Welcome to a new series on Roxie Cards called Shop Spotlight, where we look at Magic card shops all over the world and learn more about the people behind them. We kick off the series with a new shop out of San Antonio called Gamerz Pair-A-Dice. I caught up with a couple of the owners Angel “Rocky” Lopez and Joel Contreras to learn more about the shop, Magic, and who should be Jace in the Magic film series.
So Gamerz Pair-A-Dice is a fairly new shop. Obviously a love of Magic spawned the shop, but how did an idea of making a reality of this happen?
Joel: Before this? Most of us were competitive players in Texas, some of us playing off and on for more than 10 years now so this seemed like the next logical step I guess…..
What were you doing before you opened the shop?
Rocky: I worked Tier one I.T. support for the City of San Antonio and Joel works at an Urgent Care… All of the owners still have their full time jobs…
Joel: Side note, it is really hard to say a competitive player when you add MTG shop owner and event organizer to your resume.
How did you come up with the name and the location of the shop?
Joel: The name wasn’t my idea at all, in fact when i found out about it was already too late, it was our name and we were moving forward. Nonetheless i like it, it’s a nice play on words, and who doesn’t like a good pun right?
Rocky: Same here, the name had already been made up when I was given the option to become a partner. I liked the name so I never really questioned it.
Joel: The location was really just a lucky break, we have been looking around for locations and the day we found our current one our property manager showed it to us as an afterthought. It was more like “hey, I also have this place”. We saw it and snapped loved it. It had everything we need/wanted; it was formally used as a karate studio so it was just a big open room… Not too big not too small… Great location, great area, and the rent wasn’t impossible.
What are your thoughts on the San Antonio MTG scene?
Rocky: I think the scene is good. I still would like to see the Magic community grow more and see shops work together, so we do not burn out the Magic players and overwhelm them with too many big tournaments.
Joel: I love it!! I think we have great mix of strong competitive players and kitchen table players. We also have really good stores that foster both types of play. Another good thing about San Antonio which is something I feel like is never noticed, we are a military city [Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio is the location of basic training for the Air Force]. I can’t tell u how many military players I have met that are stationed here for a few months or years that are just good guys and good players. They often breathe new life into a stagnate scene/store.
The shop has been pretty busy since opening, and you guys seem to be adding promotions left and right. The most recent one is having a random player win a dual land, which seems to be a good idea. How did you come about that, and what other events are in the horizon?
Rocky: Jon, one of our partners came up with the idea to give away to dual lands for every event we had as long as there were at least twelve people… At first I wasn’t sure it was a good idea but it really just came out of trying the method of “throw it on the wall and see what sticks”. It was pure luck we were able to get the dual lands super cheap so giving them away wasn’t a huge leap to make. And when we started pulling over 60 as a new store for a FNM and 20-25 players a day for the daily give away events its clear we made a good choice.
Joel: We have a TCG Gold event coming up on 02/08, so along with the 500 cash payout we are also putting up 6 boxes into the prize pool. We are also doing something I have personally never seen before outside of PTQ or GPs we are having VIP registration. ($60 Cost for the VIP. This will include entry into the event, permanent seating, new sleeves and deck box, a drink every round, lunch from the Chinese place next door, and when you sign up you can make a list of any Born of the Gods cards you need and we will hold those for you before putting any into stock)
What are your thoughts on the game right now?
Rocky: Overall I’m really happy with the game right now. There are many formats to choose from. I’ve really liked the new sets and mechanics. Standard seems to be more wide open than ever. The Magic community is growing as well as the games popularity.
Joel: I love it, I love the balance in Standard we have with aggro, midrange, and control decks. So many good decks so many choices there isn’t just one deck controlling everything like in years past. With BotG dropping all new decks will come up and even some rouge builds that are always fun.
What is your favorite format?
Rocky: My favorite format is Standard because it is the format I’m most familiar with. I really have not gotten to play much with the older formats or even Modern as much as I’d like.
Joel: Limited hands down.. I love it; you’re on the same starting level as everyone else in the room. Putting cards to work for the first time, figuring out combos and what plays together. It tests your deck building skills, something I feel like I am great at… and a very close second would be Cubing.
Rocky: Oh yeah… Good point… I’m defiantly down for playing some Cube.
What other games do people come here to play besides Magic?
Rocky: People play War Hammer 40K, War Machine, Pathfinder, D&D, and pretty much any board game that customers bring in.
Joel: We also have started LAN parties every Sunday, it’s nice to play some Starcraft: Brood Wars with our customers. But as Rocky was saying, as long as large MTG events are not happening the doors are open and the tables are free do what you like.
As you may have heard, there is a Magic movie in the works. If you had to cast someone for the role of Jace, who would you pick?
Rocky: Christian Bale or maybe Ryan Reynolds…
Joel: Vin Diesel I guess I really don’t care to be honest as long as Emma Stone is playing Chandra, Mila Kunis is playing Liliana, and Keira Knightley is playing Elspeth.
Rocky: Defiantly Emma Stone as Chandra… Write this down Hollywood…
Gamerz Pair-A-Dice is located at:
2313 NW Military Highway Suite 123
San Antonio, Texas 78231
If you know of an awesome Magic card shop we should spotlight next, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org