Lending, Borrowing and Collaboration, The Story of Wizbit by Alex Gershaw

The Great Big Compendium of Modern Knowledge by Christopher Cooper

Sit down children and let me tell you a story of a hero named Wizbit the bold and his quest to bring overpowered, underplayed Magic formats to the Planeswalkers of Leeds.

Once upon a time there was a triangle called Wizbit, he was smart and charismatic, he was wise enough to show a vast multiverse to the Leeds townsfolk but understanding enough to let them make a decision to which planes they wanted to visit.

One Wednesday night Wizbit decided that the ‘walkers of Leeds needed to learn there was more to the expanse of Magic than annihilated Zendikar and rotting-to-the-core Mirrodin. He wanted to bring the mages to Dominaria and Rath, to the sanctum of Serra and the Saga of Urza.

Sadly his friends weren’t powerful enough, they didn’t have the spells to compete, Zendikar had sapped their wallets and Mirrodin their spirit, he asked the Grandmaster Wizard Mark if he could organise a Legacy event, one that wouldn’t be sanctioned under the rule of Wizards, where players could pretend they had the spells.

The event was successful and eventually the Planeswalkers of Leeds bought the scrolls needed to fill their libraries with powerful magics while Wizbit shared his collection of scrolls to continue the expansion of the Legacy community.

So what’s my point – eventually Wizards phoned Grandmaster Mark and told him that his Magic contests needed to be under their rule or they’d take away his Grandmasterhood (and his Grandmaster hood). By that time there were players who had nearly complete decks that could be padded out with Wizbit’s collection.

Which leads me to the reasons for this article – Lending, borrowing and collaboration.

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Lending – A story of Death and Taxes

Last year Fanboy3 had a double event weekender, Modern PTQ (won by Matteo Orsini Jones) on the Saturday and the WMCQ (won by David Inglis) on the Sunday. All of that is completely irrelevant to this story. Sunday also featured a Legacy event where this happened.

Child who I imagine to be 12 years old: Does anyone have a spare deck I can borrow for Legacy?

Me: Why yes, I do youngling, it’s Death and Taxes.
Child: Are you Alex Gershaw?
Me (flattered): Yes

Turns out the child is Sam-Luca Rolph who wasn’t anywhere near twelve but he managed to go 5-0 in the swiss, losing in the quarters. Sam messaged me later on Facebook (after he added me, which is when I checked his age) thanking me for the lend of a sweet deck and allowing him to realise just how wonderful the format is.

I have a policy for lending, I think it helps a lot with expanding the community, that I expect no return from lending out a deck (or cards). The way I see it, I’m lending you a tool to do a job and as long as you don’t damage that tool, then you don’t owe me anything for borrowing it.

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The Leeds Legacy community would be nothing if it weren’t for the few Magic players who have expansive collections, those who bought in when the prices were low(er), those who traded every step of the way to get to their collection and those with more money than sense. It was John Ingham who started the ball rolling with Wednesday night Legacy events, they eventually moved from the University to Patriot Games Leeds. The proxy count in testing dropped, the cards lent out to regulars dropped with it as people filled out their collections, this continued until there was no need to lend anymore. A push for more players happened and the cycle continued.

The last Wednesday night Magic I went to should have had 5 rounds and was bordering on 6 with 30 players.

That is the power of borrowing.

Some rules on borrowing:

  1. Be thankful for the opportunity to borrow, I don’t want payment for lending you cards or decks but a thanks is always necessary.

  2. Please treat my cards with respect, I hear some of them are worth money now. One time I lent out Noble Hierarchs and they came back all Loxodon. Usually groups are close knit and damage to someone else’s cards will get you black listed.

  3. Inform the lender what your intentions are, we are really happy to lend out a deck if you want to try something new, but less happy if you’ve been on it for months with no sign of investment. Although knowing your intentions helps us decide what is more important.

  4. Have clear guidelines on how long the loan is for. Most of the time it’s for one event but I seem to have a couple of a friend’s Chains of Mephestopheles that he doesn’t want back until July.

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I’ve set some pretty tough goals over the course of my Magic career, they aren’t the usual ones. As much as I’d love to play the game and see the world, I really want to play my game and bend the world to play it. It’s an uphill struggle fighting against a format that has a number of issues. The immoveable reserved list being the greatest threat to the longevity of the format and the rising prices of staples due to high demand. I’m managing to finally expand my domain and hopefully get Tournament Organisers to give the community some bigger Eternal events.

I’ve been posting a lot of questions on the Legacy board, many of them engineered towards tournament organisers to ask them to rise prize structures so we can get some really competitive players playing the format in this country and thereby raising the profile of Legacy in the UK.

Is it really so wrong to want a Bizarre of Moxen in England. The Europeans have big Legacy events often from Prague Eternal to 50mans (womans/peoples??) in Germany. I see no reason why we can’t have those here.

So I made it my goal to expand the Legacy boarders of the North, any TO that wanted to run Legacy in the North was met with at least a car or two travelling from Leeds, we travelled to Stockton on Tees one weekend and the next weekend 9 Middlesbrough individuals made it to Leeds.

It worked going south too, it takes 2 and three quarter hours to get from Leeds to Worcester to play at Manaleak but one weekend we managed it, I really wanted to say “Hi” to the Legacy Breakfast guys and I managed that. I talked to Stu Taylor and even managed to best him in a match. It was a shame Stu Pullin wasn’t there but I think our efforts travelling down there have made him want to travel up here. Andrew Quinn talked to me after the event wanting to know what my plans were for the Eternal Weekend and he gave me a lot of people to talk to in order to make the event bigger. I’m working on it.

We are far greater working together than the sum of our parts. #blamewizbit

mtgUK 2015 Eternal National Championship 2

Thanks for reading,

Alex Gershaw

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