DreamHack Dallas 2022
DreamHack Dallas 2022: Big MTG events are back!
Two years, nine months, and nine days. That was how long it had been since I had attended a large MTG event. My last event before COVID was MagicFest Las Vegas in 2019. Friends and I spent that weekend playing in the Pauper championship and random side events. We, along with the rest of the world, had no idea how much things were about to change the following year. It is sometimes hard to think back to a time before COVID. I would often travel to large events multiple times a year to meet up with friends and turn cards sideways. I have always enjoyed “The Gathering” part of the game the most. I, like so many others, have desperately missed large gatherings of people coming together to share in a game that they love. Let me tell you… It was good to be back!
During COVID I began casually streaming on Twitch and run MTG events on MTGO and Arena. I had to find a way to continue to connect with friends and play the game I have enjoyed for so many years. Digital magic and online tournament platforms like MTGMelee quickly became the main outlet for many players. I remember a good friend of mine, Andrea, helping local game stores in the San Diego area run events on Arena. They quickly became very popular as everyone wanted to find ways to continue to play at least “digital cardboard.” The tools to do so were there thankfully! As much as I sometimes (ok often) complain about the “shuffler,” it was great having an option to play with friends!
As my online community and events grew, I enjoyed making new friends. Getting back to why I really enjoy Magic in the first place! The “Early Access Events,” preview cards and ability to fundraise for various charities were all great experiences, but the reason I kept going on was all the new connections I had made with people. I was honestly shocked when DreamHack contacted me earlier this year asking if I would like to attend their Dallas event as a Content Creator! I had never really thought of myself as one. If anything, maybe a MTG community organizer LOL! I was very humbled and appreciative for the opportunity!
June 3rd couldn’t arrive fast enough! Thursday I drove down to Dallas with two friends and picked up Andrea from the airport. The time for a large Magic event had come again! I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I knew DreamHack as an esports event and had never been to one. Walking to the tabletop area I passed large screens where people were playing shooters, Smash Bros and other games I am terrible at LOL! A few minutes after wandering around I saw them… MTG players. All the signs from GPs of old were there. Vendors, artists, the prize wall, judges, and a sea of Magic players. It was good to be back! The only difference, and surprising thing to me, was that people were coming up to me to say hello. They had seen me stream or followed my Twitter account and knew I had some cards to give away. It was so refreshing to be back around people!
I spent the whole weekend meeting other content creators and friends I had made online. Already feeling like you knew someone digitally and finally meeting them in person was neat! All the events ran smoothly and you could see the impact that digital had on in person events as MTGMelee was used to enter events. The days of crowding around a small list taped up on a wall by a judge are over. Knowing where your next match is on your phone was fantastic! Meeting other non-MTG content creators was probably some of the most fun that I had at the event. You could really tell that they were just as passionate about their game as I was about mine. Gamers are great! I even had the opportunity to be interviewed about how important MTG/gaming is to the military community. I spent many hours while on a ship at sea during my time in the Navy playing games such as MTG.
I was sad when it was time to leave. I knew that it wasn’t going to be enough. After waiting so long for an event like this, nothing was going to be enough! The DreamHack staff and MTG judges did a fantastic job hosting the first major event in years. While I am sure some lessons for next time were learned, I can tell you that it all made me excited for the next time! DreamHack Atlanta is going to be an event that you do not want to miss. Outside of the main event, you can expect to see all the other things that you came to expect from MagicFests of old. The main thing being the people. Fellow players that enjoy “The Gathering” as much as you do. I hope to see you there!