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By: dangerlinto, Mike Linton
Oct 16 2009 4:01pm
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 Skip To: Thomas (Tweaker)Alex (SpikeBoyM)Mike (Dangerlinto) | Walter (Bubba) 
Pete (OneMillionWords) | Sam (RenoChan) | John (GeekDad) | Erik (Hamtastic)

 

Real name: 

Thomas Baird

Age: 33

How long have you been playing Magic?
I've been playing magic since 2002. 

Favourite All-time Magic card?
Underworld Dreams
 
Favourite Magic Format (Standard, Drafting, Sealed, Kitchen-Table, etc...)
I don't really have one, I enjoy all of the facets of magic.
 
What do you do in the Gaming/Magic Community/Work?
I own and operate MyMTGO.com, a Facebook like website but for the MTGO Community. I love MTGO so much that I work for one of the largest magic online stores Cardhoarder.com. I've been working for him for the past 2 years.
 
For the first 5 or 6 years of my MTGO presence I started off by doing websites for the clans I was in; most notably Shadows of Sanctuary. Back in the summer of 2008 I changed my focus from developing websites for a specific group of people to the entire MTGO community. MyMTGO.com launched on December 26, 2008 and has been gaining huge momentum since day 1. The community has really grabbed hold of what I was accomplishing and along with their continued input into the development and direction of the website has kept my passion going strong.
 
What are you looking forward to the most about heading to Renton?
Hmm.. Besides graveling at Lee "THE MASTER OF ALL THINGS DATA" Sharpe's feet begging and pleading with him for a mere morsel of data for the community? I'm looking forward to meeting my teammates face to face. MTGO is an online gaming platform. WoTC is providing us this awesome opportunity to bringing together the 8 of us to compete for MTGO GLORY. Maybe we get to meet some of the developers of the game, maybe a tour of the place? The experience will like going to mecca for me :)
 
 
Do you think the Community Team can defeat the WoTC team at their own game?
WoTC has a clear advantage going for them, I mean really... it's freakin’ Wizard's of the Coast. I bet even their janitorial staff can clean house. But in all seriousness, we have the thousands upon THOUSANDS of MTGO players who are going to be rooting for the Community Team for that Momir Vig avatar, so yeah, we're going to win!!
 
 

Real name: 

Alex Ullman

Age: 26

How long have you been playing Magic?
I have been playing Magic about 15 years- since The Dark. I got online in the Fall of 2002.
 
Favourite All-time Magic card?
Probably Ninja of the Deep Hours
 
Favourite Magic Format (Standard, Drafting, Sealed, Kitchen-Table, etc...)
I mean, do you even have to ask? It's Pauper, of course (followed closely by limited)
 
What do you do in the Gaming/Magic Community/Work?
Work: I earned my Master's in Higher Education Administration in 2008, and am now the Assistant Director of Student Activities at Manhattanville College in Westchester, NY. For Magic Community, I am a Moderator for PDCmagic.com, a writer for PureMTGO.com, and the Pauper Community Liaison. In real life, I have helped teach young gamers at my local store (Head 2 Head Toys and Games in Irvington, NY) learn how to draft and become better Magic players. I developed a Pauper Cube (of course) for the store, and will serve as a driver to Northeast PTQs for the dedicated.
 
What got you involved in your Work/Community?
I got involved in Pauper (then PDC) during my Junior year of college, in 2005. I quickly became a person that designed top decks, and became active on the Wizards boards as a vocal supporter for Pauper. About a year later, my then girlfriend convinced me to write an article.  I submitted it to Star City Games and it got published. I then worked for paupermagic.com, writing articles sporadically just for the community. Eventually, that site went defunct and I was looking for a way to keep writing during grad school. I found PureMTGO.com and signed up to write about Pauper, and have been doing that ever since. 
 
When word came down that Pauper was going to be sanctioned, I became a vocal supporter of PDC rules. With the approval of members of the PDC Community, I offered myself up as the Pauper Community Liaison, to make sure that the community fostered format never lost that feel. Thankfully, I have not had to invoke this titale often since Wizards has done a great job!
 
What are you looking forward to the most about heading to Renton?
As someone who grew up playing Magic, this is going to be a dream come true. My personal history is littered with stories of me coming into contact with Magic celebrities, and now I get to go to where the game is made. Magic has meant so much to me, and just the opportunity to play Magic in this setting is close to a dream come true. 
 
