This week, Zenaide brings to us a cast of resourceful and creative cosplayers with one thing in common.

Recently in the community I have noticed repeated comments along the lines of “Where are the male cosplayers?”

It surprises me, because there are many! In response, today I set the stage for several cosplayers who happen to identify as male, and all have cosplayed as Planeswalkers and creatures from the Magic: the Gathering multiverse. After introductions, I will ask the men about their skills they use and have learned from Cosplay. Make sure to read to the end where they share some awesome tips for cosplaying. I hope a fresh perspective inspires everyone!

Let’s take a look at some faces of Jace, and other recognizable characters—how many do you recognize?

To Beleren, or Not To Beleren

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Gavin as Jace, From PAX Prime 2015

Gavin Verhey

Began Cosplaying: 2011 as the Tenth Doctor
First MTG Cosplay: Jace
Latest MTG Cosplay: The Professor of Tolarian Community College

Many will recognize Gavin from his work at Wizards of the Coast as a Senior Magic Designer and Writer, but he is also a recognizable MtG cosplayer.

How do you choose a character to cosplay?
For me, it has to be a character that I both know well and feel like I can act as. I had a vision in my head for Jace, so I could totally do it. The Doctor I knew so well, and I could quote his lines up and down and do a (bad) British accent. Even when I was just a generic Sultai character for the Khans of Tarkir Release Party, I felt like I could get into character and act the part.

Gavin recreates ‘Savage Punch’ from Khans of Tarkir

What’s your favorite cosplay moment?
It’s so hard to pick out just one, but being Jace at HasCon alongside a killer lineup of other Planeswalkers, while the Mayor of Providence had us stand at the opening ceremony as the ribbon was cut. That was surreal!


David as Teferi, Photography by Ant Tree Studio from Magic Fest Seattle 2019

Perfect Simictry (David Camacho)

Began Cosplaying: 2005 at ACEN (Anime Convention)
First MtG Cosplay: Gideon
Latest MtG Cosplay: Kruphix

How do you choose a character to cosplay?
I go by how much I like playing the card!

David (2nd from right), Praetor Prom, with @NissaCosplay, @TappyToeClaws, @goberthicks, & @G3RRYT Photography by @Bibliovoreorc GP Vegas 2019


What’s your favorite cosplay moment?
Revealing fancy Preators for Vegas at the Commander party! It was fun in all aspects; making it, wearing it, and getting the best reactions.


Zand Cosplay as Jace, Photography by N83

Zand Cosplay

Began Cosplaying: 2012, in Final Fantasy group
First MtG Cosplay: Jace
Latest MtG Cosplay: Nekusar the Mindrazer

Zand initially began cosplaying at conventions as characters from fandoms such as Bloodborne, Assassin’s Creed, and DC Comics. After completing his thesis in microbiology in 2017, he cosplayed Jace as a way to mark the end of a period of hard work. Currently, Zand is working on his next MtG cosplay, which will be Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage.

How do you choose a character to cosplay?
I like choosing characters with story and background as it makes them easier to roleplay with attitude. I also like to consider design criteria like easily fitting a costume in a suitcase!

Zand Cosplay as Nekusar, Photography by Aymeric Ric Photos

What’s your favorite cosplay moment?
I’ve had a lot of memorable cosplay moments, but if I had to choose one, then celebrating Magic’s 25th anniversary at the French branch of Hasbro’s office, where I was asked to cosplay Jace alongside Manju, who cosplayed Chandra.


Adam Barnello as Garruk

Adam Barnello

Began Cosplaying: 2010, as a robot exoskeleton
First MtG Cosplay: Garruk Wildspeaker
Latest MtG Cosplay: Garruk, Cursed Huntsman

Adam has been making costumes for Halloween for a long time, but after his first robot costume won him $500, he started learning about prop making and costume building from online forums like and PunishedProps on YouTube. He first attended events in cosplay in 2018 at Grand Prix Pittsburgh, where he made other cosplay friends and never looked back.

