January is flying by, but don’t think we forgot about this month’s Table Talk question!
Each month, we pose a question to our fans on Facebook and in our Discord, and we’ll take some of our favorite responses and feature them in that month’s Table Talk article! We’ll always include 1-2 of our Patrons, as a special extra bonus for supporting us, but there is no paywall to being featured here, so please make sure to join in the fun next time and let us know what you think!
This month, to kick off the year on a positive note, let’s talk about winning things! This month’s question is:
“What’s the best prize you’ve won in TCGs?”
The answers were awesome, and actually nearly everything had a common thread – see if you can pick up on it as we go!
One of the coolest aspects of organized play for UFS (now UniVersus CCG) is the yearly tradition of making their national champions into cards! Christopher and his best friend – through skill, preparation, and I’m sure just a dash of luck – managed to take the National Team Champion title in both 2018 and 2019, earning both a championship belt and getting their likeness and design on cards like the one pictured above! While anyone would enjoy the thrill of getting a card of them made, I’m sure their bond of friendship was strengthened even further through the trials they conquered both years.
Games where custom cards are an available prize aren’t incredibly rare – Magic’s done it for many years, with the most recent one releasing just last year (Elite Spellbinder). But UFS has never tried to fit things into their universe – getting your team name or actual name on the card and giving you direction in the art that gets made makes it that much more special! A super cool prize that any TCG player would dream to receive some day.
James Lockwood, owner of Cards of Ivalice and one of our newer Patreon supporters, chimed in with a very unique answer. It’s not quite a prize he’s received, but rather one he had made to give out to the champion of a large Final Fantasy TCG event, Reunion R4, that he put on in the summer of 2021. While it’s pictured above in its glowing glory, you can truly appreciate the work by watching this video he provided!
The Final Fantasy TCG community has really stepped up throughout the pandemic to provide awesome online and in-person events, and it’s people like James who put in the work to build incredible experiences for the players that can keep a community going even through more uncertain times. They are lucky to have him supporting the game, and we are lucky to have him as a Patron. Thanks James!
Brandon provided two great answers here – the first was a tale of splitting finals in a cash tournament with a friend. The unfortunate truth about TCG tournaments is that most players have to lose for a few to win – so there’s nothing as great as going to an event with your friend and getting to both leave as winners (and the cash sure doesn’t hurt either)!
Almost as good is making a last minute decision to attend an event and hitting a prestigious top cut at it! This story is a fantastic reminder that you should always take the chances to play when you can. Whether or not you make it to the top, playing a game you love in a huge event is always going to be exciting and fun, and you are much more likely to regret not going to an event than you are to regret going to one. Plus, when it’s at an event like Gen Con, going there with a group of friends guarantees you a great time whether you scrub out of your event or win it all!
The thread that’s woven through all of these answers is that TCGs, for most players, are really about the social connections we make with others. Christopher McKinney astutely mentions not just gaining friends, but growing as a person from these social connections – and there’s no cash prize that can compensate for that. And I’m sure many of us – myself included – can greatly relate to RealGood’s comment of making friendships through TCGs that have endured for 20 years or more. From friendships that last for decades, to welcoming communities where strangers can just be excited about something they love with others, as our patron Dylan Quern put it – “The real prize was the friends we made along the way”!
One of the reasons we had a relatively dark year last year was simply the lack of social reward many of us were feeling. Not being physically connected to our friends and enjoying these games together makes it harder to get excited and put in the time to produce content or resources. It was Gen Con last year that brought that all back for us, and now that we are back, 2022 is looking to be a stellar year for all of our favorite ongoing TCGs, and many new ones to come!
The best thing about being in the TCG hobby is whether games live or die, or whether players move from one to another, we all have a set of common interests that bond us together and help build these friendships that span decades. I want to thank all of you for being a part of this community and forming these bonds of friendship and connection with us and with each other, because while custom cards, cash prizes, and killer trophies are all great, at the end of the day it’s the sense of belonging that we all crave the most, and here at Maindeck you all have helped us cultivate an amazing, positive, and welcoming community of TCG fans where people can join and instantly feel like they belong.
Now that I’ve wiped the tears from my eyes, it’s time to close this out – thanks to everyone for participating in this month’s Table Talk! If you’d like to take part in the next one, make sure you like us on Facebook and/or have joined our Discord so you can join in the conversation!
See you all in February for the next one!