A look at Magic: the Gathering I - One of the Oddest Magic Conventions Ever


1995 was an unusual time for the game of Magic: The Gathering.

1995 was an unusual time for the game of Magic: The Gathering.

It was big enough that it was starting to get serious fan attention only two years out of the gate, but still small enough that large-scale tournament play was only rudimentary.

They had World Championships by this time, of course, but not a huge, refined network like we know now. Conventions were also only beginning. So there was room for a lot of "trial and error" celebrations of the game.

And that brings us to Magic: the Gathering I.

A one day event held at a hotel in Manhattan, MTG I was a mix between a party, a pair of tournaments, a convention, and a press event. There were even some visual parts to walk around, like an area set up to look like Dominia (what the Magic multiverse was called at the time) to walk around and experience.

To give a sense on just how Magic-filled and chaotic that day was, at one point Magic held a press event where they showed off upcoming cards from the upcoming Homeland expansion in 3D, while right next door was a long line of players waiting for a chance to play a game of Magic with game creator Richard Garfield.

As big as Magic was getting, that's still how niche it still was. Anyone could play against Magic's creator.

In another area, around a dozen Magic card artists were also lined up, signing cards, including Christopher Rush and Pete Venters. And, in yet another area, Homeland release events were giving away shirts and posters and other swag.

It was pretty much anything goes. Comics, video games, books - all were also announced.

Also happening were two special deck tournaments - all set to conclude in one day. The whole thing didn't disappoint either. Fans literally waited around the block to get in, with more than 3,000 attending a cramped hotel ballroom space. 

"Wizards of the Coast was delighted to share the excitement of our new Homelands expansion with so many Magic players," said Jim Stanton, Vice President of Product Group One at Wizards of the Coast. "We plan more world class celebrations next year."

However, as successful as it was, there was never really a Magic: The Gathering II. By the next year, tournaments began to get more celebrated, with new expansion reveals happening more separately as well. Normal fantasy and gaming conventions took over a lot of the other duties, and Wizards of the Coast eventually began running more traditional conventions as a result, too.

Still, there was one day around three decades ago that someone suggested that everything should happen at once in an entire day, and it was not only signed off on, but was also a success.

Evan Symon

Evan Symon is a graduate of The University of Akron and has been a working journalist ever since with works published by Cracked, GeekNifty, the Pasadena Independent, California Globe, and, of course, Magic Untapped.