Good Morning Magic Details How Verhey Started At WotC

Gavin Verhey goes over his history from learning the game of Magic to working at Wizards of the Coast.

Thornscape Master, illustrated by Larry Elmore

Gavin Verhey used the 50th episode of Good Morning Magic to tell his story of learning Magic to getting a job at Wizards of the Coast.

When he was 10, Verhey learned how to play Magic with his brother, starting with starter decks, packs of Invasion, and the CD Rom instructional disc. He started playing FNMs at his local game store where he met Kenji Egashira and eventually played his first prerelease for Apocalypse.

When he was 11, Verhey went to the Odyssey prerelease and got to play against Randy Buehler, who was spellsplinging at the event. Buehler was Vice President of R&D for Magic at the time and told Verhey in order to work for Wizards of the Coast (WotC), he would need a college degree and become a well-known Magic player and personality. From there, Verhey’s goal was clear.

Verhey focused his energy on becoming a pro player, participating in Junior Super Series events for scholarship money and working on Magic websites. He started Team Unknown Stars after listening to how Antoine Ruel won Pro Tour Los Angeles in 2005 by working with a team from around the world. Players like Ari Lax, Matej Zatlkaj, Kyle Boggemes, and Melissa Detora joined the team and became big-name players.

At 15 years old, Verhey started college and continued playing events to stay sharp. He won his first PTQ, qualifying for Pro Tour Yokohoma, but elected to skip the event to maintain eligibility for the JSS. Unfortunately, the series was canceled soon after the Pro Tour, so Verhey had to win another PTQ with Faeries after the release of Lorwyn. From there, he started writing for Star City Games and graduated college when he was 20.

With players lack of interest in the Extended format, Verhey created his own non-rotating format he called Overextended with its own ban list. At the same tiome, WotC unveiled Modern and used the format for Pro Tour Philadelphia in 2011. Verhey’s own creation did garner plenty of attention at the time, including some from Dave Humpherys at WotC, who wanted to know if Verhey would be interested in a job interview.

Verhey took the design test, spending all of his free time over a weekend to churn out a 20,000-word essay. All of his work paid off with an offer to work on the development team, which is now known as Play Design. From there, his career at WotC started. Verhey teased that a future video would tell the story of everything that has happened after starting at WotC.