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Wizards Team Announcement

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The letter T!he Magic Online Community Cup draws near! You've met the challengers. You know the arena. Now it's time to introduce: The Wizards!

Aaron Forsythe


Aaron Forsythe

Introduce yourself and describe your role at Wizards of the Coast:

I'm Aaron, the senior director of R&D for Magic: The Gathering. I used to do cool things like make Magic cards and build FFL decks, but now I just stare longingly out my office window at the people who get to do that stuff.

When did you first start playing Magic?

The summer of 1994, after breaking my leg — my college buddy showed it to me as something to keep me busy. It's kept me busy for almost twenty years! Shortly after I began, Fallen Empires was released, so I'm part of Generation Thallid.

What is currently your favorite card?

Triskelion. Has been for years. Of more recent cards, I'd say Varolz, the Scar-Striped. He's great with Triskelion.


What format do you consider your "specialty?"

I enjoy Sealed Deck the most, but I've been known to build some pretty mean Commander decks.

Which Planeswalker would you invite to your birthday party? Who doesn't get an invitation?

Chandra gets invited. She's a party girl. Gideon can stay home — I don't need anyone else stealing my thunder.

How do you plan to repeat Wizards's success from last year's Community Cup?

I'll threaten to ban all their favorite cards if they don't let us win.



Alexis Janson


Alexis Janson

Introduce yourself and describe your role at Wizards of the Coast:

I got my first position at Wizards by winning the first Great Designer Search. After my six-month internship, I moved onto Magic Online development while continuing to moonlight as a Magic designer. I currently work on the Magic Online Wide Beta client and most recently led the design for Dragon's Maze.

When did you first start playing Magic?

I've been playing since Revised.

What is currently your favorite card?

Library of Congress. Without it, testing Magic Online would be a ton more work!

What format do you consider your "specialty?"

Cube Draft is the only format I put any effort into besides sitting down and playing once in a while. Specifically, I spend time working on my Core Set Cube, which is my vision of what Magic would look like if it only existed as a single box of 540 cards. It's a lot less complex than your average Cube but plays really well.

Which Planeswalker would you invite to your birthday party? Who doesn't get an invitation?

I'd invite all of them and hope for either an amazing party or an amazing story.

How do you plan to repeat Wizards's success from last year's Community Cup?

Most likely by winning, but if we can succeed by losing, I should be able to help with that as well!



Brian Clinton


Brian Clinton

Introduce yourself and describe your role at Wizards of the Coast:

I'm an L1 Judge and lead on Wizards's Online Response Crew.

When did you first start playing Magic?

I dabbled in Magic off and on starting with Beta way back in 1994, but Odyssey block was when I actually became seriously invested in the game.

What is currently your favorite card?

Gifts Ungiven — an extremely powerful, instant-speed tutor with gorgeous art in blue. What's not to like? (Besides the fact that it's banned in Commander.) :(


What format do you consider your "specialty?"

Commander — I got into the format a few years ago thanks to some nudging from (L3 Judge) Rob McKenzie. Once I got started, there was no turning back — I have twelve decks in my regular rotation at this point, and I'm always looking for an excuse to make a new one.

Which Planeswalker would you invite to your birthday party? Who doesn't get an invitation?

While my first pick would be Tamiyo, she honestly doesn't seem much like the partying sort. So instead, I'd invite Jace and/or Chandra, although both at the same time might be asking for trouble. I think I'd have to tell Ral Zarek and Tezzeret to stay home — they're both kinda jerks.

How do you plan to repeat Wizards's success from last year's Community Cup?

I'll help gather the Elements of Harmony so we can overcome the Community Team with the power of friendship. If that fails, I can always just ban them all — that counts as a win, right?



Dave Humpherys


Dave Humpherys

Introduce yourself and describe your role at Wizards of the Coast:

I manage the developers for Magic R&D. I've been a member of development teams for most recent sets and have led development teams for a number of sets past and upcoming. I attribute my job here at least in part to my induction into the second class of the Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame in 2006.

When did you first start playing Magic?

During spring break from my senior year of college in 1994, a couple of my friends from high school introduced me to the game. We battled it out with Unlimited starters. I went back to college and shared it with friends there, then later found a large community of players at MIT when I arrived there for grad school that fall.

What is currently your favorite card?

My favorite card ever is Control Magic. It's a bit of a guilty pleasure. What can I say? I like stealing your creatures. I enjoy playing with the wide variety of creatures that my opponents might bring to the table. I played the card whenever I could justify it for years and years. It was predictable enough that clever local tournament players started appearing with Force of Nature and Killer Bees.


