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.
There are people in the Magic community who will go out of their way to make sure other players feel included. One of those people is Laura Ellis. Whenever there’s someone asking for cards, Laura will be one of the first people to respond and put up her hand to help you out – even if she doesn’t know you.
Community–meet our judge, head of Lady Planeswalkers Canberra and all-round amazing person, Laura Ellis!
What brought you into Magic?
I was in Sydney for SMASH (Sydney Manga and Anime Show) with some friends and some of them had played Magic before. I thought it sounded interesting so I grabbed an intro deck and we had a ‘smashing’ fun time. We spent three to four hours playing multiplayer Magic.
I then went to Games Capital for FNM. It was Return to Ravnica. I went to a couple of pre-releases after that. A few months later Cheney and Josh were really friendly to me at an FNM and that got me to return properly to magic. They helped me make decks, gave me advice, and were just all around inclusive. I then became friends with Loki and Turner.
So I guess you’ve been in the game for a little bit now. To a new player, what type of advice would you give them to become a good Magic player?
Read up on articles online, get advice from other Magic players, and play Limited. Limited is a good place to start because you don’t have to invest lots of money and realise you’ve made mistakes. Just go out there and have some fun. Play casually with friends. Or if you can’t find them, there are plenty of Magic players out there who will be willing to play casually with you.
So you’ve been around since Return to Ravnica. How have you seen the community grow and change?
There are definitely more females in the community now than in the past. There are more stores for players to go and play at.
What traits do you reckon a good Magic player should have?
Patience, ability to communicate, ability to shuffle cards in a quick manner, ability to learn and willingness to learn and other life skills like intelligence and the ability to wait are helpful. Sometimes things happen and it’s out of your control.
You’re also known in the community as a judge. So what drew you into becoming a judge?
Someone was asking Fry what was needed to become a judge. I overheard and it sounded interesting. I like running things, looking after people, and judging kind of suits that. I judged Vintage at Cancon then helped Fry with a Highlander tournament at Good Games and I enjoyed it. It’s given me opportunities to travel to places like Vegas. Hopefully I get to judge at Kuala Lumpur in October!
Do you prefer judging or playing?
I actually like both. I like playing regular events but with big tournaments I do prefer to judge because my brain just dies after a while. Oh! That’s another tip for new players. Drink lots of water! And look after yourself.
Yeah and bring snacks!
Yes, even to events like pre-releases. Games Capital only runs three rounds now but it can get really tiring. If you’re playing midnight, snacks and water are definitely important.
I learnt that the hard way when I went to my first Competitive REL event and it was five to six rounds and I was so hungry.
Yes, take all the opportunities you have to go out and get food. Another tip! Don’t be a slow player so you can go out and get food!
What excites you the most about Paragon Games?
It’s community run by some pretty awesome people.
We’ll make sure we write that bit up.
Well, awesome and spectacular people.
Awesome, spectacular people. Got it.
Haha. Well StarCity Games is pretty awesome in the US so something similar in Australia will be pretty awesome.
Yeh that is what we’re going for. Another competitive event that could do something like StarCity.
Yeah a more competitive event that players can play in and more opportunities to play at a competitive level. There are only so many Grand Prixs Australia can have so hopefully Paragon can fill that gap.
You also run Lady Planeswalkers. How’s that going?
I’ll be honest I haven’t really done anything in a while. I’ve been meaning to but I keep getting waylaid by life.
Do you have a vision for it that you want to share with people?
I see Lady Planeswalkers as an entry point to Magic for people who don’t really know people who play Magic or they can’t learn from people they know. It can provide a friendly and welcoming and safe environment for people to play Magic. And also something that could help players go from regular REL events to competitive REL events. In five years hopefully I’ll be running events regularly.
If there was a standard tournament tomorrow, what deck would you bring?
Green White tokens. I now have 4 Avacyns! The first GP I ever went to I played Selesnya aggro. (Note: this interview was taken during Shadows over Innistrad Standard).
The first real deck I built was also Selesnya so Green White has a special place in my heart. What modern deck would you play?
… I don’t play Modern.
I’ll try to capture that expression in the write up.
Haha. Well there’s a dredge deck in Modern that has zombies. That’s the kind of deck I play in all eternal formats. So I’d probably play some sort of reanimator, zombie, dredge deck.
Which colour of the colour pie best describes you?
White because I’m loyal and nice. And I don’t really like hurting people or myself.
Yeah that’s pretty white. What are some of the best things you’ve seen come out of the Magic community?
Friendships… and I guess Jim Wilks?
Yeah he’s pretty cool. And I guess…romance?
Haha yeah, if it wasn’t for Magic I wouldn’t have met Turner. We worked at Coles. He didn’t know my name but I recognized his face. If it wasn’t for Magic I wouldn’t know the people I know and have the friendships I have.
So life outside of Magic, what do you do?
Right now I’m working at the Australian Bureau of Statistics doing data coding. Before that I was working at the Games Capital. I like playing boardgames. I also travelled a lot when I was a kid because of my dad’s work. Before I went to Vegas, I thought I’d gotten over travelling. But I’ve picked up the travel bug again because of the Judge Program and how I got to go to Vegas. And I might one day apply to judge in Japan.
What is your favourite colour?
…of the colour pie?
Haha… I thought it was an odd question. Umm…it’d have to be red. It was the first deck I had so yeah, it’d have to be red. Close second would be green or white. I don’t really have a favourite colour. It’s more I have a least favourite colour which would have to be blue.
Laura and her cat, Skittles!
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!