As much as we all love Magic, the thing that makes Magic great and keeps us coming back are the friends and community Magic brings with it. In our Paragon Profile series, we'll be introducing you to a bunch of our local players who you could be sitting across from at the Paragon Games.
When I first started playing Magic back in Theros, I kept seeing these posts saying how this guy called Jim Wilks was winning all these events. And I thought, who is this Jim Wilks guy? In case you've also been wondering the same question, we've taken the liberty to find out more about Jim's story and the approach he's taken to Magic.
Introducing you all to Jim Wilks!
What brought you into Magic?
I started playing Magic through chess. Some of my friends brought Magic and it seemed like a fun game. It was more competitive, you needed to look for the correct lines. And that was interesting to me. It also had cool fantasy elements, which was more exciting than chess.
What’s your most memorable moment in Magic?
It’ll probably be Pro Tour Journey to Nyx in 2014. I got to travel with Fry and it was the first time I met him. We have a lot of stories from that weekend! The whole event was just so surreal.
Do you have any goals in Magic?
My goal is to basically qualify for more Pro Tours. That was by far one of the favourite experiences I’ve ever had. And I just want to do it again. That’s why I play the competitive side of Magic. And why I want to keep pushing for it.
Is there any advice you want to give new players?
Don’t freak out about competitive REL. It’s still a game of Magic. Try and have fun. If you take everything too seriously, you’ll probably not perform very well because your state of mind will be focused on winning every game or losing. Everyone makes mistakes. If things go wrong, just take it in your stride.
Do you have a favourite pro?
I’m a big fan of LSV [Luis Scott-Vargas]. Just such a positive voice for the community. Also very good at the game. It’s rare to see someone be both good at the game and good at the communications side of things as well.
What are the qualities you think a good Magic player should have?
Persistence and positivity. Be willing to remain cheerful even if things are going wrong. And also being able to strive to get better and better.
Do you have a favourite deck?
Probably Blue White control from Theros standard. The one that played no win-cons, Sphinx’s Revelation and Elixir of Immortality.
Does that mean you’re drawn to control decks?
I used to say yes, but my recent approach to the game has not been representative of that because the control decks of late have not been as good, have not had as many tools as they used to have. So I’ve just been playing what seems good at the time. And just tried to learn formats.
If there was a viable control deck right now would you…?
Yeah, I’ll probably snap it up if it was the best deck of the week.
So you’re a pure spike?
Well, yes. But I’d say Green White tokens is a control deck. The one I’ve been playing recently is following Gerry Thompson's style of the deck which is really, really controlling and sideboards into a pure control deck but has an aggro strategy in game one. You play a bunch of planeswalkers and Evolutionary Leap through your deck. After a while you have a bunch of cards and your opponent has nothing. Totally a control deck. (Note: This was during Shadows Over Innistrad standard, when Green White Tokens was the dominant deck in the format).
You say you got into Magic through chess, was it a friend that introduced you to it?
My friend Jason introduced me to it through another friend Tony. I don’t think Tony or Jason play Magic anymore. Through that I played with them, and then through stores and now I’ve made many friends through playing the game. Good community in Canberra.
It’s interesting, we’ve known many people who have introduced others into the game but have since stopped. So why have you kept playing?
I guess because it’s fun. I was playing chess at the time and I wanted a competitive outlet and it was enjoyable playing it back then, finding the best lines as a kid and it’s still enjoyable now doing the same thing. The game is a big puzzle I guess. I don’t have many outlets for puzzle solving and that kind of thing. My puzzle solving is in a creative industry now so it’s kinda different. It’s not really here’s some numbers or here’s some plays. Also, the community is great. I have a bunch of friends who play the game, and if I weren’t playing Magic I would probably still hang out with them but I wouldn’t be introduced to all these other people from all these different types of backgrounds. That’s a huge part of the game.
Speaking of life outside of Magic, what do you do outside of Magic?
I am a television editor, mainly editing documentaries right now for National Geographic, ABC, all sorts of people.
What do you think of Paragon Games as an idea?
I think it is a fantastic idea for somewhere like Canberra where we don’t actually have that many PPTQs per season. We only get three. Places like Melbourne and Sydney get like 10-20 of them per season. That’s a huge disparity. So I think it’s a great thing to fill in the time between PPTQs. It’s a sort of thing I’ve had a chat to other people about a long time ago but we never really did anything with it – it was just an idea. But you guys are actually taking action, and this idea is just amazing. It’s a kind of niche that I feel Canberra has needed for a while.
If you were going to take a deck to Paragon Games tomorrow for Standard, what would it be?
Probably Bant Company.
Jeskai control with Nahiri and Emrakul. It’s flavourful right?
So when you say you’re a Spike…
Maybe I’m actually a Vorthos!
And finally, a very important question. What’s your favourite colour?
I’ll have to say blue. I like drawing cards. Especially when you have seven cards in your hand and your opponent has nothing!
The Paragon Games Tournament Series 2016 season is running in Canberra from 17 September to 3 December. Register now for your chance to share in $1750 in cash prizes and player rewards!