My Newest Planeswalker

Posted in Magic Lifestyle on June 13, 2016

By Corbin Hosler

I wanted to watch a Disney movie.

It was a realization that hit me like a hasty Emrakul, and one that I can't say I expected. Growing up, I hated children's films. Whether it was because they bored me or because I just decided I was "too cool" to watch movies made for kids, I avoided them like the Virulent Plague. Didn't want to own them, didn't want to cry every time Mufasa dies, didn't want to hear or sing any of the songs. As an adult, I've certainly gotten plenty of flak for not being the expert on classic animated films my wife is, but it's not really something that ever bothered me.

Sitting in my living room at 3 a.m., with Ben just beginning to doze back off in my arms after a fitful night, I had to laugh at myself as I browsed YouTube for some of those old songs I never wanted to admit I kind of liked.

They say having your first child changes you, and I guess I have a browser history of old sing-along songs to prove it.


Like many Magic players and especially members of the coverage team, I lead a bit of a double life. On the weekends when you see me at a Grand Prix or Pro Tour, I'm in full Magic mode. Working fifteen-hour days just to draft afterward, skipping from one challenge to the next with the haste of a Rocket-Powered Turbo Slug, churning out content and decklists and figuring out exactly why the internet cut out just as I needed to pick feature matches to start the round. The grind is punctuated with spirited interactions with my colleagues and friends at the event, a permanently high-energy environment. It's a whirlwind from Friday to Monday that people always tell me is "living the dream," and it's hard to say they're wrong. It's fun and it's exciting and it's a hell of a life to live, and I love every minute of it.

When I exhaustedly collapse through my front door after another long day of travel, my wife is there to greet me along with a month-old baby who doesn't care how many deck techs I wrote or how many drafts I won. He cares about getting a bottle now and will need his diaper changed twice more before I get to finally catch a few hours of sleep.

It's a long way from writing about magical Planeswalkers in exotic far-away locations, and it's a long way from the imagined jet-setting life people visualize when you tell them you make your living traveling the world writing about a card game.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

My son, Ben, planeswalked his way into my world on May 6, and since then I've traded late-night drafts for late-night diapers.

I'm new to the world of being a #MTGDad. Benjamin Ray Hosler was born on May 6, and it was on that day that life changed for me and my wife, Marianne. It changed in all the usual ways—car seats and swaddling, dirty diapers and baby burps—but it also changed in a bunch of ways I hadn't anticipated. Disney movies may have been the first thing to really strike me, but as we settle into life with Ben I'm finding that it's really not the baby-related tasks that are so difficult—it's learning to live the rest of your life around those tasks.

For someone who is used to spending a ton of time around Magic, from traveling to events to running Tuesday Night Modern at my LGS to playing casual Commander whenever possible, that's the real challenge, and it's one I'm learning as we go. After all, writing an article or recording a video is a whole different ball game when there's a baby who could need you at any moment.

Magic is Magic, but family is life. One will always come before the other, and I know that means there will be fewer late-night Commander games in my future. Everyone's life changes in its own way when they become a Magic mom or dad, but I think we all share a common desire: to one day teach our kids to play. And I won't lie, as excited as I am to coach Little League, I'm just as excited to one day teach Ben how best to attack with a Silvergill Adept.

I've seen some pretty amazing Magic family moments—the father-son-son team at Grand Prix Portland and the amazing Kiefer boys at Grand Prix Washington, D.C. come to mind—and I hope one day to share that same Magic bond with Ben.

But that's all in the future, and maybe I'm getting a little ahead of myself imagining my son hoisting that Pro Tour trophy. For now, I'm trading in late-night drafts for late-night diapers, and I couldn't be happier about the newest little Planeswalker in my life, even if he's a few years away from casting his first Lord of Atlantis.

Of course, before that happens I have to get used to even using the phrase "my son," one of those things that, just like a long-forgotten childhood song, comes out of nowhere for a good old Noggin Whack to remind me that my life will never be the same.

All in all, I'm not sure if it's sunk in yet that I am officially a member of the #MTGDad club. It got a little more real when I told a close friend (the one outlet I was allowed before the "official" announcement date). It got a little more real when we scheduled the first doctor's appointment. It got a little more real when I looked at my work schedule nine months from then to see when I would need to take off. It got a little more real when we made the first of what would become weekly trips to the bookstore to pick out a book for Ben (I had the honor of selecting the first book, and went with Robot Zombie Frankenstein!). Despite all that preparation and all the reading material I could get my hands on, nothing really prepares you for that frantic trip to the hospital and walking out three days later with your family a little bit bigger.

I spend my life writing about other people. Sharing with you their decks, their triumphs and failures, and anything else that goes on in their own Magic stories. It's what I love to do, and through telling a stranger's story I become a tiny, fleeting piece of it, even as my own story stays in the background.

Now it's time to write my story. Mine and Marianne's, and now our son Ben's. It's a journey I know I'll never be truly ready for, but it's one I know I couldn't get through without the support the Magic community is so great at providing. Because as much as I'm excited and scared and nervous and worried and confused and exhausted and happy, I'm also comfortable in my element.

I have a story to tell. I can't wait to see what it will be.

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