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Alexander Lumans, Age 13

A recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Yaddo Corporation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Blue Mountain Center, the Philip Roth Residence, and the Arctic Circle Residency, Alexander Lumans is a writer whose work has appeared in publications such as Story Quarterly, American Short Fiction, Gulf Coast, Guernica, Electric Literature, and Glimmer Train. Presented here is a selection of Magic: The Gathering cards he made in 1998.

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Ninja Star

— Alexander Lumans, Age 13

Alexander Lumans

“This is what you do when you grow up in smallish-town South Carolina: set fire to typically fire-retardant items, hang out in the Wal-Mart parking lot at 2 am, and play Magic: the Gathering until you start referring to meals as mana and casting ‘circle of protection: homework’ spells. Fortunately, I did not have parents that believed Magic was a sign of devil-worship (unlike my middle school), so I was allowed to play it at home as much as I wanted. I don’t know why I decided to make some Magic cards instead of buy them—it must have been one of my first forays into fashioning my own world with my own physics. But you’d think if I were to make new cards, I would have made awesomely powerful cards, instead of these, well, not-so-awesomely-powerful cards. A 7/7 for 8 mana with an 8-mana upkeep? Christ, that’s an awful creature. And Banding? Banding doesn’t even exist anymore, that’s how bad a mechanic it is. It was kind of amazing how the style of Magic deck you built reflected what kind of person you were. I was reserved, overthinking, and a pack rat middle schooler, so my decks were never aggressive, simple, or slimmed down; they were always these bloated behemoths of slow and complicated combos that never came to fruition because my opponent would always kill me before I even came close to pulling off my plans. Really, I’m still that same player from 8th grade.”