How do you choose a character to cosplay?
Usually it’s based on whatever I think looks cool, and will help me learn new skills. I try to find at least one thing in each project that I haven’t done before, to better myself each time.

Adam Barnello’s Fblthp @ Magic Fest Niagara Falls 2019

What’s your favorite cosplay moment?
Fblthp, the Lost was the fastest, easiest, and cheapest costume I’ve ever made – but it had the best response. People loved watching me just wander around the convention hall aimlessly, one couple found me a city map to help me find my way around. I would wait at the wrong table when pairings went up, and when two players would come to the place I was sitting, the whole area would crack up and say “Oh, it’s just Fblthp, he’s lost!” The best part of the day though, was when I happened upon a parent who also had a Fblthp costume for their baby. It really drove home how much passion there is for some of the characters in this game.


BibliovoreOrc as Jace. Photography by Ant Tree Studio from Magic Fest Seattle 2019, Cosplay Made By @AmazonMandy

BibliovoreOrc (Rob)

Began Cosplaying: 2017 with MtG
First MtG Cosplay: Eron the Relentless
Latest MtG Cosplay: Jace, the Mind-Sculptor

Rob is a writer, cosplayer, and game developer who has played MtG for over 20 years. After agreeing to take photos for the cosplayers of the Planeswalker Summit of GP Vegas in 2017, he decided to launch his own cosplay, making a bandana and sourcing the other items from Etsy.

How do you choose a character to cosplay?
The biggest factor for me is fun. Characters who I have a sentimental attachment to (Eron or Barrin), or whose look I just think is really cool (Dimir agent). Jace is really the only well-known character I’ve done, and that was one of the main motivations for choosing him. I also put a huge premium on cosplays I can wear while shooting, because I mainly do photography at events.

BibliovoreOrc as Eron the Relentless, Art Show Grand Prix Vegas 2017

What’s your favorite cosplay moment?
I can’t possibly narrow it down to just one, but being in the Cosplay Showcase at MtG Vegas 2019 has to be near the top. Cosplay photography is my passion, and I love taking photos of cosplay as much as I love being in cosplay. But one of the knock-on effects of that is that, when it comes time to take the big group picture at the end of an event, I’m usually not there. Doing the Showcase scared the shit out of me, because, for the first time, it was me, standing on the stage with the rest of these amazing people, and implicitly saying: “I am part of this group. I belong here. I am one of you.”


Old Man Urza (Ron) as Crovax, Photography by

Old Man Urza (Ron)

Began Cosplaying: 2014 with MtG
First MtG Cosplay: Garruk Relentless
Latest MtG Cosplay: Sr Robert Nixilus

Ron began cosplaying with his wife, Kensadi, whose armor skills have been featured previously in the column, at Wondercon in California in 2014.

How do you choose a character to cosplay?
It varies, some are duo ideas and others are based on the books. I know the old books don’t get a lot of love, but my high school and college years were filled with reading them.

Ron as Urza, Photography by Kensadi from Magic Fest Vegas 2018

What’s your favorite cosplay moment?
From across the hallway someone yelled, “URZA, I HATE YOU!” and ran towards me smiling. We proceeded to take pictures fighting, selfies, and than he complained about the new Urza card from Modern Horizons to me for some time, it was a blast.


Broc as Jace, Photography by Ant Tree Studio from Magic Fest Portland 2018

Team MtG Cosplay / (Broc)

Began Cosplaying: In High School as Link & Zelda
First MtG Cosplay: Jace
Latest MtG Cosplay: The Wanderer

Broc’s first MtG cosplay was in 2011 for Pax West where he cosplayed again with the same partner from High School, Julia. They just had their first child together six months ago, so between that and the pandemic, they are currently in “pause mode”. When events pick back up they hope to be ready to make new cosplays!

How do you choose a character to cosplay?
Mostly I look at what would make an interesting, fun and recognizable project, but also that it isn’t too terribly difficult.

