Chris Cochanski

MtG Journalism and Other Accidents

So I’m writing for MKM Insight now

Over the weekend, relaunched their MKM Insight blog. They’ve assembled a team of great authors for the relaunch,  and I’m proud to be one of them.

My first article for Insight was published yesterday. It’s titled “MKM Series is Coming to Your Town. Don’t Panic”. I wanted to know what happens to a quiet little neighbourhood when 700 Magic players invade. Here’s a sneak peek:

Marco Reitz doubles his weekend revenue every time the MKM Series is in town.

Reitz is the proprietor of Snack & Weck, a bakery and coffee shop just one hundred metres from the Civic Centre. Without any warning, the first MKM Series Frankfurt in 2016 brought large crowds of Magic players to his doorstep. “The first tournament pretty much caught us by surprise,” he admitted, laughing. “Hundreds of people suddenly turned up and needed coffee. We did not really know what was happening.”


I did a lot of legwork for this article: I interviewed residents, shop owners, players, and I called up a few dozen people. So go check it out right now.

“Closure #4: Beginnings and Renewals in Comics” is out now!

Once again, I’m enormously proud of everyone involved with Closure, the eJournal for comics studies. I mean, I’m always proud of having been able to contribute to this great project, but today is a special day: Closure #4 is out!

Entitled “Beginnings and Renewals in Comics”, all essays are based on lectures from the first Kiel Comics Conference in September 2016, which I had the good fortune of organizing with the rest of the gang. One year later, it’s great to see those fascinating lectures commemorated to paper!

All six essays in Closure #4 are available for free online, four of them in English. Go read them.

How low can you go? How to take mulligans

Randomness is a big part of Magic:The Gathering. As soon as players shuffle up their decks, they’re beholden to chance. The good news is that they retain some influence on their opening hand – mainly by deciding on whether to take a mulligan.

Through mulligans, the state of the game can be shaped before it even begins. This is why understanding mulligans is so important. Let me walk you through three typical situations – manascrew, manaflood, and drawing sideboard cards – to explain what I mean.

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Playing cards with integrated circuits?


Mockup of a card with an integrated NFC chip. Image: FusionPlay.

“FusionPlay Heroes” combines a card games with a smartphone app. The game relies on playing cards with integrated NFC chips to link the two. Together with the app, the technology enables an interactive two-player tactics game. How does the game work? What are the potentials of this technology? A kickstarter, all information and all open questions…

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How to Launch a Magic Start-up: Interview With Peer Richelsen

Scanning, managing, and trading Magic cards with an app  – Snapcardster is an ambitious start-up from Germany aiming at making its product known to a larger audience after a successful Kickstarter. Did the world really need another app? What’s Snapcardster‘s unique selling point? And where does the company go from here? Time for Snapcardster founder Peer Richelsen to answer some questions.

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How to Come Out On Top After Unexpected Changes

Sensei’s Divining Top, Illustration: Michael Sutfin.

This one might interest you even if you’re not a Magic player, because it is an object lesson in how to deal with the fallout of unexpected change.

On April 24th, Magic’s Legacy format was thrown into disarray when a key card was banned from tournament play.

This was textbook regulatory action, no different from legislating against a certain type of product or transaction. What followed the ban was a mad scramble to the top of an unknown environment, with interesting results.

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Newspaper Spider-Man is the worst superhero of all time

Spider-Man is the everyman. Creating a super-hero who’s a nerdy high-schooler is a genius idea, and it made Spider-Man a figure his readers could identify with easily. He is one of the best super-hero concepts of all time.

Newspaper Spider-Man, on the other hand, is the worst super-hero of all time. He gets knocked out every other week. His powers randomly stop working around bricks, bullets, hammers, or any other form of danger.

From his boss to his own wife, everyone just relentlessly clowns on the poor guy.

And that’s before Clown-9 shows up:

That guy, by the way, keeps Newspaper Spider-Man busy for four months.

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Brachiosaurus Riding: An Interview with Morten Storm


Two months ago at MKM series Prague, Morten Storm, Legacy player extraordinaire, squirrel enthusiast, and one of my best friends, reached the Top 8 of one of the largest events in 2016.1

And since I believe in giving my buddies the same treatment ordinarily reserved for Legacy greats such as Julian Knab, I resolved to do a real interview with him.

So here’s the summary of our lengthy talk on the six-hour drive home from Prague, during which we got lost in the woods, nearly ran out of gas and ended up in a midnight traffic jam.

Morten Storm posing triumphant in Prague. Image: Magiccardmarket.

First things first – what the hell is going on in that picture?

The pictures of all Top 8 contestants were taken shortly before the K.O. rounds began. Everyone who went before me was just looking into the camera, which is probably smart when you’ve played Magic for nine hours and are dead tired. I asked the photographer whether I had to be serious and he said no, but that put me on the spot to do something interesting. I’m a big wrestling fan – note the shirt I’m wearing – so the first thing that popped into my mind was the good old Hulk Hogan pose.2 And now it has been committed to film for all eternity…

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Doing Your Own Thing: An interview with the organizers of the Eternal Clash


By my count, my interview with Stefan and Max is pushed back three times. First, someone has to start the Top 8 of the Eternal Clash Legacy tournament in Flensburg – Max’s job. Then, concessions runs out of Soda – Stefan’s turn. Finally, a new judge from Bremen has to pass his level 1 exam – it’s up to Max again to get him sorted. A good twenty minutes go by before I finally get both of them to sit down and answer my goddamn questions.


Stefan and Max, organizers of the Eternal Clash tournament.

Running a successful regional Magic tournament series, it seems, is a busy job. Especially when it’s a two-man, non-profit business.

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Happy new year!

Ooooooh. Image: Daniel Frese.

I’ve spent the morning thinking up a quick list of the things I’m looking forward to this year. So here are my top five personal plans for 2017:

  1. Not moving house: Several of my close friends, who have helped me move around almost a dozen times in the last five years, have forbidden me from ever moving again. Here’s hoping I can stay in place for a year or two.
  2. A full trade fair schedule: There is a lot to see in 2017, from Hannover Messe and TOC CSC to RFID tomorrow.  Let’s hope I’ll find time for all of it.
  3. Go to all the weddings: This year, it seems like half of my friends are marrying the other half of my friends. Bring it on!
  4. Closure #4: The fourth issue of Closure is already shaping up to be the best one yet, with articles based on our wildly successful conference on Beginnings and New Beginnings in Comics in September of 2016.
  5. And finally, I will reach the age of 30 and instantly become a better, wiser man.
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