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Posted by on Mar 12, 2013

Captain’s Log #2 – From Pawns to the Pro Tour

Captain’s Log #2 – From Pawns to the Pro Tour

“You’re very happy to be representing Canada here, I think. Do you want to give any shout-outs to your team, Team Mana Deprived?” – Marshall Sutcliffe

“Yes, KYT, Captain Canada.” – Alexander Hayne

It was probably one of the most surreal moments of my life: staying up until the early morning watching one of my best friends win a Magic the Gathering Pro Tour. Of course, Alex decided to make the whole thing nail-biting by winning every one of his top-eight matches three games to two. And who can forget Alex calling a judge on himself for presenting Finkel with a deck of more than 60 cards in game five of the quarterfinals? It was gut-wrenching to think that his miraculous run was just going to end like that.

Alex and I had always talked about making Canadian Magic a presence on the Pro Tour again, but I don’t think either of us could have scripted Pro Tour Avacyn Restored any better.

The second surreal moment was Grand Prix Toronto last December. In between rounds, I took a step back and looked around the room. I had never seen so many people wear clothing with my website’s name on it. I was especially moved to meet kids that got their dad to buy Mana Deprived hoodies for them.


In the beginning, KYT was synonymous with Mana Deprived. Today, the brand has outgrown me, and it couldn’t be made more clear to me than being asked the following question more than once by an opponent:

“Are you part of Alexander Hayne’s team?”

This article is a chance for me to re-introduce myself and to let people know how it all began.


Growing up, I was one of those chess addicts. I went to tournaments and even did reasonably well, getting myself ranked as one of the top 10 players in the province for my age.

As time went by, however, the number of people who went to tournaments with me dwindled. You had to work to improve your game, and this concept was not very appealing to my friends who took chess more casually.

Eventually, I was the only one going to these tourneys. I would have stopped earlier if it weren’t for the friends that I made over the chessboard, but seeing as how I only saw these people once a month, I wasn’t exactly making strong friendships with anyone. Ultimately, I retired from competitive chess.


I was introduced to Magic when Urza’s Destiny came out in 1999, 14 years ago. I was 14 years old, and my high school friends showed me how to play this unbelievable game. Around the same time, my great aunt taught me my first card trick. Since then, I can’t explain how strongly attracted I am to anything cardboard-related.

Like most players, I did take a few breaks from Magic. My most recent comeback set was Zendikar. I think the main reason Magic was so easy for me to come back to was the existence of FNMs. During any Friday, I could just go to the card store and meet some of my old friends again. It never took that long for them to coax me into drafting a new set and having the Magic bug bite me again.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

At some point, I realized that the community was the biggest draw for me, so I set a goal for myself: to grow the game as much as I possibly could. I wasn’t doing this only for others; I was also doing this for myself. I wasn’t thinking about Canadian Magic at the time. My main focus was to get as many people as possible playing at my local store.

When FNM was first introduced to my local card store, I think we barely got eight people to fire a decent tournament. I decided to spread the word and called up friends to let them know that they should come down and sling some spells on Fridays. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone.

My friend Jeff Casselman used to bring a box of boosters to FNM with him and would give a booster pack to every opponent he played against. He’d be happy if you opened a chase rare in front of him. I guess, unless you decided to then slowly rip it in front of his face.

The biggest hero of all is Pierre, the tournament organizer who will never let you forget how old he is. The store has not had a laptop for years, and self-sacrificing PIerre brings it upon himself to do pairings by hand every Friday and every prerelease. He keeps everyone’s DCI number in a binder and submits the results when he gets home.

Not only does he give himself extra work, he is insanely generous when it comes to prize support. Everyone is a winner. If you did not get an official FNM prize, you got to pick a number. Pierre had a stack of cards and he would deal off cards until he hit your number. He would then give you the card. A lot of cards in his stack were bulk rares, but I have seen people win big money rares often enough. If you have the time, I might say that it’s borderline stupid to not play at Pierre’s FNMs.

It’s because of these people that the local store went from barely having eight people every Friday to regularly having 40. With the store packed with players on a regular basis, I set my sights on a bigger goal.

Birth of Mana Deprived

One of the things I most looked forward to as a chess player was the monthly magazine that Chess and Maths did. They would spotlight players and provide top-10 rating lists for every province in the country. This information made me aware of who the best Canadian players were.

I always felt that there wasn’t enough of this type of information when it came to Canadian Magic players. There was no central hub for your Canadian Magic fix, and I sought to change that. I do want to quickly credit Pascal Maynard who founded IntOblivion, a now-defunct website that featured French articles and coverage of local events. He was only 16 years old at the time.

