MtgForLife retrospective

One year ago, this blog shifted some focus towards people who can't afford Magic decks, let alone food or flue shots.
To give up a part of one's own luxury to support some unseen and unknown people around the world is not always an easy thing. Stepping out of the comfort zone is uncomfortable, and a common natural response is to be defensive, annoyed or even insulted by the implication that we are the entitled ones. Who is this guy to tell me what I should do with my cards? We wont save the world, so why even try?
The top voted comment in the #MtgForLife thread at /r/magicTCG/
This was new territory. Apart from some charities where Magic players help give scholarships to other players (like the awesome Gamers Helping Gamers foundation or the old Magic Scholarship Series), giving to people outside our bubble is not something we as Magic players had much history of doing.
We know about hating on the internet though ;) (from #MtgForLife reddit thread)
And we set the bar very high. From the few examples of Magic players raising money for a non-magic related causes I could find, the money raised were in the scale of a few hundred dollars. We wanted $10,000.

But, then again, the MtgUnderground community is awesome. There's not a lot of whining around here, and people rather got inspired to use their cards for a good cause. The word about the campaign spread well, even to the more mainstream Magic scene.
One thing I find inspiring about the MtgUnderground was that the donations by country didn't correlate to the number of visitors to the campaign from that country, but rather correlated well with how large the old school communities in those countries were. Make of that what you will.
"Other" are UK, Switzerland and Belgium btw.
A few people stood out with helping the ball rolling early on different social media sites. E.g. Greg Titcomb started his own raffle of perks and urged his followers at the @oldschoolmtg Instagram account to join the cause. Shaman Ben Perry spread the word relentlessly to his Twitter followers. He quickly recognized this as something connected not just to old school Magic, but to the MtgUnderground at large. There's more focus on the community than having the best decks or all the best cards here, so giving up a few cards for a good cause is very much in line with the mentality.
Of the larger sites, contributed a lot with both selling cards and donating the full entry from the Swedish national championships in Legacy. PucaTrade also jumped in on the cause; suggesting to their followers on social media to join the campaign, and posted a community spotlight article where they interviewed me about 93/94 magic and #MtgForLife.

So we actually reached the ambitious goal we had set out. All in all, we collected $12,692 in the 40 days we had crowd funding page active. That's more than thirty-two times the yearly gross domestic product per capita in The Central African Republic. It's a few years worth of salary for a nurse working in South Sudan. It's in the ballpark of vaccinating 1,250 kids against pneumonia (even with the current high price tag of the shots).
We might not have saved the world but we really did something. Of all the things I've done within the realm of Magic in the last 22 years, this is the one that counts the most by far. All you who contributed with donations and spreading the word; thank you so much.
So what happened next? People in the MtgUnderground kept the mindset going. The players in the last UK national championship in 93/94 this summer opted to have a larger entry fee to the tournament to give a portion of the proceeds to Doctors without Borders. The upcoming 93/94 tournament at BSK will donate half of the tournament fee to a charity of the winner's choice. And players generally in the MtgUnderground seem to care. Not by "having them in our thoughs" or being preachy, but actually trying to make some sort of effort every now and then to make fucked up situations slightly less abysmal.

Enjoy Magic. Enjoy the #mtgunderground. If you care more about people you haven't met than about winning a PPTQ, you belong here. If beer is a better compliment to a tournament than planeswalker points, you are welcome. You won't have to give up anything except your mindset. But if someone should happen to join MSF and teach a kid in a war-torn country to play MtG, I'll happily give them a Mox.

You're the inspiration.


  1. Great to hear that we've managed to make so much change as a community. I'm still encouraging all old school tournaments I attend to make charitable donations a part of the prize structure & my local group is continuing to keep supporting with a now annual charity auction at Christmas.

    Carry on the good work guys :)

    Chris Cooper

    1. Thanks a lot Chris, that is awesome to hear! :D

  2. Svar
    1. Hi Fredrique!
      The first fundraising campaign on indiegogo that started a year ago is over, but that doesn’t mean that you can't contribute to the cause. E.g. right now there's a guy selling an altered Ironclaw Orcs on Facebook in the name of Mtgforlife to donate to Doctors without Borders. There are lots of ways to join in or start own fundraisers if you want :)


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