Carta Magica is a collectible gaming store in Canada with retail locations in Montreal and Ottawa.
What attracted you to the Play! Pokémon Team Challenge?
Initially, we were developing a local structure to keep our players engaged, so when the Team Challenge was announced, it was sort of like perfect timing. This structure made it easy for us to transition from offline to online. We believe this event will help us build a community that will be receptive to online prizes.
How have your community responded to the idea of a digital Play! Pokémon event?
Really good reaction. Lots of information, but once people got into it, everything ran super smoothly. RK9 Labs is amazing. Love the upload pairings, and the communication with players through Discord. Most of our players were used to PTCGO, so this transition was easy for us.
How long have you been running Pokémon events?
Carta was one of the first leagues in Montreal when Pokémon came out. Carta is 25 years old (Montreal). We’ve run Regional Championships, 2 of them in Toronto and Brampton. We hit almost 1000 players in the main event in our first Regionals (Standard); one of my favorite events I’ve run, ever.
Why did you choose Pokémon as one of the games for your store?
We’ve been in the TCG industry for more than 25 years, so Pokémon just makes sense for us.
Do you run a lot of other Organised Play in your store?
In store, prior to the current situation we had very active leagues. Ottawa had 2 events a week. League Cups were great for us. Pre-releases of Pokémon were also super popular. Montreal has a super competitive community so our goal has always been to create the most engaging environment to guarantee customers and players keep coming back.
Why do you run OP?
I always wanted to give people the experience I had when I was growing up: a safe and fun environment to play the games they love; support the community; transition from local, to regional, to national events; a fun experience. We were the only Canadian stores running offline events as of 2018 so I don’t think Canada would have had representation had we not jumped in.
Do you play Pokémon?
Yes. I like to play old Standard formats with friends. I don’t really play online that much. Community and friends are my favorite part of the game.
How are you currently keeping in touch with your community?
We connect with the community through Facebook groups. We find that the Logan Paul video where he bought the 150K Charizard created a huge influx of new customers wanting to get into the game; even parents coming into the store wanting to buy Charizards for their kids so they can pay for their college when they grow up (true story).
Have you been running other digital/online OP this year?
Yes. During the current situation we built an infrastructure so our players had an outlet to interact and have human contact even during the pandemic. Mental health was a main motivator to do this. They are mostly webcam events, always using Discord so players can interact. PTCGO is good for our players, more comfortable since some might be uncomfortable with webcam, showing their faces etc.
Have you already run your first event? How did it go?
Yes, we had 14 & 10 players, MTL and Ottawa.
Summarise your Team Challenge experience up to now in one sentence.
Great way to reconnect with my local players and to regain that familiar sense of community.
What are your expectations for 2021?
We expect offline events to come back very late in 2021, but not counting on it.
What are your hopes for 2021?
I’d love to have big events back, human interaction. Pre-release online would also be amazing, because these events are super popular for our community.
Give us a bit of advice/wisdom/hope for other stores out there 🙂
I’d say, as an organizer you have to find every opportunity to support the community, to help keep the Pokémon spirit alive. Keeping the community playing in some way is very important for us.
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