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AICN TABLETOP: Massawyrm makes a daytrip to the MAGIC: THE GATHERING PRO TOUR! With photographic evidence!

EDITOR'S NOTE: The posting of this article was delayed a few days due to some technical issues with image processing/posting on our end. The article was submitted earlier in the week but we're just now able to bring it on-line. Know that: these images are EMBIGGENABLE!!

Hola all. Massawyrm here.
This past weekend the MAGIC: THE GATHERING Pro Tour had its only Continental US stop this year here in Austin and I couldn’t pass up a chance to head down to the convention center and check it out for myself. While there, the lovely Tera - one of Wizards’ reps - was kind enough to give myself and the far-more-talented-than-her-slacker-husband MISSUSWYRM (who took all of the photos in today’s piece) a tour while introducing me to a number of the folks behind the scenes at WotC. For those unfamiliar with M:TG, it is the world’s most popular collectible card game and just about the biggest tabletop game in the world. Having been around since the early 90’s (back when I started playing it) it has had its ups and downs over the years, including the restriction of cards, unsavory secondary market practices and issues with the DCI – Wizard’s in-house tournament organizer. But it has weathered every storm, from its acquisition by HASBRO to the occasional player revolt, to make it 15 years in the industry. And this past year has been the best yet, with September reportedly showing stronger sales than ever before.
The game involves collecting cards - which are sold randomly and in preassembled decks - and building a deck of your own that you draw from to “cast spells” at your opponent. You each begin with 20 life points and the first to zero loses. Spells include those that summon creatures, do damage, give yourself life, draw more cards or manipulate, enhance or cancel the cards of you and your opponent. A typical game lasts between 20 minutes to an hour – although I once played an epic length, 8 hour game that was the result of a double-forked Shahrazad. Ah…the days of being jobless, broke and flush with free time.
Oh look, a press release! Wizards of the Coast just wrapped up its Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour in Austin, Texas where Carlsbad, California resident Brian Kibler was crowned champion. The Pro Tour drew in 418 participants from more than 50 countries. Nearly 1,500 people attended the festivities throughout the weekend where they participated in public events, challenged Wizards of the Coast R&D teams at Duels of the Planeswalkers on Xbox Live Arcade and mingled with famed Magic artists. The convention center was packed to the gills. Comically enough, all of the restrooms inside the floor of the gaming area had been recommissioned as men’s rooms, and while there were certainly women around, the general sausage fest nature of the Pro Tour forced them to all have to go out into the lobby area to use the facilities, something MISSUSWYRM frowned upon every time we passed the signs explaining the situation. Most of the gaming occurred in the cattle call area you see above, with tables stretching out across the convention center and hundreds of games being played at once. There was also a special featured match area called The Arena, which had a number of digital displays so you could watch the action as well as slowly changing video wall displays.
Grats to Brian who was only one of two Americans to place in the top 8 (Japan dominated with three placers). While wandering around, Tera introduced me to a handful of the R&D guys, one of whom challenged me to a game using two of their new theme decks coming out later this month. The Decks feature new arts and two popular planeswalkers Garruck Wildspeaker and Liliana Vess. Needless to say, I got a wee bit mana screwed and had my ass handed to me in a bad way.
Seriously, where the hell is a Dark Ritual when you need one…or 3? It took all of about 15 minutes to mop me up. The new decks sport 6 new “arts”, 1 each of Vess and Wildspeaker as well as four other cards, all pictured below.
Also around was the new expansion for X-Box Live game Duels of the Planeswalkers, but knowing that Missuswyrm could only tolerate watching me play games for so long, I spent just a few moments watching some 12 year old kids school the crap out of some Adults. You know, as God intended. All in all, it was a fun jaunt that made me wish I’d signed up for some of the side events and spent the weekend on some caffeine fueled, Hunter S. Thompson like excursion into the depths of a Magic: The Gathering weekend. Come on, admit it. That’s a story you’d want to read. Perhaps next year.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
Ten bucks says even though I’m writing now that the flag in the below pick was a photoshop joke from Harry, some dickcheese is going to call me out for it anyway.

Or follow my further zany adventures on Twitter.

