Magic: The Gathering's Grand Prix stop in Minneapolis brings out the casuals, the competitors and the cards

Image by Sam Burley, courtesy of Magic: The Gathering

By Lianna Matt

The trading card game Magic: The Gathering has been around since 1991—five years older than Pokemon—and has more than 12,000 different cards in 11 languages. Literally more than 12 million people play it around the world, and if you’re good enough, the payout can be big. Like, $10,000 for first place at Minneapolis’ Grand Prix—a qualifying tournament for the actual Pro Tour.

The Grand Prix is hitting the Minneapolis Convention Center Aug. 4-6 for a weekend of gameplay, meet ups, prizes and more. Price tag payouts go all the way through 180th place if more than 3,000 people show up to play. Considering the amount of people that show up for Friday Night Magic nights at local game shops like Source Comics and Games or Fantasy Flight Games Event Center, chances are good that the Minneapolis Convention Center will be teeming with Wizards.

For those who don’t know how to play, Magic: The Gathering is the age-old saga of trying to pulverize your enemy and their league of monsters through a deck of cards. As Jimmy so helpfully explains it on Magic: The Gathering’s online introduction videos, you have three different types of cards: land, where you get your mana, or your magical fuel from; monsters to attack or defend; and spells for all sorts of crazy fun stuff.

Besides the main competition, players will have chances to play Magic in all different types of formats, including casual gameplay with carefully curated decks to intense clashes of militant strategy using sealed decks. Prize tickets are awarded at each, and the prize wall is stocked with collector’s items, rare cards and more.

People don’t only love Magic for the competition; they love it for the lore created around the game. Hour of Devastation, Magic’s most recent addition to the world, has eight stories, with the first clocking in at 3,500 plus words with five full illustrations, plus guides to the cities, mythological creatures and people of that land. Doubtlessly, many people would love to explain the different realms and histories of Magic if you’re interested, but at the Grand Prix you also have the chance to meet some of the artists who make these worlds go from an idea to a visual reality.

Magic: The Gathering’s Minneapolis stop is open for all ages to come, play and learn more about the game. If you’re a seasoned trading card player, stop by to see the strategies unique to this one; if you’ve never opened a pack of cards, come and see what the draw is. Really, though, who doesn’t want to be the hero and defeat the monsters?


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