Local man to compete in card game tournament

Nevison

A local man will compete for a chance to win $100,000 dollars, playing a new version of a classic trading card game.

Raymond Nevison will travel to Long Beach, California to play in the Mythic Championship VII, a Magic: the Gathering Arena tournament.

Magic: the Gathering is a card game that debuted in 1993 and lets players construct decks of cards from a wider pool of cards, according to game’s website.

Magic comes out with several sets of new cards per year with the most recent set focusing on a fairy tale world. With cards like Faerie Guidemother and Shining Armor, the new cards lean into their theme.

Nevison, who works as a wastewater treatment plant worker in the day, started playing Magic in 2005, playing on breaks from school with his step-brother, he said. He started playing more with friends in college in 2011.

In 2018, a computer version of Magic called Arena launched. 

Qualifying for the tournament required Nevison to be in the top 1,200 players in Magic: the Gathering Arena’s competitive ladder. After making the cut, Nevison had to play in a weekend-long qualification process, cutting the 1,200 players down to 16 who would be invited to Long Beach to play in the tournament.

Four groups of 16 make up the Mythic championships combine with a number of players who are seeded into the tournament’s second day, bringing the total number of players to 68.

“This is the first time I’ve ever qualified for a big tournament, let alone played in a big tournament,” Nevison said.

The last-place finisher in the tournament is guaranteed $7,500, with prize money increasing as more players are eliminated.

The rules of Magic are relatively simple on the surface. Each player has a deck of 60 cards and draws a hand of seven cards. Players have 20 lives at the start of a game.

The first person to be reduced to zero life or run out of cards in their deck loses.

However, individual cards can alter the rules, changing the game by giving a player additional turns or adding new ways to win the game.

The deck that carried Nevison to the Mythic Tournament is called Simic Flash.

The deck focuses on protecting a handful of creatures and countering what your opponent is doing.

“It’s one of the most frustrating decks. A lot of times if you play on the ladder, which is where you try to rank up to get into the top 1,200, a lot of people will quit playing and concede the match if they see you’re playing Simic Flash because not a lot of people like to have all their stuff countered,” Nevison said.

Preparations for the tournament took a twist in mid-November when new banned cards were announced. Tournament play is regulated by Wizards of the Coast and occasionally cards will be banned to level the playing field.

“Cards are usually banned from play if they enable a deck or play style that heavily skews the play environment. What does that mean? If the card were legal a competitive player either must be playing it or must be specifically targeting it with his or her own strategies,” Magic the Gathering’s website says.

Nevison and another player have been testing how the new bans will change how the game plays. He expects to play his same Simic Flash deck for the tournament, he said.

“I’ve devoted a lot of time to Arena, but I’ve only hit Mythic status twice, and the second time is when I qualified for the Mythic Championship Weekend,” Nevison said.

Nevison should have a little bit of time to sight-see in California. Like professional athletes, he and the other competitors will have a media day, Nevison said.

“It really just depends on how well I do at the tournament, whether I’ll have time to do anything else. Hopefully I’ll be too busy,” he said.

Nevison thanked his wife for being supportive of his time in Magic: the Gathering Arena.

“My wife, she supported me when I decided to start streaming Arena when I play. ... It’s been nice.”

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