in what is almost certainly not a coincidence, the forthcoming innistrad: midnight hunt set comes out almost 10 years to the day that og innistrad came out.
this is notable for a few reasons. In many ways, OG innistrad represents the real beginning of Magic's explosive growth period, and is also widely considered to be one of the top 2 or 3 limited environments of all time
2009 saw the release of the original Duels of the Planeswalkers digital game on xbox, which made it to the PS3 in 2010. This game doesn't get the respect i think it deserves for what it did to really launch magic to a broader audience
The timing is important here- Wizards knew they had a real chance to do something here and build off of this new surge of interest. 2009 had the newly revamped and resonant core set m10, as well as the wildly popular Zendikar set
but Zen, and the follow up of Scars block, were really tricky and complicated environments for folks who weren't totally invested in magic. So in 2009 they started the design of one of the greatest entry points into magic of all time, the trope filled horror of Innistrad
Innistrad was evocative, inviting, and with its monster movie themes of zombies and vampires and werewolves, really accessible for folks to jump in. And jump in they did, in such numbers that i think you could mark a dividing line of eras of magic into pre and post INN
hell, 2011 Magic overall was an entire sea change. They really pushed their presence at cons like PAX, getting cards into the hands of anyone and everyone, and with stuff like Duel Decks and Deckbuilder Toolkits there were tons of new ingresses for people to find
oh, and a little thing called Commander got an official set of preconstructed decks and a brand new name and official push
2011 was also a few years after the Great Recession petered out, so people had money again. And Wizards experimented a lot with new products and skews. Remember those weird little 'half' packs you could get at target for a buck or two?
Another notable thing was the spike in online streaming of tournaments and events on youtube and twitch. Suddenly people started to really know who players and personalities were.
Meanwhile, at a small store in Pacifica, California, Innistrad had a prerelease event on a saturday. Among the folks there were a lanky dude with longish hair named Brian, and me, a nervous and excitable guy who hadn't played magic in ages.
Shortly afterwards, Brian decided he wanted to figure out what the best sleeves were for magic the gathering cards, and he was frustrated that there was nothing out there for him.
Drawing upon his day job as a Professor at a local community college (or two, or three), he decided to adopt his analytic skills to understanding and reviewing Magic Accessories, teaching himself how to edit videos and write scripts.
Turns out, folks really wanted something like this to exist, and no one had done it before, and my friend, whose return to the multiverse coincided with mine, became the biggest non-pro name in the game.
All because ten years ago, a little set with Zombies and Vampires and Werewolves brought the lapsed players back into the fold, alongside an epic influx of new players who were desperate for context and information about what to do now that they were here.
Magic changed in September 2011. Looking forward to what happens in September 2021 =)
man, if i had any idea where the game would take me from then till now i wouldn't believe it.
of course, right after INN came out, Worlds 2011 happened in SF, which is where Mark Globus taught me why fetchlands were important, and Reid Duke taught me how to build a sealed deck and play limited

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More from @ghirapurigears

19 Jul
a lot of folks have asked me how to downtune their decks to make them more 'casual friendly' for whatever that means, and while it is really hard to just tell you what to do (as it is more a mindset than strict card swaps) i do have one tip- swap in arcane denial for counterspell ImageImage
(or for you grognards like me, the proper versions) ImageImage
they both do the same thing- hard counter a spell that is either going to wreck you or win the game- but arcane denial softens the blow in a more interesting way, and gives the countered player the feeling that they didn't just get completely stuffed.
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5 Jul
So, who the hell is Vecna, and why do we have his random body parts? Time for a significantly shorter lore dive!
Our story starts back in 1976, with the 3rd supplement to the original D&D rules, Eldritch Wizardry by Brian Blume. (the first three books were men & magic, monsters and treasure, and underworld & wilderness adventures, followed by greyhawk and blackmoor)
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5 Jul
Mordenkainen had to be a planeswalker. He's one of the most famous characters in all of d&d, being the PC of Gary Gygax himself, and the character who has been continuously active and relevant in the game the longest, since 1972
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2 Jul
I want to talk about Giant Space Hamsters for a second.
Boo, the first hamster in magic, might catch folks who aren't familiar with Baldur's Gate off guard. It's a hamster. why do people care?
And what's with the text on Minsc that allows him to make Boo into a 'giant' hamster?
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2 Jul
holy crap they made Acererak! The demilich that was the boss of the most brutal player killer dungeon ever devised, the Tomb of Horrors.
So liches were great and powerful spellcasters who found a way to become effectively immortal to keep their power or whatever, and turned into horrific evil monsters. A demilich is a lich that evolved past needing a body at all, becoming an eldritch horror floating skull
the gems in the skull are the soul gems that the demi lich concentrates their power in, and they must be destroyed along with the skull or the demilich will regenerate in a week or so. good luck with that.
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1 Jul
let's talk about Magic in D&D! and not cards, but arcane nattering with wibbly gestures and spidery words and throwing little balls of bat shit wrapped around sulfur at people and watching them explode
so back in the 50s, there were a lot of pulp novels of adventure, sci fi, and early fantasy. Among them were the fantasy short stories of Jack Vance, collected in a pulp novel called "The Dying Earth"
In these stories, there were wizards who could use magic, and in order to use it they had to memorize lengthy and complex spell formulas, triggered by a word or phrase. And once they used a spell, it was gone forever, until they memorized it again
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