As Lauren Lee (@Mulldrifting) said recently in her article over at Mananation (@Mananation), there are two ways of improving your Magic playing skills. You can practice playing, or you can learn by parsing related knowledge and information from others. Her article focuses on how to parse the information and why you should do so. I will show you one valuable channel for locating that information and how to get considerable mileage out of it. That information channel is the Magic community on Twitter.
Twitter is a hot social media tool that should be grabbing your attention as a Magic player. If you seek innovation in deck building, Twitter has it. If you seek to read articles before anyone else, Twitter has them. If you want to have access to the thoughts of the Magic Community’s best and brightest, you need to get on Twitter.
The Twitter Magic community is very diverse and you will find all manner of personalities and perspectives amongst them. Wizards of the Coast employees, Pro Tour Champions, deck building innovators, PTQ grinders, community content producers, site managers, and folks interested in every niche format in a long running continuous chat about the game we all love. At the end of this article and throughout I will list some of the folks I follow and why you should follow them as well. The username for a Twitter account is denoted with ‘@’ followed by the username, and each will link to that user’s timeline. First, an overview of how Twitter works from a Magic player’s perspective.
Twitter is really a tool of discovery for the Magic player. Part of the point behind Twitter is that in revealing small quips about what is on one’s mind, those around that one will learn new things about the one and start discussion about things that may never have come up otherwise. In the Magic community, each person you’ll want to follow will usually have magic on the mind more often than anything else. This is one of the reasons it is so good at spreading spoilers, new decks and deck tech, articles, and announcements from the Magic community. Yes, occasionally Mike Flores (@fivewithflores) and Conley Woods(@Conley81) or Brian David-Marshall (@Top8Games) will have a debate over the merits of a particular basketball team’s performance, and occasionally someone will mention that their pancakes didn’t turn out very well this morning, but these types of things come up in the conversation of a crowded game store as well, so if you aren’t particularly interested, just glaze over it to the next Magic related topic.
Twitter serves as a kind of news aggregate for the Magic community, as many magic related websites post links to their articles in tweets and many players at various levels will report any interesting developments at the various tournaments that they attend. Professional oriented sites and various entities from WotC also post Twitter updates direct from the floor of major tournaments, providing you with the benefits of boots on the ground without driving or flying to wherever the hotspot is at the moment.
Managing your Twitter account is a fairly simple affair as you can use your Twitter homepage quite directly and easily. If you are more tech savvy and on the go, you can use on of any number of mobile applications to keep tabs from SMS text to the more popular TweetDeck. I have a iGoogle homepage customized with a Twitter gadget built into it, and use Echofon on my Ipod Touch. My point is that it is easy to use both simply and with multiple access points and features.
Now that we have the overview out of the way, let’s get down to specifics. First, if you like spoiler season, Twitter is a delight because not only will you have WotC employees like Mark Rosewater (@maro254), Kenneth Nagle (@NorrYtt), Mike Turian (@mturian) Tom LaPille (@tomlapille) and Aaron Forsythe (@mtgaaron) dropping hints and spoiling cards at any given moment, and not only because all the spoiler tracking sites and bloggers will post any new spoilers they come across, but also because you can get instant evaluations from players at all different levels of play. In fact, not only do these various players give feedback on new cards, rotated or new formats and new sets in their entirety, but also on new tech as it comes up.
What this means is that when something is on the bleeding edge of Magic tech, you’ll be amongst the first to know about it. To give an example, I was following Pro Tour Austin on Twitter when Evan Erwin (@misterorange) mentioned that he was witnessing a breakout performance by a deck running the new card, at the time, Punishing Fire. Quickly a discussion broke out on Twitter evaluating this new tech that seemed to come out of nowhere. That’s when Kelly Reid (@kellyreid) of Quiet Speculation made the call to ‘Buy Grove of the Burnwillows‘. After a quick analysis of his logic and the situation, I followed his advice. Within an hour or two a Grove of the Burnwillows could not be found for less than five dollars, and within a day after Brian Kibler (@bmkibler) won Pro Tour Austin, the price for Groves had reached strange new heights. I had my playset, which I did not have previously, and sold two additional playsets I had ordered on Ebay for twenty-four dollars each. That’s a three-fold increase over the under two dollars a card price I bought them for, and I had the latest tech to play with myself.
