“Humans of Magic” interview series: Dan Signorini

I am excited to share this conversation with Dan Signorini, a.k.a. Nitewolf9 on MTGTheSource. Dan and David Gearhart created the “Team America” deck, which started off as an elaborate joke and has evolved into the BUG / Grixis Delver decks of today. Chances are, if you have ever played or played against a Delver deck, you have been influenced by Dan’s deck building choices.

Listen to the podcast here:

Dan is a long-standing member of the North Virginia Legacy community, which includes players such as Alix Hatfield, Jesse Hatfield, Anwar Ahmed, David Gearhart, David Price, Damon Whitby, and many others. Together, the group has developed influential decks such as Canadian Threshold, Solidarity, Dredge, Zoo, and (of course!) Team America.

Dan was also one of Bob Huang’s early mentors. Bob has, in turn, popularized the de facto Grixis Delver build that we know so well today. It is no exaggeration to say that Dan and his group have been instrumental to the development of the Legacy format, and “Type 1.5” before that.

Furthermore, Dan has had a strong influence on *me*. When I started playing competitive Magic almost ten years ago, he was the person I learned from. Dan was the one to offer me advice on how to play the “Team America” deck and matchup tips. I would not be creating content today, or playing Magic at all, without his kindness and support.

For these reasons, this episode is very special to me. In true “Humans of Magic” fashion, the discussion touches on everything Dan cares about – family, community, music, martial arts, competitive mindset, and more. Dan speaks openly about a wide variety of topics, and I hope that you enjoy listening to it.


Time stamps

[03:17] Introduction

[09:28] Eternal Weekend

[13:58] Dan’s day job

[16:57] Childhood and family background

[29:33] Dan’s best friend in high school

[33:20] Learning martial arts

[39:48] Diffusing conflict

[44:08] Being curious about life

[46:02] First Magic experience

[48:18] The North Virginia Magic crew

[54:52] On being open-minded

[56:30] From Suicide Black to Team America

[1:05:00] Curio Cavern

[1:07:26] Thoughts on the current Legacy format

[1:13:03] The ban of Sensei’s Divining Top – correct?

[1:16:25] Ban Deathrite Shaman?

[1:18:56] Ban Delver of Secrets?

[1:21:21] More thoughts on Legacy

[1:29:37] On playing well in high-level competition

[1:32:50] How Dan has helped other players develop

[1:34:35] What Dan’s learned from the community

[1:36:14] Goals

[1:37:05] Things Dan would tell himself, if he could go back five years

[1:39:22] On happiness

[1:41:26] Things that piss Dan off

[1:46:22] Tips for new competitive players

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James Hsu

Chinese-Canadian writer and honorary Beijinger.

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