I’ve known Mike Turian forever. Well not, forever, forever – we didn’t grow up together on Bellingham Lane in Great Neck. In fact, I’m pretty sure he didn’t live anywhere close to New York at the time. To be honest, I don’t even know Mike that well – we’re more of casual acquaintances who see each other from time to time and make a point to always say hi to one another.
But that’s neither here nor there.
I have gotten to see Mike many times, and I can say without hesitation that he is one of the kindest, nicest, and most pleasant people in Magic. Note that I didn’t just limit this to the Pro Community (which at times can be cliquish and downright off-putting), but to all of Magic. He wears a smile, a pleasant demeanor and a cheery spirit as if they were clothing.
Let me tell you a couple of stories about Mike.
At Grand Prix Washington: DC this year, Mike finished in 10th place as a part of team Zabuton Nemonaut (along with Eugene Harvey and Gary Wise). This was only one of his top finishes this season – he’s demonstrated a near mastery of the Mirrodin Limited format, finishing at or near the top of virtually every event he’s entered.
While Mike was making his run for the money, I was working the StarCityGames.com booth, buying and selling cards like a fiend. Unfortunately, the table was located far, far away from the other staffing tables at the event, and I was flying solo. This led to quite a few, shall we say, moments of intense pain and anguish as nobody would come by for hours on end to relieve me so I could relieve me. Darth Junior was busy doing the Tournament Organizer thang, and Judge Diddy Matt V. was busy getting jiggy with it. Between one of his matches, Mike wandered over.
Mike: (Smiling, pleasant) "Hey Ben, how are you doing?"
Me: (Hopping up and down on one foot) "Hey Mike, can you watch the booth for a second?"
Mike: (Smiling, pleasant) "Sure, how long….."
Me: *ZOOM* *ZIP* *TINKLE* *FLUSH* *WASH HANDS* *ZOOM* "Thanks Mike!"
Mike: (Smiling, pleasant) "No problem!"
That’s the kind of guy Mike is – willing to help out a fellow when he’s about to have an emergency pants moment. But Mike’s good nature doesn’t just end there. I was hosting a three-on-three box draft (my draft box has one of every card in Magic, and we make random packs – I’ll talk about this in another blog) and Jeff Fung had to leave shortly after drafting his deck. Now, if you’ve never done a draft like this, half the fun is drafting your deck and seeing what kind of wackiness ensues. Most people wouldn’t want to play if they hadn’t drafted their own deck.
Mike jumped in there for the sheer thrill of playing the game of Magic. He wanted to challenge himself to see if he could win with the pile of cards Jeff had drafted. He stayed through all of his matches, having fun the entire time.
Why am I talking about Mike Turian today?
On Friday, Aaron Forsythe announced a job opening at Wizards of the Coast. This wasn’t just any job opening – this was the mack-daddy, pimp you out, buy me My Little Pony Underroos and call me Barbie of the Wizards job line: R&D Intern. From the job description page:
"All applicants need to be capable of building Pro Tour caliber constructed decks without any supervision or specific directions. They also need to be able to build competitive sealed decks and to booster draft well, also without supervision or specific instructions. The intern needs to be able to communicate effectively with the other members of Magic R&D and, in particular, the intern must be capable of delivering useful feedback about both the power level and fun level of Magic cards based on his or her playtesting efforts."
I’ve applied for this position, but even I know who deserves this job more than anyone else: Mike Turian. Capable of building a Pro Tour caliber Constructed deck? Check. Able to play competitive Limited? Check. Able to communicate and be a team player? Check. Cares about both the fun and power level of Magic cards? Check. Everything about Mike Turian is perfect for this job. He’s currently living in Seattle, and has given up playing competitive Magic due to his living arrangements, even though he has literally been on the top of his game this current Pro season.
Good luck Mike. I hope you get the job!