Peek #17 : Violet Edgar


Violet Edgar is a Level 2 Magic Judge and American expat living near Stuttgart, Germany. She’s transgender, and credits Magic and Judging with giving her the confidence she needed to come out as such. She is a champion of diversity in Magic, especially for LGBTIQ individuals, and was recently interviewed at Grand Prix Utrecht. More information about her can be seen in that interview here.

       p4d: How did you start playing Magic: The Gathering?

Violet: I first learned about the game from the June ‘95 issue of Computer Gaming World where they were previewing the Microprose game. I instantly knew I needed to try the game, and, a few months later, I discovered a few people in my high school who played. I’ve been hooked ever since!image-1
Which I just realized, was almost exactly 20 years ago. Happy Magicverssary to me!

       p4d: What would you like to see Planeswalkers for Diversity accomplish?

Violet: I think one of the limiting factors to how many people of various minorities attend Magic events is a perceived image of “the average Magic player”. The image of the unkempt, socially awkward Magic player who sneers at women and flips tables has become somehow ingrained in pop culture. And I’d like to see P4D help change that perception.

       p4d: Have you ever struggled during judging with people not taking you serious because of being a woman or because of being trans?

Violet: I can’t say I have, at least not yet. People in the communities I’ve judged in so far have been, on the whole, friendly and respectful. I’ll be interested to see if I have any issues with that in the future as I judge more events, especially GPs, where people from different cultures might have different attitudes toward LGBTIQ folks.


       p4d: How do you think the Magic community could become more open to new and diverse players?

Violet: I feel that there are three big factors that are keeping Magic from being as diverse as it could be: There are systemic biases keeping minorities out of the game, there is a lack of representation of minorities in the public face of the game, and there are hostile environments that sadly persist in a lot of places the game is played. The first problem is a social one, one that we can all individually do our part to fight against. While we can do our part to improve visibility by being present at events and holding P4D events at our local stores, the big picture is only going to change with the support of Wizards and the bigger sites and TOs – which is, thankfully, already starting to happen.

The third, though, is something that the P4D and the community at large can actually change, and should work hard to. Look at their own behaviours, the spaces they play in, the way they treat players of minorities, whether intentionally or not. A little bit of self-reflection can really effect a lot of good, and I encourage as many people in the community as possible to do just that.


       p4d: Do you think that Magic could become for others what it was for you and help them find their inner strength they may need, whether it be for their sexuality, gender identity, or even things as simple as dealing with their anxiety?

Violet: I absolutely think it can! Magic is many things to many people, but for a lot of folks it’s very much a way to express themselves, to meet other people in a friendly, safe environment. I’ve heard countless stories of people who have overcome shyness and social anxiety, depression, family issues, and many more personal obstacles thanks to the game and the community that surrounds it. I hope more people can find their inner strength, their voice, as a result of playing the game, and I try to do my best to show people that that is possible.

p4d: Where can people find you online?

Violet: I have a blog at, I also tweet @MTGViolet, and I can be contacted through the p4d Facebook group. If you’re a judge, you can also reach me through JudgeApps, and, if you’re not a judge, you can get in touch with me and I can help you change that.


Peek #16: “Doc” Gabe R.


Image (1)Doc (aka Gabe R.) is a law student and popular Magic: The Gathering Online streamer who is mostly known for limited and his love of fine beers. Doc streams 5 nights a week: mostly draft, but some standard, and prides himself on keeping his chat classy.

p4d: How did you start playing Magic: The Gathering?

randomgabeDoc: My cousin introduced me to the game. He was 13 and I was 6, so I thought it was about the coolest thing I’d ever seen. That was during Visions, and I’ve taken a few breaks since then, but I’ve never stopped being hooked.

p4d: What do you like most about streaming Magic: The Gathering?

Doc: The interaction with my viewership. I wouldn’t play nearly as much Magic Online if it weren’t for my stream. That’s actually why I started streaming: it was boring to just play by myself. I like conversation, and I think Magic is meant to be a social game as well as a strategic battle.EhjPdgp

p4d: With everything that you have on your plate, do you ever sleep?

