Drafting Unstable in Japan

“Do you speak Japanese?”

I often get this question when sitting down for a round of Magic. To be fair, it's often at Grand Prix events, which people travel around the world to play at, so yeah, there's a chance I don't speak the language, statistically speaking.

I like to joke back that I speak Japanese better than I play Magic.

Sometimes I read Japanese cards too fast even though I’m not familiar with the English card. Then I make a mistake. That happens in Pre-Releases sometimes. It's okay. It happens. It can be pretty bad for the board state, though.

So the tables have slightly turned with the release of Unstable, which is only in English. Everyone has their phones out with Japanese translations. Some of the translations aren't quite right, though. For example, one card gets flying as long as it is held above the battlefield. The Japanese translation said as long as it was raised above the battlefield. So people were putting the card on top of dice or deck boxes, which I don't think counts as being “held”, or at least it doesn't feel in spirit of the game. Especially since I saw a video of the guy who made the set holding the card in the air. So I’ll go with that interpretation.

Despite the language barriers, both drafts I played were fun.

As mostly a competitive player, it does bum me out a little that the cards I got are mostly worthless now, aside from the basic lands and tokens. Yet these were fun drafts. One was with complete strangers and one was with a group of people I've grown to know over the past year of playing Magic in Japan. Both were good times.