The Path That Led Me Here

Brian Allen • August 21, 2020

My co-host DeQuan Watson and I have had unexpected success with the Color of Magic podcast these past few months. That has led to some exciting opportunities including the chance to write articles here. But I’ve learned the hard way that you should never assume people know who you are. No, seriously. One time I covered an event as a writer for my local paper, and the person working the door gave me a stern look instead of the customary “Hello, My Name Is” badge. She informed me that the help was supposed to use the back entrance to the building. No, I’m not 75 years old and that event transpired not that long ago. Yes, I do work in the Southern United States.

So, early in my career I learned that no matter the quality of my work, there will be a whole lot of people that have no idea who I am. Thus, I start my journey here with an introduction. My name is Brian Allen, better known as @DLCeasar on social media. I played almost every card game but Magic for a long time. I'm talking OverPower, MLB Showdown, even the Xena: Warrior Princess game. Hey, at least it was by Wizards! Then I realized all of them went belly up within three years. The Xbox product Duels of the Planeswalkers got me convinced I could play this game, so I journeyed to my local comic book shop. There I learned I really couldn’t play it all. But I had a lot of fun even while getting my face kicked in. I started Magic shortly before “Caw Blade” became a thing, so it’s a small miracle I’m still playing.

I’ve been writing since I can remember, and doing so professionally since 1999. I would love to tell you I immediately put those skills to use in the Magic community. Nope, I kept my professional gig and the card game I played in my spare time largely separate from each other. I wouldn’t be here if DeQuan hadn’t come up with the podcast idea. Podcasting is something my wife had suggested for me a long time ago as podcasts were exploding. I agreed I would be good at it, but remember I also thought I would be good at Magic. Besides, while I’m good at talking I knew absolutely none of the numerous technical things needed to do a podcast. So it went on a long list of things I should be doing, but wasn’t making any progress on. That list also includes getting more exercise and cleaning out all my e-mails.

Just under a year ago DeQuan presented his podcast idea to me and I loved it. He also had podcast experience and knows all the technical things I don’t. Color of Magic was the best possible way for me to start content creation in this game. I didn’t think I was a good enough player for anyone to care about my opinions on the cards, but that’s only a small part of our show. For the first time, I put my journalist glasses on while looking at Magic and its community. Every day since has been part of a huge learning curve. But listeners have responded to our content, so much so that I have branched out to YouTube and now writing for Cardsphere. The whole order of operations makes sense, provided you don’t think about it.

Looking back, gaming has given me more than I may ever be able to repay. The majority of my close friends are somebody I played a card or board game with. Even when the games vanished, the friendships didn’t. But I know how fortunate I was to find good groups that welcomed me largely with open arms. Hosting Color of Magic, I’ve learned that everyone did not have the same experience in this game that I have. It’s my mission to change that and I’m not alone. You may have noticed, creators of color are having a pretty big moment right now.

As with my other work, I’m planning to focus on some of the hard news aspects of our beloved game. That doesn’t mean if I stumble across a great deck or an underrated commander that I won’t share it with you. I fall pretty solidly into the “Johnny” archetype of Magic players. I love jank, especially if it says “you win the game” somewhere in the text. One of my current projects is a Happily Ever After deck.

Much of my work as a reporter was in the dreaded “general assignment” category, meaning when I walked into the office I had no idea what that day’s work would entail. It turned out to be great training for the wide variety of stories I’ll encounter in this game. Funny thing, once you open your eyes to the bigger picture you can’t unsee it. I hope you’ll go on this journey with me. This game and its community have so much to teach us, provided we’re willing to listen.