Doc: I get about 5 hours a night on average.

p4d: What would you like to see Planeswalkers for Diversity accomplish?

Doc: Any progress in the direction of getting a more diverse player-base is good for the game in general. Specifically, as a Spike I would love to see initiatives like this one encourage more women and other wi-fiveunderrepresented groups to compete at a professional level and ensure that their diversity is a non-factor for their experience.

p4d: We know you’re a huge fan of craft beers. What is your favourite craft beer to drink while streaming?

Doc: My favorites are as follows:

  1. Petrus Winter Ale #9 (near impossible to find in the US, and it’s been about 3 years since I’ve had it)hipsterdraft
  2. Petrus White Oak Aged Pale Ale (a VERY sour pale, also difficult to find in the US but not impossible)
  3. Founders Breakfast Stout (Oatmeal Chocolate Stout, easily the best beer brewed on this continent)

p4d: Where can people find you online?

Doc: I stream at and tweet at – my usual schedule for streams is in my FAQ below the video on my Twitch page.


Women and Magic: A Rebuttal

The post below was written by Anastacia Tomson in response to StarCity Games article on Women in Magic, itself a reply to an article by Meghan Woff.

I don’t even know where to start with this. I have a nagging suspicion that my efforts might be completely fruitless, because I have had countless discussions just like this in my local Magic group, and they have all largely headed in the same direction.

But nonetheless, I am going to take the time to type out a systematic and articulate response to your article. I’d like to preface this by saying that I read your article word-for-word, top-to-bottom. I became emotional, upset and sometimes downright livid, but I’m nonetheless making a point of replying calmly and respectfully, and I hope that I will be afforded the same dignity.

You open with a scenario from South Park. I will not go into the merits of referencing South Park when making any kind of social commentary. But the gist of the argument according to your transcript is this: The children seemed like they were being racist but didn’t know it because they were blind to race, so we forgive them or even congratulate them, and carry on.*

The fact of the matter is that behaviour that is oppressive remains oppressive irrespective of the motives behind that behaviour. I do believe that the correct approach is to try to educate as to why the behaviour is wrong rather than simply becoming indignant and belligerent about it. But please remember that oppression, whatever the motivation, hurts people.

Your argument here, if I follow, is that by addressing these inequalities, we are creating more prejudice, or “widening the gap”. And I will retort by saying that you are widening that gap, perhaps because you have become defensive after reading Meghan’s article.

You state that you and Meghan share a common goal, but you set about explaining systematically why she is wrong in pursuing that goal. The primary problem here is that you address this matter from a position of privilege.

Your first argument is against the necessity to have women in positions that are visible, in terms of coverage, feature matches and so on. What you have failed to realise here is that gender is an issue. For years and years, the coverage booth has been staffed exclusively by men, because that is the expectation that society has. The goal is equality between genders, but we are starting from a point that is already heavily biased in favour of males. In Magic, people should indeed be recognised by their merits, but do not forget that achievement is informed by opportunity, and opportunity while abundant for men, is far less so for women.

We are not asking for special dispensation – what we are asking for is representation. And this is particularly pertinent with regards to your comment about saying that there may “some day” be a woman in a coverage position. There may not be many positions available, but the fact is that although we play the game, we do not enjoy the same luxury of representation that you do. And this is the kind of inequality that should be addressed rather than left to sort itself out on its own at some arbitrary point in the future.

What are the criteria for having a match featured live on camera, exactly? Those matches are selected for a number of reasons, and often the position of the players on the standings is not primary amongst them – very easily proven by virtue of that Table 1 is not always featured in coverage. So why is it sexist to suggest that representation should be a factor in considering which matches are featured?

You preface your response to “Girlfriendification” by saying that you are male and the problems do not directly affect you, so this already lessens all the arguments that follow. You have indeed not experienced these phenomena for yourself, and to argue that they do not exist because you have not personally experienced or witnessed them is naive.

You then argue that as your girlfriend becomes more proficient at the game, she will be regarded as an individual on her own merits rather than as an extension of your own presence. The implication here is that by default, she undergoes girlfriendification until she earns the right not to. When you began playing Magic, was your very presence at an event undermined? Did anyone say “Oh you’re Joe Schmoe’s friend?”. I imagine it is more likely that from the outset you were judged according to your own merits or lack thereof.