Do you think the Community Team can defeat the WoTC team at their own game?
Without a doubt!
 
Any additional comments?
I just want to thank a whole bunch of people:
Thank you Mom, Dad, and Stacey, for putting up with me trying to teach you this game and pretending to understand everything I was talking about!
Thank you to Heath and Josh, for giving me a place to write and to share my love of Pauper with everyone, and for helping to make the MTGO community awesome!  Thank you to everyone at Neutral Ground NY who helped me to become the Magic player I am today- a special thanks to BDM who was always willing to help and listen! Thank you to H2H and everyone who plays there for relighting my love of Paper Magic! Finally, thank you to everyone in PDC! Without you I would not be here, and there is no question about that. Without all of you, I would not have anything to write about. I owe this to all of you (and there are far too many to list individually)!
 
 
 

Real name: 

Mike Linton

Age: 33

How long have you been playing Magic?
I've been playing on and off since Beta/Unlimited. 
 
Favourite All-time Magic card?
Truly it’s Mana Drain, but I do have a soft spot for all the tricks I’d play with Tawnos’s Coffin.
 
Favourite Magic Format (Standard, Drafting, Sealed, Kitchen-Table, etc...)
Classic.
 
What do you do in the Gaming/Magic Community/Work?
I am a founder of Classic Quarter, formerly a clan and now solely a community site at www.classicquarter.com, where I am the administrator.
 
At work, I’m a Web App Developer.
 
What got you involved in your Work/Community?
After dropping away from MTGO after I saw the spoilers for Onslaught block and deciding I couldn’t take a whole year of tribal decks in the casual room, I started playing Vintage on alternative, forbidden online programs (hey - they weren’t forbidden so much back then). When Wizards announced Mirage Block was coming online, I got back into MTGO and started turning wheels on getting a classic community together. There wasn’t a lot of people interested in Classic at a tournament format back then. With a couple of other members, I started the Classic Quarter clan. When WOTC stopped Classic tournaments about the same time as Visions was released, and not wanting the classic scene to disappear, I sought out help from the pauper community on how to run Player-run events on MTGO (From none other than fellow team member SpikeBoyM (Alex)!)
I ran a couple of seasons worth of Player-Run Events (including a monster 112 person event for Un-Con in 2006) and got really involved raising awareness of classic and pointing out it’s many enticing advantages over other formats, until just before Master’s Edition was released. Once WoTC tried Classic again as a sanctioned format, I stopped running events and concentrated solely on community growth. I guess you could say my proudest moment was when WoTC officially declared Classic a core format in August 2007 with it’s first restricted list.
 
I’ve also served as a Beta tester on almost every set from Ravnica and on. Generally I try and concentrate on Bugs that would affect classic tournament play.
 
What are you looking forward to the most about heading to Renton?
Honestly, while the tournament will be loads of fun, and just going on any trip is great, I’m really looking forward to meeting face to face all the people who I’ve come to know over the past four years. I know that’s a sort of ironic stance to have considering we were chosen for our online work, but face-to-face is just more personable.
 
Do you think the Community Team can defeat the WoTC team at their own game?
They might think the pressure is on us, because we’re trying to win everyone a Momir Vig avatar, but I think the pressure is on them to avoid the embarrassment at getting beaten at their own game.
I suppose they’ve made it fair with their selections, especially the very interesting choice of unified deck construction, but I notice WoTC didn’t pick Classic or Pauper as formats to play. I’m guessing that’s because even if they loaded their team with crusty-old former PT players (I hear that was a prereq for some time at WoTC...) they know they can’t beat the online community at the online-only formats, especially considering who they invited. But that won’t matter – we’ll crush them anyway with the communities help.
 
Yup – them’s fightin’ words, WoTC. Bring it on!
 
 
Any additional comments?
I do want to thank all the people who’ve supported classic. It takes a lot of work to make a format that can take a lot of money to compete in and doesn’t have a paper equivalent grow, and I’d be barefaced lying if I told you I did all the work. So props out to all of those people, with special mention to Tzaph, Scorp and the original CQ council, the boys at Magic Eternal, Wizo Kwai_Chang and all the Eternal Struggle regulars for getting through those dark years, and I hope I can make you proud!
 
