Welcome back to another episode of Talking with Tengu, where we interview fellow content creators and other members of the Magic community to find out more about them and why they do what they do. We’ve already had the pleasure this series of interviewing Emma Partlow and Seth, also known as DM Cross. For today’s guest, we have a fellow countryman and all-round nice guy Tim, better known as Dijital Llama. So, let’s not waste any time and get to the questions.
So Tim. What was the first deck that you ever built? Why did you build it?
Me and my mates had just transitioned from playing Decipher’s old Star Wars CCG to playing Magic. 4th edition had recently been released and I opened a copy of Stasis as one of my rares in my first 60-card starter pack! I traded my friend for a Serra Angel and also got a hold of a few copies of both Counterspell and the wonderful Kismet. Putting them all togather, I had the basis of a solid Stasis deck!
That sounds like a deck I would hate to play against. Next question. What is your favourite set or block? And why did you like it so much?
Quite a few years passed between those early days and my return to the game. When I did return, it was a couple of weeks before the Eventide prerelease in 2008. I decided to attend, and the only card I can remember from that day is a promo Figure of Destiny, which to this day is one of my favourite cards ever! Anyway, the more I bought back into the game and played, the more I fell in love with the four sets of Lorwyn/Shadowmoor. Their art made me feel like a teenager discovering the game again. It planted the seeds of my eventual love of tribal builds and synergies, and it was my first real exposure to gold and hybrid cards. It was also where I discovered that I was a Boros player through and through, so it holds a special place in my Magic heart.
Do you have a favourite format? What is it you like about it?
I do indeed! Commander is my format of choice. I played standard for a while but it felt too restrictive, and I’ve never tried Modern or Legacy as I think my wife would kill me based on the price. My inability to remember the details of new sets has meant that limited is usually a disaster, leaving me happily with commander. I love that it’s a 100-card format and that you get the space to play some of the less optimal but fun cards. I love that it’s a sociable game with all of the banter and politics that a multiplayer format allows, and I love that I only need to own a single copy of each card!
What made you take the dive and become a content creator?
The fame, glory, and all the sweet, sweet internet bucks. Ok, joking aside I really can’t remember what the original impetus was for starting my YouTube channel. I think I’d been watching a few videos and buying more than a few booster packs, so I thought “why not combine the two and film myself opening some?” It kind of snowballed from there and my channel is coming up to its second birthday soon!
What would you say is the hardest part of being a content creator?
The time it takes. I started the whole thing with very little knowledge of video editing, script writing, promotion, and everything else that goes into it; so as well as teaching myself how to do everything I also have to actually do it! I release two videos a week and they take between 4-10 hours of work each. It’s a real labour of love though – I thoroughly enjoy what I do and It doesn’t feel like a job at all, although if it could one day become my job that would be a dream come true!
Ok, time for the big questions. What are your goals as a content creator? And what would you like to achieve?
I feel like I’ve already achieved so much. I have a fantastic community of friends growing around my content which is more than I ever expected. So one goal is to keep meeting new people and contributing to the Magic community. Whether it’s a deck tech I’m proud of, a collaboration with a fellow creator, or, dare I say it, getting to preview a new card from the upcoming Commander pre-cons release, I just want to keep making content!
How do you think Magic the Gathering has changed over the years?
Now this is a tough question! Aside from aesthetic changes to the art style and to card borders, I don’t really feel like a lot has changed. Yes, there weren’t Planeswalkers or Vehicles when I started playing (does that make me sound really old?!), but it’s essentially the same game.
What I feel has changed is the world around it. The internet has brought people closer together. You can organise games with your mates and easily find events or stores to play at, and you can find decklists from games played on the other side of the world almost instantly. Its really amazing.
The internet has also pushed people apart. The anonymity of sites like Twitter and Reddit mean that people are more encouraged to pour their feelings into the void, and negatives often end up shouting over positives. This results in divides in the community and entitlement. I see tweets occasionally from people complaining about a card that’s been printed, or one that hasn’t, and rather than being happy about having a brand new set of 300-odd cards to explore and take joy from, they dwell on the negatives. Yes, fight the good fight against things that are actually wrong, but remember to take pleasure from Magic – it is a game after all, and games are made to be enjoyed.
That went a bit off-tangent and serious there, sorry!
Do you think Magic has had an impact on you as a person? If so, how?
It has certainly reduced the number of hours of sleep I get per night! It’s also greatly reduced the amount of free storage space I have available in my flat.
If you could be head of Wizards of the Coast for a day, what would you change about the game?
I would make R&D take a much closer look at Boros legendary creatures! With a few exceptions (Depala, Pilot Exemplar, Brion Stoutarm, and Firesong and Sunspeaker, for example) Boros is lacking in diversity in terms of commanders. I’m not having a go at Wizards here – I have a number of Boros-helmed EDH decks, a Depala Tiny Leaders deck, and a Firesong and Sunspeaker Brawl deck, and I love them all. However, if they could keep pushing the envelope to see what other directions they could take Boros commanders that would be awesome!
Ok, last question. Who do you look up to in the Magic community?
I love that we’re ending on this question. I can’t single any one person out, it’s too tough. So, brace yourselves – Vince (Pleasant Kenobi) and Matt (Total MtG) have both been really big inspirations on my content creator journey. As successful UK personalities they’ve helped me believe in myself and convince me to keep it up. Seb McKinnon is a truly great artist whose work just keeps getting better and better – the promo version of Growth Spiral might be one of the most beautiful cards I’ve ever seen! And finally I’d say Josh Lee Kwai and Jimmy Wong of The Command Zone fame. Their videos have so much polish and quality and they helped me a tonne when I was first getting into EDH.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us Tim. If you want to see Tim in action for yourself, you can find him over on the Dijital Llama YouTube page. If you have enjoyed this little insight into the world of Magic: the Gathering content creation, then make sure you don’t miss our next episode by subscribing to us here at Master of Magics. Also consider supporting us on Patreon! Just $1 a month goes such a long way and gives you access to the Master of Magics Discord. Until next time though, remember – when you play Magic, good luck and have fun!