Then you give examples of incidents where she did in fact experience sexism. Firstly, you laud her for laughing off these occurrences. If it did not faze her, that is well and good, and more power to her. But it is not a praiseworthy thing for a woman to ignore these kind of comments. The implication here again is that if she is perturbed by it, that is a weakness. In the first instance, she should not even be subjected to that kind of treatment – if she is, it is unfair to blame her for not being able to ignore it.

The argument that “some people are going to be jerks” no matter what is a poor one. Of course it is unacceptable to be rude or discriminatory to anyone, on any basis. But again, acknowledge the reality that women are subjected to this more often than men. Even in the instance of someone who is a “natural born jerk”, that individual is more likely to behave inappropriately towards a woman than towards anyone else, because it is perceived as being more acceptable.

Of course we should actively discourage people from being jerks, and we should work together towards this goal – I do not think anyone would dispute that. But I do take issue with your second point. It’s all well and good to say that we should speak up when we are being oppressed, but this is very typical victim-blaming – what you must try to realise is that even if she is the victim of harassment or disrespect, a woman may not necessarily feel safe in calling it to the attention of an authority figure!

Put yourself in her position for a moment – she has just been insulted on the basis of her gender by an obnoxious player, and seated all around her are a bunch of that player’s friends. How comfortable do you think she would feel in calling the TO or a judge? Don’t blame her for “letting a few jerks ruin… [her] hobby” – blame the jerks for trying to ruin it in the first instance.

You’ve used an example of Gerry Thompson’s hair to compare the body shaming that men undergo with that which women experience. Sure, there are a batch of people ripping on Gerry about his hairstyle. None of them talk about him being f— worthy. None of them are catcalling him. The “nom” pales in comparison to the abusive remarks leveled routinely at women. The salient point here is that we are not arguing that men are never victim to body-shaming – but that it is often far more pervasive, and far more abusive in nature, when it is directed at women. As soon as a female player is on the screen, she is scrutinised according to the standards of acceptability imposed upon her by the male gaze, which again makes every aspect of her existence secondary to her physical appearance as judged by men. Surely it is clear that is problematic?

Meghan’s article was written with the best intentions, but you are belittling and undermining her. You are criticising her for not doing enough to elicit real change, when she has patiently and considerately articulated some very real challenges and concerns that women in Magic face. Creating awareness and starting conversations is part of the process of initiating change – and your entire article illustrates this, as you show how you, and I am sure countless others, have not yet grasped the severity of the problem. Some even deny its existence as a whole. And again, your straw-man argument that women are asking for “special treatment” is what is actually misleading here. The environment as it stands in Magic is heavily skewed towards male benefit – your entire point about “weak” woman in a “strong” man’s world is evidence of this. We want no preferential treatment – what we want is safety and an environment free of oppression. And here’s a little tip – if it’s an environment in which women aren’t harassed, it will also be one in which men aren’t harassed – now that is true equality.

Respect is earned in any community. But that is not a valid argument to the point that in this community, women start off receiving less respect at the baseline than men do. And I hope you will be able to understand that.

The original article, to which this was written as a response, has been pulled from the site on which it was originally published though an online archive is available and screenshots are included below.

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SCG Article Jim Davis Women in Magic 1 SCG Article Jim Davis Women in Magic 2 SCG Article Jim Davis Women in Magic 3 SCG Article Jim Davis Women in Magic 4 SCG Article Jim Davis Women in Magic 5 SCG Article Jim Davis Women in Magic 6 SCG Article Jim Davis Women in Magic 7 SCG Article Jim Davis Women in Magic 8

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* Editor’s note: The noted sentence originally read “The children were being racist, and they didn’t know they were being racist, so we forgive them for being racist and allow them to continue, and no one has been hurt.” which can be easily misunderstood as not accurately reflecting the original article by Davis. The point was that the behaviour by the kids in the story is still racist in impact regardless of the intent being pure due to their blindness to race. The sentence was re-worded to avoid this potential confusion.