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 24, 2009, 3:38 p.m. CST

    Jezus, is that still going?

    by lockesbrokenleg

    It's not on ESPN.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 3:41 p.m. CST

    I see NO sponsor provided fantasy furry bikini girls...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...NONE. No less professionally hot but making up for it with enthusiasm homemade bikini clad fan girls either.<P>This is useless to me.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 3:58 p.m. CST

    you could passte T8 links from wotc site

    by RaveX

    watching that greek guy basically scoop to kibler in their 5th 1/4final game was kinda funny.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 4 p.m. CST

    passsssste it, massssssssa...

    by RaveX

    my slytherin is getting better each day. <p> or my keyboard sucks.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 4:08 p.m. CST

    Count the number of girls in all those pictures combined.

    by GibsonUSA Returns

    Fastest game ever.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 4:26 p.m. CST

    Dick In Ass

    by DickInAss

    Dick In Ass.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 4:28 p.m. CST

    GibsonUSA Returns

    by Massawyrm 1

    About as fast as playing that game in talkback, I suppose.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 4:33 p.m. CST

    ...WHAT? You're all hot chicks in my head...

    by FlickaPoo

    ...except you Massawyrm.<P>That pic exploded that little fantasy...

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Ill second that, DICK IN ASS

    by StarchildAD

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 6:21 p.m. CST


    by Linguo_IS_Dead

    I'd love to get my hands on some planeswalker cards, but I never luck out with my purchases, and I'm not gonna pay $10-20 bucks for the one they put in the glass cases!!! :(

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 6:55 p.m. CST


    by AugustusGloop

    You fat fuck racist, what makes you think anyone wants to read anything your racist fat ass wants to write? Only you would have the balls to pust a photo of yourself wearing the swastika of the south. I saw you at Fantastic Fest, talking about all the celebrity poon you used to get, you fascist poser, it makes me want to puke! Your rapping sucks, too!

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 7:34 p.m. CST

    Did the marketing of the tour match the actual experience?

    by liesandpicturesofalsolies

    That is what is most important.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 7:35 p.m. CST

    Some sad dorky motherfuckers

    by juice willis

    Explain how it's not the case all you want.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 7:41 p.m. CST

    Magic the Gathering: nothing screams 1995 more than this

    by ricarleite2

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 7:50 p.m. CST

    Confederate flag tattoo?

    by PeanutGallery

    LOL. Holy crap that's just so ridiculous. Po white trash. Think of all the money you'll save by never having to pay for a dentist.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 7:51 p.m. CST


    by PeanutGallery

    do i win the prize for calling you out? Damn, someone beat me to it.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 7:56 p.m. CST

    DICK IN ASS: AN Essay

    by PeanutButterSlut

    DICK IN ASS <p> An essay on MTG by Peanut Butter. <p> I remember when I was but a wee lad, perhaps much younger than Mass when he started, and I had a fateful day in the parking lot of a card shop. <p> I remember the card shop guy looked mythical, perhaps he was a Dwarven armorer in disguise? I didn't know, but he had a magical aura about him (or basically the keys to that fucking glass mutherfucking case with all those Magic cards singles) and I motioned for him to hand me a revised deck. <p> Speckles of cheetos flew like gold dust as he slobbishly handed me the pack, and I promptly paid him via the jars of peanut butter mama Peanut gave me. <p> I had heard about the game from my buddies Banana Hooch and CHocolate whore, and I had to "collect them all" so to speak (not really but felt like working that refernce in). <p> Anyways, fast forward many years later, and I find myself on gatherer (Magic database) reminicing of the days of yore and the awesome cards I played with and how simple and awesome everything was. My friends and I had a very limited card pool, and we weren't pros, so we had fun and innocent games only ignorant bliss could conjure up. <p> "I have a 3/3 Lion guy!" <p> "Whao, a 3/3? Sweet!" <p> "Ya, I'll go ahead and attack you" <p> "Oh noes!" <p> The good old days. WHen a 5/5 Serpent was a game changer. And combos were like using a giant growth on an elf. <p> Now, with Planes walkers, Elf's w/Plasma cannons, mythic rares, infinite loop combos.......IT's DICK IN ASS! <p> So Dick In Ass actually was making a very intelligent observation

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 8:12 p.m. CST


    by lockesbrokenleg

    Oh wait, that's a Magic convention. Not a Star Wars one.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 8:17 p.m. CST

    As someone with only a passing interest in the game...

    by The Mothman it possible to enjoy a 1 on 1 battle against a friend using just card scans? Not that I'm trying to rip anyone off, but it's still an incredibly expensive game to play, correct?