I definitely could not have started Mana Deprived on my own. In my first tournament since my return to the game, I met Vincent Thibeault during the players’ meeting. We were very friendly and somehow convinced each other to share our decklists to one another. We were both skilled at the art of flirtation.

Less than a month later, we would meet again. This time, at a PTQ where Vincent managed to emerge victorious. After the tournament, I told Vincent that I was starting a website whose goal was to feature the best of Canadian Magic. I didn’t have anything but a vision, so when I gave him the link to the site, he replied accordingly.

“There’s nothing here…” – Vincent Thibeault

“You’re the first article.” – KYT

Vincent had his doubts as to what his article could accomplish, but my strong belief in the concept inspired him to submit something to me. It didn’t take long before Alex took notice, and I gladly invited him to join me as well. One of the coolest facts is that Alex and I met ages ago at a chess tournament when we were both really young. We reunited at a Zendikar prerelease.

In an interview I did for Men of Magic, I mentioned how luck played a big part of my success. Doug Potter and Adam Yurchick were people that I met on Magic-League and MTGO many years ago. When I needed help with Mana Deprived, they were more than willing to help me jump start it. I don’t think Western Canada would know who I was if it wasn’t for Doug.

At the PTQ that Vincent Thibeault won, I actually managed to make top eight for the first time in my career. I did it with Raka Walkers, a deck designed by none other than Michael J Flores. I declared myself his latest padawan, and he, in turn, promoted me to the masses. He’s definitely someone that I credit for putting me on the map. All in all, I received a lot of support to get my project off the ground.

The Eh Team

One of main things that surged Mana Deprived’s popularity was the Eh Team podcast. The Eh Team was an idea I had that was inspired by listening to Top 8 Magic and poker podcasts, namely Cash Plays. Magic pros were writing articles, but I always felt that there was a disconnect between the pro and their audience. I wanted the Eh Team to be something that players felt was much more accessible to them.


I called out for podcasters using Twitter and just went with people who replied. I could have never predicted the chemistry that we would have together. I have nothing but amazing words for Scott MacCallum, Jay Tuharsky, Jonathan Medina, and Jesse Smith. They are the reasons the Eh Team became and is still one of the most popular Magic the Gathering podcasts around.

Face to Face Games

Mana Deprived was not the only thing growing in the Canadian Magic community at the time. Face to Face Games was changing the local tournament scene. They were constantly willing to host tournaments at a loss and even today, they are pushing the envelope by having $17 prereleases. That’s completely unheard of. The Montreal Magic scene only stands to gain from their presence.

Salvatore Reda, Mathew Schmaltz, and Peter Sachlas have been extremely supportive of my efforts and with their help, I have been able to turn a blog into a site filled with awesome MTG content. Our efforts have been rewarded with Wizards handing us a spoiler for the past few sets. How crazy is that!

Moving Forward

Today is actually my birthday, and this article ended up being a perfect opportunity for me to reflect on what I have accomplished in the last three years. I have sacrificed many hours editing and publishing content, but I don’t regret a second of it.

Starting with this year, I do hope to take a step away from the editing booth and re-focus on one of the goals I had when I first started playing this game: making the Pro Tour. That doesn’t mean that I will cease in my mission to grow the game; I will keep recording the Eh Team, and with this new weekly column of mine, I hope to connect with you readers on a much more personal level.

In the next year, I’ll be looking to bring more tournaments around the country with the Mana Deprived Super Series. I constantly receive e-mails from players who live in places that do not host significant Magic tournaments. It’s going to be a slow process, but with the help of Face to Face Games, I am confident that we will be heading to a town near you someday.

People have told me how my story has inspired them. Months ago, Spencer Howland told me that I pushed him to start his Utah Magic Open, which I think is pretty awesome. If this article motivates you to grow the game, then I couldn’t be any happier.


  • DougPotter

    Awesome article KYT. I love hearing the story and the journey. It is too funny, when you asked me to make a video for this site that was brand new, and barely taking off I had no idea what we were getting in to. Then you and I recorded that dual perspective with Flores, and I honestly thought “man we are having fun, but this is not gonna go anywhere”. 
    I don’t think it was because I had no faith (but that might have been part of it). I think the reality is it was such a big dream, and dreams this big rarely ever happen! But it did happen, and you have made this amazing place for people to congregate, a brand, a way of life.. Manadeprived. Love it man!