Peek #15: Gerry Thompson

Image (1)

Peek is a series of brief interviews of Magic personalities who support Planeswalkers for Diversity.

What’s tougher – a Pro Tour, or an SCG Invitational? If anyone’s qualified to answer that, it’d be Roanoke’s own Gerry Thompson. He’s played in eleven SCG invitationals, top 8’d six and won two, on top of his nine Grand Prix top 8s. In 2013 he broke the ranks of the best pros to never spike a Pro Tour Top 8, finishing seventh at PT Gatecrash in Montreal before going on to take a break from competitive Magic and intern at Wizards of the Coast. Currently living in Seattle with his girlfriend and former SCG copyeditor Kaitlin Lindburg, Gerry is back in the scene writing for StarCityGames and crushing tournaments near you.

p4d: First, a question we ask everyone: what is your Magic: The Gathering origin story?

GT: I was into fantasy stuff, like comic books and novels when I was a kid, and my mom saw some Magic cards at a gas station and bought me a couple packs. I didn’t have anyone to play with so they just sat in a shoebox for five years or so, and then when I was 15 and got my first job one of my co-workers played Magic. We just kind of bRM_1onded over that, he built me a deck, we played some games, he ripped me off on some trades, and then I was just hooked from there.

p4d: It was several months ago now, but you left WOTC in April after a six-month internship. Can you tell us your most favourite and least favourite aspects of working there?

GT: Least favourite was that I was not the smartest person in the room anymore, but that was just part of this good thing where I was surrounded by a bunch of very smart capable people that constantly surprised me. Other than that it was just that I learned a bunch of stuff. I don’t know if it necessarily makes me a better Magic player but I certainly think that I have a better understanding of the decisions that get made for how sets and cards are designed. I know more about how they expect formats to shape up and stuff like that.

p4d: Did you feel like it was a good fit for you overall, or were you itching to get back to competitive Magic and writing articles?

GT: I didn’t know if it was going to be a good fit, but I had to try it. When they offered it to me I thought it might not work out, but I was ready to try something different as far as Magic was concerned. It was definitely a good idea, and while I was there I wasn’t thinking, “oh, I can’t wait to get back to playing” — I was definitely dedicating 100% to doing the job, but when it got towards the end of it and I had the choice to stay on for another six months, I decided to get back to playing Magic. I’m just more comfortable playing and it just felt more right for me.

p4d: How is it being back at SCG? You alluded to some other projects coming up in some recent podcasts, anything we can look forward to? Streaming, maybe?

GT: I’ve wanted to be streaming since Journey Into Nyx came out on Magic Online, but for whatever reason I haven’t started. It’s just one of those things where I’m good at doing the stuff that comes easy to me. I put off writing articles for the longest time because I thought I wouldn’t be good at it and people wouldn’t want to read the stuff I had to say. I kinda feel like that with streaming also, where I want to do it and I think it would be a good thing for me, but I just haven’t started yet. I have a lot of excuses but they’re not good ones.

I started working on a book about four years ago, and I have a lot of work done with it but it’s one of those things where it’s kind of almost done but it’s hard to pull the trigger. With my articles there’s a deadline, I have to do this every week, and for all this other stuff, if you give me free reign I’ll never finish it for whatever reason and I really need to get over that.

tumblr_m2xqjpjgQ61r5wyekp4d: To lead into some P4D stuff, what does diversity in the Magic community mean to you?

GT: I think ultimately what I want to have happen is that issues of diversity are just not a thing. We are Magic players, male, female, trans, straight, gay, whatever, it doesn’t matter, you know? At the end of the day we all have this thing that we really enjoy and this should be our escape from reality, where we go to have fun and enjoy ourselves, express our creativity, and I would just like for everyone else to see each other as Magic players and not how they’re different. We have a lot of the same stuff in common and we like the same things so we should just be able to share that.

p4d: Let’s delve into an event from your past – specifically you getting decked by Todd Anderson. The interesting thing that seems to get missed is that it was an act of mediation by you, trying to keep your friends as friends. Do you find yourself in that position often?

