Welcome to “Crunchy Roll & Chill.” I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Timothy Russell, but most know me best by the name “Guilla.” All of my life I have been obsessed with, for lack of a better phrase, “nerd culture.” Yes, I did it before it was cool (shaking fist)! I have watched nearly every major action anime and played in numerous Street Fighter and Tekken tournaments. Hell, I have been playing “Magic: the Gathering” for 17 years now, and had a fully maxed DC Universe sorcery healer back in my MMO days. If you have ever listened to my music, you know that I love to sprinkle all this knowledge in for the real ones. In this series, I will be covering the things I enjoy — basically all things nerd (cringes at lack of a better term again). 

For my first article, I have no choice but to talk about Wizards of the Coast’s new online adaptation of Magic the Gathering called “Magic: The Gathering Arena.” I was an initial beta tester for this game a year ago, and now it is in open beta, which has expanded the community even more. Given that I had played all other versions of MTG, from “Duels of the Plane-walkers” to “Battle Grounds on Xbox,” I would call myself a seasoned online player. This new adaptation, however, BLOWS all of the other versions out of the water. They have nearly everything we have always wanted in an online MTG game, including “sealed,” “draft,” and “standard,” with entire extended libraries! The play is seamless and feels like the real thing, which is big for anyone who has ever experienced the clunkiness of Magic Online. You can pay to play to unlock boosters, or grind it out the hard way completing daily task. When I was a kid, I would make two decks and play against myself when I was bored. Now, I find myself building decks and playing all day against real people.

One of the drawbacks of this new release is that I love to talk shit, and there is no chat option. After an opponent top draws a game-winning card, I would love the ability to be able to tell my opponent to go fuck themselves. Or, at least, I would love to tell them, “Yo. That’s a bad ass deck.” It most likely won’t be the latter, however.

Another drawback — this one pointed out to me by my friend Josh, who is an avid online MTG player — is that once you pour money into the game, you will never get the physical cards to resell in the future unlike MTO. Honestly, other than that I have no complaints about the game.

Moreover, Magic is now an official “E-Sport.” That means that 2019 will be the biggest year in the entire fucking history of the franchise, with a $10 million prize pool up for grabs. I am excited for this game and to see it expand into the future. Some already consider it mainstream, but in my opinion it has not even come close to its true potential. Mark my words, you will hear the likes of Drake — and maybe even a Kardashian — say they love to play MTG in 2019.

One of the great things about arena is that it has tutorials on how to play. So, if you have never played before, right now is a great time to download the open beta and catch this train that will be taking off very soon. 

If anyone wants to catch the smoke, remember to follow me on social media @Guilla713 and we will coordinate an L in your direction. Or, catch me at Coral Sword for FNM to keep the convo going.