What format do you consider your "specialty?"

I've been largely pegged as a Constructed specialist. I'm admittedly probably best equipped to compete in Standard based on our Future Future League testing that I participate in every week. Although I like to think I can hold my own in current Draft formats as well.

Which Planeswalker would you invite to your birthday party? Who doesn't get an invitation?

Venser would get the invite in hopes of getting some cool party gifts. Vraska wouldn't be allowed in; I'd find her hair a little too unsettling.

How do you plan to repeat Wizards's success from last year's Community Cup?

A timely miracle?



Mike Turian


Mike Turian

Introduce yourself and describe your role at Wizards of the Coast:

Hi! I'm Mike Turian. Earlier this summer, I accepted the position of digital product manager for Magic Online. You can read all about my new role and the team we have put together to make Magic Online awesome at the end of this recent article .

When did you first start playing Magic?

I started playing Magic about the time The Dark was released. I was in a summer program and my friend Ari Shtulman could not stop talking about this new game he was playing. After a couple of days, I realized that I needed to check it out. So we went down to the local card shop and I bought a Starter Deck of Revised.

What is currently your favorite card?

Wasteland.


What format do you consider your "specialty?"

Draft.

Which Planeswalker would you invite to your birthday party? Who doesn't get an invitation?

I would invite Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I have a picture of him at my desk and if he would come sign it that would be pretty cool. Also, I figure he owes me one since I helped bring him to life. I would not invite Jace, Memory Adept because things would not end well for him if I had to choose between him and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

How do you plan to repeat Wizards's success from last year's Community Cup?

This year, the Community team is loaded with talent. I've asked to be paired against Reid Duke every round for some easy wins.



Ryan Spain


Ryan Spain

Introduce yourself and describe your role at Wizards of the Coast:

My name is Ryan Spain. I am a digital designer in R&D. My primary responsibility is the ongoing design of Magic Online features and the digital implementation of new card sets, but like everyone in R&D, I also contribute to the design and playtesting of new Magic sets. I was on the development team for Modern Masters and the design team for Born of the Gods.

When did you first start playing Magic?

In 1995, I played my first game of Magic against coverage commentator and Limited Information columnist Marshall Sutcliffe, with both of us playing off the top of his 100-card pile of red and green cards. It was love at first tap!

What is currently your favorite card?

I've found Angelic Accord to be extremely compelling lately. In both Magic 2014 Limited and Constructed, I see it and my Johnny side locks my Spike side in a closet, drops everything, and gets to work making angels.


What format do you consider your "specialty?"

Anyone who knows my history as a cohost of the Limited Resources podcast knows the answer to this one! I'm definitely happiest playing forty-card Magic decks, but I enjoy Standard and Modern as well.

Which Planeswalker would you invite to your birthday party? Who doesn't get an invitation?

I would invite Chandra to a birthday party at the beach. She seems like she would be fun at a party, and at the beach she won't accidentally burn my house down and can get the fire going for s'mores and hot dogs. Dack Fayden doesn't get an invite. He'd steal all my presents!

How do you plan to repeat Wizards's success from last year's Community Cup?

Conveniently schedule it during a week when Jon Loucks, now eligible for the Wizards team, is out of the state.



Sam Stoddard


Sam Stoddard

Introduce yourself and describe your role at Wizards of the Coast:

My name is Sam Stoddard, and I am a Magic Developer. I was on the Dragon's Maze development team, play in the Future Future League, write the weekly Latest Development column, and also work on new Magic expansions, most of which you probably haven't heard of. Not because I'm a hipster or anything, just because they haven't been announced yet.

When did you first start playing Magic?

I first got into Magic with Revised during the summer of 1994, right between Legends and The Dark.

What is currently your favorite card?

Enlarge. Have you seen the size of that Cat? Those stupid Merfolk don't stand a chance.


What format do you consider your "specialty?"

Limited in general, but my specialty is probably Sealed Deck.

Which Planeswalker would you invite to your birthday party? Who doesn't get an invitation?

I'd definetly invite Chandra. She comes with a built-in fireworks display, and I'm pretty sure her red nature means she knows how to have a good time at a party.

I wouldn't invite Domri. First of all, I don't think he's old enough to be out after dark anyway, and the kid is feral. Like, the last thing on his daily to-do list, after reorganizing his collection of fine china, is to take a bath. I don't think he gets to that one very often.

How do you plan to repeat Wizards's success from last year's Community Cup?

