• Poke'Pope

Caster Introduction: Poke'Pope

Updated: Sep 1



Good afternoon everyone! This has been a bit of a long delayed post, something I wanted to do on my first week as a member of TSJ but never got around to doing. Mainly because I wanted to really think about the questions I had for myself as a player, and a member of the community. So this week, I wanted to write about myself, and give you all some insight to who I am not only as a player but as an individual. I had four questions written out to myself that I took time to reflect on, so I hope you enjoy and connect with something in my self-interview! If you like these kinds of articles, be sure to let us know by leaving a comment and asking for more AMA publications!


Question 1: When did you start learning to play Magic?


I started to play magic back in 2012. I went to a small shop near Nashville, Tennessee and participated in a draft comprised of the new set Return to Ravnica. I had zero clue what I was doing, and for the most part just took the green cards and a few artifacts. I had a handle on the mana system, and how the game generally worked, but for the most part I had zero clue what was going on. From that point on I continued my interest in the game, moved to Florida, and found my home at a small shop called Breakpoint Books in Mount Dora. There I met players and friends that taught me the ways of spell slinging, helped me navigate the economy so I wouldn't waste a bunch of money right off the bat, and worked me up from standard into formats like modern, legacy, EDH, pauper, and so forth.


Question 2: What has been one of your biggest influences in content creation for Magic the Gathering?


One of my biggest influences in the game has always been the community. I have always felt welcomed in every shop I walk into, and have never known a stranger at any big event. There was a length of time I took to travel for work, and it had me moving from town to town fairly frequently. I felt alone going to a new town, but that never stopped me from seeking out like minded individuals. So I typically found myself crashing at a local card shop after work. The inspiration I would get from traveling combined with the diverse player base I was able to interact with sparked an influence in me to always want to make sure my magic environment was somewhere that people from all walks of life could be included in. Magic is the multiverse, the gathering of multiple races of living beings. That should directly translate into our community and thus is my biggest influence on being a content creator for Magic the Gathering.


Question 3: How do your personal views affect your experience with Magic the Gathering?


I really didn't want to answer this question because it delves into an uglier side of me that I wasn't too proud of. BUT if you aren't hard on yourself then who will be?


Early on, I was still set in my old way of thinking. I come from a conservative town, with conservative minded people. Most who had ideals that weren't very becoming of a twenty first century individual. My personal views really affected my growth as a player and a member of the community early on. I often times didn't give people the fair chance they deserved, and wasn't really connecting with the player base, which made me think I wasn't going to fit in. As time went on, I began to change my personal views on subjects and it opened me up to the diverse culture that is the Magic the Gathering fan base. I had alot in common with Nissa once I read her story, which is about as far as I'll go into that discussion, but the friends and family I've made in this community have helped me become someone I'm proud to be. Someone they're proud to have as a friend or family member.


My personal views affected something I loved in a negative way, along with my own identity not just as a player but as a person. I was able to make connections that made me more comfortable with being open about my pansexual life, which at the time was confusing. However, playing Magic in such a diverse culture led me to start making connections with other LGBT members within the community, and through the connections I made game after game, I opened up and began to make bonds with people that helped me work through my own personal conflicts and become a better person and a better player.


It's even helped me get through some tough spots in my life, as a lot of my MtG friends also use the game as an outlet, making it easy for us to relate and connect on deeper levels. This also led me to make many more friends within Magic's diverse LGBT community and feel welcomed and safe to be who I am.


So I guess my real answer to the question is this. My personal views don't affect my experience with the game anymore. My experience with the game has helped change who I am and bettered my views on the world as a whole. So quite the opposite of what I was expecting to answer this question with.


Question 4: What has been one of your favorite moments as a Magic the Gathering player?


One of my favorite moments as a magic player? It's hard to pin down a single moment to talk about. I guess it can be answered in parts?


It's not particularly one moment, but when I get to attend Magic conventions and see people I haven't seen in months or years it puts a special kind of smile on my face. My friends mean the world to me, and when we can come together in such an awesome setting like a Magic Fest and play games of Magic together there's not a feeling in the gaming world that can beat that. Many of my favorite moments have come from a Magic Fest.


Meeting up with friends in Charlotte, NC for GP Charlotte in 2016. Crashing in a hotel and piling on practice games while shoveling cold waffle house pancakes into our mouths. Having the one psycho friend that has to inspect every inch of the hotel room for any kind of bugs or secret murder compartments.

Getting up and heading down to the lobby and seeing Magic celebrities heading out to the convention hall. Being so nervous to ask Craig Wesco to sign his player token for Voice of Resurgence that I accidentally asked his friend instead of him. Which his friend was nice enough to direct my attention over to Craig, where we shared an awkward laugh and he was nice enough to sign it for me. Being a long time Selesnya player, this was a HUGE deal for me. Getting to play against Melissa Detora before she retired to R&D in a 10k event. Getting to meet a slew of casters and content creators from youtubers to cosplayers REALLY hyped my interest in wanting to create content for the game.



My best moments however come from my local game shop. Being able to stay late on weekends and meet up for casual games during the week. Being around everyone in an environment where we can de-escalate from our daily woes and get lost in a few games of magic, or even pick up a few of the board games we have and play something new! Throwing pizza parties on pre-release nights. Going out to eat after Sunday commander matches.



Final words:


I really hope everyone who reads this enjoyed my first AMA! I've been nervous about doing this for a few weeks now, and finally getting this off my chest feels like a big relief to me. The world can be scary, and the world can be judgmental, but that shouldn't stop us from being who we are as players or people. We all love this game, immensely, and I want to uphold my promise to always be a source of positivity in our community. I have really enjoyed getting my foot in the door with creating content for TSJ, and hope to look forward to many more articles and podcasts with these lads (and lass).


Till next week guys. Hug your friends, love your animals, drink plenty of water and follow your local COVID-19 safety guidelines!


Many blessings,

-Poke'Pope

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