Type of site
|Magazine / Official news|
|Owner||Wizards of the Coast|
|Launched||January 1, 2002|
Magicthegathering.com is the official website of Wizards of the Coast to promote and offer information on their trading card game Magic: The Gathering. It was started in January 2002 to act as Wizards of the Coast's official mouthpiece for information on Magic and to act as a replacement for The Duelist, a magazine covering Magic formerly published by Wizards of the Coast. The site was reworked in 2008 as a general introduction to Magic, with the online magazine aspect moved to a "Daily MTG" section. The magazine was generally referred to as Magicthegathering.com before the redesign.
The site was first started in 2002 with 5 columns, one for each day of the week. Mark Rosewater decided it would be best to bookend the week with the "behind the scenes" columns, and hence placed the Design column on Monday and the Development column on Friday. There was also one Featured Article per week, written by a variety of guest columnists. A Saturday column in Saturday School was added later. The site also became the main clearing house for more mundane and static information concerning Magic, such as beginner guides, lists of cards in each set, and the formal rules of Magic.
In February 2004, the Magicthegathering.com website was combined with columns from The Sideboard and the Magic Online site, which had previously been semi-independent. Some additional columns were added as well, increasing the number of articles per week from 6 to 11 (though some of the columns had merely moved). In 2007, the number of columns per week was reduced to 10 and then 9 with the discontinuation of a Saturday column and the Magic Online-based column.
The site is known for hiring popular writers from Magic fansites, and offered an avenue to employment with Wizards of the Coast.
On August 4, 2007, Scott Johns announced in the last Magic Academy article that sometime in 2008, the site would be redesigned to take "maximum advantage of what the web is capable of". This was complete in 2008, with the aspects aimed toward explaining and selling the game toward newcomers placed at the fore of the website. The magazine elements were moved to the "Daily MTG" tab.
Magicthegathering.com currently publishes 10 articles per week; two daily columns on each weekday, with a Feature Article instead of a regular column on Monday. The Feature Article is written by a variety of authors picked by the editor. On an erratic schedule, information on recent tournaments is added to the tournament section, and information related to Magic: The Gathering Online can appear on a subsite devoted to Magic Online.
- Making Magic, by Mark Rosewater, the head of Magic design. Making Magic is one of the original five and one of the main reasons for the site's existence. In it, Mark Rosewater explains the logic behind various design decisions as well as discussing Magic in general.
- Limited Information, by Marshall Sutcliffe. This column delves into Limited strategy; that is, the format in which the cards to be used are acquired in the tournament such as Sealed Deck and Draft, as opposed to constructed decks. The column was created in the reorganization of February 2004 where it was written by Scott Wills; after Wills left, the column was suspended for a short time (January - May 2006) due to a lack of writers. Noah Weil then wrote the column for a time, and then it was fully taken over by Quentin Martin, who stopped writing for the column in April 2008.
- Serious Fun, by Bruce Richard. Serious Fun explores the casual and multiplayer side of Magic. It was formerly written by Anthony Alongi and The Ferret, and is one of the original five columns.
- Top Decks, by Luis Scott-Vargas. Formerly called Swimming with Sharks. Top Decks covers high-level competitive Magic strategy with a focus both on the theoretical aspects of the game as well as recent tournaments. It was created in the reorganization of February 2004 and was originally written by Brian David-Marshall as a successor to the somewhat misleadingly titled Learning Curve column, which had been similar. It was then renamed with the 2008 site redesign. In 2013 the column was retired, until it returned with a new author: Luis Scott-Vargas.
- The Week That Was, by Brian David-Marshall. The Week That Was covers recent tournaments with interviews of players and deck analysis.
- Latest Developments, by Sam Stoddard. It is one of the three columns used for releasing "inside" information, with Latest Developments focusing on the Development side of Magic set creation. During Randy Buehler's time as head of Magic development, he wrote the column; when Forsythe originally replaced Buehler, he was only a new employee in Development, though he later went on to become Head of Development. When Forsythe was promoted to Director of Magic R&D, Devin Low succeeded him as Head Developer as well as author of Latest Developments. When Devin Low stopped writing for the column in November 2008, the column had constant guest authors until Lapille began writing for it in January 2009. In 2013 it was taken over by R&D Developer, Sam Stoddard.
- Uncharted Realms, by Jenna Helland. This replaced Savor the Favor in June 2012. It consists of in-world short fiction as written by members of the Magic the Gathering creative team.
- Perilous Research, by Jake Van Lunen. Began in July 2012, this weekly column focuses on Magic Online.
- Level One, by Mike Fores. Launched in January 2014, this weekly column focuses on teaching Magic theory.
- ReConstructed, by Gavin Verhey. Began in March 2012, the weekly column is devoted to tweaking reader submitted decklists and exploring deck construction.
- Command Tower, by Adam Styborski. First published on April 4, 2013, this column is dedicated to the popular casual format Magic: The Gathering Commander (previously known as Elder Dragon Highlander or EDH.)
