Even though it seems like ages ago when I took the leap and signed-up for my first Friday Night Magic (FNM) at my local game store (LGS), I remember nearly every detail of the experience.
From the butterflies of sitting down for my first-ever “real” game of Magic, to the overwhelming sense of accomplishment I received after getting my first match win (I finished 1-3 that night), that memory will continue to stick with me for years to come.
One thing I do remember, though, through all the excitement and chills, is seeming a bit lost on how to prepare for the event. What did I need to bring? Should I bring dice? What kind? Will I need a snack? How long will I be there?
These types of questions, and unpreparedness, are actually what kept me from making that leap sooner. Had I known exactly what I needed to bring, I’m sure I would’ve made the move sooner.
And so I over prepared, and actually ended up not needing about half of the things I brought (yea, I brought A LOT of stuff).
And so here it is:
The not-so-definitive list of what You will need to bring to your first FMN
Your Deck, and a Deck Box
The most important things to bring, in my opinion, are both your deck and deck box.
Without a deck, not only would you be unable to participate in the tournament, but you would also be unable to play casual games with others on the side. And without a deck box, how do you plan on carrying around that precious deck?
Bringing both of these is your first step to a successful FNM.
Oh, you’re going to be drafting? Well then, see below.
Money falls second on the list simply because you could technically get by without having to pay a dime (casual games are a blessing).
Considering that most, if not all, events with prize support at your LGS will cost something though, money is a must.
To know how much to bring, make sure to scope out your LGS’s website or Facebook, as almost all LGS’s will have their event prices posted.
I would also recommend to bring, or plan on spending, a little extra than the entrance fee. With singles and accessories laying out everywhere, you may just find yourself wanting that shiny new deck box- or hey, maybe even an Invocation or two.
The ultimate starter of games and keeper of counters – you’ll notice very quickly the literal hundreds of dice out on the play tables.
From simply rolling to see who goes first, to using them as tokens, dice can be as versatile as they are plentiful.
A way to keep track of Life Totals
Keeping track of you and your opponents’ life is one of the most crucial elements to playing MTG. Without doing so, how would you know if you’ve actually lost or won?
Tracking life can be done in a number of ways, each as acceptable as the next, though there are some preferred methods to consider:
Pen and Paper
Using a simple note pad with a pen/pencil will be more than sufficient, as you can easily see and edit life totals on the fly.
And not only can you track life, but you also will have the ability to write valuable notes down to refer to as your games progress (yes, you can do that!).
As stated before, a d20 can (and is often) used to track life. The downside to this is usability, however, as trying to find the correct number to change to on the die can be a bit tedious.
Digital Writing Utilities
While defiantly not as common as a pen and paper, I have often seen players keep track of totals and notes on electronics such as a BoogieBoard.
Using something like this would allow you the flexibility of a digital writing surface, but with the downside of having to carry a much more expensive alternative.
A Bag or Backpack
So you’ve gathered all of the things above, now what?
Put them in a bag of course!
But not just any bag. For FMN, I recommend either using a small backpack, one that is small enough not stow under or on the back of a chair, or a drawstring bag.
Both of these options should provide sufficient storage.
Optional, though recommended items:
A Playmat and Card Sleeves
After assembling the perfect deck with all your new, crisp cards, what could be worse than having to play with those cards on a dirty surface?
Let’s face it, there are other people that play at your LGS. And not all of them will have the same… cleanliness standards that you may have.
Playing with your cards protected in Card Sleeves (I recommend Dragon Shield Mattes), on top of a playmat, will allow for distance between your cards and potential grime.
You’ve made it to round three, spirits high and ready to play.
You then realize you’ve been gone for three hours, have another hour left, and it seems to have been decades since dinner.
You can either:
- Suck it up and play through the grumbly stomach.
B. Whip out a snack and keep truckin’.
I’d choose B any and every day.
Simply bringing a (non-messy!) snack to your FMN will help keep your energy and spirits high. I recommend doing the same with a drink, but please make sure to bring one with a lid!
No matter what you end up bringing to your first Friday Night Magic, make sure you come with a good attitude! Expect to lose (this is your first “competitive” event, after all), but play like you’re winning.
Keep a positive attitude, and you’ll have a blast.