Friday Night Magic

Twenty years after a complex card game first captivated millions of devotees, I.T. guys, attorneys and longshoreman alike gather every weekend for battles of epic proportion.

Story by Holly Lynn Ellis & Andrew Tank Rivara | March 7, 2013

There are millions of registered Magic: The Gathering players worldwide. Now in its 20th year, the game—in which two players wage battle using some 16,000 trading cards that cast spells and creatures upon their opponent—is more popular than ever.

Some of these millions play just for fun; others compete for winnings that can reach to the tens of thousands per tournament. In New York City on any given Friday night, MTG devotees can find officially sanctioned Friday Night Magic tournaments at ten comic book and gaming stores in the five boroughs.

We spoke to amateur and competitive players at three stores: Get There Games of Staten Island, Montasy Comics in Midtown Manhattan and Kings Games in Midwood, Brooklyn. Even though one of us is a Magic player, we were still surprised at the vast array of backgrounds represented in the rooms. From longshoremen to attorneys (and of course, the requisite IT guys), we met an enormous variety of people with just one thing in common: they love this game.

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Sara Hueneke (editor) is a writer, director and editor living in Brooklyn. She’s a member of Meerkat Media Collective and Associate Creative Director at Eyeball NYC.

Will Kaufman (camera) is a NJ/NY based filmmaker who won a CINE Golden Eagle for his first documentary, Blowing Smoke. He has worked for Discovery, Viacom, Relativity Media, CBS, ESPN, Bacardi, and Google to name a few. Find him at WDK Films and on Twitter @wdkfilms.

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