“Humans of Magic” interview series: Alix and Jesse Hatfield

I am pleased to present this conversation with Alix and Jesse Hatfield. The Hatfields have left an indelible mark on the growth and evolution of the Legacy format (previously “Type 1.5”) for well over a decade. They contributed to some of the most influential decks ever built — Enchantress, Threshold, and Cephalid Breakfast, amongst many others.

Alix and Jesse also share stories of how the Northern Virginia community fostered, and continue to foster, a culture of innovation and teamwork.

Listen to it here:

Time stamps:

[01:55] Introduction

[04:30] Legendary card debates: Stifle vs. Blue Elemental Blast

[10:00] Background: growing up and first contact with Magic

[14:15] Earliest Magic card memories

[15:55] Magic’s initial allure

[19:00] First Type 1.5 tournament at the Lucky Frog

[21:32] First Type 1.5 decks played

[23:03] Mindset: what kept them going back to play

[25:12] The process of winning and tweaking decklists

[29:33] Mark Perez’s impact on the Virginia Type 1.5 community

[31:20] Other key figures: Anwar Ahmad, David Gearhart, Ian McInnes, Matt Elgin, Jack Elgin

[33:18] Anwar’s earliest influences on James as a Legacy player

[36:53] A history of friendly rivalry: Northern Virginia vs. New York / Crashing a Syracuse tournament for the first time / Major car accidents

[44:23] Format evolution, ban lists, and overall player growth

[47:57] Early banned & restricted list announcements

[51:35] The advent of ‘Threshold’ in Legacy

[55:38] Earliest ‘Threshold’ builds and card choices

[57:25] Reading Magic theory and its impact on ‘Threshold’

[59:48] Friends who contributed to ‘Threshold’ deck evolution / How Nimble Mongoose became a card

[1:03:10] Key decks of the format: Threshold, Goblins, Solidarity

[1:05:10] Tweaking ‘Threshold’ builds with different color splashes

[1:06:34] New card printings: Counterbalance and Tarmogoyf

[1:09:15] The Flash Hulk era

[1:11:53] First impressions of Tarmogoyf

[1:13:42] Creating Cephalid Breakfast

[1:15:53] Vintage and Legacy champs at Gen Con / How ‘Canadian Threshold’ came to be

[1:18:50] “Too Much Information” article series: origin, goals, reception

[1:30:51] Thoughts on the Legacy format today: is the metagame balanced and how does data support the conclusion?

[1:40:00] Call to action and shout-outs: data collection in the community

[1:41:01] Going forward, who are the key folks impacting the game in a positive way?

The Humans of Magic book is out!

(How to WIN A FREE COPY of the book — instructions below)


12 interviews with 12 of the greatest minds in the game today. We get philosophical, personal, and deep. Get your copy on Amazon now.

After working on the book for more than a year, I am truly excited to get this thing out. It is absolutely jam-packed with content: 500+ pages, with illustrations and an exclusive foreword by Autumn Burchett.

I couldn’t be more excited to release it in written form. It would mean the world to me if you would consider picking up a copy.

How do I win a FREE COPY of the Humans of Magic book?

[Subscribe to the newsletter to win + get a special preview of the book!]

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James Hsu

James Hsu is a content creator, author, and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of two companies: Stream Sage and CardBoard.Live.

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