 
 

Real name: 

Walter

Age: 30

How long have you been playing Magic?
Other than a couple of random games using borrowed cards when I was in H.S. (mid-90s), my first real extensive experience was with the old Shandalar game. Then I didn't play much for a few years until some friends brought me back into it just before Torment. I then played my first (and, so far, only) paper events in the form of two side-drafts at the Torment release. Shortly thereafter (around Feb 2002) I got into the Magic Online beta, and there I have played ever since.
 
Favourite All-time Magic card?
I'm going to say Time Stop. Not because I like to play it, but because I think it is one of the most elegant cards WotC has ever printed.
 
Favourite Magic Format (Standard, Drafting, Sealed, Kitchen-Table, etc...)
Clearly sealed.
 
What do you do in the Gaming/Magic Community/Work?
Several things. First, I am one of the community moderators (VCL) for the Wizards of the Coast Magic Online boards. I maintain the MTGO FAQ (it is a bit of a mess right now because I haven't had time to update it since the boards were "upgraded"). I also organize and/or maintain several other compendium-type threads on the WotC boards, including the shuffler thread and a (almost) monthly v3 status report.
 
In the past I have also been a very active beta tester. I used to produce and maintain a bug checklist each beta that listed a number of suspected trouble interactions for people to test and then tracked whether each passed or failed when tested (I hope to resume this in the future if I get more free time). I also helped identify ~10 of the most fundamental underlying issues in the MTGO rules engine that caused whole classes of card bugs (some of which have since been overhauled).
 
What got you involved in your Work/Community?
I didn't start out intending to get involved in the community. I first started visiting the WotC boards during the original MTGO beta. At first I just lurked and was impressed by the generally rational discussions and playful behavior of posters like OneHundredMegs, Piemaster and Tobold. Obviously I eventually started posting, and when the /join bbs room started up, I chatted there as well. This then got me invited to the cardset betas (back when betas were basically beebers + judges).
 
I was active in the betas and eventually started helping new people learn the dos and don'ts of beta. This then crossed over to the live server and I was active in assisting the Adepts (now ORCs) in what was then the MaSS room (now Support). At the same time my boards presence
continued to grow and I began making detailed technical posts such as my set MTGO FAQs, where I provided instructions based on my beta experience on how to use cards that had somewhat confusing interfaces. Eventually this led to me taking over the shuffler thread and main MTGO FAQ, and finally my VCL-ship.
 
What are you looking forward to the most about heading to Renton?
I'm excited to see the WotC offices and all the people that work to make Magic great. We've heard so many stories about how awesome the offices are and how cool it is to work there, I want to see if it is as great as we've heard. And, you know, they make *games* there, and not just Magic. Should be a lot of fun. 
 
Do you think the Community Team can defeat the WoTC team at their own game?
It's going to be tough, especially since several on the community team are narrow format players rather than well-rounded pro-tour types. However, given that we're for the most part decent in the formats we do play, we will be able to transfer those skills to other formats with the community's help.
 
 
 

Real name: 

Pete Jahn

Age: ?? (Hint, the baby photo is in sepia tone
as it's all that was available at the time - color

was invented the next year)

How long have you been playing Magic? 
Antiquities (just playing every card – about 70 each - we owned), tournaments since Tempest.
 
Favourite All-time Magic card:
Argothian Enchantress  or Survival of the Fittest – depends on what time of day you ask
 
Favourite Magic Format (Standard, Drafting, Sealed, Kitchen-Table, etc...)
Whatever is starting next. 
 
What do you do in the Gaming/Magic Community/Work?
Work:  Economist, regulating telecommunications utilities for the State of Wisconsin. 
 
Magic community:  writer,player, judge,  tournament organizer
 
What got you involved in your Work/Community?
First, I love Magic.  Ingrid, my wife, got me started.  Last century sometime, we both owned maybe 100 cards each, and played basic “mush all your cards together and hope you draw mana.”  I had a Birds of Paradise, which helped.  Ingrid had a Hymn to Tourach and Hyppie, which hurt.  Then Ingrid read a “how to build decks” insert in a Starter pack I bought her, and tried playing just her black cards, plus Swamps.  I got crushed, then I tried rebuilding, and we were off.  About that time, Ingrid and another couple were in my D&D campaign, and the other couple played Magic.  We started playing four player games after the D&D adventure, and we were thoroughly hooked. 
 
Ingrid also got me involved in judging.  She was a rules guru and judge.  After being a playtester for Mirrodin, I was not eligible to play in the prerelease, so she talked me into judging it.  I passed my L1 test and judged.  Later, she was sponsored to Worlds in San Francisco, and I came along.  The first day, I arrived hoping to play in side events, but when I found out  sides didn’t start for another 6 hours, I volunteered to judge. 
 