- Building on a Budget, by Jacob Van Lunen. The column, as its name suggests, covers building fun and at least somewhat competitive decks on a limited budget. It originally ran off the Magic Online site, but was later moved to the main page, where it still kept a focus on Magic Online. It was originally written by Nate Heiss; he was succeeded by Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar, who was in turn succeeded by Ben Bleiweiss and then Jacob Van Lunen. Building on a budget was discontinued in June 2012.
- From the Lab, by Noel deCordova. Formerly called House of Cards. From the Lab covers deckbuilding with a strong slant towards creativity and humor. It was one of the original columns on the site. It was first written by Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar; he was later replaced by future Magic Rules department head Mark Gottlieb. After Gottlieb was promoted within Wizards of the Coast, the column lapsed for a time (July - December 2006), and was then taken up again by Chris Millar. With the site redesign of 2008, the column was renamed and the author replaced with Noel deCordova. The final From the Lab article was 2012-10-01.
- Savor the Flavor, by Doug Beyer. Formerly called Taste the Magic. Introduced in August 2005, Savor the Flavor covers the flavor and artistic aspects of Magic. It is one of the three columns from Wizards of the Coast employees detailing insight into the process of creation of Magic sets and associated products (such as novels). It was formerly written by Matt Cavotta. Cavotta is a Magic artist and writer in the Creative Department. Savor the Favor was discontinued in June 2012.
- Saturday School, a rules question & answer column. This was the first attempt at publishing content on Saturday for the site; it was discontinued due to lack of editorial time and the fact that other sites could cover the questions. It was first written by Rune Horvik, and later by John Carter.
- Magic Academy, a Saturday column by Jeff Cunningham that sought to explain basic strategies of Magic to beginning and intermediate players. It was formerly written by Ted Knutson and succeeded the Saturday School column in the (currently empty) Saturday slot.
- Single-Card Strategies, a column which would take a card and expand on its possibilities in a variety of decks. Bennie Smith wrote it for a short time; Adrian Sullivan later took it over. The column was discontinued in November 2006.
- Learning Curve, a column theoretically aimed at teaching newer players strategy which ended up more as a general strategy and tournament results column.
- Week in Review, a column by Alex Sharvatsman similar to The Week That Was in that it covered recent tournament results. It was formerly hosted on The Sideboard.
- Inside Magic Online, a column on the Magic Online site by one of the developers, Daniel Myers.
- Online and Enjoying It, the short-lived successor column to Inside Magic Online by Chad Ellis.
- Into the Aether, a column on Magic Online that succeeded the earlier attempts. It was written by Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar at first, and was later taken over by Bennie Smith. It was replaced by the more competitive-oriented Online Tech column.
- Online Tech, by Frank Karsten. This column covered tournament events and results on Magic Online, and was a successor of sorts to the broader in focus and more casual-orientated into the Aether. When it was discontinued in 2007, its popular online breakdown tables were partially merged into Mike Flores' Swimming with Sharks column.
- The Play's the Thing, a column that examined game situations and extensively outlined the thought process in making decisions. It was written by Zvi Mowshowitz while he was an intern at Wizards. The column ran from July 2005 to April 2006.
Gatherer, launched on September 23, 2004, is an online database hosted at Magicthegathering.com that could be used to search for and sort data about the cards in Magic. Prior to Gatherer, official resources for card data on the company's website were limited to text-only "Oracle" lists, sortable lists of the cards in individual sets, and a comprehensive collection of card images that could only be looked up individually by name. Gatherer was preceded by several unofficial databases and search utilities, which were created and run by independent enthusiasts.
Gatherer was created by Doug Beyer, a web developer for Wizards of the Coast. The graphics decorating its interface were created by artist Jen Page.
There is a new version of Gatherer in the works. Simply called New Gatherer at this time, it contains more open-ended search features and a more efficient interface. It is currently in beta, which it has been in since the 2008 site redesign.
Four minor features fill out the Magicthegathering.com page that are updated each weekday. These are the Card of the Day, which features a selected Magic card along with a short anecdote to go with it; Magic Arcana, which shows artwork or other odd design stories; Ask Wizards, which is a mailbag in which various employees answer questions; and Ask the Pro, a mailbag column where a professional Magic player (currently Raphaël Lévy, preceded by Olivier Ruel) responds to questions.
The site also features a Tournament Center, a subsite for live Grand Prix and Pro Tour coverage, a tournament schedule, player statistics, a "Judge Column" and other tournament-relevant information. This is the only part of the site that is updated more than once a day and on weekends (provided a tournament is taking place). Tournament coverage usually consists of a frequently updated blog, with Pro Tours and World Championships additionally featuring video and podcast coverage.
Notes and references
- Lessons Learned
- "Limited Information Archive". Retrieved 2009-03-21.
- Trick Jarrett (February 25, 2012). "Perilous Realms and More". Retrieved 2012-10-15.
- Adam Styborski (April 3, 2013). "Step Up to the Mic". Retrieved 2014-04-08.
- Trick Jarrett (October 15, 2012). "Closed for Renovations". Retrieved 2012-10-15.
- Zvi Mowshowitz (April 25, 2006). "Systemic Thought". Retrieved 2007-08-20.
- "MtG New Gatherer". Retrieved 2009-03-21.
- "MtG Pro Tour Twitter Feed". Retrieved 2009-03-21.