizards employees, and anyone I recognized from the interwebs.

While I consider my selling endeavors and my tournament play highly successful (in that I had fun and achieved baseline goals), my socialization goals at this event were met only by pure chance. Allow me to explain.

Meeting Some Longtime Friends

For those who may not know, I’m fairly active on Magic social media platforms—particularly on Twitter and Discord. I’ve used both these platforms over the years to meet some really cool people and make long-lasting friendships both domestically and overseas.

I rarely attend large Magic events, so when I do it’s really important I try and meet face-to-face with some of the friends I’ve met online over the years. This time around, I had the opportunity to meet @lockheed and his wife, two friends I’ve talked with numerous times on Discord but whom I had never met in person. I try to keep my Discord channels to a maintainable minimum, but Lockheed’s group is a bunch of genuinely nice people who enjoy Magic and all things nerdy. Truly a crowd I feel at home in, even though I had never met the people in person before.

That changed at last! Lockheed and his wife were both extremely friendly and I am so happy to have finally met them in person. It’s fantastic to know that if I ever end up in their neck of the woods on the West Coast, I’ll have some friends in town to hang out with.

In addition to these connections, I also met with one or two other people I knew from Twitter but could finally say hi to in person. Honestly, though, things were so hectic that I really fell short in the networking department.

Meeting Some Awesome Magic Personalities

Over the late October weekend, thousands of players converged in Las Vegas to enjoy this 30-year-old game. Among this group were a handful of Magic personalities I was particularly excited to meet.

For example, while walking through the convention hall I stumbled upon Zenaide Beckham (@ZBexx), a well-loved and respected Magic personality and cosplayer. She is my personal favorite and was the one cosplayer I really wanted to meet in person at the event. It was fortunate that she was dressed up as Serra the Benevolent so it was easy to spot her in the crowd!

ZBexx is such a positive force in the community, sharing her hard work in creating beautiful, realistic costumes that celebrate Magic. I like the vibe she gives off, and that rang even truer when we met in person. I thanked her for all she did, and she humbly turned the “thank you” around back to me, sharing how much she appreciated that I enjoyed her work! The Magic Twitterverse can often become a toxic environment, but ZBexx does a great job combatting that with her positivity.

Coincidentally, as I was walking up to ZBexx to say hi, I overheard someone talking to a guy nearby. As they stepped away, they called him Hunter Pence. Well, there’s only one Hunter Pence I know in the Magic community, the retired all-star baseball player. Sure enough, it was the same guy! I had to get my picture taken with him.

Hunter was so friendly it blew me away! You never know what you’re going to get when you walk up to a celebrity of sorts and ask to have your picture taken with them. He didn’t blink an eye, and was happy to oblige with a smile on his face! Talk about being in the right place at the right time – I’m a fairly big baseball fan (it ebbs and flows) so meeting a World Series winner and four-time all-star was really exciting. I only wish I had the courage (and time) to challenge him to a game of Commander.

Meeting MaRo

As the event was winding down Saturday evening, my final day on site, I received a notification on my phone from the Magic 30 app. The alert said that I had just an hour or so left to meet Mark Rosewater in person for a signing! Well, I didn’t even know he was doing this!

It turns out the Mark Rosewater meet-and-greet wasn’t in the main convention hall. This notification informed us that the location was on some terrace on the umpteenth floor of another building. My co-worker (whom I hung out with a good bit Saturday) asked around and we managed to find the location. We had to exit the building, walk across a paved courtyard to another building, and head up to the right floor in order to find Mark.

While there, we found numerous people playing casual games of Magic over some snacks and drinks. I remember thinking to myself, “If I didn’t have to focus so much on selling cards at this event, I would have loved to have hung out here myself.” Alas, there was no time.

I promptly walked over to the terrace and there was MaRo! I suspect many people didn’t even know this meet-and-greet opportunity was taking place (I certainly didn’t know) because there was basically no line! I walked right up, shook hands with Mark, and gave him my playmat to sign!

As a long-time player and dedicated fan of Magic, it was truly an honor to meet the man behind many of the sets and cards I’ve come to love over the years. I am a fan of Un-sets, particularly, and I get the sense that MaRo and I enjoy Magic in some similar ways. He asked me how long I had been playing, and when I told him since 1997 he sounded impressed.

“Wow, that’s a long time,” he commented.

“Not as long as you have, though,” I replied.

If the game came out in 1993, though, then the difference in our years with the game can’t be that large. He was kind to point that out.

The Missed Opportunities

There were so many other people I had hoped to meet and play Magic with whom I did not get the chance to find at this event. In general, Magic 30 was not conducive to spontaneous meet-ups. The shortage of tables was a real barrier the entire time I was there. Sure, it was easy to tell someone a table I was playing at during an event when I had a specific table number—but then I was in the middle of a tournament, so I couldn’t exactly socialize.

When not playing in tournaments, seating for fun games of Magic with friends was at a major premium. There were also so many activities going on at one time that meeting someone nearby was often pure luck. What if I was trying to meet someone while they were simultaneously near the main stage watching the latest presentation? We would never know, and would completely miss each other. I’m sure this happened on more than one occasion.

Even though I was able to hang out with Lockheed and his wife Saturday morning before the doors opened, I had a feeling it would be difficult to reconnect at the event once we parted ways. Sure enough, I walked towards the vendors while Lockheed went elsewhere to start the event and we didn’t see each other again despite numerous communication attempts. Unless two people happen to be doing something similar at the same time, it was just really difficult to coordinate spontaneous meetings. This is my largest critique of the event.

Wrapping It Up

I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet some cool, friendly people in the Magic community. From long-time friends to well-known cosplayers and all-star baseball players, I had the chance to talk with an impressive group of individuals who make this game special.

My only regret was that I was so caught up in my vendor grind—both covering for Quiet Speculation and selling cards for myself—that I couldn’t take full advantage of the social aspect of this event. With over 10,000 converging in Las Vegas to celebrate Magic, I would have loved to have met more than the handful I did. Because I didn’t deliberately prioritize the social aspects of the event, however, I do feel I missed out.

This is one of the only regrets I have from the weekend. It’s something I’ll dwell on some more as I think ahead to the next one. My next piece will be the final installment of my Magic 30 coverage series. I’ll focus on the biggest takeaways and how I would do things differently next time around! After all, the best way to ensure the next event is better than the last one is to grow and learn from our experiences.

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Sigmund Ausfresser

Sigmund first started playing Magic when Visions was the newest set, back in 1997. Things were simpler back then. After playing casual Magic for about ten years, he tried his hand at competitive play. It took about two years before Sigmund starting taking down drafts. Since then, he moved his focus towards Legacy and MTG finance. Now that he's married and works full-time, Sigmund enjoys the game by reading up on trends and using this knowledge in buying/selling cards.

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Posted in Community, Cosplay, Finance, Magic 30Tagged , , ,

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One thought on “Magic 30: The Networking Aspect

  1. The vintange market has started to move up. There have been big purchases at Card Kingdom recently. It looks like the Magic 30 event has been successful in reestablishing a unified and stable secondary market. These are cards like Alpha’s Nightmare and Brushland. Huge purchases.

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