Many players will undoubtedly still hold onto their cards as a memento, and undoubtedly this will be sort of a badge of honor for older players in the future to have. In fact, the lower number the DCI card, the older a player you most likely are. And that begs the question: who is number 00000001?
It’s not Richard Garfield or Mark Rosewater. In fact it’s not even someone who works at the company
And it’s not really an active player. Lowest played DCI numbers nowadays tend to be in the 1000’s, with very few in the 100’s. And it wasn’t someone who signed up first in 1993.
To find the number we have to go back to May of 1999 in New York City.
The Pro Tour was swinging through the Big Apple that year and, as luck would have it, it produced a higher than usual number of players cut from the main tournament. Wanting to keep players involved, organizers quickly created a mini-tournament called “The Sideboard Invitational”. Eight players were entered: two had just missed the cut-off into the top eight, two had just missed the automatic invitation to the next Pro Tour event, two just missed out on cash prizes, and two had just failed to make it to day two.
With no money to spare, organizers realized that maybe a new DCI card was in order. In fact, the winner would get card number 40000001, which in reality was 00000001 as the "4" was just in there to make it readable.
The first and only official tournament ever for a DCI card began a Rochester Draft. And, as if to make it as ridiculous as the prize, all the cards being played would be on oversized 6x9 cards. Among the cards were Black Lotuses and Chaos Orbs basically it was going all out for sheer ridiculousness.
As it turns out, one of the players who barely missed getting into day two of the tournament, Peter Leiher, got the right mix of the ridiculous cards. He breezed through to the finals whereupon he played a Guardian Beast/Chaos Orb mix of never having his Orb be destroyed by taking out enemies all over the place.
He won with that, and the DCI card was Leiher's.
Despite the card not seeing too much action after that, the victory was still fondly remembered. It was a fluke tournament with underdog player players playing novelty cards.
That’s how the "first" DCI card became to be. It's a shame to see that it couldn’t have ended in a similarly crazy way.