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[Editor's note: The opinions expressed on this page are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CompanyLongName or its agents.  The author takes full responsibility for his own words, and we encourage you to contact him if you have any comments about this posting.]

by Russell Mirara (
Web posted September 5, 1999.

Let's take a short look at the magic world here in Dubai for a second...

Well, let's be honest.  There isn't much to think about.  It's being kept alive by a few very dedicated tourney goers of whom there is just enough to keep the field going. This could be a problem, because just this summer we've lost one of these dedicated "thorny goers" Chris Jenson, who we lost to Canada. But that still leaves us with plenty to have a tournament, right? If we take a closer look at the situation, we will see that those of us that want the Magic playing population of Dubai to grow have a slight problem. The younger population (Steven Thornhill the exception) is the problem. Why is this a problem? Because prizes are small, and when we start to lose people we won’t have any tourneys. This is a serious problem, because without fresh faces the magic scene in Dubai will disappear.

The younger Magic playing population doesn’t see the tourney playing side of Magic. That's OK, of course; if you don't want to play seriously you don't have to, but it is a problem. If perhaps they knew that this side of magic involved some serious prizes, then maybe they would participate. A serious course of action is definitely required for such a serious problem. Towards the end of the school semester, Mr. Marsden (organizer of the Magic club at Emirates International School) organized a non-sanctioned tourney in which all members of the club had to participate. This was truly a great accomplishment.  Not only was everyone involved but everyone got prizes, and the grand prizes were huge. This will have a great effect on the young magic players (we'll call 'em "sprouts"), because they got prizes. Lets face the facts: the reason you went to tourneys when you first started was to get some sort of cool prize. Now this gives us a pressure point to strike.

Prizes are the key; well, there is another key, which we will see to later. But prizes offer a direct route into the targeted sprout's head and heart where a secure place for this great pastime can be found. Once the sprout has been to several tourneys, he will take a liking to the atmosphere there. Why? What is not to like, a bunch of guys out of school uniform in school without school regulations pressed on them. Junk food and Magic discussions from the best players in the region. As well as the great feeling of having a deck you are confident with. Once they are drawn in, they will lead their fellow sprouts into the arena.

The other key, of course, is force. This is done without verbal or physical abuse -- just a suggestion by the older and more experienced people in the club. Nagging or maybe a suggestion from the big man himself. It could be done. Once this is done for about 4 or 5 tourneys the atmosphere will be irresistible to the now transformed sprouts and they will be stuck. With no way to escape ha ha ha ha ha ha ...

Those suggestions above are the keys, but here is the sledgehammer that breaks the door wide open. Every sprout could be assigned to a "walker" (short for PlainsWalker. In short an experienced magic player).  The walker's job is to insure the sprout knows everything he needs to know. The walker should instruct the sprout on deck building, tourney play, rules, regulations, play tips -- everything the walker knows must be told to his sprout. This is where this plan really takes shape: the walker is to escort the sprout to at least 5 tourneys during the year. Not only will the sprout be settling into the tourney atmosphere, he will be with some one he can talk to about the games he has had. He has someone to give him advice. In this method you are using both keys. You are letting the sprout see the prizes he could be winning if he could get good enough. There is some sort of force but it is a "regulation" force so the spout can't see it and it's a great way for them to learn how to play the game.

So to conclude, what will all these extra players do for us as the main group of magic players? It could bring in major tourneys. Prizes will become bigger and better, everyone will get better and we will finally have some competition. Who knows what might happen -- maybe this could be a main tour stop. If you have any ideas on how to improve this, drop me a line at

-- Russell Mirara

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