    • DougPotter Wow. I actually forgot about those videos. When Mike posted them up on TCGPlayer, that attracted a lot of hits.

  • benc86

    First things first….happy birthday Cap’n…
    Second, everything you have done has pushed me to be better, ive met tons of people because of your influence on me playing.
    Last, hurry up and win a ptq!

  • OreoCorp

    Happy birthday boss 😛
    Canadian Magic is so lucky to have you, thanks to you even as a Mexican I’ve gotten more help from you guys than here at home! If I ever make it to the PT I’ll have you and other ManaD people to thank haha
    It’s crazy to think I just used to check the site for the Eh Team podcast and now it has tons of good content, not many can start something like that o_o

  • mtgcolorpie

    kytmagic Nice piece. Congrats on all the success. Happy birthday too. #HIGHFIVE

    • SethBurn

      mtgcolorpie kytmagic Absolutely! Happy birthday KYT! 🙂

  • Mark Sun

    We are going to push each other, and we are going to make it man 🙂 Happy Birthday!

  • JaredGushattey

    Thanks for all the effort. Wish i had stayed more involved

  • PlatypusJedi

    kytmagic You have built something fantastic in ManaDeprived. Thank you for doing all you do for the community 🙂

  • letao

    Go KYT!

  • Ben Storm

    As with all great stories, a little bit of inspiration, a little bit of luck and a whole spadeful of hard work! Excellent story, look forward to hearing more in the coming months.

  • Derek Blais

    Congrats to you and all your accomplishments!
    This Message Was Brought To You By Derek Blais

  • 3stripemike

    Congrats , Happy Birthday, keep up the efforts

  • Kerrydan

    Great story, KYT! You’ve always inspired me, and I’ve been very proud to be a small part of ManaDeprived. You’re making history here, man, so good for you! Enjoy your kudos. You deserve it.
    And have a very happy birthday!

  • Writer1007

    no love

    • Kerrydan

      Writer1007 That’s Cap’n Canada for you, Dave. Not the love we editors need, but the love we deserve. 😛

      • Writer1007

        Kerrydan 😛 Don’t quote Batman! You only encourage him! <3 
        He knows I got nothing but love 😉

  • Semulin

    Great read! Thank you for the history lesson, and happy birthday!!!!

  • Melvin_Conyers1

    I was a little sad the magic cruise wasn’t mentioned in the Eh Team section =P. Just kidding Kar. Great read and congrats on all of your success. It doesn’t feel real… how far you have have come in such a short period of time. Zero to Hero = KYT.  Well not an actual zero… but you know what i was going for 😉 


  • ClassicGlenn

    Funny, a while back when someone saw me with a ManaDeprived shirt on they asked, “Do you know KYT??”

  • Randy Legend

    KYT, you’re awesome and great for this game.  The EhTeam podcasts have affected my particular group of friends like an infection. It has inspired us to want to contribute to this community.  Maybe eventually we’ll bring something as meaningful as manadeprived and the Eh Team.  Bigups to you/EhTeam/ManaDeprived and Canadian Magic.

  • razvan trufasiu

    KYT, it was nice to finally meet you at GP:Toronto. You are, and follow in the footsteps, of other great Canadians that brought us together as a community.
    Happy birthday as well!

  • thefabulous_1

    Kerrydan kytmagic Happy birthday captain who secretly is batman and who has a pretty girlfriend 😉 LOL!

    • kytmagic

      thefabulous_1 Kerrydan How is that a secret?!

      • PolishTamales

        kytmagic thefabulous_1 Kerrydan Happy Birthday man! Good thing you’re Asian. You won’t technically age until yo hit 60. #PruneUpOverNight

        • shaolinmonk36

          PolishTamales kytmagic thefabulous_1 Kerrydan Then he will look like the guy from Big Trouble in Little China.

  • TommyLiu

    Thank you for everything you do for the community!  And Happy Birthday!

    • TommyLiu Can’t wait to see you again, Tommy!

  • JoshuaLemish

    I have told you many times before but you, the site, the podcast and the community helped me through tough times and even now it has been a huge part of my life and I am forever in your debt for the efforts you have made. I know personally I can’t do enough to thank you or do whatever I can in a small way to make it up to and all the folks in the community that you brought together.

    • JoshuaLemish You were the first person to make me think that I could actually change lives through this game. It’s been an honour to entertain you.

  • vpgorman

    kytmagic Excellent article! Happy birthday!

    • kytmagic

      vpgorman Thanks!

