My granny had a saying: “When a person tells you who they really are, believe them the first time.”
I have spent hours and hours contemplating the day I met my ex-husband, at the ripe old age of 19. I broke down every moment, every word, every interaction to see if I misrepresented myself in some way and then spent the next 10 years being punished. After much thought, I don’t think I did. When he met me, I was fresh off the bus from small-town Texas, wearing a Rainbow Brite T-Shirt and combat boots. I packed three things when I decided I was getting the hell out of my small town and moving where the neon glow never dims: clothes, my Magic collection, and my computer so I could play EverQuest.
Looking back, it seems I was a sparkling banner of nerdom. That isn’t what my ex-husband saw or eventually wanted. What he saw was a pretty little thing from Texas who liked Country music and cursed like a sailor because she was literally raised in a barn. I think he envisioned a grand life of rodeos, saloons, and “God Bless America,” with a little slice of American apple pie by his side. When he figured out that Magic wasn’t a phase, that I really don’t like smoky or rowdy places, and that I prefer science to religion, it was too late. We had already been married for years and he would never forgive me for being me.
There are many types of abuse. My ex-husband was never physically abusive but verbal abuse can take its toll just the same. By 2009, I hadn’t played a game of Magic the Gathering in more than five years. It wasn’t worth the battle it caused in my marriage. I think he blamed MTG for my “nerdness” and thought if he crushed that out of my life I would be fixed. Unfortunately MTG wasn’t what he hated. I was.
At some point in 2009, I stumbled on a MTG podcast called Yo MTG Taps. They were talking about an Angel called Baneslayer Angel. I looked her up and couldn’t believe an Angel like this had been printed. I was soaking in the bathtub after a really long day at work. My iPod was playing this new podcast episode and I was thinking about how the audio quality was awful but the two guys talking seemed to love Magic, each other, and Magic. I really missed fun. I really missed happy. I really missed Magic. Then my ex-husband walked in.
“What is this shit they are talking about?”
I thought about just remaining silent like I normally do when his tirades began but decided to respond.
“It’s not shit, they are talking about a new Angel in MTG.”
I closed my eyes, slipping under the bubbles a tad more, hoping like a child if you can’t see something it doesn’t exist. No such luck.
“This is why your brain is so slow and everyone thinks you’re fucking stupid, because you haven’t advanced past a stupid children’s game.”
I took a deep breath. “No one but you thinks I’m stupid.”
He just snorted. “No one that is honest enough to tell you to your face.”
In the background, I could hear the two guys talking. One said the cheapest card in the deck he was playing was 10 dollars but he had most of the cards he needed already. His partner chimed in and said “Thank god, or he would have to sell his sperm or children to play.” Then they both started cracking the hell up. I don’t know if it was the fact I was about to turn 30, that their laughter sounded so genuine and I couldn’t remember a time I laughed like that, or that maybe I was just extremely jealous of two friends on their way to play Magic without a care in the world.
Something in that moment snapped. I looked up at my ex-husband.
“I’m done. That is all I’m taking.”
He didn’t believe me. He just laughed and walked out of the room.
I was, though. Done. I was divorced not long after. I still wasn’t at a place in my life where I could pick up my Magic cards just yet, but without anyone there to criticize, I was able to keep track and be involved in the game I have loved for my entire adult life through the stories, adventures, arguments, and laughter of Magic podcasts.
I have listened to the Magical voices on deep nights, after the worst of calls, through long hospital stays with my daughter, and while soaking in the sunshine. I am a better player because I listen. I’m a happier person when I am surrounded by people who love our game so much they decide to take time out of their lives to record their thoughts, knowledge, and friendship. I can’t tell you what podcast you should listen to. I don’t know if you play Cube, Commander, if you want a little rebel in your earbuds or prefer something more refined. You might just want to laugh. Maybe you are more scholarly. But whatever you are after, I promise there is at least one MTG podcast out there for you.
How to Become a Pod Person
All you need is some time during the day where you drive, work out, cook, relax in the tub, go for a walk, or work at your computer. Do anything of these things during the day? Then you can be a pod person too. Now that we have established you are human, lets get you the hookup. If you listen to more than one podcast a week, it is too cumbersome to track them down when we can let technology do the work for us.
My work partner, who has an Android phone and tablet, swears by a free app named BeyondPod. I have an IOS operating system on my phone and tablet so I use an App called Downcast. It is $1.99 to download, and the great thing about it is you don’t need to know the feed source or mess with iTunes’s horrible app processes. Just type in the name of the app, click, and you’re done. It will forever download new episodes of your favorite podcast in one easy place.