I haven't been on a losing team yet, so I plan on keeping up that momentum! Also, getting Papa Worth to hit the #DoomSwitch on the Community Team.



Sean Gibbons


Sean Gibbons

Introduce yourself and describe your role at Wizards of the Coast:

I'm Sean Gibbons, the associate community manager for Magic: The Gathering. That means I have the honor of speaking with Magic fans around the world on behalf of Wizards. I also manage our Facebook page, goof around with people on Twitter, and organize fun and exciting events like this one! I also wrote these questions, so in a way it's like I'm talking to myself in the past. Far out.

When did you first start playing Magic?

I started playing when I was but a wee lad in radical light-up sneakers and a closet full of Ghostbusters t-shirts. My Dad got me an Ice Age starter deck plus a two-player starter box that included a larger-than-normal rule book I barely read. It also came with a sweet cloth bag and some mermaid tears to use for counters. The box is sitting above my desk as I type this.

What is currently your favorite card?

I'm a big fan of Master Transmuter. I like trying to play creatures that never survive long enough to untap. Not to mention Esper is a very cool place, flavor-wise. I love the idea of an entire population augmented with etherium.


What format do you consider your "specialty?"

I always considered myself a (usually Standard) Constructed player in the past, but my favorite aspect was deck building. Limited has really changed the way I've thought about Magic. It turns out I'm also pretty good at it, thankfully.

Which Planeswalker would you invite to your birthday party? Who doesn't get an invitation?

I'd invite Tamiyo, but she probably wouldn't show up. I'd invite Venser but he'd probably start exiling my other guests. I bet Domri Rade knows how to party, though! Karn's invitation would get lost in a temporal rift. At least that's what I'd tell him. Sorry Karn, but you're kind of a troublemaker.

How do you plan to repeat Wizards's success from last year's Community Cup?

Last year was my first Community Cup. It was also Wizards's first victory. Coincidence?! (Yes, it is.)



Worth Wollpert


Worth Wollpert

Introduce yourself and describe your role at Wizards of the Coast:

Hi! My name is Worth Wollpert, and I am the executive producer for digital Magic. That means I run the digital side of our favorite game, from Magic Online to Duels of the Planeswalkers, to some things that I can't talk about. :)

When did you first start playing Magic?

I picked the game up in 1993 right after it came out, lucky for me. I was in a card shop one day buying comics and saw some guys playing and was instantly hooked. Since I started at college in 1993 as well, the timing was great for me. I spent the next few years thinking about and playing Magic all the time, traveling to tournaments up and down the East Coast (primarily the Gray Matter events in the NYC area) and then playing in PTQs on the East Coast and in the Ohio Valley to qualify for my first Pro Tour (Columbus). Played on the Pro Tour all the way up through taking a job at Wizards in 2000. At one point in my pro tour career I had an 0–13 feature match streak going. :)

What is currently your favorite card?

Favorite card ever is probably Eternal Dragon, mostly due to the handsomeness / intelligence / suaveness level of the human who made it.


What format do you consider your "specialty?"

I've always been best at Rochester Draft, honestly, too bad we don't really use that one too much anymore! I do love Winston Drafts, too.

Which Planeswalker would you invite to your birthday party? Who doesn't get an invitation?

Sorin is not invited because he'd probably start snacking on the guests and as a host I believe that is simply bad form. Sarkhan Vol can come, though; seems like he'd liven up any gathering. Get it? Gathering?

How do you plan to repeat Wizards's success from last year's Community Cup?

I don't think we really need to plan, honestly.

The Stakes

Other than bragging rights, what's exactly on the line here? The Community Team members are champions on behalf of the Magic Online community, so it's only fair that the community shares in the reward (and the penalty)! If the Community Team somehow wins, Magic Online players who logged in between Friday, August 30, at 10 a.m. PDT and Saturday, August 31, at 7 p.m. PDT, during the Community Cup, will be granted a premium foil Sliver Queen promo and Rakdos Cackler FNM promo on September 4.

...but if they fail, and the Wizards Team lands a second Community Cup victory, the Magic Online players who logged in during the event will receive a different premium foil promo card. One that will remind them of the outcome every time they read it.




 
Sean Gibbons
Sean Gibbons @SeanGibbons
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Born in a dimension of pure cake, Sean Gibbons was quickly sent into exile after leading a rebellion opposing The Great Margarine Edict. Arriving on Earth, he saved a school bus full of Mulldrifters from being evoked and was instantly adopted by Wizards of the Coast to serve as their associate community manager. Those Mulldrifters later died to removal.

 
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