It’s getting to that most stressful time of the year—the last-minute shopping hours when you’re panicked by the lack of foresight you’ve put into your gift-giving, and the malls are all insanity. When even the savvy online shopper is frazzled, as the holiday shipping deadlines rapidly approach. We’re not quite to the point where you’ve missed the boat for expedited shipping (also known as the Point of No Return), but we’re close, and I’m sure there are at least a few of you who, much like me, have waited until the 11th hour to find gifts for this season.
Never fear, I’m here to help. I’ve scoured the internet looking for cool things I’d like to receive as a Magic playing, free stuff appreciating, idea supplying, nice-list certified nerd. I assume that my own tastes are probably strikingly similar to many of yours, and if you aren’t shopping for a Mage yourself, perhaps you can send this article on for the uninspired gift giver looking to make you happy this holiday season.
Here are my top ten Magic related cool gift ideas for this Festivus.
Straight, and to the point. Wizards has gone so far as to make a product specifically for the purpose of giving it as a gift to your favorite Magic player. Great for new players and veterans alike, this boxed set comes supplied with four boosters of Return to Ravnica (which makes up the bulk of the msrp of $19.99), 20 basic lands, a handful of card dividers, a promo [card]Dreg Mangler[/card], and a ton of stickers to organize your collection with. On top of that, the box itself is a great design, and doubles as a 2000 count storage box, to help with the piles and piles of cards you have laying all over your home. Because we all do.
These are available on most internet retailer sites, as well as wherever you’re likely to buy cards locally. This is the first year WotC has done a holiday boxed set, but I imagine we’ll see more of them (probably one for each large expansion) if this ends up successful.
There are a BILLION websites out there catering to the Magic player’s wardrobe needs, but Zazzle has a large selection by a number of designers. Most of these are text-based, although there are a few that are more image-driven.
There are varying opinions about wearing your hobby on your sleeve, so be sure to do some subversive research to find out if your gift recipient is the kind of player who is hesitant to announce to the world “I PLAY MAGIC!” in bold type on their chest. Additionally, some of the designs are more witty than others—there’s only so many times you can see the “I’d :tap: that” meme before the novelty wears off. Your mileage may vary.
That said, if anyone wants to buy me the Nightmare shirt, I wouldn’t say no.
Justin Treadway, also the designer of the Nope shirt, the Squadron Hawks shirt, and a variety of other designs you’ve probably seen LSV and others sporting, has a new line of shirts featuring the guilds from RTR.
Check out his blog post here to see the process he used to design these shirts. Justin is responsible for some of the best designed apparel in the game, and they usually happen to pass for muggle clothes—great for the more bashful Magic fan.
I know I’ve mentioned his deckboxes before—even writing a whole article to highlight them, but Liefkicker (Travis in the real world) has some sweet new designs and colors. His items are high quality, and priced at a reasonable point for custom work.
Travis is really pushing the envelope when it comes to creative applications for niche products in the Magic environment, and these deckboxes have a great appeal for a variety of player types. Sized to fit even a sleeved Commander deck, they’re great for competitive and casual players alike.
Etsy is a fantastic site to scope out when you’re looking for hand-made items for a specific set of tastes. Outside the scope of Magic-related gifts, this is a go-to website for me when I’m looking for that item that I know my friend or family member didn’t know they can’t live without.
This link will direct you to another great deck box on Etsy, this time made in the shape of a ship’s chest, decked out for the discerning black mage. With enough space in the box to carry both a deck and any dice or accessories you’d need for a game, there’s room for all your booty in this box.
I mentioned before that we all have rooms filled to the brim with cards—an unfortunate inevitability for all long-time Magic fans—but StalkingMarla wants to use those piles to your advantage by creating custom life pads for your tracking needs.
With a number of designs and styles, as well as top-bound for the lefties among us, these are perfectly sized to take up minimal table space, but still have adequate room for tracking life throughout a tournament.
Etsy member Level8Seamstress has been hard at work designing and building this messenger bag catered specifically to the MtG aficionado. There are two sizes meant for Magic use, as well as a larger size for general everyday use—still great for Magic, but also perfect for school.
The smaller sizes have pouches sized appropriately for deck boxes, as well as another with a drawstring top for dice and other accessories.
If you’re looking for a bag that can facilitate all your gaming needs, this is the one for you. Level8Seamstress has a wide variety of fabrics, colors, and patterns for you to choose from, so if you’re into subdued or flashy styles, she’s got you covered.
When it comes to dice bags, there’s no shortage of options. From the zip-lock variety, to the Crown Royal purple, everyone has a favorite way to tote their dice around. MyFunkyCamelot has a new take on the trade, with a number of goofy and fun designs to hold your dice in style.
Grimlok the Orc can hold them in his head while giving your opponent the orcish grimace, or perhaps you’d like Cthulu Ed to intimidate your opponent with his soft and sprawling tentacles. These bags are creative, fun, and in perfect flavor for the Magic fan looking to add some fun back into the function.
I’m not usually one to link to other online retailers, but these prints are exclusive to SCG. In addition, they’re also totally sweet. The John Avon lands are all iconic, and having them nicely framed and hung in a row (or in the color circle, if you’re fancy) adds a touch of style to a gamer’s gaming space. Landscape art is also sufficiently non-fantasy, so those of us with significant others will be able to sneak them by while they aren’t looking. All of these are on my personal holiday wish list, and I have to say I’m hoping someone pulls through and picks them up for me.
High-roller status, engage. There are a ton of artists who have original Magic art available; but the more popular the card, the less likely it is that the original art is still for sale. If you’re looking for a piece from a specific artist, your best bet is to use your Google-Fu to find their personal website or contact information, and to communicate with them directly. Often it will be much more difficult to track down a specific piece of work, especially if the artist has already sold it to a private collector. Sometimes you’ll have luck with finding the buyer, and they may even be willing to part with the piece (for a fee, of course).
There’s something special about owning a piece of Magic history, and many pieces for more obscure cards can be purchased at very reasonable prices (compared to other original art pieces). If you’re looking for something a little easier on the wallet, many artists have prints of their work available, and these are most often a fraction of the price of the original work. If the player you’re shopping for has a card they love more than any other, dig around to see if the artist has prints available. It’s a way to really personalize the card for that player, and a wonderful gift.
As a general point of interest for those of you out there buying for your favorite Magic player—it’s less useful to buy a Magic player specific cards than it would be to buy them something like a gift card to their local game store. Often this creates a sense of obligation or adds a sentimental value to the cards, which can impede their growth as both a player and a collector.
When a player (especially a newer player) receives cards as a gift, they can feel like they’re disappointing the gift-giver when they don’t play with those cards, or worse yet if they decide to trade them for other cards they like. This can cause more harm than good—so instead of buying them specific cards, encourage them in their hobby in other ways.
I hope I’ve managed to show you one or two items you hadn’t seen before, or sparked some ideas for your holiday needs. If you have any other ideas that others may be interested in (or perhaps something Magic-related that you’d like to see under your Festivus Pole this year) be sure to share them in the comments, for all the rest of the good little boys and girls to see.
Happy holidays, everyone.