Broc as The Wanderer, with Julia & Curtis of TeamMTG Cosplay Photography by Ant Tree Studio from Magic Fest Seattle 2019

What’s your favorite cosplay moment?
Definitely the cosplay showcase at MagicFest Seattle! It was so fun being up on stage with everyone! But anytime someone excitedly approaches me and asks for a photo it just makes my day.


AE Marling as Ertai, Wizard Adept. Photo from @wizards_magic from Grand Prix SeaTac 2015

AE Marling

Began Cosplaying: 2015 with MtG
First MtG Cosplay: Stitcher Geralf
Latest MtG Cosplay: Proper Laboratory Attire

AE Marling has written flavor text for Wizards of the Coast, is a patriotic protester and enjoys cosplaying.

How do you choose a character to cosplay?
I prefer louder ones prone to saying outlandish things to passersby at Magic gatherings, such as Stitcher Geralf and Ertai, Wizard Adept. In contrast, I disliked cosplaying Jace. Not only did the hood make talking with people more difficult, but I felt the most in-character action I could take would be to not talk with anyone at all and silently observe.

AE Marling as ‘Proper Laboratory Attire’ Photo from @wizards_magic from Grand Prix Vegas 2015

What’s your favorite cosplay moment?
At a Las Vegas gathering I met someone cosplaying Stitcher Geralf who said he had been inspired in part by my cosplay. His was far better made than mine had ever been. We did the traditional Geralf pose, which I had done with hundreds of other people before, only this time I was the generous donor contributing my eye to science.

The next two profiles share one thing in common, the both had their costumes commissioned, paying someone else to do the creative work.

Mick’s Sarkhan Vol, Photography by Santos Fotografia Cosplay

SiMick Cosplay / (Mick)

Began Cosplaying: Speedwagon from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
First/Latest MtG Cosplay: Sarkhan Vol
Cosplay Made By: @atelierlothus

How did you pick your first MTG cosplay?
My first consideration in choosing a cosplay is my own emotional attachment. The Tarkir block convinced me to play Magic because of my love of dragons, and I liked that I could use my actual hair for Sarkhan the protagonist of Tarkir.

What’s your favorite cosplay moment?
Last year I met other MTG cosplayers for the first time at the Wizards booth–it was magical! I felt like they were my weird friends instantly.


Emross Elyandor as Urza’s Armor, Magic Fest Bologna 2019

Emross Elyandor (Instagram)

Began Cosplaying: 2018 as Toki from Ken Shiro
First/Latest MtG Cosplay: Urza’s Armor
Cosplay Made By: EM-craft Italy

How did you pick your first MtG cosplay?
I really like how Urza controls all colors and his armor gives me the sensation of strength, beauty, protection and freedom. I feel he can do anything and go everywhere which represents his cleverness.

What’s your favorite cosplay moment?
My favorite moment is when a guy asking me to take a photo had me pose like Opposition, where we pointed to each other as Urza and Barrin. I was so surprised simply how many people recognized Urza’s armor!

Mad Skillz

With such a wide variety of cosplayers, it’s no surprise they bring many existing skills to the table.  David and Adam both mention their work with carpentry and electrical engineering were useful in the creation stage. “Knowing how to cut and work with building materials comes in handy with props or connecting cosplay pieces together,” says David. Adam agrees, citing he’s “…a homeowner and handyman, with lots of power tool experience; in a former life I was an Eagle Scout, so I have many many hours of hand-sewing under my belt.”

Some take a more theatrical approach, like AE Marling, who uses his writing background to perform in cosplay. He even writes lines for them: “As a writer I must understand characters, find their voice, and speak for them on the page. I spent the majority of my prep time thinking about my cosplays and designing lines. The only difference here is that I said them in person rather than writing it novels.”

Others, like Zand, picked up various skills as needed from making patterns to scale, how to sew, and how to create chainmail. “I am self-taught so I progressively learn what I need, and I didn’t have professional skill in any of these domains before. The internet is full of tutorials of all kinds, which helps a lot!”

