Meet Your Community Team!

Posted in Arcana on December 7, 2015

By Michael Yichao

Yichao is a writer of words for plays, television, theme parks, and—most recently—Magic: The Gathering. He loves Cube Draft and corgis.

This week we're headed into the World Magic Cup, where teams from around the world will compete for the top prize! While we're gearing up for the tournament, we also wanted to introduce you to one of our teams—the community team! If you've been to a Pro Tour, reached out to us on Twitter or Facebook, or commented on something Magic-related on Reddit, chances are you may already be familiar with these fine folk. I got to chat with each of them to learn a bit more about what they do at Wizards!

Alison Luhrs

Alison Luhrs, Apex Predator

Favorite Magic color: White

Favorite Magic card: Swords to Plowshares

Favorite Planeswalker: Kiora. Kiora forever. Kiora for president 2016.

Cutest Magic card: Gilder Bairn

Creepiest Magic card: Pregnantdrazi

If you had a superpower, it would be: The ability to find the best parking spot on the first try.

Favorite non-Magic thing (to do, watch, play, etc.): I love theater! Outside of work I'm a professional improviser, and I cofounded my own theater company in 2012. Nothing makes me happier than telling stories.

Title at Wizards: Associate Community Manager

What does that mean, and what's your day-to-day look like?

I'm in charge of our major social media channels. I run our English Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr accounts. When I'm not engaging with players or scheduling posts, I act as an ambassador for the community inside WotC. If I see a concern players have, it is my job to make sure the people in charge hear about it. I attend various brand and decision-making meetings to offer insight from the fan's perspective to ensure that our players get their voices heard. I've also recently started to work on flavor text and Uncharted Realms!

What's your favorite part of being a community manager?

Planning events for the future is insanely fun. The only downside is that it sucks having to keep cool secrets for months in advance.

What's a favorite player-interaction story from an event?

There are too many. Rapping with Scott MacCallum on a Ride the Ducks tour, getting schooled in my first Vintage match over dinner at Grand Prix Utrecht, high-fiving dozens of new friends at conventions across the country. I think the most special interaction I've had was at PAX Prime 2015. I met Chris Kluwe at our Battle for Zendikar event and got to personally thank him for the work he has done fighting sexism in the gaming community. We talked Magic, games, and skiing—turns out he is just as awesome in person as he is on the internet. This job has given me so many opportunities, and it was amazing to meet one of my personal heroes.

How can players best reach the team?

We are always (and I mean always) reading our official channels (Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr). Even if we don't respond, I can guarantee we read all tweets, comments, and otherwise that are sent our way. It is our job to pay attention to what everyone is talking about.

How can players best support and grow Magic in their communities?

Teach your mothers, sisters, friends, kids, and grandparents how to play! Magic is for everybody, and both our community and game are strengthened by a diverse body of players.

Anything else you want to say?
We want our game to be as excellent as you do, and we read EVERYTHING you send our way. Sometimes we can't or aren't allowed to respond publicly, but always remember that it's literally our job to yell at our bosses on your behalf. We do a lot of yelling for you guys, and don't plan on stopping anytime soon.

Chris Peeler

From left: Prodigal Sorcerer and Chris Peeler

Favorite Magic color: Red. One of my first favorite decks involved a Howling Mine plus Runeflare Trap combo, and I've been sending burn spells to the noggin ever since.

Favorite Magic card: Myr Battlesphere! Who doesn't love a giant ball of destructive robots?

Favorite Planeswalker: Kiora. The Krakens are cool, but her snark is even better.

Cutest Magic card: Um...Myr Battlesphere again? Myr are cute, right?

Creepiest Magic card: Sensation Gorger. Every time I look at that art I find something new and unnerving about it.

If you had a superpower, it would be: The ability to be best friends with Myr Battlesphere. No wait, telekinesis. It would be so much easier to do chores with my mind...

Favorite non-Magic thing (to do, watch, play, etc.): I love finding new music to love! I'm currently on a metal kick, but I'll listen to anything with a hook.

Title at Wizards: Associate Community Manager

What does that mean, and what's your day-to-day look like?

I'm involved in a little bit of everything the communications team does, but I focus primarily on our Magic Duels players and running the social media accounts associated with that. I'm the bridge between our Duels players, developers, and QA teams. So mostly that means that I have way, way, way too many internet browser windows open at once.

What is your favorite part of being a community manager?

