Chris Cochanski

MtG Journalism and Other Accidents

Tag: Magic: The Gathering (page 1 of 2)

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.

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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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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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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Business Magic, Part Four: Mastering the Metagame

When I sit down for a game of Magic, I usually already know whether I’m about to win or to lose. This is not because I’m an incredibly good or bad player (I am, in fact, incredibly average)1. It’s because of the metagame.

What is Business Magic?
With an estimated player base of 20 million, Magic: The Gathering is the most popular trading card game in the world. Playing Magic requires careful evaluation and good strategy. If you don’t know anything about Magic, but want to inject a little knowledge from left field into your business strategy, “Business Magic” is for you.

Knowing what to expect is a very useful skill. It helps to temper your expectations and prepare yourself for when you’re about to win big.

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MKM Series Prague: An interview with the organizers


From November 25-27, the MKM series visited Prague for the second year in a row. At the event, I sat down with one of the tournament organizers, Marko Schädlich, to talk about Prague, the MKM series as a whole, and the 2017 tournament schedule.


Marko Schädlich, Managing Director, magiccardmarket. Photo: Marko Schädlich

I arrive in Prague on day two of the MKM series tournament. The weekend-long event is in full swing: in addition to the Modern competition, there are Vintage and Commander side events, as well as trials for Sunday’s Legacy tournament. The convention center is bursting with players, most engaged in matches, others trading, browsing the shops, or just talking. Every few minutes, the PA system comes to life and announces the start of another round or event.

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Strategy is Undervalued: An Interview with Julian Knab


Julian Knab is a friendly fellow. Even when you’re literally walking in off the street and asking if he has time for an interview, he will sit down with you and tell you all about his journey to the top of the mountain.

Julian Knab in 2013. Photo: Julian Knab.

Julian Knab in 2013. Photo: Julian Knab.

I catch the Magic champion in Prague, where he is playing in the magiccardmarket (MKM) series. I myself am there as a player and a journalist, trying to have a little fun while also getting some serious reporting done.

It’s Saturday, day two of the weekend-long event. Julian is done playing for the day, having dropped out of the Modern tournament and preferring to prepare for Sunday’s big Legacy event.

“In 2016, I’ve actually been more successful in Modern than in Legacy, although I certainly prefer Legacy as a format,” Julian says. In Prague, he’s registered for both events. “I want to get the most out of the tournament. The more I can play, the better.”

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Business Magic, Part Three: Under Pressure

“I’m under a lot of pressure right now, so I couldn’t yet look at [whatever you asked me to do]” is a popular excuse. It also completely misunderstands what pressure is.

What is Business Magic?
With an estimated player base of 20 million, Magic: The Gathering is the most popular trading card game in the world. Playing Magic at the tournament level, where winners can earn up to 50,000$ US, requires careful evaluation and good strategy. If you don’t know anything about Magic, but want to inject a little knowledge from left field into your business strategy, “Business Magic” is for you.

In Magic, the word “pressure” is thrown around  as carelessly as it is in a business environment. It is often used to indicate a player is losing, or to indicate someone has gained a competitive advantage.

Both in Magic and in business, one thing is certain: If you don’t want to be put under pressure, you should first try to understand what pressure is.

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