So, Like, What’s Your Deal?

ALK Alters
3 min readNov 14, 2019

If I ever become a famous interviewer, I want to begin every interview with “So, like, what’s your deal?” It’s the perfect mix of insulting and clueless, perfect for my brand.

So, like, what’s my deal?

I started playing Magic in 1998, at the behest of my brother who wanted someone to play with. He’s a successful lawyer for a big tech company and I am writing about cardboard on the internet, so joke’s on him. My first game I forgot that my creature enchanted with Flight (with the dope Fifth Edition art with the flying zebra) could fly, preventing me for attacking for the win. I still routinely forget what my cards can do.

Flight, Fifth Edition art by Jerry Tiritilli
That zebra is not in charge of this situation.

My first “real” decks were the “Groundbreaker” and “Dominator” precons, cementing my love for land destruction and countermagic, two things Magic players famously love. This was also back when precons were filled with premium removal: “Dominator” has 4 Counterspells, 3 Mana Leaks, 2 Capsizes, and 2 Forbids.

The other part of my origin story ALSO involves my brother, who one day brought home a little program called NO$GB and a little file called “”

Pokemon Red title screen
Charmander not to scale.

I was hooked, and when I learned that they made a Pokémon trading card game, I was double hooked. I was scouring the internet like only a late 90's kid (hey remember Surge?) with a dial-up connection and lax parental supervision could, when I stumbled upon this image:

Mewtwo (In Armor) fake card
“Illus. The Internet”

My brain tried to shift gears without engaging the clutch and I realized that this was something that I could do!

I mean, I couldn’t, I didn’t have the skills or the software, but dang it I tried. And tried and tried and tried, faking and designing my own Pokémon cards. In 8th grade I got back into Magic when new friends were playing it, and I’ve been involved ever since — I stumbled upon DailyMTG when it was still just briefly after its launch in 2003. circa May 2003
I miss Web 1.0

Even when I wasn’t playing Magic, I was designing custom cards and noodling around in Photoshop. In 2011, while I was busy not having a job after college, I applied my extensive knowledge of Mark Rosewater articles to the Great Designer Search 2 test and got into the top 101! (Let’s not talk about my design submissions please.)

In 2018, I decided to get hard into Commander, after playing a bit at my LGS. It meets fulfills my need for multiplayer Magic while still allowing me to put powerful cards in decks.

So to bring it back to the beginning? What’s my deal? I like doing stupid stuff in Magic and making pretty card alters on Twitter. I’m gonna write about EDH stuff, both directly and philosophically. Join me!



ALK Alters

ALK Alters makes pretty Magic: the Gathering card alters on Twitter (@altersalk) and writes pretty good words about Magic: the Gathering he hopes. He/him.