  • David Caplan

    Happy birthday KYT!!
    I don’t think I’ve ever really told you how important you and ManaDeprived have been for me on a personal level. A few years ago I was a clueless Torontonian at his first Pro Tour, only knowing the few people who lived around me and happened to qualify. Since the inception of ManaDeprived you have done so much to promote the Canadian MTG community beyond its regional divisions. It was thanks to you that I met Alex Hayne, and it was thanks to you that I met so many new people on the Pro Tour. There is no way my successes would have ever been realized so quickly without your amazing support and networking skills. I, like many other Canadian card-slingers, owe a large part of their successes to you.

    There was no prouder moment for me than to walk in to the hall Pro Tour Sunday representing ManaDeprived, Canadian Magic, and all the work you’ve done. I am very thankful of what you do for us, and am very proud of everything you have done.
    You are the best KYT!

    • David Caplan Really glad I could help. Watching you in the top 8 of Worlds was also one of the most unbelievable moments of this journey. It was a shame that you were stuck with an unwinnable matchup that ended your run.

  • shaolinmonk36

    Happy Bday KYT. Great article and reflection. You really have accomplished a lot and it has been very interesting and entertaining to watch you guys go through this. Keep up the great work and keep progressing.

    • shaolinmonk36 Hard to say that I do more than you when you write novels in the comments section every single week. Love you man.

  • psamms

    kytmagic Still cant believe you didn’t namedrop me, even after all those times you told me how awesome I was for the site 🙁 #scumbagKYT <3

    • kytmagic

      psamms <3 You emerged shortly after the part of the story I told. I’m sorry.

  • Mildy_Vein

    kytmagic Soo how funny is it to have a Worship or 3 in boggle sb?

    • kytmagic

      Mildy_Vein Awful? They usually bring in enchantment hate anyways!

  • travishall456

    kytmagic Missing explanation: “To give a voice to the Squirrel Master.”

  • plaindude

    kytmagic happy birthday kyt

  • lansdellicious

    kytmagic Yup, I had nothing to do with anything *frown*

    • kytmagic

      lansdellicious You were building your own legacy.

      • lansdellicious

        kytmagic By being your constant

    • mtgmedina

      lansdellicious kytmagic Stop trying to horn in on KYT’s GLORY MAN!

      • lansdellicious

        mtgmedina kytmagic What’s this about KYT having a glory hole?

        • mtgmedina

          lansdellicious kytmagic *PUNCH*

        • lansdellicious

          mtgmedina kytmagic There’s punch too? Party at kytmagic house!

    • Writer1007

      lansdellicious kytmagic can’t give this to you Chris. ManaD was already going strong when you started being a regular contributor

      • shaolinmonk36

        Writer1007 lansdellicious kytmagic Yeah don’t be trying to ride the ManaD/KYT gravy train.

      • shaolinmonk36

        Writer1007 lansdellicious kytmagic I will say I first heard of Chris on the Eh Team. Hilarious.

      • lansdellicious

        Writer1007 kytmagic apart from derfington has anyone written more than me?

        • Writer1007

          lansdellicious kytmagic but he was talking about getting it going. That is what I meant. ManaD was a force already when you started

        • Writer1007

          lansdellicious kytmagic not trying to downplay contributions. ManaD was already strong before I joined too.

        • mtgmedina

          lansdellicious Writer1007 derfington Come on now! We all contributed to making Mana D something but kytmagic is the visionary…

        • mtgmedina

          lansdellicious Writer1007 kytmagic derfington … Without him there is no Mana D. Without him, maybe there’s no Chris Lansdell. #Humm

        • Writer1007

          mtgmedina lansdellicious kytmagic derfington the fact is that he can’t say all the names. I can’t tell if you are trolling or srs hurt

        • travishall456

          mtgmedina lansdellicious Writer1007 kytmagic derfington He was a ghost the entire time #Spoilers

        • Writer1007

          mtgmedina lansdellicious kytmagic derfington let’s just tell him happy b-day & be happy we are a part of something as awesome as manaD

        • mtgmedina

          Writer1007 lansdellicious kytmagic derfington Amen.

        • lansdellicious

          Writer1007 mtgmedina kytmagic derfington Neither. Just saying

        • mtgmedina

          lansdellicious Writer1007 kytmagic derfington Are you saying you deserve some sort of credit for the sucess of MD?

        • lansdellicious

          mtgmedina Writer1007 kytmagic derfington heh, if you’re looking for someone to blame, look in the mirror #medinabump #realthing

        • kytmagic

          Writer1007 mtgmedina lansdellicious derfington Except I am loving this quarrel. It’s like their birthday present to me.

