Here’s the timestamped table of contents for your listening ease and enjoyment:
02:24 – How Cards Are Made
09:03 – Listener Questions on GRN
32:10 – Lunch and Dinner in Seattle
38:38 – Invert // Invent and Being an Editor
Total runtime: 46:44
Where Was That Nat Guy Anyway
In October 2016, I (Nat) moved to Seattle and briefly touched the sun as an editor in Magic R&D for Wizards of the Coast. For two years, my wife and I lived for adventure in the Pacific Northwest, and I got to live out the dream of working on Magic: The Gathering, the game I’ve managed to dedicate more than half my life to playing.
Working for Wizards was great. I learned many things that I’ll carry with me now that I’ve left, not only about Magic (how it’s created and how it’s played) and about editing in general. For anyone who’s dreamed of working in Magic R&D, I’ll say it’s pretty much everything you’ve imagined. You can spend an entire day playing Magic with some of the best, most insightful, and most creative players ever. You get to see all the cards as they develop, before they come out. And you end up with more product than you realistically know what to do with.
But it’s still a pretty regular office job, with meetings and whatnot. Most of the time employees are still concerned with meeting job responsibilities, managing whatever it is you’re working on at the time. And when my wife and I were looking at what we wanted from life, it was evident that with aging parents and the thought of having children of our own, it would be a lot more convenient to be back in Ohio than a day’s flight away from it (also, housing prices in Columbus are literally a quarter of those in Seattle!).
In my two years, I worked on a lot of different things you may have seen. Among other things, I did Duel Decks: Merfolk vs. Goblins, finished the editing on 25th Anniversary Masters and Iconic Masters, and did the creative editing on Rivals of Ixalan. There are things I worked on that I still can’t talk about because they’re not even a gleam in the players’ eyes yet.
I was also the lead editor on Guilds of Ravnica, and in this episode we talk about that. I answer some listener questions about the Magic R&D process and talk about some of the cards. If you want to know about some names or flavor texts I wrote or what the heck happened with Invert, it should be pretty entertaining. If you’re interested in reading about the process I describe pretty quickly, Mark Rosewater has a column detailing it, titled “Vision Design, Set Design, and Play Design.” I directed listeners to an earlier article, which is here, and also worth checking out.
Lunch and Dinner in Seattle
Josh asks what the good places to eat around Wizards of the Coast are. I didn’t take full advantage of all the local options because I’m frugal (cheap). I like to save money on normal eating so I can spend more on special events, so I generally packed my lunch. But there were a few places that I enjoyed semi-regularly. Malakor Thai and Spice King are both good if you like Thai or Indian food. I’m not an expert in either, but Elizabeth and I went to Malakor a few times for dinner too, and Spice King was where my team went for a goodbye lunch. Other times I would treat myself to a burrito at El Burrito Loco because carnitas and horchata are delicious.
Seattle also seems to have an affinity for local burger places, something around Five Guys in price and expected quality. Shake ‘N Go was the one nearest the office, and they have good burgers, fries, and shakes, as well as some other offerings I didn’t take advantage of. The best known Seattle burger restaurant is probably Dick’s Drive-In, which I was disappointed to learn is closer to fast food than fast casual, but they know what they’re doing. I like their shakes.
My absolute favorite burger place in Seattle is The Burger Express in Federal Way, a little south of Renton. They have a wide variety of burgers, all grilled to perfection, and hand-cut fries that are the perfect mix of crispy outsides and soft inners. Their shakes are spun and super thick. They grill their own jalapenos too, and for my money, their jalapeno burger is the second best burger I’ve ever had. Other places I thought were good were Pick Quick (a local chain I visited in Auburn), Herfy’s Burgers (another local chain near the office), and Zippy’s Giant Burgers (two locations with lots of burger memorabilia on the walls, and they sell beer).
For finer dining, I really like Lecosho, which is a couple of blocks from Pike Place Market. They have locally sourced food, including seafood and some interesting options when they’re available, and do a great job preparing it. Also good cocktails. Lecosho is up the hill from Copperworks Distilling, which has great whisky varieties and whose cask-finished gin from chai-spiced cider barrels was just amazing. And if you’re near Pike Place, I like The Crumpet Shop for a snack. You may have to know what a crumpet is to understand cricket, but they clearly do both.
Other places that were high on my list were Taylor Shellfish, Bizzarro Italian Cafe, and Donut Factory. Taylor Shellfish would have several oyster varieties available and also served geoduck sashimi, which is a fun experience. Bizzarro has really good Italian food that definitely seems better than stuff you would make at home, and they fully encourage drinks with dinner. And Donut Factory, on Seattle’s north side has a wide selection of fry-cake doughnuts, including flavors like green tea, Oreo, and red velvet, all of which are sweet bites of heaven. They have more deluxe pastries as well, but fry-cakes are my favorite.
I think that’s pretty good, summarizing two years of good food into a few paragraphs. Seriously, though, if you’re traveling to Seattle, I found fellow Wizard Gavin Verhey’s website, Gavin Eats, to be a solid assessment of a lot of places with a really useful binary rating system.
Questions for Discussion
Anything we missed when talking about Guilds of Ravnica? We can continue answering questions in the comments if you want.
Thanks for listening, and thanks to everyone who submitted questions for this episode! We hope we were able to provide a unique look into how Magic cards are created. We’ll look forward to any questions or comments here or The Mana Drain or on Twitter. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you want me to put editorial markup on your copies of Invert, I’ll see you at Eternal Weekend!