GT: As mediator, kind of. In the social circles that I hang out with I’m normally the adult or at least the oldest person. I might not be the most mentally of age person I suppose, but I do act like the adult in a lot of situations. When people are hanging out with their friends, their filter is off, they want to blow off steam and sometimes people get a little out of control, myself included.

But there are situations where I think “hey, this is not a thing that should be happening, this is only gonna end poorly.” I don’t necessarily try to mediate things by taking a fist to the face all the time, but I think in that case it was a good solution. I don’t want to be results-oriented or anything. [laughs]

It was also one of those situations where Todd and I were not on the best of terms, and now we’re really good friends, and I think that situation really helped that a lot. But again, I don’t think the way I handled things was necessarily the best for that situation, there was almost certainly a better way, but at the time that was what I felt was correct. I knew it would resolve the situation and it did, so it is what it is.

p4d: Is there anybody who you find an inspiration in the community, that you’re learning from on these issues?

GT: I don’t feel that there’s one person in particular, it’s just that there are a lot of voices of reason in the community. But generally I have not been disappointed whenever something happens because I feel there are enough smart people that say, “no actually this is not cool, this is how you should react to this or this is what’s most acceptable”, you know? As far as my personal opinions, at the end of the day we’re all just Magic players and I wish that these things would just not be issues.

p4d: What can you do as a leader in the community or what do you think other players in general can do to make our community a better place?

GT: For me I think it’s probably just best to lead by example, and if you think that people are acting poorly and doing things that are disrespectful, you can let them know in a positive way. If someone says something in a group and then you immediately call them out on it, that’s probably not the best way to handle things. Embarrassing them in front of their friends is not gonna cause change.

I feel like most people respond positively to actual one-on-one constructive criticism, and sometimes it’s someone’s opinion, where they might feel it’s okay to discriminate against females for example, and maybe you can’t change that. But most people, you talk to them in a one-on-one setting, you make it clear you respect them, you respect their opinions, but you say, hey, people have a problem with this, and they will actually stop and think. This approach has worked for me so far.

p4d: What would you like to see Planeswalkers for Diversity accomplish?

GT: It’s just constantly working towards that goal with whatever reasonable means necessary, and I think that’s good, I’m glad that someone is out there doing it.

p4d: Any big tournaments you’re playing soon?

GT: I just attended Grand Prix in Nashville and New Jersey and had loads of fun at both. I’m hitting up all the Starcity invitationals, andTrap_GerryT I am qualified for Pro Tour Vancouver.

p4d: Any sick tech you’ll be shopping around?

GT: No, not really. M16 was a set that I worked on a little bit, but it was not in FFL (Future Future League) which is why that’s the cutoff for when I can play again. Presumably between April and now the set is going to change a lot, so the theory is that I don’t have a large edge over everyone else. So I got nothing basically. I’m just waiting to see how everything plays out with the full Khans block and everything, and I’m sure that we did a lot of good work in FFL but we almost certainly didn’t find everything or have a 100% clear picture of what the format’s going to look like. It’s been very interesting being on the outside and seeing what people come up with.

p4d: Where can people find you online?

GT: I am on Twitter @G3RRYT as well as Facebook, the comments of my Starcity articles, that’s about it. I basically  respond to anyone that gets at me on Twitter, so that’s probably the best way to reach me.

Peek #14: MJ Scott

Image (1)Peek is a series of brief interviews of Magic personalities who support Planeswalkers for Diversity. MJ Scott is widely regarded as a master of all things flavour including cosplay and fanfiction. A freelance editor, producer, and sometimes card alterist, MJ writes a weekly column for Gathering Magic and recently contributed flavour text and card names to Theros, Commander 2013, and the upcoming M15 core set.

p4d: First, a question we ask everyone: what is your Magic: The Gathering origin story?