        • lansdellicious

          mtgmedina Writer1007 kytmagic derfington Recognition for hard work would be nice. I don’t know about “deserve”

        • malackei

          mtgmedina lansdellicious kytmagic is this real does he really think he made that site? Doesn’t he just write about bad decks?

        • mtgmedina

          lansdellicious Writer1007 kytmagic derfington Fair.

        • lansdellicious

          malackei mtgmedina kytmagic I actually said the exact opposite.

        • malackei

          lansdellicious mtgmedina kytmagic understood. You do seem whiny tho. A good employee doesn’t ask or need validation.

        • lansdellicious

          malackei mtgmedina kytmagic I agree with half of that. Recognition is a great motivator and reward. Also my decks aren’t ALL bad. ..

        • malackei

          lansdellicious mtgmedina kytmagic <3

        • JoshuaLemish

          mtgmedina Writer1007 lansdellicious kytmagic derfington I want to thank Scotty,Jesse, Jay, KYT, Chris,Alex and that other guy (Medina)

        • diorinix

          lansdellicious chris, I was reading manad articles long before you became a contributor. Not fair to include yourself to the building of it

        • CardboardWitch

          mtgmedina lansdellicious Writer1007 kytmagic derfington I take you all on in terms of page hits good sirs. #PointlessDiscussion 🙂

        • mtgmedina

          CardboardWitch lansdellicious Writer1007 kytmagic derfington Yep, I think Nina CRUSHES Chris in page hits! Fo sho!

        • CardboardWitch

          mtgmedina lansdellicious Writer1007 kytmagic derfington What amazes me is that ppl read despite me being wholly unlikeable. 🙂

        • lansdellicious

          CardboardWitch mtgmedina Writer1007 kytmagic derfington You write about controversial topics. That always attracts hits

        • CardboardWitch

          lansdellicious mtgmedina Writer1007 kytmagic derfington hehe I think he just called me Jerry Springer 🙂 lol, imma giggle for days.

        • Revisedangel

          CardboardWitch mtgmedina lansdellicious Writer1007 kytmagic derfington u are the most likable person on twitter to me. #realpeepsreal

        • kytmagic

          Revisedangel CardboardWitch mtgmedina lansdellicious Writer1007 derfington WHAT?!

        • Revisedangel

          kytmagic CardboardWitch mtgmedina lansdellicious Writer1007 derfington you I got love for Motherfucking KYT but Nina my girl <3

        • CardboardWitch

          Revisedangel kytmagic mtgmedina lansdellicious Writer1007 derfington and Ya’ll say *I’M* crazy. Are you reading this folks? 🙂

        • lansdellicious

          diorinix I categorically said I was NOT involved in the building of it

        • Writer1007

          CardboardWitch kytmagic Revisedangel hrm…should I be worried then? Lmao

        • CardboardWitch

          Writer1007 kytmagic Revisedangel Yes. 🙂

  • JoshMorgan

    Well, I’m new to Mana Deprived, have been into Magic for almost 2 years, but have been using Face To Face Games for about a year this month! This seems like it is the cornerstone to the Canadian Magic Community, and I am happy to now be a part of it. KYT, your story is inspiring to me, as I went to my very first PTQ a couple weeks ago, and did absolutely terrible. I took it hard, and was about to give up on the game, but I realized that Magic isn’t all about winning. The game is designed to be a pastime, and to be fun. Thanks for being a new source of news and an information funnel to me, Mana Deprived, and happy birthday to you KYT!

    • JoshMorgan Welcome aboard! Let me know if there’s ever any questions I can answer for you! 🙂

  • AllenSLG

    I’m proud to have been able to lend my support throughout this incredible journey, KYT. You are deserving of all the accolades that have come your way over the last 3 years.
    Happy birthday, and cheers to the next 3 years of ManaD dominance! :clink:

    • AllenSLG I treasure the two events where we crossed paths. Your confidence in me definitely fueled my fire.

  • Babadascoopy

    Happy birthday KYT and I am glad you finally wrote this article. Had it not been for manadeprived and the people I have met through it and this game, I can confidently say that I would not be playing this game today.
    Goodluck getting on the pro tour, I’ll see you there 😛

    • Babadascoopy Thank you for inspiring me to write this, Rob.

  • MiguelGatica

    😀 nice article! you can do it 🙂
    ps: canadiaaaans <3 hahaha