When I learned how to play Magic, the only place I could meet other Magic players was at school or the Flea Market.
At school your time was limited and you could only get a game or two in during lunch. At the Flea Market you could buy cards, but there was nowhere to play. I met some people at the Flea Market who played home games and I starting hanging out with them to play Magic. Eventually, I found a store that ran tournaments, but those were VERY RARE. Now, in Toronto, you have endless opportunities to play Magic every day of the week at multiple locations. There was a demand for Magic venues and it was met.
Not only does Toronto have countless stores to play Magic in, but there are larger events frequently held here as well. Wizards of the Coast has held one Grand Prix in Toronto every year for the last little while and on top of that we have had multiple independent events and store-run PTQ’s that have all drawn in a crowd.
Coming up this weekend, on August 16th and 17th, is something really special for any Spellslinger in the area. The Legend’s Warehouse-organized, “Battlegrounds“, is a combination of events that will appeal to anyone who enjoys playing games. Magic: The Gathering is the focus, but Battlegrounds is not limited to just one game. There will be Warhammer, Netrunner, DnD, X-Wing, Attack Wing and many other competitive gaming events to enjoy. There is even a CARCASSONNE tournament!
The big draw, however, is the Khans of Takir Pro Tour Qualifier on Saturday, August 16th and the World Magic Cup Qualifier on Sunday, August 17th. The format for the Saturday PTQ is Modern, which should get most Magic players excited. In fact, when Magic’s official Organized Play representatives announced that there will be no Modern Pro Tour in 2015, the players were outraged. So outraged, they basically stood on their collective metaphorical cyber rooftops and shouted, “NO!” They – we – were not having it. Now we can all look forward to a Modern Pro Tour in February 2015 as well as a the Modern PTQ at Battlegrounds.
The second event, the World Magic Cup Qualifier on Sunday, is something that people will be traveling from all over Canada to go to. There are three of these a year and only players with 500 or more Yearly Planeswalker Points are invited. If you weren’t able to scrounge up enough points to qualify there will qualifiers for the qualifier on Saturday if you drop out of the PTQ early or don’t like Modern.
There are also going to be drafts all day, casual games of Commander, people trading cards and just enjoying Magic together. As an added incentive, they’ve brought in a “Beer Garden” for gamers who are 19 and over. Remember to bring your ID.
Man, playing Magic has definitely changed since I was a kid.