MJ Scott is a Planeswalker native to–where else–Kamigawa. MJ spontaneously formed in a pot still, and was removed as an impurity by the Izzet expat distiller. Michiko Konda and the red bull from the Last Unicorn adopted her as their own child, and she was raised traditionally to be a prophet and gunslinger. Eventually she rejected the confines of her parents’ estate, stole a horse from their stables and rode off to make a name for herself, briefly training in hospitality as a bartender in Takenuma. After waking up one morning with a stubby sword clutched in her hand (not an innuendo) and a voice in her head calling for help, her spark ignited and she traveled across the aether with her companions Yellow Ranger and Zelda to battle Nicol Bolas at the Pools of Becoming and free Link from his servitude as Bolas’s cabana boy. MJ proved instrumental in the battle by making Bolas the best mojito he’d ever had, thus forcing the Elder Dragon to free Link in order to secure a steady supply of superior rum-based drinks from MJ’s deft hand. The two are now great friends and often conspire about Magic-related business. MJ currently resides on Ravnica, writing smut and flavor. She runs a side business that sells (via Dimir agents) the secret of luscious Asian hair to wealthy Ravnicans. Liliana Vess is a client.

p4d: Wow! No wonder you are a flavour writer with Wizards. How did that start?

MJ: I had a friend who did it, and inquired about how to work toward it. I basically got a referral, like any other job process that helps a lot. But it also helps if you have been writing in the MTG community or otherwise professionally/semi-professionally. It’s really rigorous and competitive, so you’ve got to have the chops already or you won’t make it. It was like an audition process after the referral, but that’s all I can divulge – we have to keep the mystery alive! (wink)

p4d: What is the most fulfilling part about writing for

MJ: At heart I’m an entertainer. Sharing stories with Magic players and putting smiles on the faces of my awesome readership is exactly what I love to do. My column is always going to be a safe space to explore flavor, debate ideas, laugh, and feel more connected to the greater community and all things magical in general. I am super happy to write for a site like Gathering Magic that goes out of its way to be inclusive and provide all kinds of content.

p4d: Vorthos refers to a player who loves flavour. How did you fall in with cosplay and all things Vorthos?

MJ: Well, I was dressing up long before I played Magic, but I would say my not-Magic-exclusive love of flavour and story and art came first. I mean, I had to read books and see TV and films that gave me inspiration for costumes. I would roleplay animals at an early age. I was a horse a lot, and would run around on all fours asking to be fed uncooked oatmeal in a dish on the floor. I also liked wolves and foxes, so I was “what does the fox say?”ing a lot and hiding in very small spaces–like the toilet paper storage cabinet. This cabinet was six feet off the ground, cut into the wall of the hallway, and I’d taught myself to climb up–by bracing a foot on each side of the hall–after I saw Spider-man or something. The animal “cosplay” was influenced mostly by Margeurite Henry books. I also did the Disney princesses. Apparently I could read when I was two.

Later I would sometimes be Link or Zelda, and there was a phase where I was always Tyris Flare from Golden Axe and I’d run around in an altered version of one of my mom’s old bikinis, making my family act out the entire game. My mom always had to be Death Adder. I don’t know how she coped. I mean, I have a feeling I was pretty hard to deal with–this intensely passionate, weird, creative, competitive kid and she just let me have free reign. At one point I think my wardrobe consisted mostly of leotards, swimsuits, cowboy boots and moccasins (to go with the full-size “teepee” in the backyard). I was proud of having the full Wonder Woman getup. One time I was being a cat, and actually ate some cat food out of the cat’s dish. My mom almost had a heart attack. I didn’t do that again–it tasted awful… which to this day baffles me, because cat food smells so good.

I appreciate all those memories more now that my son has reached the age where he’s into pretending. The other day we were play-fighting and he was alternately “Black” Ryu, Chandra, and Gutsman. I spent half of last month as Zero to his Megaman X. I love it. Who knew–all that weird creative passion is extremely helpful for parenting!

1528529_246394638872715_1805224962_np4d: What is it specifically about the flavour of Magic that appeals to you over other games?

MJ: It’s Magic. I’m somewhat of an elitist – I enjoy that it’s iconic, that it was the first of its kind, that it still best articulates what it would feel like to actually be a mage.

p4d: Do you have any advice for people who want to follow in your Vorthos footsteps?

