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Sanctioned Magic Events Return To New Martinsville

By Staff | Aug 18, 2010

Pictured are those who attended Underground Games’ first DCI sanctioned Friday Night Magic tournament held Aug. 6 at RadioShack in New Martinsville. Standing from left: Gage Scott, Deanna Scott, Brian Rogers, Chadwick Alt, Anthony McClain, Jason Day, and Miranda Stokes. Sitting from left: Eric Zeppuhar, Jacob Coffey, Alan Cruse, Nathaniel Cruse, and Tyler Cruse. (Photo by Bruce Crawford)

Magic: the Gathering is one of the premier intellectual sports in the world. Released in 1993, Magic was the creation of Richard Garfield, a mathematics professor from Pennsylvania. The game incorporates elements of fantasy imagery with strategy concepts to envision a duel between rival Planeswalkers. The first in the genre of collectible card games, Magic has grown over time to the point where there are now well over 10,000 unique cards for players to choose from. It is a game often played on a coffee table battlefield with cardboard combatants but in its brief history it has inspired countless players to compete for over $32 million in prizes.

On a local level, Friday Night Magic (FNM) is the penultimate dueling ground for the game. It’s been more than six years since New Martinsville last hosted a DCI Sanctioned FNM tournament, but that streak was broken last Friday when Underground Games (UG Games) ran the first such event of its type at Eagle Electronics, the area’s local Verizon premium wireless retailer and RadioShack dealer.

This inaugural FNM event was run as a Magic 2011 (M11) draft event. M11 is the most recently released set. This is a format that requires players to compete using a library, or deck, of cards conscripted from randomly assorted booster packs. The format is designed to challenge players’ tactical skills with a greater focus on the basics of the game including combat between opposing creatures.

UG Games has a local pool of over 40 players who regularly attend weekend events. For this first FNM tournament, 12 of those players were vying for the weekly awarded crown. FNM events offer special promo cards only available by playing in these events.

After a draft, smoothly run by UG Games partner and organizer Chadwick Alt, players constructed their libraries and prepared to duel. With 12 players in the event, the tournament would run for five rounds of “Swiss.” The Swiss pairing system is the same as that used in competitive chess, pairing players with similar records through multiple rounds to determine an event ranking. This system allows each player to continue playing for the entire event and ultimately defines a clear winner at the end of the allotted rounds.

On Aug. 6, the big winner was Alan Cruse from Woodsfield. He drafted an aggressive black/red deck powered by four Lightning Bolts to take top honors. Alan finished the tournament with a 5-0 match record, losing only one single game in the best of three format for a game record of 10-1. In addition to his prize for the event, Alan was also asked to sign one of the cards from his deck to be placed in a special case where each tournament win is immortalized. He chose one of the Lightning Bolts from his deck for this honor.

Prizes for the event extended down to fifth place. Other winners at the event included: second place, Chadwick Alt; third place, Brian Rogers; fourth place, A.J. Scott; and fifth place, Jason Day. Additionally, eight players each received a limited edition FNM foil Krosan Grip, a special promo card only made available via the FNM program.

UG Games is hosting a full schedule of Magic events this month, including FNM each Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday Evening Drafts tournaments also at 6 p.m. Next month plans include hosting the first-ever locally organized pre-release event for the Scars of Mirrodin expansion. For additional information regarding Magic events by UG Games or to learn how to play, call 304-455-5700 or stop by RadioShack in New Martinsville.