As you can probably guess, we play quite a bit of Magic here at Card Kingdom. We do plenty of product testing each month, but we also use Magic as a way to relax, unwind, and bond with our coworkers. Our Fulfillment and Overstock employees frequently congregate in Café Mox for after-work Drafts or Commander matches, and lunchtime pick-up games are becoming increasingly common around here. Today, we’d like to tell you about one of the more unique Magic events we’ve held, and one that we think many of our customers will enjoy: Battle Deck League!
Card Kingdom’s inaugural Employee Battle Deck League was the brainchild of Brian Stewart and Henry Eliot, who build Battle Decks as members of our Overstock and Inventory department. “Battle Decks are a really cool thing we make as a company,” Brian said, “so we thought – how can we get people to play with them more than they already are?” Their league ran through the month of October and attracted 47 players during the first week (that’s a little less than a third of our staff), twenty of whom stuck it out and played every match.
Here are the official league rules:
- Participants were offered a choice of five random Battle Decks. The deck they chose would be theirs to play with for the duration of the league, so Brian and Henry wanted to encourage players to choose decks that fit their individual play styles.
- Each week, players could purchase one pack of cards from Magic 2013 or later and use the contents to modify their Battle Deck.
- Players were responsible for playing at least three matches per week and reporting their match results to the league organizers. Matches were best two games out of three with no time limit, and participants couldn’t play against the same opponent more than once in a single week.
From the day the league started, our workplace was abuzz with players looking for opponents. Henry and Brian gave their players the flexibility to play their matches on their own time, which led to plenty of evening and weekend meet-ups between people who wouldn’t normally interact during their workday. It was an effective team-building exercise that also got more people talking about Battle Decks than ever before.
Our first-ever Battle Deck League Champion was Fulfillment Specialist and Card Kingdom Blog contributor Adam Klesh, who racked up a total of 42 points over the course of the month. Adam loves white weenie decks, so he was more than happy to be offered Monumental Force, our recently-retired Oketra’s Monument deck. “I could play a lot of different decks, but I was happy to get one that was my style,” he said.
Adam started small in modifying his deck – he added Valor in Akros from his Magic Origins pack for Week 1, but was disappointed when he didn’t receive a useful Trial or Cartouche in his Amonkhet pack the following week. He decided to swing for the fences and picked up Modern Masters 2017 packs for the remainder of the league, and was rewarded with an Attended Knight, a Soul Warden, a Kor Skyfisher, and a Boros Reckoner. His prize for finishing first in the league was a foil version of his original Battle Deck, from which he pulled 23 cards for his Mono-White Vampires deck for the Standard main event at GP Portland.
Of course, as Brian said, “Battle Deck League is less about the prizes and more about the camaraderie,” and it seems he and Henry achieved their goal of bringing our coworkers together in the name of good games. They hope to hold another Battle Deck League in the coming months, but they noted that they could make a few changes next time. Henry expressed interest in giving players more incentive to get their matches in week-to-week, so he and Brian are considering implementing an achievement structure featuring small, weekly rewards. They also may spice things up with some format variations in the future – Brian commented that a Two-Headed Giant Battle Deck League might be especially cool.
To learn more about Battle Decks, check out Tolarian Community College’s Battle Deck review and our behind-the-scenes video about the making of Battle Decks. If you’d like to start your own Battle Deck League with your playgroup, check out our full line-up of Battle Decks (including three brand-new ones for November!) and tweet any questions at us at @Card_Kingdom!
Header image: Justin Treadway