Podding like an Angel
If you have a Magical podcast hiding somewhere out in the ‘Verse, I have probably tracked it down and listened to it. If I haven’t, then you need to promote yourself better. I am always looking for my next favorite podcast to join my mandatory must-listen podcasts. I prefer podcasts that average no more than 90 minutes. Anything longer than that is generally because too many inside jokes are leaving listeners locked out of the conversation or they don’t have a good editor who knows how to cut away the parts that are just filler. Keys to making me love your podcast:
- Chemistry. Got to have it.
- Audio quality. it can’t suck.
- You must talk Magic. At least a sentence. Preferably two.
- Shoutouts. Just don’t. If you must, keep it under two minutes.
- Talk about what you know. Talk about what you love. I can tell if you don’t know what you are talking about, and so can everyone else. It’s OK sometimes to just say, “I don’t know the answer to that.”
- Brand yourself. This doesn’t mean sell out and become the Walmart of MTG. That wouldn’t be yourself, and I said brand yourself. This means find the thing that you do well, that sets you apart from everyone else, or that you think you just do better than everyone else. And tell them why they should care.
- Take yourself seriously. One of the largest mistakes that small businesses (and even some big businesses) make is trying to stay “personal” because they are afraid of being “professional.” You can be both. If you want to be serious about your podcast and reach an audience, make a separate social sites for your podcast. Spam is constantly tweeting this type of info from your personal accounts, but someone who took time to follow your official podcast did so because they are interested in hearing about and participating with your product.
Top 10 Magic podcasts
I listen to way more podcasts than the ones below, but these are the ones that I try to not miss an episode. It’s a great place to start if you have never listened to a Magic podcast. If your podcast didn’t make the top 10 rotation this time, seduce me with your voice because I will be listening. In no particular order:
Host: DJ Spruke
Recommended Episode: Episode 15
I love people not afraid to do something a little different and take a step off that ledge. I am so glad DJ Spruke loves MTG. Ever wonder what Magic might sound like? Well wonder no longer. DJ Spruke brings you house music that electrifies and frees the soul. I pump this non-stop — driving to work, in the background of my game nights. MTG has our own superstars, websites, language, and culture. And now we have our own music.
Recommended Episode: “The Bloody Baron”
The Eh Team is one of the best Magic podcasts you will ever listen to because of their chemistry. Scotty is one of the premier interviewers in our community and I am constantly surprised Wizards hasn’t tried to steal him for the coverage team yet. No one on the cast can captivate you with a story like Medina; even if he is talking about an average FNM, he makes it sound epic. I disagree with Boosh on pretty much every MTG social issue, but Boosh has no filter and always says what he thinks. Sometimes he says something so unexpected you find yourself in one of those deep belly gut laughs that leave you hurting afterwards. KYT is the glue that holds them all together.
When all four agree on a topic, the “brohood” that ensues can grate sometimes. All of the best episodes are the ones where it is just the four of them. Scotty is telling Jay to shut the shit up or Medina and Boosh are going head to head and then everyone starts cracking up cause Big Daddy KYT just told em all to simmer down. But one of the reasons I love the Eh Team is they are just themselves. You need honesty with your listeners. They can tell when you are pandering or being fake. They also understand they have listeners. Boosh frequently stops the cast and tells someone to explain what the four of them already understand, because the listeners might not. This lets you feel like a part of their conversation.
Recommended Episode: Dragon’s Maze rares and mythics review
Limited Resources (more commonly called the WoTC recruiting grounds) is the cream of the crop when it comes to actual Magic discussion. There are other personalities I have enjoyed more, but no one breaks down the science of MTG like Marshall and his co-hosts. Their set reviews have become an entrenched portion of MTG spoiler seasons. You see it all the time — Set X comes out, the community doesn’t like change Y, and then Limited Resources releases its set review with Marshall telling everyone “Not so fast, think about this guys.” What are you doing with your life Wizards? Make good choices. Put this on the Mothership already, and if you haven’t listened to an episode yet you need to sit down, put on your headphones, and learn something son.
Recommended Episode: “Yes, Master” with Brian Kibler
I know what you are thinking. “Of course she picked The Deck Tease, it is sponsored by Legit MTG.” I would respond with, “You are exactly right.” From the moment Medina and I began this journey, we both agreed on one thing: We want our own podcast, and we are too busy to make one ourselves. I didn’t think it would take almost two years to find a podcast we both agreed was right for Legit. Medina would like a podcast and I couldn’t see how it fit with our mission; I would like a podcast and Medina would think they giggled too much.
We went back and forth for what seemed like forever until I checked out a new podcast called The Deck Tease and heard the sexy, sultry voice of Erin. She was edgy like us, and not afraid to state her opinion or embrace controversial community issues. Most importantly, though, she was born to podcast. She asked important questions. She had excellent skills at filling the dead air when her guests are at a loss of words or nervous. Medina was invited on her podcast for an interview and I told him that if you are as impressed as I am, get me my podcast. We are fortunate Erin decided to join #TeamLegit!
