January Event Schedule

by Phoenix Comics and Games

A new year's almost upon us! So let's run down the list of events we've got scheduled for folks in January 2021. We'll also cover how to register, what to expect, and some quick best practices for how to get the most out of your digitally distanced games of Magic as well as a quick explanation for how to win your pick from our stock of Secret Lair products!

Attendance Bonus Continues!

For those of you who missed my earlier discussion of this - we're offering up 1 Secret Lair per month to the person who attends the most events! All you have to do is show up, and you can win your pick from our stock. Some of these products include (but are not limited to):

  • Secret Lair: Thalia and the Helvault
  • Secret Lair: Year of the Rat
  • Secret Lair: April Fools
  • Secret Lair Godzilla Lands
  • Secret Lair Full Sleeves

Fine-ish print: In the event we have multiple people who tie for attendance, we'll figure out a good time for all of them and have a little impromptu Standard Arena event to determine the winner for the month. And to give other folks a chance at this prize, players who won the prior month's attendance prize are not eligible for the current month's prize (starting with January).

New this Month - Bring a Friend Referral Bonus!

We want you to tell your friends all about our events. And what better way to do that than by giving out free stuff to them (and you) for playing! The first event that any player participates in during the month of January will get a free Reliquary tower in addition to whatever other prizes they win.

January Constructed Event Schedule

We've got 7 digital (webcam or Arena based) constructed events happening this month for you! As with prior events and months, all of these events are free to play. To register, download the Magic Companion App to your smartphone or tablet, then enter the join code for each associated event within the app. You'll be automatically registered as a pending player. When our tournament organizer gets ready to fire the event you'll be notified via push notification. So without further ado, let's take a look at our schedule:

Tuesday Night Magic

  • January 5th - Arena Historic - DDGZXQ
  • January 12th - Webcam Modern - 4RXV42
  • January 19th - Arena Historic - PWVX42
  • January 26th - Webcam Modern - GQ4EV8

Saturday Afternoon Magic

  • January 9th - Webcam Pioneer - QEJXPZ
  • January 16th - Arena Standard - W7P8QQ
  • January 23rd - Webcam Pioneer - DDGZPQ

Why no event on the 30th you ask? Well that's because we've got a prerelease for the most non-artifact-oriented metal set in Magic's history going on!

That's right - it's time for Kaldheim!

Kaldheim Prerelease Schedule

We'll have more information in a separate blog post posted at the top of January, but for now, here are the dates and times that our prerelease events will be happening (note: these links will go live on January 1, 2021):

Each event will be a webcam sealed tournament. Prizes for each event are pack-per-win (Kaldheim draft boosters) with a number of rounds based on the number of registered players. To register for these events, just follow the links above to visit our events page and input your registration information.

Getting the Most Out of Your Digital Distanced Magic

So, I know that a lot of us are still struggling with adapting to this new normal. We're all staring at the light at the end of the tunnel (and hoping it's not an oncoming train), but until that end gets here we've all still got to do our part to stay safe. With that in mind, here are a few helpful suggestions for how to set up your play space, what styles of play to consider, and how to make the most of your games.

Setting up Your Play Space

You can use pretty much any flat surface for playing Magic, but for digital magic you really want to make sure you've got enough room for the sometimes complicated setups for webcams. If you're already working from home, you can usually just tilt your monitor mounted webcam down so that it faces your keyboard and use that.

Try to get your webcam as close as you can. The closer it is to the play space, the easier it will be for your opponent to see your board and the less questions about game state you'll have to answer.

Ideally, you'd want to set things up such that your webcam (or phone) points straight down onto the board. This makes it a lot easier to see, and is definitely the optimal solution if you're going to be utilizing spelltable for your games.

Playing Digitally Distanced - What to Play?

Here's the short-form of this answer: Play Active and Interactive Decks.

Before we get into this, please bear in mind that this is wholly a suggestion from me to everyone out there. If you choose not to follow it, I completely understand. Some folks like combination and control decks, and for those of you who like that, read on below and let's talk about how to play them digitally.

This suggestion comes from the takeaway that some information that we as players are used to being able to easily get while playing in-person Magic just isn't there during webcam or digital play. Lacking this information our brains form narratives about the other person that can affect how we interact with them, and can in turn affect our enjoyment of the game. 

Active and interactive decks, I've found, are a lot more fun to play against. And in a casual event where the prizes are a couple of promotional packs, we really want to emphasize fun over competition. I'm not saying your Lantern Control deck doesn't have a place in Modern, but really consider if that's what you want out of a few hours of playing digital Magic remotely with folks.

Playing Digitally Distanced - How to Convey Information

As I mentioned in the previous suggestion - lots of information on the board state isn't quite as clear as it might have been in the before times. Maybe the webcam's a little out of focus or your cards in hand aren't laying in view of the webcam. In those before times it'd be easy to check that or look over to that other player's side of things to get a better view of their cards. Now, we've got to ask them (sometimes repeatedly) for that information.

In those cases, it's important to assume good faith of your opponent. They're not trying to do it to rattle you; they probably just forgot how many cards are in hand. I know from personal experience I have done this tons of times even when I was playing in person. If you're getting a lot of questions from your opponent, ask them if they want to write any of it down. Or if you're the one asking questions, let your opponent know that you're gonna take notes and write down cards in hand or the like.

If you're worried there's a misconception going on, or that your opponent's gotten it into their head that you're upset with them, it's okay to pause the game for a moment to clear the air. Tell your tournament organizer or judge and ask them for a few extra minutes to finish the match if need be. It's well within our purview to grant such a request.

Remember - we're all here to have fun and enjoy a game that's connecting us. At the end of these events, that's the thing that matters most.

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