These sorts of things happen on occasion, thanks to floor reports via twitter from the various Pros and content providers who work Magic’s big tournaments. What happens more often is that you will have good players discussing new decks and strategies, WotC policies, and Tournament experiences. You will also be amongst the first to know when a new article is posted on an number of reputable and popular sites like Power9pro (@power9pro), Mananation, Star City Games (@starcitygames), Channel Fireball (@ChannelFireball), The Starkington Post (@Starkpo), and many of the excellent independent Magic community bloggers like AffinityforIslands (@AffinityForBlue), MTG Color Pie (@mtgcolorpie), and Gathering Magic (@GatheringMagic), amongst others mentioned above.
Think you are ready for some Twitter information flow? Here is a listing of some interesting folks I follow, and I’ll break them down into groups for you so you can get started. (If you aren’t listed here and I follow you, I’m sorry but there is a need to limit the lists.)This will by no means be exhaustive, and I suggest looking for your local players as well once you are comfortable. If you don’t find them, get them to read this article and see what they are missing.
Wizards of the Coasts Employees and Official Support
Mark Rosewater (@maro254)
Kenneth Nagle (@NorrYtt)
Mike Turian (@mturian)
Tom LaPille (@tomlapille)
Aaron Forsythe (@mtgaaron)
Elaine Chase (@ElaineChase)
Magic Pro Tour Floor Reports (@MagicProTour)
Daily MTG Web Team (@DailyMTG)
DCI Judges (@DCIJudges)
Pro Tour Players
Brian Kibler (@bmkibler)
Conley Woods (@Conley81)
Patrick Chapin (@thepchapin)
Adam Styborski (@the_stybs)
Luis Scott-Vargas (@LuisScottVargas)
Zvi Mowshowitz (@TheZvi)
Sites and Bloggers
Star City Games (@starcitygames)
Channel Fireball (@ChannelFireball)
MTG Salvation (@mtgsalvation)
Bill Stark, The Starkington Post (@Starkpo)
Evan Erwin, The Magic Show (@misterorange)
MTG Color Pie (@mtgcolorpie)
Lauren Lee, Mananation, Quiet Speculation, Mulldrifting (@Mulldrifting)
Kelly Reid, The Dragon’s Den, Mananation, Quiet Speculation (@kellyreid)
Johnathan Medina, MTG Metagame (@mtgmetagame)
Russell Tassicker, Gwafa’s Bazaar (@rtassicker)
Neale Wrongwaygoback (@wrongwaygoback)
EDH Central (@edhcentral)
Podcasts, Article Aggregates, Video coverage
MTGFeeds, Article Aggregate (@MTGFeeds)
MTGBattlefield, Article Aggregate (@MtgBattlefield)
Alex, Deck Construct Podcast (@DeckConstruct)
Yo! MTG Taps!, Podcast (@YoMTGTaps)
DrawGo Radio, Podcast (@drawgoradio)
MTGRadio, Podcast (@mtgradio)
MTGCast, Podcast Aggregate (@mtgcast)
Good Games Live, Live Event Coverage (@GGSLive)
Interesting Community Personalities
Rivnix Izzet, Goblin Planeswalker (@Rivnix)
Don Wiggins (@TheSundry)
Alaric Stein (@PlatypusJedi)
David Campano (@dcampa93)
Riki Hayashi, DCI Judge (@Riskypedia)
Dr. Jeebus, formerly of MTGSalvation forums fame (@dr_jeebus)
Chris McNutt (@Fatecreatr)
Jonathan Richmond, The Thieving Magpie guy (@norbert88)
Rob Davis (@ArtosKincaid)
Dylan Lerch (@dtlerch)
Greg Haenig, Urzassedatives of MTG Salvation’s Rumor Mill (@uselessend)
As you can see just by the size of this brief list that the Magic community on Twitter is alive and thriving, just waiting for you to join and gain the benefits of all the knowledge and discussion that it generates and shares. And as always, you can follow me as well, @RobJelf. If you join up to Twitter after reading this, send me a tweet and let me know.
P.S. Here is a link to a Twitter list with all the account above in one timeline.