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 8:28 p.m. CST

    Bashing magic players in an AICN talkback.

    by liesandpicturesofalsolies

    Is the most pathetic. God forbid some nerds get together to have fun.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 9:34 p.m. CST

    The Mothman

    by Massawyrm 1

    To play? Not at all. You can go to any Target and buy a themed, ready to play deck plus a booster pack of 15 random cards for $12. Drop $25 and you and your friend have everything you need to play. Being competitive, as in winning tournaments? That's where you drop first car/buying a congressman money.

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 12:37 a.m. CST

    Anyone bashing anyone else as a "nerd" on AICN...

    by Galactic

    Probably hasn't seen a vagina since he came out of one... It's like Trekkies making fun of Star Wars fans...

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 1:06 a.m. CST

    n00b Question for you.

    by Super Rabbi

    It's been a while since I played this game, and some of the cards look different since the days of Mirage and Ice Age. How do you play those abilities on 'Garruk Wildspeaker'? What do the +1, -1, -4 signify? Thanks!

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 2:14 a.m. CST

    The Video Game version is very popular on Xbox Live.

    by Orionsangels

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 2:22 a.m. CST

    i saw a vagina once

    by Nerd_Rage_Retard_Strength

    i cried after

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 4:54 a.m. CST

    So the movie for this comes out when??????

    by MacReady452

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 5:02 a.m. CST

    Thanks Massa

    by The Mothman

    Once my disdain for modern cinema reaches new heights, might get back into time-wasters like this.

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 9:05 a.m. CST

    Super Rabbi

    by RaveX

    PWalkers come in the play with a set number of "loyalty" counters (that's the digit in lower right corner), you can use their abilities once per turn at sorcery speed. if the ability has +x next to it, you add that much counters on them. if it's -x, you remove counters. when they are out of counters, they die. <p> also, your opponent can attack them instead of you (you can still block with your guys), and all direct dmg that could be dealt to you can be chosen to be dealt to one of your walkers.

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 2:28 p.m. CST

    I prefer Munchkin.

    by Kizeesh

    It's the drinking man's fantasy card game.

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Super Rabbi...

    by THEoverfiend

    my group of guys has been playing since 94 or so pretty much every Friday night. pretty much our version of poker night with a much more thought provoking element. this game has changed A LOT since those sets you mention. artwork is amazing and gameplay has really been slimmed down. there have been tons of new abilities and themes introduced to truly oudo the sets of that time. if even remotely still interested you should check it out.

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 4:38 p.m. CST

    As seen on ESPN 8... THE OCHO!!!

    by BrashHulk

    If its ALMOST a sport, you'll find it here! Now back to you, Cotton and Pepper!

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 5:25 p.m. CST



    I have been waiting FOREVER! for you to cover MTG, was wondering if you played it, i guess you do and thats good, i just got back in after an 8 year Hiatus, its a good time to be into MTG.

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 5:26 p.m. CST

    I used to play the Star Wars card game

    by lockesbrokenleg

    until the directions came in a 40 page book that required a degree in mathematics to read.

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 6:02 p.m. CST

    Meanwhile outside ....

    by TheUglyBaby

    .... The streets were clogged with moms driving around waiting to pick up their sons after they were eliminated

  • Oct. 26, 2009, 2:02 a.m. CST

    Had a fun game tonight

    by xevoid

    Played with my normal bros. Played a deck i just built with the Planeswalkers, an artifact that makes all cards everywhere artifacts, March of the Machines, and Experiment Kraj. Was able to turn Garruk into a artifact and then into a creature, and then use Kraj to use his abilities an infinite amount of times with no drawbacks. It took some dude playing a Warp World for it to work, but it was entertaining.<br><br> And I did get laid last night too. One can be a nerd and get pussy as well. It does happen.

  • Oct. 26, 2009, 2:03 a.m. CST

    There is an MTG Cruise

    by xevoid

    For people who are interested: http:// www.legionevents. com/cru ise/