Today’s Cards & Boards blog post is contributed by a well-known name in the Malaysian gaming scene, Terry Soh.
Many Malaysian Magic: the Gathering tournament players will readily tell you that Soh is one of the top players in the country. Easily regarded as one the nation’s most consistent and internationally-recognized players, he has recorded many a tournament win, both locally and internationally.
What makes his ascent to the pinnacle of the game unique is his almost-exclusive reliance on Magic Online, to steadily hone his card dueling prowess. His international Magic tournament record highlights include the 2005 Magic Invitational win, as well as an impressive 3rd place finish in the 2009 Worlds individual event.
He even has his very own Magic card (Rakdos Augermage) – a rare honour accorded to only world-level competition winners (for his 2005 Invitational win).
This is his story:
Greetings to all my dear readers!
First of all, let me introduce myself and the game I have been playing my entire life. My name is Terry Soh. I am a 23-year old final year university student and I have been playing a trading card game called Magic the Gathering for the past 11 years.
I have travelled to numerous countries around the world to compete in world-class tournaments, taking home something like over US$60,000 of winnings (that’s about RM200,000 in today’s equivalent) and I even have my own card printed by the company when I was 18 years old.
Many people have a misconception that gamers are geeky and boring, but with all the travelling experiences and winnings I had accumulated, I beg to differ.
In fact, besides the cardboard itself, there are a lot more dynamics involved. Most gamers do not learn the game by themselves; they were usually introduced by friends or peers.
This was the same for me: I picked up the game from my younger brother, who in turn picked it up from our cousin. We would go to a local game store, play casual games, hang out, meet new players and friends.
In playing Magic, my command of English also improved significantly, thanks to the text and rules of the game. During my college years, I actually read up strategy articles written by professional players as part of revision for my English papers. Eventually, I would start writing for Magic websites to help others to improve in the game (which I still do, as you can see here).
Magic: the Gathering is a relatively easy game to learn and fun to play. Here’s the lowdown: The objective of the game is to be the first to reduce your opponent’s life total to zero. Each player starts with 20 life and 7 cards in hand and draws a card during their turn. The game is played using various various creatures and spells from the cards in their hand.
If you happen to live in Kuala Lumpur, it is reasonably easy to find places to learn about the game, as there are at least half a dozen Magic stores in the city, as well as dozens of other shops that sell Magic products.
Once you are familiar with the game, perhaps it’s time to bring yourself to the next level of the game by competing in tournaments! There is no shame if you are new or you may not be the best player around. There is a variety of different levels of tournaments held all over KL.
For example, there are local tournaments (Friday Night Magic) where you can win a booster pack worth RM10; there are premier local tournament (Pro Tour Qualifier) where you can win an air ticket to world class tournament called Pro Tour and finally there are Pro Tours which pays $US45,000 for the first prize. For the record, I had made 3rd place twice in the Pro Tours, pocketing $US15,000 each time.
That’s about it for this time. I’ll talk more about the game itself as well as my experiences of being a Magic player, next time. May you gamers pursue your dreams to the fullest!