Making Magic At Home

by Phoenix Comics and Games

After a long hiatus, we’ve decided to return to the world of magic events….sorta! While we may still be a ways away from returning to the old schedule of in-store play, remote play is a great way to enjoy some Magic with friends! Here’s a quick rundown on how to get yourself set up to enjoy remote Magic events.

Getting Started

Before we get into the particulars and the how-to of remote play events, first a little mise en place. You’ll want to make sure that you’ve got access to the following criteria: 

  • A play space on your desk measuring approximately 24” x 14” (that’s enough for a standard play-mat)
  • An internet connection capable of streaming video
  • A webcam or phone capable of taking video at a reasonably high resolution
  • Optional: Magic Wizards / Arena Login
  • Optional: Magic the Gathering Companion Downloaded for to a tablet or smartphone (see below for more details).

Magic Over Webcam Options

When it comes to playing paper Magic over the internet, there are two popular options – Discord, and Spelltable. Both work well for streaming paper magic over the internet, but each has points where it outshines the other.

Discord. This is great for 1-v-1 games and general community communication. Playing a game is as simple as popping into a voice room and sharing your screen with your opponent. If you’ve got a play group that meets regularly, consider setting up a discord server for them, or join our discord server.

Spelltable. This is another free-to-use service that really shines in multiplayer events. It features card recognition and a life tracker that’s visible to all of your opponents as well as a built-in searchable card database. It is lacking in a waiting room or way to communicate pre-game with opponents, so make sure you have the details for who’s hosting the game ironed out before hand. You can checkout spelltable here.

Setting up Your Space

There are a bunch of ways to set up your space. The main thing to be aware of is that your cards, hand, deck, and discard pile should all be easily visible to the webcam. If you’re using a system that does card recognition such as Spelltable (link here), you may want to have your webcam situated at more of a top-down angle to help it better recognize cards.

If you need a little bit of help getting your webcam / phone setup correctly, Wizards has a few diagrams for how to set up your desktop using a cardboard box.  You can find those diagrams here.

Here are some examples of what top-down vs an angled webcam setup might look like. 

Angled Webcam Setup

Angled Webcam Magic Setup

Top Down Webcam Setup

Spelltable Screenshot 

Okay, now that you’ve set up your space, and have a discord + spelltable login, it’s time to move on to how events look like in the ‘new normal’ of 2020.

Webcam Tournament Participation – Using Magic Companion

Magic’s new Companion app allows players to host events themselves, or join events that stores or playgroups have organized. To join an event, you’ll need a letter code give to you by the tournament organizer. For us, you’ll get that when you preregister for an event.  Alternatively, you can have the organizer add you by providing them the email linked to your wizards account. Don’t have an account, or don’t want one, that’s okay. Tournament organizers can add you in as a guest player, but you won’t have access to the rest of the app’s features. 

At the beginning of each round, you’ll receive a notification stating what table you’re at and who your opponent is. Using this information, locate your opponent and discuss how you’d like to play the games, then get started! Once your match is finished, you can report your games by way of the companion app. The winning player should be the one to report, but in the event they can’t for some reason, the other player may do so. Your opponent will receive a notification with the results you just reported. In the event of a discrepancy, make sure to reach out to your tournament organizer to get an adjustment made. Once reporting has been finished, take a break! Spectate on another game if you want (just make sure your microphone is muted). 

And that's about all there is to it! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via Discord, email, or any of the traditional channels.  We’ll be posting a series of webcam events up online shortly (including Zendikar Rising Prerelease events), so get prepped and ready to play some paper magic again!

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