When a random pick got us a not-so-random-person: Allan Oca Jr., a competitive player for Magic: The Gathering
The recent GameCon PH hosted a gathering of different kinds of games from different platforms all in one roof. Running for two days over the weekend, one day won’t be enough to immerse yourself in the world each game has to offer.
The Quest: Look For A Random Magic: The Gathering Player
Expectations: To find a random player that can educate us on how challenging yet entertaining Magic: The Gathering is.
We headed to where the booth for Magic: The Gathering Wizards and aspiring ones are. And in the middle of everything, we spotted Allan Oca Jr. nonchalantly going around the booth along with other con goers.
Our Casual Interview
Who is Allan Oca Jr.?
Is this the first time you’ve went to GameCon and/or the (Magic:The Gathering) booth?
“Yea, actually, first on the GameCon but in Magic Tournaments, several times.”
It was as if I had suddenly hit first prize. Magic tournaments? Several times? My subject is getting more interesting by the minute. Shall we?
When did you start playing Magic the Gathering?
*Laughs* “I started playing around 1997 but competitively 1998. First I’ve watched the games then reviewed it. Later on I decided I wanted to play competitively after a year.”
A Path to Magic Chosen
“Well, if you would give almost all of your time, you would practically learn the game. Like in any other game. Not just the card games – video games or online games – if you give it some time, you will learn eventually. Maybe if you would play casually, you’ll learn from your mistakes and get better.”
How did you train or practice? Who did you play with at first?
“At first I just played with my classmates. Then later on I felt like I want to be competitive.”
“In my first tournament, I didn’t win a game. My first win of the game was after a month. I was happy about it.” *laughs*
You mentioned playing with your classmates, but to be more competitive did you find opponents in the tournaments or other people in the circle?
Both. Later on, after six years, I decided to play internationally. ‘Cause Magic tournaments are also held in other countries. Specially in the US. And the host big tournaments like Grand Priest and Pro Tour events.
He mentioned going to Memphis in 2009 to play Magic: The Gathering. On going to gaming conventions in the Philippines, such as the most recent GameConPH, he says he comes over to play when he has the time.
Getting Ready For A Tournament
Allan explained how he primes for an upcoming tournament. He pointed out how learning everything about what kind of tournament you will be attending is something that has to be done. After doing so, constantly reviewing or practicing with your teammates is the next step. Good thing for him, he has a number of friends playing competitively in the Magic: The Gathering scene.
On the third week of March, we’ll be seeing Allan on his way to Thailand to another Magic: The Gathering tournament. Aside from the experience and thrill he will get from it, this tournament will serve as his stepping block to be qualified for yet another Pro-Tour for Magic: The Gathering to be held in Spain soon after. According to Allan, the prestigious event will be attended by qualified wizards from all over the world.
Allan was straightforward in saying how studying is something a player should always put first. And that while mastery of Magic: The Gathering can be all-exciting and addicting, one shouldn’t ever stray away from priorities.
“Before you play, you must finish your studies first. This game is addicting. There are so many varieties on how to make your deck or how to make your cards work. Sometimes it time consuming. Sometimes students tend to use up all their time and almost forget studying well enough. I’ve learned my lesson. So, my advice is finish your studies first. Or to put it clear, STUDIES FIRST. Before Magic, before any other games.”