Welcome Back, Chandra.

Re paneled art based on the card art for "Oath of Chandra."

Re paneled art based on the card art for “Oath of Chandra.”

Today is Friday, which has always been the “official” day of our unofficial Magic: The Gathering club at school. The students have been coming by on a daily basis since the first day, but Friday is where we started, and I am very much making a big deal of it.

We are actively debating (for about five minutes per day) becoming an Official school club. There’s a whole lot of paperwork, and we aren’t sure what real advantages there are to it, so I’m trying to get someone from Leadership or Administration to explain it to us. The Leadership teacher has changed, so things on that front are moving very, very slowly.

Despite that, our status proceeds pretty well. We have been running games for three days now, and are planning a “Booster Draft” tournament as our first school event. Sign ups for that started yesterday, and there is a high level of enthusiasm about the first tournament.

Today, though, I’ll be playing with the deck that I used in last year’s Big Tournament, the March MODOK Madness Constructed Event. That deck was pretty effective, and prompted the students to better and better builds in order to be competitive. In many ways, I look at it as directly responsible for the quality of my current play, and also the markedly improved play of my students. That tournament deck, called “The Algebrator” was built around the Planeswalker Chandra, depicted above. Ultimately, the students banned Planeswalker cards from the tournament, but the deck always was intended to have the “burn” concept that is clearly associated with the character of Chandra Nalaar.

That’s why the title for today is “Welcome Back, Chandra,” because I’m getting back to one of the most rewarding parts of last year.

I had always meant to draw Chandra last year, in some sort of team up cover art with the protagonist…but never settled on the right way to do it. Partially, that’s because she is always partially aflame, and fire is very, very much a chore to draw. I’m very happy with the way that her raised, flaming right hand came out, so we can be sure that we will see some more of Chandra in this year’s artwork.

I’m going to wear my special, fancy Chandra t-shirt tomorrow to school, and make sure I use my fancy playmat. Like I said, I’m making a Big Deal out of it.

The initial pencils, sans background.

The initial pencils, sans background.

It’s really excellent to have something that you do with a group of students, that isn’t school or class, and is just kind of…yours and theirs. A shared common interest that let’s you be just a person, just “one of the group” for a short amount of time. It builds a real relationship, something non artificial and valuable, that I wish more teachers would somehow find a way to access.

In the artwork, Chandra is holding up her hand, and in this case, restating her oath to be in the Gatewatch. The Gatewatch is a group of Planeswalkers initially allied together to fight the Eldrazi on Zendikar. Their commitment is to protect the people of the Multiverse from threats that no one else can handle…kind of like fantasy themed superheroes, which is kind of awesome. The Gatewatch is going to be the center of Magic’s story line moving forward, so they are being pretty heavily depicted in the card art, and merchandise.

It felt like the right art to go with though…Chandra holding up her hand, and swearing to team up with me at school for another year. I have all kinds of builds in mind for a “Standard legal” Chandra themed burn deck to drive the new year in our tournaments, which are kind of a cool thing to chat with the students about during passing periods.

This is also a really nice way to end my first week, which went incredibly well. I can only hope the whole year is just as smooth, but that seems like asking for a lot. Today, I’ll just settle for enough land cards in my first draw, and call it a day.

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2 thoughts on “Welcome Back, Chandra.

  1. Great to hear that it’s going well. I’m delighted to see that Magic can be a force for good and not just a force for taking my money.

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