Magic has introduced me to people I otherwise never would have met and taken me places I never expected. And now my job is to help create that kind of experience for our players all over the world, which is the best!

What's a favorite moment from a Magic event?

This year's PAX was an incredible experience. Saturday morning of the event, we hatched a scheme to hold an impromptu dance party outside the convention center annex in front of our giant Eldrazi tentacle and gave away some goodies. There's nothing quite as surreal as seeing convention goers—many of them in costume—dancing outside on a cool Seattle day with a looming cosmic horror-titan just overhead.

How can Magic players best reach you and the team?

We're always listening to what our players have to say on our social media channels! That said, if you want to get a hold of me directly you can also send a private message to Wizards_Chris on Reddit.

How can players best support and grow Magic in their communities?

When I first started playing, I had a hard time getting to know some of the more established players at my local store. But once I started talking to those people about what they love about Magic and gaming, we started to realize we all had a lot more in common than expected. From there, those little conversations became same of the strongest friendships I've ever had. It's all about being open, listening, and finding out what drives people. That shared passion is the foundation for any great community, be it Magic or otherwise!

Nate Price

Let Nate Price be your guide!

Favorite Magic color: Yes

Favorite Magic card: Oath of Druids

Favorite Planeswalker: There are Planeswalkers other than Tibalt?

Cutest Magic card: Bear Cub from Portal Second Age. Seriously, have you seen it?

Creepiest Magic card: Living Wall. There is just something deeply unnerving about a wall with teeth.

If you had a superpower, it would be: The ability to snap my fingers and have cops appear to pull people over for minor traffic offenses. People who drive in the carpool lane without a passenger are a blight upon the earth.

Favorite non-Magic thing (to do, watch, play, etc.): It's only kind of unrelated to Magic, but I love to travel. I've been traveling for Magic for close to a decade, and I have loved every opportunity. I do a lot less traveling now that I'm actually in the office and not doing Grand Prix coverage anymore, but I still look for every chance I get to visit someplace I've never been.

Title at Wizards: Associate Community Manager for Organized Play

What does that mean, and what's your day-to-day look like?

It means that I am responsible for keeping tabs on the community pulse and generating content as they relate to our events, from Friday Night Magic all the way through the World Championship. I'm also part of the Pro Tour coverage team, where I am responsible for all of the social media content that comes from these events. You'll see me next tweeting from the World Magic Cup in Barcelona!

Favorite part of being a community manager?

Probably the people I work with. Our team is a bunch of hecka-creative people who legitimately care about making something sweet. The fact that we are able to craft the things we do, and have the approval to share it all with you, is one of the things that goes a long way towards making Wizards feel more human and less like some soulless, monolithic corporate entity.

What's a favorite player-interaction story from an event?

Jeez, I have way too many of these to narrow it down easily. Here are a couple of quick hits: First, I am the only member of the coverage team to ever commentate live during an earthquake (thanks, Grand Prix Chiba!). I also met my girlfriend at Pro Tour Theros in Dublin. She'd probably be pretty upset if I didn't mention her here.

How can players best reach the team?

Honestly, we are always keeping an eye on our social media channels, from Twitter and Facebook to Tumblr and Reddit. Reach out to us through any of those and we'll...

[Note: At this point, no joke, Nate stopped answering my questions because he got a player message on Twitter that he responded to right then and there.]

How can players best support and grow Magic in their communities?

The single biggest thing that people can do to grow Magic in their communities is to teach people to play. Play around the house. Go to your local store. Take friends to a Grand Prix and enjoy the festival. Literally all of that. Magic has gotten to where it is today because of the people who loved it enough to teach their friends how to play. Go forth and multiply.

Anything else you want to say?

Magic is the best game ever made, and I will stand by that. I've met literally all of my best friends through my time with the game, and they are spread out all over the globe. Magic's greatest attribute is its ability to bring people together. Magic players are some of the most welcoming people on the planet. It doesn't matter who you are or what you like or how you look; in Magic, all people are welcome. The shared experience of Magic is one that has sustained its success for these past decades, and the bonds it has created will last well into the future. Protect that and share it with people you care about.

There you have it! Next time you're commenting on Facebook, tweeting at us, chiming in on Reddit, or reblogging from the official Magic Tumblr, you now know that these guys are behind the awesomeness. Drop us a line and say hi! Also, be sure to tune in to the World Magic Cup this weekend, where you may catch a glimpse of Nate as he helps to run coverage!

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