“I do not recall any question about my gender, but then again, I am protected by a force field of privilege.” -AE Marling

What’s It Like Being A Male Cosplayer?

I asked Gavin what it was like being a male cosplayer: “There’s plenty of ‘You’re a guy, why are you wasting time playing dress-up?’ But I would say the most pronounced was when I was Nux, from Mad Max: Fury Road. I was totally shirtless, and I got a lot of comments about how I was showing so much skin as a guy. Fortunately, the number of people who loved the outfit (my celebrity lookalike is Nicolas Hoult) and took sweet photos far outweighed the complainers.”

Comments on appearance can come from other angles, too. Crossplaying, the idea of cosplaying a character who is a different gender to the one you identify with, can attract criticism. Broc had this to say: “I don’t shy away from cosplaying as female characters. I get some comments about that, but it’s mostly just things like ‘Oh hey, a male Chandra! A MANdra!’ I don’t think I’ve ever heard a comment like ‘Oh interesting, a guy that can cosplay’ or anything like that.”

Broc as Chandra, with Curtis & Julia of TeamMTG Cosplay by @magicesports from Grand Prix Vancouver 2018

There’s a shared feeling that being a male cosplayer invites less open critique than a female one. That’s not to say that those comments still aren’t given. I asked Adam whether he’d been party to similar comments: “Nowhere near as much as I’ve heard or been told about from my female-presenting counterparts, but at my first event dressed as Garruk Wildspeaker, shirtless, the internet had comments about my body. Anyone who focused on the costume had nothing but good things to say. Anyone who wanted to say something negative focused on my physique.”

Body shaming is one of the darker sides of the cosplay community, and something that as a community we need to do our best to stamp out. Still, it’s prevalent, so I asked Adam how he moved forward: “Much later (and after I lost about 40lbs), I dared to don a skin-tight body suit and cosplay as Fblthp at Magic Fest Niagara Falls. In person, people LOVED the costume. I got nothing but compliments all day – and even one younger player commented on how he thought I was brave to be so exposed in the costume all day. I told him, it’s only brave if you’re afraid, and I’m not scared of body shaming.”

Cosplay Tips

It wouldn’t be right to interview such a great cast of cosplayers without hearing about their tips for cosplaying. Here’s the bonus list I teased at the beginning of terrific tips from these dapper dudes:

  • Be organized and patient – Zand
  • Always sew pockets into what you wear. No, really. You don’t want to forget – Gavin
  • Invest in a sturdy hard case for cosplay – Ron
  • Wear insoles. Seriously. Buy a good pair of real insoles. Spend the money. Cosplay boots were designed for looks, not for comfort. Your feet will thank you – Rob
  • Getting into character makes all the difference. Have fun with it! – Gavin
  • You cannot put a price on having good friends who can watch your armor while you pee – Rob
  • Don’t be afraid of trying something you haven’t done before. You are learning a new skill; it’s not going to be 100% perfect right away. You might have to try multiple times to get it were you want it be. Once you do, you can say “I made that,” and be proud – David
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! – Broc
  • Only the visible parts need to be pretty – Ron
  • You don’t have to do it all yourself! Cosplay is legit whether you make it, you buy it, you borrow it, or you find it – Adam
  • You don’t have to craft to cosplay. I’m living proof – Rob

In closing, male MtG cosplayers exist, and there are many more than the ones we’ve had the pleasure to get to know in this article. You can now say you know of ten different dude cosplayers from around the globe! I know many more men who have done at least one MTG cosplay, and I hope this encourages all people, no matter their gender, to give cosplay a try. Come back next time for a flip on traditional gender roles present in cosplay.

Got knowledge of a guy who’s done a MtG cosplay? Tag them in the comments anywhere you see this post shared! You can find me on Twitter @Zbexx.

Zenaide “ZBexx” Beckham is an Oregon-based cosplayer, gamer, and MTG judge. Her favorite format is Legacy, because just like performing in dance or cosplay she gets to Show and Tell.

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