This has been a pretty rough summer for Magic. Playing at home is a nightmare: my local suburban game store, if it still exists, is depopulated, and the ancient laptop I keep around* for MTGO has been decommissioned on account of its power supply occasionally emitting a non-trivial amount of blue sparks.

*I will pay any amount of money for a Mac client. Are you there, Wizards? It’s me, Tony.


Pictured: artist’s rendition of the world’s dumbest fire hazard.

I’ve also done more traveling this summer than I have in my life. And in exactly one week I’ll ship off for a long stay in Shanghai, where I’ll attempt to renounce my layabout tendencies, learn some Chinese, and do productive work at an internship. Shanghai is one of my favorite cities in the world, although my judgment’s probably clouded by nostalgia.


Bright lights and one big city. I don’t know how recent this is, but there’s probably another building or four by now.

Starting when I was seven, I’ve been flying over to visit family every few years. When I was young, I fell in love with the endless video arcades and the fake Gameboy games you could snag from knock-off market down the street, right next to the guy hawking fake Burberrys. As I grew up, the city sort of grew with me. Every time I returned there would be a few new skyscrapers dotting the horizon, although the little corner store and barbershop near my grandparent’s apartment never did change. During my moody teenage years, the city provided enough urban appeal and neon lights to inspire a lot of angsty late-night writing sessions*. And now I realize I like the idea of learning more about my parent’s childhood and studying my native tongue (which has lapsed pretty significantly since childhood).

*This still happens, though. I’ve been re-watching Lost in Translation every night and anticipating my urban ennui.

All of this is pretty fun, but very bad for staying on top of Magic.

So what have I been doing?


Like in the last month? Definitely not a lot.

Well, I do have an iPad with Duels of the Planeswalkers (Trial Edition!) on it, which I thought could suffice until I got my Magic hookup elsewhere. I have a lot of fond memories with DotP. It’s basically the reason why I got into Magic. And crushing the early campaign gave me enough confidence to actually attend a paper event (M14 Pre-release!), where I got smashed in Sealed and passed a Mutavault (and then got smashed) in Draft.

It was a pretty good time.


This is me getting a Lava Axe to the face from a “Mage” difficulty Chandra. I don’t really know what that means.

The game even has its own version of Sealed! A pretty poor substitute for competitive MTGO, but more than enough to tide me over for a long layover and plane ride.


The real all-star here is the Divination Suntail Hawk.

Well, things are changing around here. And in two weeks, my missives will arrive from third-floor apartment in the heart of Shanghai’s French Concession (Xuhui). Interested in the Chinese MtG scene? Have any recommendations for stores or communities to check out? Leave a comment below! I’m pretty lost when it comes to foreign Magic (let’s be honest, I can barely handle domestic), and all advice is much appreciated.

Tony is the Hipster’s resident scrub, and Scrub Report documents his attempt at learning Magic. Follow his travels at

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