Things have gotten interesting lately, and unfortunately, not in a good way. But that’s hardly surprising to anyone reading this. I’m not enjoying being physically separated from my family, my friends, or my amazing girlfriend. Nor do I appreciate the anxiety, uncertainty, and fear—this is one of the only times I’m not delighted to be living in the heart of New York City—but those are appropriate emotions for the situation.

I don’t know how long this is going to last or what’s going to happen; but I take solace in knowing that my if grandparents could survive the camps in the 1940s, I can survive spending time in the comfort of my own home. Obviously, it’d be better if this weren’t happening and many of us were still enjoying the myth of American inviolability. But for right now, we all have a job to do: stay safe, stay sane, and stop the spread. When this is over, and this will pass, we can take a good, long look at how this happened and how we as a society can better prepare ourselves. For now, this is the new normal. We will get through this.

But what about Magic?

I tend to write about two things: the paper Magic I play and the game design of Magic. The former’s on pause for the time being; I’m hoping to play a virtual prerelease with friends, assuming I can get prerelease packs delivered from my LGS. The latter will be easy to cover after Ikoria spoilers begin about next week (the first teaser on Blogatog makes it sound insanely cool and weird). I’m still playing Magic, though. I’ve been playing Vintage Cube on Magic Online,  including trophying with an absolute pile of a UB deck, and Theros Beyond Death on Magic Arena. The latter is a format I burned out on fast after testing for Players Tour Phoenix, but I see why it’s beloved by many.

Going forward, I think I might pull some irons out of the fire that’ve been heating up for some time. I’ve been cooking up an Ultimate Masters-inspired cube for almost a year now. It’s graveyard-focused, chock full of not-always-obvious synergy, and isn’t on rails (well, that’s the goal, anyway). I’ve also got thousands of custom cards and an old set I could fill out (and then celebrate the end of this isolated period by playtesting). There’re also some more ambitious, multi-week pieces I’ve longed to do but haven’t because it’s hard to spend that many articles on a singular topic. But now, things have slowed down and I have the luxury of tackling at least one of them in this weird, temporary period of pause. I’m still taking things one day at a time, but I’m looking forward to focusing on covering one of these larger topics while consuming Ikoria spoilers.

I hope that everyone reading this is safe, secure, and healthy. This is going to end (and in some parts of the world, it is much, much farther along than it is where I am). We’ve all got a part to play, even if it’s heroically staying home and playing digital Magic or watching Netflix to stop the spread. Until this crisis ends, here’s to nerding out to save the world.

Zachary Barash is a New York City-based game designer and the commissioner of Team Draft League. He designs for Kingdom Death: Monster, has a Game Design MFA from the NYU Game Center, and does freelance game design. When the stars align, he streams Magic (but the stars align way less often than he’d like).

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