When I first started writing Ensnaring Cambridge, the idea was to write about what it is like to play Magic in Boston, Massachusetts. I would write about constructed strategies and lessons gleaned from games I played, but the emphasis was supposed to be on the local aspects of the game. I wanted to write about  the people I encountered, the places I played, and the burritos I ate. After a couple months of Standard on Wednesday nights at Pandemonium Books in Cambridge, I kind of stepped back from the local aspects of the game. I wrote about specs, buylisting, games of poolside EDH, and posted some videos of me drafting on MTGO. I’m not upset that I took some time off from the Standard grind or that I haven’t been a facet at Wednesday Night Magic, but I certainly miss writing about the Magic community in the area.

This week I decided I would check out a local game store called Knight Moves down the street from me in Brookline. The store opened up back in December of 2013 but the first I heard about it was last week from my buddy Phil. His description of Knight Moves is that it was that it was a cafe devoted mostly to board games where a casual Magic crowd had assembled to play in a homey non-basement space. I have to say, this is pretty accurate description.

I visited Knight Moves this past Monday for a 7PM Theros Block Draft. I drove out to the store and found it nestled in between some other stores, just a few doors down from an Anna’s Taqueria, which sits atop my personal burrito hierarchy.


The first thing I encountered inside was a small cafe counter bearing pastries, coffee, and tea. The room was relatively small, with a half dozen two person tables arching around the counter and a bookshelf with every board game imaginable.



The deal with the board games is that you pay a flat entrance fee when you go in, $10, and you can use the space to play whatever you want for as long as the store’s open. Knight Moves also has a variety of different memberships for the regulars so you’re not dropping money every time you walk in. At first the paid entrance model seemed a little weird to me, given that most other LGS’s don’t do this. I can walk into Pandemonium, pull off a board game from the shelf and sit down for a while without ever opening up my wallet. Yet, I understand that Knight Moves is not really a retail store at all, I didn’t actually see anything for sale, and that in order to function as a community space they need some way to fund it. While the entrance price might prevent me from being a regular at the cafe, I can see stopping by for a night here and there to play games in a comfortable space where someone else makes me coffee.

Regardless, aside from the main room, Knight moves has two rooms further in the space. Both have a cozy living room feel, which is strange coming from a land of basements and fold-out card tables. Here is the first room I walked through to get to the draft:


See what I mean? I’m not sure if it’s the fireplace or the bookshelf or the antique chairs but the space has a lot of charm to it.

Anyway, 14 people showed up to draft. The demographic consisted of a couple people I knew from Pandemonium, some younger kids and their mom, and some people my age with fresh DCI cards. It was definitely a more casual crowd than some of the other places I played. During the draft there was some light table talk about colors and bombs opened. Most people didn’t break out play mats or use sleeves. Phone apps and dice were the preferred method for keeping life totals. While this was certainly not what I was used to, I enjoyed the opportunity to step away from what my buddy Max refers to as “prison rules” Magic and just enjoy the game.

I was in the eight person draft pod and ended up building a UW Fliers deck with a heroic subtheme. I began the draft with some green cards, but switched into white when I saw some blank packs that had late Supply-Line Cranes and and a Stonewise Fortifier. In pack two, I felt like I was getting cut on blue but had a pretty reasonable run of efficient white beaters. Pack three I passed every good black card ever but managed to open a Fabled Hero and some bestow creatures to go with it. In the end my deck looked like this:

UW Heroic Draft

Creatures (15)
Akroan Skyguard
Archetype of Courage
Fabled Hero
Nimbus Naiad
Observant Alseid
Perplexing Chimera
Sigiled Starfish
Siren of the Fanged Coast
Stonewise Fortifier
Supply-Line Cranes
Triton Fortune Hunter
Vanguard of Brimaz

Spells (8)
Aerial Formation
Aqueous Form
Fate Foretold
Mortal’s Ardor
Lands (17)
10 Plains

Sideboard (3)
Dakra Mystic
Glare of Heresy
Ray of Dissolution

Nothing too spectacular here, but the deck had a reasonable curve and a clear game plan. This had 2-1 written all over it.

ROUND ONE—Dan with UB Control (2-0)


I recognized Dan from Pandemonium but hadn’t really got a chance to talk to him up until this point. He works in the education department at a local zoo (which is awesome) but felt kind of iffy on the deck he drafted (not as awesome).

Our games came down to my Sigiled Starfish filtering me into gas while he stalled out and flooded a bit on lands. Both games Dan took an early lead, tried to control my creature population with removal, but was unable to to deal with my menagerie of cat tokens, birds, starfish, and their double striking human keeper.

ROUND TWO—Jim with UG Goodstuff (0-2)


Jim is one of the hosts of Curving Out, a Magic podcast focused on Limited strategy. They are currently on their 23rd episode and have a lot of really great content on all 40 card formats. Not only does Jim have a sweet podcast, but also had drafted a really sweet UG deck featuring stuff like Arbiter of the Ideal, Nessian Asp, Fleetfeather Cockatrice, Horizon Chimera, and twenty or so Pinned to the Earth. Our games were pretty lopsided, I would play out a Fabled Hero or another heroic dork then he would pin it down, feed on it, or retract it back to my hand. Then he would play a giant creature, then another one, then another one. Then I would lose.

ROUND THREE—Andy with GW Heroic (2-1)


Andy was seated to my left during the draft which would explain why I didn’t get as many heroic dudes as I would have liked. It also means that I should probably get better at picking up signals.

Game one, I mulliganed to five and was promptly run over by a Favored Hoplite, Stonewise Fortifier, and an Elite Skirmisher. Game two, I voltroned up my Vanguard of Brimaz with Aqueous Form and a Nimbus Naiad. The Vanguard dealt 16 damage over the game and when he was finally able to tap it with Skirmisher and then Excoriate the cat warrior, Nimbus Naiad was able to finish the job. Game three, I played Fabled Hero gave him an Aqueous Form and Andy scooped up his cards in the next few turns.

I ended up tied for third place, and while most drafts I’ve played in only pay out to the top two, Knight moves compensated me and the other third place guy with a draft set. Not bad EV for a 2-1 record.

If you’re looking for a place to play in the Boston area with a casual player base, decent prize support, and a sweet atmosphere, I can definitely recommend Knight Moves. The store runs 7PM drafts on Monday and Thursday Nights and I’m already planning on stopping by next week.

At age 15, while standing in a record store with his high school bandmates, Shawn Massak made the uncool decision to spend the last of his money on a 7th edition starter deck (the one with foil Thorn Elemental). Since that fateful day 11 years ago, Shawn has decorated rooms of his apartment with MTG posters, cosplayed as Jace, the Mindsculptor, and competes with LSV for the record of most islands played (lifetime). When he’s not playing Magic, Shawn works as a job coach for people with disabilities, plays guitar in an indie-pop band, and keeps a blog about pro-wrestling.

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