A New Chapter

Posted in Feature on January 19, 2004

By Scott Johns

“Welcome to MagictheGathering.com.” With that phrase, Mark Rosewater introduced a new website to Magic’s online community that would have the opportunity to take its readers places they’d only dreamed of. In the two years since that announcement this site has gone on to become the premier site for Magic content. The credit for the site’s success goes to many people, but one of the highest names on that list would be former Content Manager Aaron Forsythe. However, with Aaron’s recent move to the R&D side of Wizards someone else was needed to fill those impressive shoes. It turns out that someone is me, and having been here a couple weeks now I can tell you that we’ve got some great things in store for you.

Unlimited? You bet. Revised? Not a chance.For those that don’t know me, my background in Magic started with the Antiquities set. Soon after learning the game I was buying boosters by the box (and mostly Revised instead of Unlimited, because Unlimited was a little more expensive…oh to have the chance to go back!). Shortly thereafter I was introduced to the Los Angeles tournament scene and I’ve been playing in events both large and small pretty much ever since.

As a competitor my main accolades would be competing in 25+ Pro Tour events, winning “the Type 1 Pro Tour”, making 5 PT Top 8s including 3 consecutive Top 8s, as well as being a member of the winning team at Pro Tour New York 2000 (playing on team “Potato Nation” with Gary Wise and Mike Turian). I’ve also had the privilege of participating in two different Magic Invitationals (1996 and 2001).

Don’t think I’m just in it for the competition though. I’ve played in casual games and leagues for years and many of my fondest memories of the game come from long nights in Denny’s, dorm rooms, and a great old place near Los Angeles called The Vampire Lounge (surely long gone by now). At the Vampire Lounge hoards of Magic players would materialize after work around 8pm and get into these gigantic, sprawling chaos games that would brawl on sometimes for hours. To this day my favorite deck comes from that time, a defense-minded monstrosity that bided its time and eventually sought to unleash the feared Living Plane+Armageddon+Khabal Ghoul combo.

Even in my more competitive days I was often known for adding seemingly wacky cards to tournament decks, particularly when building sideboards. As we get to know each other better I think you’ll find that there’s plenty of Johnny to my Spike, and one of the best things about this job is that now I get to indulge both.

In addition to playing, I’ve also been quite involved with Magic’s online community over the years. I got involved in the writing side of the game fairly early on, including a book for George Baxter’s old publishing company and freelance articles for several publications and websites. Back in late 1999 I was hired by The National Collector to revive Mindripper.com, their dormant strategy website. With the help of a very strong writing staff the site quickly returned to its former prominence and went on to become one of the most important strategy sites of its time. In late 2001 I left TNC to join a tiny upstart site called Brainburst. Within months that site was doing even better than Mindripper had. I continued with Brainburst for about a year, then took a step back from Magic to start building an IT career with the County of Sacramento (though I still wrote occasionally for StarCityGames.com in the interim).

I’ve often been credited with much of the success of those sites that I’ve been involved with as Editor, but I can tell you from experience that content sites for Magic are primarily a collaborative experience. If I’ve done well in the past, it’s in large part because I’ve had the good fortune to work with great people. With that in mind, I can honestly say I’m greatly looking forward to the staff I now have the pleasure to work with.

Which brings us not only to the present, but also the future. In the coming weeks we’ll soon be launching our new content site, one which will combine the content that previously was spread out across this site, Sideboard.com, and the Magic Online site. As we continue forward you’re going to continue to see the great things you’ve come to expect from this site and, I strongly believe, have even more to look forward to. Two years ago Mark introduced this site by writing: “we have access to material that no other site does, and we are planning to share much of that information with you. Other sites print rumors. We will be printing facts straight from the source.” That’s true, but there’s even more. With the new site we’ll be giving you new features, new writers, new functionality, more content, more interaction, and the return of some old favorites as well. By combining all our Magic content into one site we’ll be able to provide you a single, easy to use source for everything you’re looking for. I can’t promise an exact date yet because we need to make sure we’ve got it right, but I can say that it should be very soon. What I can promise is that I’m convinced we’ve got great things in store, both short and long term. It’s an exciting time. Welcome to MagictheGathering.com.

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