As for writing – I love telling stories.  It’s a common thing among D&D players and other gaming geeks.

The TO stuff is more recent.  A local store needed someone to build up their player community, and I wanted to try out the new WPN membership that all judges got last year.  We have tripled the size of our tournament turnout in just a couple months.  And it lets me play more Magic.

What are you looking forward to the most about heading to Renton?
Seeing the campus, meeting the WotC folks, playing, drafting in the hotel afterwards, winning – it’s all good.  I certainly haven’t been able to do much real work after reading the email. 
 
Do you think the Community Team can defeat the WoTC team at their own game?
If the WotC folk all mulligan to three and misclick a lot. 
 
Actually, I think we can.  Sure, Wizards could field Forsythe and Turian and – well, everyone with Pro Points – and blow us out, but that would hardly make for a great tournament.  I suspect that WotC will bring a comparable mix of players and an interesting mix of constructed decks.  We should have a good chance, if we play well and get some support from the community.  The biggest challenge will be deckbuilding for Unified constructed, but we do have a pazillion people to help.  They don’t.

Any additional comments?
To quote Chewy on the Mana Pool podcast “It’s awesome.” (I hope that’s right attribution – I listen to a lot of podcasts...)
 
 
 

Real name: 

Samantha (Sam) McCarl

Age: 19

How long have you been playing Magic?
I've been playing for 7 years, since 7th Edition.
 
Favourite All-time Magic card?
It's hard. I'm a huge fan of Bottle Gnomes for the flavor text, but Ashling the Pilgrim is my favorite card to play
 
Favourite Magic Format (Standard, Drafting, Sealed, Kitchen-Table, etc...)
Sealed for tournament play, but I'm mostly a casual player.
 
What do you do in the Gaming/Magic Community/Work?
I work as the Hobby Angels Editor for GamingAngels.com covering all card games, board games, miniatures, and anything else hobby and non-console.
 
What got you involved in your Work/Community?
I started working as a guest writer, covering events in San Francisco when no one else could, then I started doing reviews every now and again. With the site's update earlier this year, I became full-time staff working events, doing reviews and interviews, and everything else. I was the main woman covering trading card games, as they are my big thing, and when the Hobby Angels section of the site launched a few weeks ago, it became my domain pretty much.
 
What are you looking forward to the most about heading to Renton?
The tournament, hands down.
 
Do you think the Community Team can defeat the WoTC team at their own game?
Yep! I'm sure with all of our experience and gameplay styles, we stand a great chance at doing well and beating WotC.
 
  
 

Real name: 

John Baichtal

Age: 39

How long have you been playing Magic?
I started with The Dark and played heavily through Ice Age before our group collectively burned out. After a decade-long hiatus I took it back up again a couple of years ago.
 
Favourite All-time Magic card?
Lord of the Pit
 
Favourite Magic Format (Standard, Drafting, Sealed, Kitchen-Table, etc...)
I'll pass on this one...
 
What do you do in the Gaming/Magic Community/Work?
I write Magic-related posts on the GeekDad blog on Wired.com. For my day job, I'm a graphic designer.
 
What got you involved in your Work/Community?
I love writing for the GeekDad blog because I basically have permission to play with all the toys I want -- most of which were either not invented or out of my price range as a kid!
 
One of the reasons I wanted to cover Magic on the blog was just the massive creativity that has gone into the game over the years -- the mythology, art, mechanics, and so on.
 
What are you looking forward to the most about heading to Renton?
Playing some Magic!
 
Do you think the Community Team can defeat the WoTC team at their own game?
Who cares, let's have some fun!
 
Any additional comments?
I'm almost certainly the least experienced player here... I haven't played on a daily basis since 4th Edition. 
 
 

Real name: 

Erik Friborg

Age: 
29

How long have you been playing Magic?
Six-ish years now.  I started around the Mirrodin time frame.

Favourite All-time Magic card?
Favorite to look at - My MTGO Misprints (non-foil Elves vs Goblin Commanders).  Precious'

Favorite to play: Mindslaver.  So many fun memories of this card around the kitchen table.

Favourite Magic Format (Standard, Drafting, Sealed, Kitchen-Table, etc…)
Drafting.  Everyone's on the same terms at the start, with only some luck and lots of skill.  After drafting, probably 100 Card Singleton or Prismatic. Big decks are fun and wacky.

