July 18, 2012

MTG at SDCC 2012

After a five-day ride the San Diego Comic-Con day-glo party tsunami broke, washing me up on a barren shore devoid of both color and flavor. Since then I’ve huddled in my makeshift shelter and jotted down the following notes on Magic at SDCC.

Over twenty Magic artists exhibited at SDCC. I actually spoke to some of them! Despite their otherworldly talent they looked and acted just like friendly humans. I even got some cards pugged by rk post:

rk alters rk alters rk alters rk alters

If you attend a big event with exhibiting Magic artists I urge you to gawk at their original works and consider buying something. Hard-working artists make our game look good.

The panel
The Friday evening panel is THE hot ticket for magicians at SDCC. Here's how it goes down: head designer Mark Rosewater gets his Willy Wonka on during a slideshow revealing secrets of the coming year’s products, followed by a Q&A session with other Wizards. This year’s panelists were director of Magic R&D Aaron Forsythe, senior brand manager Mark Purvis, art director Matt Cavotta, and Organized Play program manager Scott Larabee.

It’s been archived if you want to watch it yourself, and Devon Rule wrote an excellent summary of the panel’s substance, so I’m not going to go over all that. We’re going back to Ravnica, guys. Choose your two favorite basic lands and burn the rest. Get your guild tattoos.

rakdos face
Rakdos or die

Raw information aside, the panel is thrilling. You sit in the temporary nexus of the Magic universe. The transmission signal is strong. The air contains a marvelous amount of oxygen. If you tap one of the convention center chairs mana might come out.

You can even play Magic
The Marriott alongside the convention center once again had a Magic-only ballroom with organized events from early until late. You want game? You got it.

As an exhibitor at SDCC I didn’t have much spare time for play, but Friday night I was happy to be included in a special M13 sealed event with the Wizards people and other members of the community. I was exhausted and asking too much of the lunch muffins I’d earlier shoved into my face while leaning over a trash can, yet this was really the perfect ending to the day. A relaxing environment, new cards, easy conversation. I got a Predatory Rampage yoinked from my hand by Wizards community manager Jon Hickey’s Mindclaw Shaman and it was AWESOME. Alex Shearer (writer, scientist, and officially one of my GP San Jose teammates!) and I had an exceptional three-game match. And when I played against Purvis, sitting next to the Rosewater vs. Forsythe battle, I managed to contain the squeals. Stay cool, Looter!

When I evaluated my sealed pool the next morning it was obvious I'd let a drunken ape build it, but Friday night's goofy grin just would not leave.

Is that ... the sun???
Every year a bit more of the convention sloshes across the street into the commercial area near the hall. This time Wizards of the Coast had a booth in the convention center for Kaijudo but Magic was a couple blocks away in a swank, dedicated storefront. The distance to the “Magic Experience” pop-up shop didn’t matter since it takes forever to wade anywhere through the sea of fan meat on the convention floor, though I imagine some Magic players straight-up did not know it was there. The shop itself had Duels of the Planeswalkers playing on iPads, a kiosk selling cards and branded merchandise, and that big statue of Jace looking like he wants to jam his thumbs in your ears. Attendees could jump through some hoops to score the delightfully weird promo pairing of a Euro basic land and a foil Merfolk Mesmerist with URL instead of flavor text.

odd couple promos

Before heading over to the Experience my pal Thien Pham, acclaimed cartoonist, teacher, and advisor to the Bishop O’Dowd High School MTG club, asked me to be on the lookout for M13 sample decks because the club makes good use of them with new members. When I got to the shop I mentioned this to Mark Purvis, and he instantly produced a full carton of the goods. Thanks Mark!

The inimitable Mr. Pham

O.G. (original goatnapper)
As for your Looter, I spent most of SDCC at my table selling my non-Magic comics. I was grateful to be visited by many fans of this blog though! I won't attempt a comprehensive roll call but I had the chance to meet tons of online acquaintances for the first time and catch up with others I only see now and then between rounds. This felt tremendous.

And during downtime at the table I cranked out original goat tokens, which sold out at a brisk rate. Here are some of them:


Some of the goats escaped my crappy camera, but this gives you a sense of it at least. Also drew a goat zombie and regular zombie for Thomas, and a golem for Chuck:


Thanks for coming to see me at the show!

Now it's getting cold, the sky is gray, and I haven't seen a Wookiee since Sunday. Sigh.



  1. OMG WTF PUG ALTERS BY RK POST?! Is that his thing or yours??

  2. He sometimes posts photos of his pug when they're out walking so I figured, hey, he should be pug-positive with regard to alters.

  3. Hi love this blog,

    just want to point out a little error, as I'm Belgian.
    The correct way to say "I'm a belgian swamp" in Dutch/Flemish is "Ik ben een Belgisch moeras" (so without the e)
    also the swamp is in the 'Ardennen' which is in the French speaking part of Belgium ;)

    keep up the cool cartoons and tokens :D

  4. Ben, thanks for pointing that out! As I was plopping text into Google Translate I 100% knew I'd get something wrong. I need to visit Belguim sometime to fix my ignorance! Anyway, I'll apply some kind of fix to that image when I get a chance, and I'm glad you like the site.

  5. That is really nice to hear. thank you for the update and good luck.
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