Recommended Episode: “Edgar’s Errors and Other Salacious Matters”
I got a random tweet one day from a friend @SolomeOU saying he had some bros who had just started a podcast. My first thought was I should never trust an Okie (Hook-em horns!) and my second thought was Oh great, another mtg bro show. Then I did the most blasphemous things a born-and-bred Texan can do: I fell in love with a bunch of Okies. They are a great group of guys, friends, Magic players, and Angel buddies. Listening to their podcast reminds me of attending FNM in my early 20s and hearing the guys laughing, shouting, giggling, cursing, and debating. The greatest thing about this cast it you get perspectives from multiple parts of the MTG community. You have a serious grinder, community expert, LGS owner, and players. At times, the podcast can get a little carried away with inside jokes (it’s good to establish connection between hosts, but you don’t want to lock out your audience). They can be salacious, scandalous, and hilarious, and I love each and every one of them.
Recommended Episode: “Unglued 2”
If you love MTG design, history, and culture, then you should be listening to Mark Rosewater tell you the creation story as witnessed by one of its creators. One of the great things about this podcast is I can actually listen to another podcast and read this one. The lovely and brilliant @Nataha_lh, who writes a regular brainiest of MTG columns for GatheringMagic.com, transcribes this weekly podcast so people who don’t have time to listen (slow down busy person) can read the content!
Recommended Episode: “Mechanical Men”
As far as just being good freaking people, no one has anything on Joey, Reuben, and Kranny. They are great for the community and sharp around a deck of cards. One of the things I have always loved about In Contention is it is about Magic: They are passionate about the cards they love and the cards they don’t, Magic events, and Magic people. I was super happy when they got hosted on Star City Games, but it definitely shows in their casting. They are a little more guarded in their speech than before. One of my favorite parts of the cast is when they talk about the coverage teams and gaffes from the weekend’s coverage. They still go after the WoTC coverage team but sometimes have kid gloves with the SCG crews. Of course, this could be directly related to SCG having a huge upswing in talent. After Medina, Reuben is my favorite person in the community, and I have listened to Joey podcast longer than any person in Magic. If you love Magic, they love you and you should be listening.
Recommended Episode: “Shut up, Corbin”
Everyone knows I love Corbin and his brilliant financial mind (we did invite him to write for us, after all), and I loved the added chemistry and content Ryan and Jason bring. But Marcel is where it’s at. If I ever hit megabucks, I am going to pay that man just to talk to me. Marcel could literally read a phone book and sound sexy and interesting. Along with Erin and Scotty, I think Marcell is in the top three podcast voices of our community. If you haven’t heard Brainstorm Brewery (I was so happy when it was picked up by Gathering Magic), then you are in for a treat.
Recommended Episode: “The One Where We Talk Longer Than We Thought”
This is an upstart new podcast with three really smart men talking really smart MTG. I don’t always get to play in FNM or keep up on the latest tech. When I want to be updated about the current state of MTG metagame, I turn on Glory Seekers and learn. Sometimes a girl just wants to hear people talking some real Magic. From almost the very beginning the podcast, it had a Twitter and Facebook page to engage to continue discussions about something mentioned on their podcast. Smart marketing is smart.
Recommended Episode: “Twaunserious Invitational”
You might not play Vintage (but you should), but these guys discuss all the Eternal formats along with good food and better drinks. I love to listen to people who are extremely knowledgeable on a subject. They jive together really well and I wish desperately that Las Vegas was in Ohio so I could be a part of their amazing Vintage community. Eternal formats can seem overwhelming and unreachable to newer players, but listen to one of their podcasts and hear that is far from the truth.
- YoMTGTaps: This will always be my number one, but they don’t podcast constantly enough anymore to recommend in my current top 10 rotation.
- BrewportAvenue: Same as before. Awesome guys/podcast but not consistent enough.
- Monday Night Magic: Jack and Chewie are great together. Jack is one of the best podcasters out there.
- Horde of Notions: I love this group of guys. Landy can get a little preachy at times and they go too long for me often but still great cast.
- Heavy Meta: I find myself listening to this before some of my top 10 regular rotation. Gets better and better.
- Top8Games: Would be in my top 10 if they produced shows more consistently.
- Jinxed Idols: On the rare occasions Spranks, Tangent, Jack, and Jeebus are all present, it is pure podcast gold.
- MTGBridge.com: I don’t want to be accused of making your great-grandpa roll over in his grave, but I will say that I do every episode.
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