We’re living in an amazing time for Magic the Gathering. More people are playing now than have ever played before. The Grand Prix in Charlotte shattered the previous record for the largest Magic event. The Las Vegas Grand Prix has already beaten that number in pre-registration (by the way if you haven’t heard, you better pre-register because there will be no registrations the day of the tournament) and conservative estimates put it at blowing out the record by over a thousand players.
Think about that for a minute.
4,000 people are going to be paying $60 a piece to play Magic. It doesn’t hurt that the sealed tournament is Modern Masters. I find myself smiling inspite of myself just thinking about the fun people are going to have this weekend and the awesome cards that will be added to people’s collections.
And, unfortunately, that leads me to the real point of this post.
Magic the Gathering is more popular then ever. That means it’s more known then ever before. Modern Masters is the most valuable booster release with the most valuable cards seen in recent memory and Las Vegas is a city with a reputation slightly better then the Mos Eisley Cantina. All of these things make the Las Vegas Grand Prix a perfect place for stealing Magic cards.
Here are a few tips, from me to you, to help guard yourself against those that would Prey Upon Magic players and understand the different ways people lose their cards.
1.) Check Your Trades
Always check your trades to make sure that you’re not being taken advantage of. In a day and age when smart phones and lap tops have made price checking so easy there is just no excuse for not doing it. While Magic has grown to the point where anyone knows that Magic cards have value, the people who know this most explicitly are Magic players themselves. This leads to my next point.
2.) Anyone Can be a Thief
Do not be fooled by thinking that the person who steals your cards will be an outsider and easy to spot. Villains don’t come with top hats and curly mustaches. Then again, that description does sound like some Magic players I’ve know… The point is that just because you’re in a hall and you’re amongst fellow Magic enthusiasts, don’t let your guard down. Some people are thieves and don’t even know it until the opportunity for theft presents itself. Which leads me to my second tip.
3.) Don’t Leave Your Deck Unattended
Most theft of Magic cards are crimes of opportunity. Someone might go to Grand Prix Las Vegas with no thought in their head except to crack packs and playing cards, but all of a sudden a player gets up to go to the bathroom and leaves their deck on a table.
“Did he just leave his deck behind?” The once innocent Magic player thinks. “He was sitting next to me in the last round. He’s running two Dark Confidants in that deck and I think I saw at least one of the Swords.” He looks around. No one is watching. Suddenly, the deck and the player are gone.
This tip, and likely all the others seem like a no brainer, but once again, we get comfortable at Magic events. We feel we are amongst friends. A deck might be safe at your local FNM, but this is Vegas baby. Don’t blink.
4.) Book bags Are Targets
Much the same as leaving a deck box unattended, a book bag is a neon sign that says, “VALUABLE MAGIC HERE” in a nice portable case. A lot of people recently have advised that you just not bring a book bag to these large events, but let’s be honest. When you come to large event you want to trade, or even sell, those prime cards in your collection that you are not using. So, be vigilant. If you’re at a match, put your leg thru the strap and try to keep it somewhere in your peripheral vision. Space is a precious commodity at any Magic tournament, but do what you can. Also, if you’ve come to sell, do it early. While we won’t be at the Grand Prix in Las Vegas, be sure to stop by our booth at Gen Con. Unload those dusty cards and put cash in your wallet. At least then you’re sitting on the value instead of leaving it on the floor for someone to grab.
5.) Don’t Bring Your Collection
In continuation of the logic of not bringing a book bag full of cards to an event, don’t bring whole boxes of your cards to events. There’s just no point. If, for some reason, you find yourself with a compelling reason to bring hundreds of cards to a tournament understand the level of security that demands. You cannot leave your cards anywhere.
No table is secure when unattended. No room in the convention center is secure when unattended. Not your hotel room. Not your car. Not anywhere, but back in your own home. Bringing a massive collection makes you like a wounded gazelle on the Serengeti plains. Be prepared to carry those boxes everywhere you go, or be prepared to face the very real possibility that they will be stolen.
All of the things I’ve said in this article have been said by others. I’m not bringing any new advice to the table, but as long as Magic players are going to be targeted or taken advantage of it bears repeating. A little common sense and some vigilance are all that’s needed to safe guard our community from disreputable people. While you’re keeping an eye on your stuff, don’t forget to have fun at the largest Magic event in recorded history.
Damn that’s fun to write.