Surely almost everyone has come close to cosplaying at least once in their life—ever heard of Halloween? Just as everyone gets to partake in the fun of dressing up for the spooky holiday, the same is true for cosplay: all ages are welcome. Magic: the Gathering has unique and recognizable fantasy characters, allowing cosplayers to show their creative craft, bringing ideas from paper to life.

Enter the Twins of Maurer Estate, two 13 year olds Ainsley and Annika, who now have years of cosplaying Magic: the Gathering on their resume. That’s right, years.

Meet the Twins

“They were “Playing Magic” before they could read.”—Sara (Mom)

Ainsley Maddock and Annika Maddock: @TwinsEstate | Todd Maddock: @MaddockTodd | Sara Maddock: @SarainAnnArbor

Ainsley and Annika first started playing MTG at home around age 6. Going to a booster draft with the Lady Planeswalker Society during Magic Origins was their first Regular REL (rules enforcement level) event. By age 8, they were playing competitively and heading to larger events. Today at 13 years old, they enjoy playing Standard and Draft, and Modern when they get the chance.

And I was lucky to interview them!

What’s Your Favorite MTG Deck?

Ainsley: 1+1+1 = 7

Annika: Modern Burn

Favorite color to play in MTG?

Annika: LIGHTNING BOLT. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Ainsley: Green.

Favorite MTG card?

Anni: I think you can tell from my last answer.

Ainsley: Steel-Leaf Champion

Clearly, they have found their own flair and favorites in the multiverse.

Meet the Parents

With such a young introduction to the game, it’s no surprise the twins’ parents have history playing Magic. Todd started playing in 1995 with 3rd Edition. Ann Arbor, MI has always had a competitive local scene, including pros such as Pat Chapin and the first Level 5 judge, Mike Guptil. He would drag Sara along to now-gone local gaming spots like The Underworld, Campus Collectibles, and Not Another Cafe. Magic runs deep in their children’s blood, just like the vampire cosplays below!

What’s Your Favorite MTG Deck?

Todd:  UW Cawblade

Sara: Force of Nature + Giant Growth + Spirit Link. It was a long time ago, ok?

Along Came the Cosplay

After first seeing pictures of Christine Sprankle, the twins thought she was awesome, especially her Elspeth cosplay. They met her at Grand Prix Detroit in 2017 and were so amazed; she cosplayed Avacyn, the Purifier for the Shadows Over Innistrad card reveal. In fourth grade Ainsley and Annika formerly began cosplaying Magic characters; the twin vampire children, the Twins of Maurer Estate, were the perfect starting point.

Since then they’ve done a range of characters: other twins like Splinter Twin, as well as Kaladesh Inventors, Ixalan Pirates, and lead roles like Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain and Evra, Halcyon Witness. Most recently, Ainsley cosplayed Massacre Girl, because she’s awesome and she is from Rakdos, her favorite guild of Ravnica. Annika cosplayed Chandra, Acolyte of Flame, because Chandra is her favorite Planeswalker and the card had just come out before Magic Fest Detroit in July 2019. Unfortunately, Detroit 2020 was cancelled, so the last event the twins attended was Magic Fest Columbus, OH in November 2019.

What’s your favorite cosplay moment?

Ainsley: Being the first person to cosplay Massacre Girl was fun! I was so happy to get a picture with [Level 4 Judge] Meg Baum, another Rakdos fan.

Annika: Interacting with other cosplayers is great, especially being cruel to Jace-Cosplays. Talking to you, Tappy Toe Claws!

Todd: A couple years ago, a 3-yo girl came up to the twins at a MF and really wanted to meet them and take pictures with them. Moments like that are what make the MtG community special.

Sew and Tell

Cosplaying and becoming a character so spot on at such a young age takes a good support system. Sara is the main brain behind the costume construction, usually both designing and sewing the twin’s garments. “You can’t pick these patterns up at JoAnns, so I rely on pattern drafting classes I took in college, and years of practice.” One of the biggest challenges Sara has found is modifying the cosplays to fit an adolescent, keeping the spirit of the character but making it age appropriate. Todd is doing all of the weaponry and armor pieces. He learned through trial-by-error, internet videos, and by asking for advice from other cosplayers.

What advice do you have for other kids who want to cosplay?

Ainsley and Annika: Have fun with it!

Sara: Velcro is your friend.

What advice do you have for parents of kids who want to cosplay?

Todd & Sara: Being supportive is important, but the kids have to want to do this—you can’t force it. Magic events can be long, hot, and emotionally taxing, as we’re sure are other conventions. Adding cosplay might be too much for some kids. We do this as a family because it’s a great way to bond, have fun, and laugh together. Plus, the photos are so fun!

A Family Affair

As a family, the Maddocks have always enjoyed Halloween and the Renaissance Festival as excuses to dress up. Last year Ainsley and Annika were characters from their favorite book and TV show, Good Omens, and it was a hit.

The first truly deliberate family cosplay was Guardians of the Galaxy. Sara sourced a few costume materials from the Salvation Army and sewed the rest. Looking back there are a few things she would do differently now, but that’s part of the fun of learning and creating.

“I will never do anything that requires body paint again!”—Sara

Any upcoming cosplay plans?

Sara: We had epic plans for this year, but decided to put them aside until next year for obvious reasons. As a SciFi and Fantasy family, we are working on Elves across genres. Standby in 2021. We have a few MtG cards that we were considering, but will wait to see what things are out closer to MF time again.

Annika: That’s why you choose a timeless character like Chandra!

Ainsley: My current dream is to cosplay Spinel. (from Steven Universe)

Ok now how about Halloween costumes?

Annika: Puppet from FNAF (Five Nights at Freddy’s, and indie horror game)

Ainsley: Sally Face (also from an indie horror game)

Todd: Right now, we’re keeping it a secret from the girls, but will keep to Maddock tradition and it will be On Theme, which is their latest Gaming Obsession.

All Ages Along

Often cosplayers could be considered adults playing dress up. But what about kid cosplayers? No matter your age, you can be a cosplayer, as cosplay is for everyone. The Maddocks represent an amazing family dynamic working together and sharing their passions from gaming to cosplaying.

Is there a cosplayer you want to see a spotlight on? Contact me @ZBexx on Twitter. Keep your eyes out for my next article delving into some special sewing skills. You’ll be able to put the spooky skeletons away but you’ll still need some bones (or in this case, boning!).

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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