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 was in Singapore recently for a holiday, I decided to try out their local FNM. Little did I know that it would take two hours for the store to get a draft to fire. Two hours! And that made me really miss Gus. For those who frequent FNM at The Games Capital, they will be familiar with Gus's timeliness and sticking to the 6pm cut off for FNM registrations. But above all else, it's his face that we associate with FNM and Magic events. He's the one that remembers your name when you walk through the door and makes sure everyone feels welcome.
So this is Gus – the DJ, the fog-machine expert, the smiling face behind the counter.
What made you get into Magic?
It was the artwork on the cards.
When did you start playing?
I started collecting in year three which was back in 2000. But I started playing in the Onslaught block which I think was about 2002.
That’s been a while. How have you seen the player base and community in Canberra change?
I think Canberra has always had a strong and competitive community. We've had players like Jeremy Nymen and Daniel Unwin and a few others who have all had played regularly at The Games Capital, at least for a bit. But I think it’s slowly moved to a much bigger community. For a while, the ultra competitive and spikey nature of it meant that it was really easily to be deterred if you were a new player but I think overall it’s improved and it’s a lot more welcoming.
What has been your most memorable moment in Magic?
Watching a guy at the Darksteel pre-release equip a Darksteel Colossus with a Whispersilk Cloak. So it was unblockable so he was going to win the next turn. And his opponent had to win three coin flips off a Fiery Gambit and managed to beat an unblockable Darksteel Colossus.
What are you most looking forward to seeing in Paragon Games?
I guess I’m looking forward to seeing you guys succeed. I think it’s a really cool idea. It’s always awesome to see people try new things. And I think Australia doesn’t have anything like this. And I think you guys can turn it into something awesome.
What’s some advice you can give a new player coming into Magic?
Don’t get caught up in netdecking.
You’re a purist?
Yeah. There are plenty of ways to succeed in Magic. There’s never just one single answer. You don’t have to play Bant Coco to win or other expensive decks.
Is that speaking from experience?
Well, I don’t put up the best tournament results but I see it happen all the time.
What are some key attributes you’d want a Magic player to have?
Good sportsmanship and generosity. Those are probably the two things I look for that make a great Magic player.
What do you mean by generosity?
I guess being open, being willing to talk to people and not be closed off. Not being a total stickler for trades and having to get ultimate value from trades like needing one or two bulk rares to max out your trade because otherwise you feel ripped off.
As someone who organizes FNMs and other Magic events, what are some of the coolest things you’ve seen happen in the community?
Just the people really. I really, really like all the different people that come out to Magic. It’s such an interesting cross-section. Such a diverse group of ages as well. It has brought a lot of happiness to my life and is one of the things that makes me really like my job.
What’s your life outside of Magic?
I like to exercise and I like to throw raging club nights. So I work in events at The Games Capital doing like Magic and Yugioh tournaments and then I throw events outside with local, interstate and international DJs. I also run my own radio show. Shout outs to Soul Crane.
What sorts of decks do you like to play?
Red Green aggro. I just like playing creatures and attacking with them. I don’t really like doing anything fancy. I hate blue. I hate counterwars. I dislike that style of play. I enjoy being a mighty wizard summoning beasts and throwing lightning bolts at people’s faces.
If there was a Standard tournament on tomorrow, what deck would you bring?
Probably Tribal Flames or Zoo. Zoo because I like attacking people with creatures. Tribal Flames if I wanted to do something fancy. With Snapcaster Mage I could cast it 8 times. I also think Might of Allara is a really underrated card.
Where would you like to see the community in 5 years time?
I guess something like it is now but bigger. I would like to see more females playing, particular in the competitive spectrum.
And finally, what’s your favourite colour in the Colour Pie?
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!