$5 books and crowd-sourced listicles about Magic

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18: Podcasts
I find these an excellent way to enjoy Magic cards without spending.

You might wonder how nerdy Magic players tend to be. There is typically a certain flavor of nerdiness present. In this current era of dramatic expansion of Magic coverage and broadcasts, many of the prominent spokespeople are learning to improve their stage presence.

There are plenty of Magic podcasts that you can find; they can be really entertaining as well as thought-provoking. I’ll mention a few and what I enjoy about them.

Top Level Podcast is a show about Standard and Modern deckbuilding hosted by Patrick Chapin and Michael J. Flores. Patrick is an accomplished pro player who has authored a few of history’s more powerful decks. Known as “The Innovator” due to his deck building, he is also a spirited competitor who is lots of fun to watch on the Pro Tour, and was featured in Enter the Battlefield. The author of Next Level Magic and Next Level Deckbuilding, his vast experience at balancing and evaluating cards is offered as a head-start in brewing with new sets. He speaks with passionate intensity, speculating wildly about combos and synergies, and frequently concocts elaborate metaphors to express the relationships between cards. Michael is also a tournament veteran, and his prompts to Patrick keep the show very energized. He was a renowned columnist for The Dojo, which was literally one of the first web sites.

Limited Resources is a show about drafting hosted by Marshall Sutcliffe and Luis Scott-Vargas, who anchor Pro Tour coverage for Wizards of the Coast. Marshall has helped shape the Magic community via the coverage booth, and Luis is a world-class player whose wit and reflexes have few rivals. Their show takes a sober look at how to avoid traps that Magic cards set, tempting you to think they’re better than they are. They discuss many details about each set, format, and card, and zoom out to the 10,000-foot view of what’s going on during a successful draft.

MTG Goldfish Podcast is a show hosted by Richard, Seth, and Chaz, who often focus on how Magic products being released will impact players. Their amusing commentary makes clear their experience in communities such as Legacy and MTGO, but with the extensive work they do on their site, they are well-versed in the power decks of every format.

Magic the Amateuring is a show about finding entertainment value in Magic cards through a combination of competing and joking around. Megan and Maria are experienced in several formats and skilled enough to occasionally win events; they’ve used their show to grow in expertise by interviewing both judges and pros. They also have completely insane Minnesotan banter and excel at making up stories based on a booster’s card names and artwork.

Drive to Work is a show made by Magic’s Head Designer, Mark Rosewater, who has played that role for over a decade. His podcasts, recorded in his car on the way to work, focus on the lessons he learned about his designs by hearing from players and their wallets, and explain how they incorporated feedback into later designs. It’s transparent, honest, and delightful, and is great for comprehending how Wizards sees Magic as a game that is profitable when it is fun, and fun when it is fair. In addition to retrospectives on the many card ideas that were attempted before finalizing each set, there are episodes on fundamental philosophies like the meaning of each color, the level of complexity that is permitted in each scenario, and the way that Magic both engages its history and periodically sheds its skin. Mark has a distinctive voice and can seemingly recall every day of his life with such detail that he has to blaze through them to fit the content into his commute.