Fancy, decopunk art and a nice rustic aesthetic combined at Jao Tim yesterday, as we got called to KL for the Learn-To-Play event ahead of Magic: The Gathering’s latest release, MtG: Streets of New Capenna.
After giving the bouncer the secret password, we were invited to a play area- complete with assigned seating to make sure that each player was in a group that matched their skill levels.
Admittedly, I’m not exactly a Friday Night Magic regular– I know enough about MtG to know you’re not able to attack each other’s creatures, but some of the more subtle intricacies can be lost on me. Thankfully, the event had me sat with three like-minded gamers- all people who’d been exposed to the game, but maybe hadn’t been playing it on the regular.
But First, Some Mocktails
Contrary to the memes, it wasn’t time to duel yet though- a big highlight of the event was a whole host of mocktails, themed and flavored after the five families of New Capenna. Served in glasses of all manner of shape and size, I absolutely adore their names, made to sound like actual drinks that would exist in the underworld of New Capenna.
I’m especially fond of the Knockout- chosen drink of the Riveteers, my personal favorite faction. Is blatant favoritism involved? Yes, yes it was.
We even had a demonstration of the mocktails being made by the bartender themselves- with all the families drinks being mixed, it definitely lends an air that the play area was the kind of neutral ground for a bunch of feuding crime families.
Set Your Life Counters To 20 And Draw
Following a brief primer on the setup for New Capenna, it was time to play! Each table was assigned a Trainer- a more experienced player, there to explain the basics of the game to a bunch of people who might be a little bit out of touch with the game. Our trainer, Jason, was very patient with us and set us up with the Jump Start packs- booster packs containing half a deck each, allowing you to build two decks from pre-made themes.
It’s a great way to get into MtG as a whole- once you get a hang of the rules it’s easy to start fantasizing about a full-on deck, maybe even made in the image of your favorite crime family.
I’d even brought a secret weapon with me for the session- an old tricorn hat from a previous Magic: The Gathering event all the way back when they had a booth at Comic Fiesta. I was hoping the latent energy of card games would bolster my luck and bring me sweet, cardboard victory.
And work it did, since my deck proved a little to the strong side. A red/black deck proved extremely strong when it comes to mounting a strong offense, and the fact there’s no particularly grand plays outside of “keep summoning creatures to beat on your opponent” means you get to tap into the primal joy of just beating stuff up, since even the Black cards all pointed to, well, getting more creatures out.
The Spirit of Magic
Despite many great mobile card games, The MtG Learn-To-Play event was a perfect summation of an important point- card games are best enjoyed in person. Chatting with strangers about your decks, whining about getting a bad hand, these are all great conversations meant to just fade into the ether as the day goes on, rather than exist via speech bubbles on your phone.
Better yet, we also got to talk about the future of MtG. Not from a business angle, mind you, but more so to the “Wow these crime families look sick, I can’t wait to see what cool creatures the Riveteers get”.
With a 2-1 scorecard in my hands and the Riveteers in my heart, it was an absolute blast to get to actually play MtG with other people. I’m especially glad we got seemingly grouped based on our types of experiences- it’s no fun playing against someone who’s playing for the first time, especially if you’re the type to know how to devise cunning plays enough to feel like you’re bullying.
Our thanks to Wizards of the Coast SEA for having this excellent event, and don’t forget to check out MtG: Streets of New Capenna when it launches next week either by buying one of its assortment of card packs or even the pre-constructed Commander decks modeled after each Family.