MJ: The big one is do not be afraid to embarrass yourself. It’s unavoidable, anyway. Second, read fiction – it’s like a cross training workout for your brain. Third, work at it: you have to be willing to get feedback, surround yourself with people better than you (or at least, you know, as good as you or challenging to you) in whatever discipline you’re interested in, and you should always be challenging yourself to improve. It’s fine to have days where you say “this is all I’ve got, it’s OK as it is…” but most days you need to go 120%. I think a lot of people limit themselves with fear and bad habits. You can definitely overcome those maladies. I did..

p4d: Who is this Elliot person you retweet sometimes, other than an avid Pucatrader?

MJ: (laughing)–Elliot is my husband. If you want our origin story, it’s in my first ever Magic blog post: How MJ Met Magic. Elliot and I have a strange relationship. Sometimes I’m his maid, and sometimes he’s my executive assistant. I think the humans call this type of relationship “marriage.” Unfortunately, there’s a good chance I’m a Cylon and thus never satisfied. I’m always looking for ways to manipulate the relationship so it’s more like I’m a dragon and he’s a kobold, but damn his eyes, he is highly resistant to black magic and has an annoying amount of defensive artifacts.

p4d: You mentioned in an article that your parents don’t read your work because it’s fantasy, and that school didn’t support you to be a writer. What kept you going?

MJ: Reading other fantasy writers’ work. I’m the type who can’t stop reading a good book once I pick it up, and I would often think, “This kind of world is where I want to be. This is what I want to do. I

f I can give just one person the kind of experience this author has given me, I’ll be happy.”

p4d: How can players make their community a better place?

MJ: Don’t mistake this for a trite answer: people, you need to BE KIND. It’s way harder than it sounds. Funny how many folks pride themselves on being so damn smart but can’t wrap their heads around a concept like treating others with respect. Sometimes it comes down to just taking a moment or two to consider your words before you open your mouth. Our society really rewards sound bytes and shock tactics, and this value system has been deeply ingrained into us by now–moreso if you’re under thirty. Sometimes it’s just a matter of choosing to say something neutral or bland as opposed to gratifying yourself by throwing out the zinger or verbal fatality. We all want attention and accolade, and some people waste so much energy being mean to achieve this. I have a dirty sense of humour and know you need all types to make the world interesting, plus I like free speech–but abusing our liberty by being an asshole when it’s hurting people is really just a sign that you can’t adapt, have low emotional capacity and aren’t smart enough to rationally think through a real-life situation and choose the best play.

One thing I want to highlight is that players need to have zero tolerance for bullying in our community. And bullying isn’t… you know, verbal banter between two equals. It’s the purposeful victimization of someone or some group for someone else’s gain/gratification/validation. It’s a matter of having other players’ backs and elevating your role as a Magic community member over your role as socially maligned smartass or massaging your clique’s collective ego. If you see someone being bullied, it’s your responsibility to tell an authority, step in, or at least defray the situation. At the very least, never participate in this kind of behavior yourself. This applies to all communities, not just Magic. The real-world result of bullying is that little kids try to hang themselves because they like My Little Pony. Or maybe the kid goes and gets a gun before they go to school. It’s no fun to be lonely or maligned for our interests. We’ve all been there. Gamers should be ahead of the curve here, not trailing behind as the last holdouts. If we can’t find other ways than meanness to express our intelligence and angst, then I guess we’re not so smart, are we?

p4d: What would you like to see Planeswalkers for Diversity accomplish?

MJ: I WANT T-SHIRT. Seriously, I can has P4D shirt now? And socks. I want knee socks with the little symbol. I totally need branded swag on which to spend money I don’t have. I would like to see Planeswalkers for Diversity become an aggressively active voice in the community and a very visible organization at events. It’s a ton of work and this group has already made great strides, but the sky’s the limit. I think a lot of community members will continue to be happy to contribute to content and support the group, so that should be leveraged as much as possible. I would love to see something like a P4D Commander tournament series, for example. Something to gather players around a fun aspect of Magic as well as the cause.

p4d: Where can people find you online?

Fanfic and card alters:
Cosplay: or
Twitter: @moxymtg