As the global crisis continues, a large portion of the population is stuck indoors. I suppose in other times we wouldn’t have had the Internet, cable and streaming services so we’d probably want to spend more time outside or visiting other people, etc. This type of freedom of movement has been severely restricted for much of the world, so being stuck inside is the only option if you are deemed unessential. We should all be feeling pretty fortunate that this is happening in 2020 and not 1991, because the Internet gives us plenty of things to get lost in. This is the sort of post that could apply to anyone and any topic, however I’m only going to stick to Magic: The Gathering Content Creators today. But if you happen to be into something completely different, I’m sure a cursory search of YouTube can get you to your chosen hobby, and you could probably make a similar list for your niche. To wit, I’d imagine you could learn a whole new skill or find a brand new hobby simply by perusing the annals of the web. With that said, here are several of my favorite MTG themed YouTube channels that are helping me get by in these the boring-est of times.
I believe this was the first MTG themed podcast I started listening to, and only started really watching their channel back in 2017 or 2018. So it’s been a little while and I have to say that I’ve liked most of their content. There’s a dud episode here or there, but I like the way they find topics to discuss that is more structured the way I used to try and structure my own (dead) show. I also met Josh at GPVegas a couple of years back and that brings it that much closer to home. What I really find mesmerizing about their channel though is the sub-show “Game Knights” where they have live reality TV style games of magic in their studio. Here is where their production value really shines. The show is presented as if they are only minimally edited though a bunch of great animations and sound effects really bring the games to life. As a source of information, the guys are typically some of the first to relay important announcements from WotC themselves, and they have presented helpful tips about the game and its many rules interactions. Highly recommended even if you are fairly new to the game as these guys skew more towards the casual side of things.
Truth be told, The Command Zone was pretty much the only MTG related channel I followed for a long time. I only more recently (say the past 3-4 months) became more interested in watching gameplay videos, and this is probably in direct correlation to the fact that it’s around the same time I started playing paper Magic over webcam. As such, this ends up being like watching professional eSports though the games are heavily edited and narrated. Apparently there is a whole crop of newer players in the community that are starting these sorts of channels, because these aren’t the only new kids on the block that have found a fast following. Whatever the case, the bulk of Casually Competitive’s work are these edited and narrated gameplay videos. However, they do some instructional videos as well that will help you sort out the difference between Casual, Competitive and Casually Competitive decks. I like their stuff and you might too.
So if The Command Zone skews more towards casual and Casually Competitive is sort of there in the middle, then The Spike Feeders are definitely the higher end of the spectrum. These guys do a variety of gameplay videos, but do have a know your combo series as well, though everything skews towards the highest end of competitive MTG. With that said, all power levels of Commander appeal to me for different reasons, and well, I like all three of these shows for the same ones. The Spikes give me games with cards in them that I cannot afford and I get to live my cEDH dreams by proxy. Speaking of proxies, I’m not sure if these guys play with those, but if they don’t they’ve got quite the collection regardless.
Play to Win is another newcomer to the community. They have only been around for a couple of months but already have quite the following and I can understand why. Honestly they are probably my favorite aside from The Command Zone, and that’s mostly due to the chemistry between the show’s two main hosts, the way that they edit the gameplay videos, and the little cuts back to the hosts in the middle of play. If The Command Zone is the big budget summer blockbuster film, this is the low-budget indie flick that you ended up liking better. Your mileage may vary, but I’m sold and hope they maintain their pace.
There’s some irony in my inclusion of the above video, in that I had started working on this draft a couple of days before it went live. The day that I finished this draft and scheduled it for posting, the above video released. Looks like great minds think alike. While I will have named several of the same channels in this post as Mitch does in his video, he does touch on some other options that I did not include here (mainly because I watched his video after the post was done) so I’d watch that video for more suggestions. Mitch’s typical content is about building budget EDH decks, and his typical limit is $50 (though it used to be $25). I’ve taken some inspiration from his deck techs in the past, so if you’re looking to get into the game on the cheap, this is a great place to start.
I’ve been watching Tolarian Community College for almost as long as The Command Zone, probably because there has been some overlap between their shows. Last year at the Magicfest in Vegas he was present along with Josh and Jimmy from TCZ but I never managed to catch them. Anyway, he’s a long time member of the community and has some great and varied content. He covers more than just Commander like most of the other channels I’ve mentioned, but he also has interviews with WotC personnel and a couple of different podcasts with varying content as well. His personality is probably what keeps people coming back, as he’s a loveable goof that we’ve all known at some point in our lives.
Jumbo Commander came across my radar when Jimmy from TCZ was in New Zealand filming for Mulan so Josh pulled DJ over to co-host a few shows. He was also a guest in the past. Whatever the case, I took notice and have followed him since. He makes a variety of non-gameplay videos but has recently jumped into streaming a bit of his MTG Arena gameplay (which I’m not really a fan of watching, but it’s there if you like that). I’ve mentioned his channel plenty of times in some of my own deck tech style posts, where I’ve said that I took his inspiration and then made it my own. he’s another likable guy and he’s got a lot of content to dig into.
Playing with Power is essentially the same sort of channel as Casually Competitive though they strictly put out narrated gameplay videos of cEDH games. I have enjoyed their matchups and think the videos are well done. There’s not a lot of commentary here because I’ve only recently started following them and they don’t have a huge back catalog. It’s worth watching if you’re into higher end gameplay.
That’s all I have for today. Happy binge watching!