Trisha’s Take: The Loading Ready Run Pre-Pre-Releases

Loading Ready Run co-founder Graham Stark sets sail for the shores of Ixalan. ©  Bionic Trousers Media/Wizards of the Coast

I’ve been watching the Rivals of Ixalan Pre-Pre-Release replay first on Twitch and later on YouTube over and over and I think that this is the best kind of marketing event for Magic: the Gathering that Wizards of the Coast ever fell backwards into. Why?

1. The people at Loading Ready Run who are hosting and producing these events have at least a decade of experience in being funny and entertaining while being professional. (Special kudos to James Turner, whose idea this all was, I think.)

2. Their online chat mods do not tolerate trolls. At all.

3. Their online chat community also does not tolerate trolls. At all.

4. The focus on the event is having fun and learning what the cards do, as all non-moneyed competitive events should do. (Note: Winning packs as prizes doesn’t count as money. No matter how much you try, you cannot buy groceries with packs of Magic cards.)

5. The guests they invite can be a diverse bunch of folks who are also entertaining, engaging, and friendly. Two of my favorites have been former Magic pro and current Wizards employee Melissa DeTora and Jimmy Wong from the Command Zone podcast. (Special hat-tip to Reuben Bresler of the Magic Mics podcast, whose Facebook post recap inspired this post.)

It’s these last two parts that are perhaps the most important key to drawing new players into the game or convincing lapsed players that they should head back into their Local Gaming Store to attend the set’s actual pre-release and perhaps start playing Magic again. I know that’s how I felt back when LRR debuted this show starting with the Shadows of Innistrad Pre-Pre-Release. I went to my LGS the following Saturday and went 0-4 in back-to-back events. By watching the show, I could not only see some of the cards that were released in the visual spoiler, but I could get a sense of how to actually play with them in a live situation.

You have no idea how hard it was for me not to quip about “throwing away my shot” during my matches. © Geeking Out About

Perhaps the biggest barrier for someone who’s on the fence on whether or not they’ll want to spend their money on a new game they haven’t seen is wanting to actually see what it’s like; the PPRs are perfect for that kind of demonstration, more so than Wizards‘ own Magic tournament streams. Because it’s partially produced by the company, there’s some sort of quality control. However, because LRR was first and foremost a sketch comedy troupe, it’s going to be entertaining. Best of all, because they actually play the game themselves, the way they speak and interact with the game is completely natural and not something that you’d get from any mainstream video content producer or marketing company.

It’s a bit too late for me now to attend the Rivals prerelease because it’s happening this weekend. However, with the return to the game’s initial starting plane Dominaria this April, I may decide to dust off my card sleeves and see if I can actually win a round this time.

After all, practice does make perfect.

Road to the Hugo Awards: Fight the Future for Best Fancast

Fight the Future
Hosted by: Dan Saunders and Paul Saunders
First Published: March 30, 2015
Rating: For teens, with light swearing; one episode has a trigger warning
Update Schedule: Fortnightly
Current Status: Final episode airs March 29, 2016 [Updated with new details]

Spout-Approved Hugo Noms_Fight the Future
Canadian brothers Dan Saunders and Paul Saunders read books and watch movies so you don’t have to! © Loading Ready Run

Not long after I published my list of what kinds of works should receive the Geeking Out About… seal of approval for celebrating inclusivity and diversity, I read a notice on the message board for this podcast that it was going to be going to be ending this year. This prompted me to fire off an email to Paul Saunders asking him if I could include the podcast as one of my platform planks because even though I was an infrequent listener (due to my not having read or seen all of the works they were reviewing), I really enjoyed the premise of the podcast and what it was attempting to achieve. His response was to be flattered but wonder if they were even eligible, something about which I was quick to reassure them. And yet, I am totally not surprised to know that was the first reaction from him, seeing as he is a member of my favorite Internet sketch comedy troupe Loading Ready Run.

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