What do you do in the Gaming/Magic Community/Work?
Gaming/Magic community: I write, a lot.  For work, I'm a programmer/analyst for a small company.

What got you involved in your Work/Community?
My involvement in the community has been organic growth.  I started posting at WotC's boards complaining about my league pools.  I got involved in the community there to discuss/debate items of interest.  Eventually I wanted to know the history of MTGO and the MTGO boards... but nothing existed at the time and search was broken so I dedicated myself to essentially becoming an MTGO historian/cross reference guide.  I did that for a year or so then got invited to move my 'articles' to PureMTGO's website for MTGO content.  I use the term 'article' loosely, as it was essentially just a blog post about recent discussions and previous versions.  However I was doing it long before it became the commonplace article type that it is now.  
 
Essentially, everything I've written and done is because it was something I was interested in, but that no one was doing (for MTGO, at least).  And apparently others have the same interests because my articles have been steady sources for page hits ever since.  I have on economic background, nor psychology background, nor philosophy... yet each of those plays a part in what I write about each week as well as what I want to see discussed about MTGO.  So I read about what I don't know and hope for the best each week.
 
Along the way I became a VCL (Volunteer Community Lead) then the SVCL (Senior VCL) from the work I've put in on the public side of the MTGO boards and community.  

What are you looking forward to the most about heading to Renton?
Shmoozing with WotC's.  I've interacted with a lot of them over the years, some of the weekly and almost daily.  To finally get to sit down and meet them (and beat them!) will be awesome.  Although I'll be meeting some in Austin before this, it will be very different when it's my turn to play.

Do you think the Community Team can defeat the WoTC team at their own game?
In a word: Heck-yes.  I think they've gone soft in their plush Ivory Towers in Renton, and I think we can take advantage of that!

Any additional comments?
Win or lose, this is an amazing opportunity for someone like me.  I never ever expected to get something like this from my work.  I look forward to working with each and every one of you as we conspire to overthrow our hosts and benefactors.... Having said that, I do think we can win this, and I'm going to do everything I can to make that happen!  :D

 

10 Comments

Good Luck Team by under_the_hammer at Fri, 10/16/2009 - 16:13
under_the_hammer's picture
5

Good Luck - I am still shocked that JXClaytor has not been invited to the Party but there ya go!

Good luck to all of you. Go by Lord Erman at Fri, 10/16/2009 - 17:41
Lord Erman's picture
5

Good luck to all of you. Go there and make us proud. Oh and take pictures.

LE

Nice informative article. I by Paul Leicht at Fri, 10/16/2009 - 19:25
Paul Leicht's picture
5

Nice informative article. I had no idea for example that Alex (SpikemBoy) was from my turf. Sad bout NG closing last year. Bah the economy! It's almost like meeting the people I read on a weekly basis. Cool beans.

grats guys by menace13 at Fri, 10/16/2009 - 19:45
menace13's picture

awesome i hope you kick WotC's arse...and mr.jahn i am more than sure you guys will be okay. i used to read your extended coverage on starcity so i think you know just a wee bit about the game.

Fine idea, great participants by LOurs at Sat, 10/17/2009 - 10:11
LOurs's picture
5

Fine idea, great participants ... so good luck & have fun !

The Challengers by Katastrophe at Sat, 10/17/2009 - 14:44
Katastrophe's picture
5

That's a fine looking team!

"I bet even their janitorial staff can clean house."

Yeah. Yeah actually I bet they could.

Good luck boys.... No fear by Who me ?> (not verified) at Sun, 10/18/2009 - 09:59
Who me ?> 's picture

Good luck boys....
No fear

lol what a joke by CLOWN FREAK PUPPET MAN (not verified) at Mon, 10/19/2009 - 18:04
CLOWN FREAK PUPPET MAN's picture

lol what a joke

Never heard of any of these by Anonymous (not verified) at Mon, 11/02/2009 - 23:23
Anonymous's picture

Never heard of any of these people. Community? ok.

Pete Jahn is the man! by Chewie (not verified) at Fri, 11/06/2009 - 06:54
Chewie's picture

Hey there, Mr. Jahn! In case you read this, I'm really flattered that you would quote me in your profile here. We here at The Mana Pool are glad you enjoy the show and wish you good luck smashing the WotC folks!