We Made Magic History

Posted in News on June 8, 2015

By Helene Bergeot

Hélène Bergeot started her career with Wizards of the Coast in France in December, 1995; afterwards, she spent a few years in the European headquarters based in Belgium and eventually relocated to the Renton office. She is currently the director of organized play and trade marketing.

Last weekend, an unprecedented 20,000 Magic players participated in Modern Masters Weekend, held in three locations across the world (Utrecht, Netherlands; Chiba, Japan; and Las Vegas, United States). Even more impressive, an estimated 1 million fans watched coverage across English, Japanese, and Chinese language video streams…while our written and social media content generated tens of thousands of tweets and Facebook likes.

We said we were going to make Magic history, and we definitely succeeded!

It actually all started back in 2013, when we celebrated the release of the first Modern Masters set by hosting a Grand Prix in Las Vegas.

The response of the Magic fans was overwhelming; this event shattered all previous attendance records with over 4,300 players. But what made that event truly unique were all the stories , such as Christine Sprankle—cosplayer extraordinaire—making her grand debut at a large-scale event, podcasters renting houses and barbecuing, road trip stories from many far-away cities.

That event had demonstrated how hungry Magic players were for events like that.

We heard that feedback loud and clear, especially when we were given the following feedback: "Why Las Vegas only?"

The release of Modern Masters 2015 Edition seemed like the perfect opportunity to offer the fans what they were looking for…and more. This is where the concept of the Modern Masters Weekend came from: run an event on three different continents and make Magic history.

Months of preparations later, here we are. I decided to attend the Vegas event. I was familiar with the floor plan, but entering the venue was a different experience. Everything was huge. And then, the doors opened. In the span of 5 minutes, 1,000 players entered the venue, took seats, and started playing. And repeat. Goose bumps.

We had the opportunity to celebrate two weddings that afternoon, and that set the stage for the whole weekend!

Although based in Vegas, I stayed in close contact with the rest of the team in Chiba and Utrecht—to be honest, I felt truly ready to learn how to planeswalk—as our priority was to deliver an amazing experience to players, on-site or online.

There were 3,551 players in Chiba, 3,613 in Utrecht, and 7,551 in the Vegas main events, along with thousands of additional players enjoying side events. There was so much positive energy on the floor. There were cosplayers, artists, vendors! Many of you asked me if I was happy; as I said, I wish I could have captured this amazing energy in bottles.

A photo from the catwalk in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Then came Sunday. As Chiba and Utrecht had successfully wrapped up, I finally found a moment to look at the coverage, and to look at the stories our amazing coverage army had collected throughout the whole weekend. Stories of the Magic community. Your stories.

This is where I realized what we had accomplished: Modern Masters Weekend was not only an event of an unprecedented magnitude, it was a vibrant celebration of the Magic community. The weekend has showcased how passionate, diverse and inclusive the community is and I feel really proud to be part of it.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank all the people who worked really hard to make this event a reality: the Wizards of the Coast staff, the Tournament Organizers (Hareruya, Tournamentcenter.EU, Cascade Games, and ChannelFireball), the 900+ judges, and the whole coverage team.

We collectively learned a lot this weekend and it will help us make all Magic events better!

And if you are wondering if we're planning to do it again, my answer is this:

"Nope…we are thinking about how to do it better."

Thank you all for making Magic history.

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