Magic: The Gathering

Tom LaPille

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Tom LaPille
Job title: Developer
Age: 23
Education: BS at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Wizard since: June, 2008

He started playing Magic in 1997. He quickly developed some hero-worship for strong players like Mike Turian, Erik Lauer and Randy Buehler thanks to the now-defunct Magic website The Dojo. When some of those people began migrating to Wizards and working on Magic full time he dreamed of doing the same thing. Of course, he wasn't a pro like them and no one knew who he was, so that dream always seemed like a silly thing to chase. Instead, he continued leading a normal life with the intention of having a normal career while playing as much competitive Magic as he could squeeze in.

In the summer of 2007, he realized how much he didn't want the normal career he would begin in about a year and decided to turn the dream of working for Wizards into a reality. He created a Magic blog and wrote some articles for it, which won him the attention of the editors of He wrote a column for that website that ran from December of 2007 until the summer of 2008. He used his column as a platform to gain the attention of people inside Wizards. He began a development internship in June of 2008, and is now a full time employee. He finished eighth at Grand Prix Charlotte in 2005 and twelfth at Grand Prix Philadelphia in 2008. He has played in four Pro Tours.

He was on the development teams for Magic 2010 and From The Vault: Dragons, and he built the Intro Packs for Alara Reborn, Magic 2010, and Zendikar.

Making Magic sets is his favorite part of his job.

Not being able to play in competitive 'Magic tournaments is his least favorite part of his job. He’s slowly finding other things that hit the same notes for him, but it took a long time for him to get used to not battling for prizes and glory on a regular basis.

Magic 2010 is the thing he’s worked on that he’s most proud of. The freedom to make new cards let them make the set as awesome as it could be without the constraints of the past. It's also his favorite Core Set for limited ever.

He loves Rock Band drums. He played orchestral percussion in high school, and it feels awesome to be hitting drums with sticks again. He also plays Dominion every weekend online with his dad and some friends that he met through Magic. Finally, He’s having a blast in a Legend of the Five Rings RPG game that Kelly Digges invited him to join. That campaign is so awesome that between all of the players and the GM they've produced around fifty thousand words of fiction about it.

Arcbound Ravager is his favorite Magic card. If he could go back in time and add a single mana to the casting cost of only one card in Magic, this one would be it. However, Mirrodin Block Constructed was the format that made him a strong enough player to actually win Pro Tour Qualifiers and he has very fond memories of winning Ravager Affinity mirror matches in tournaments over and over despite people's claims that the mirror was random. If it weren't for Arcbound Ravager he doesn't know if he would have driven hundreds of miles to tournaments in the summer of 2004 and gained the experience that allowed him to be a strong player later.

He is a member of Toastmasters International, a non-profit organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills. He’s a member of two Toastmasters clubs: Kent Evening Toastmasters is a normal Toastmasters club, and TV Toastmasters is a specialty club that records its speeches for later broadcast on public television. In the fall of 2008 he won the District 2 Division D Area 45 Humorous Speech contest with a speech about how he used a whiteboard to summon his job at Wizards. He’s about to get his Competent Communicator award, which signifies that one has given ten evaluated speeches at the club level. He is currently the only member of Kent Evening Toastmasters running for the office of club Vice President of Education, so unless something strange happens he will hold that office for the coming Toastmasters year. He also recently began studying kenjutsu at a dojo in suburban Renton. He’s less than a month into it, but it's really fun and he’s noticing significant improvements in his mental focus, posture, and arm strength. He intends to earn his black belt by the end of 2012.

He’s a vegetarian. In March he did a 30 day trial of a vegetarian diet because various friends had told him that they physically felt better all the time after switching. He had exactly the experienced they described during that month, and he decided to stick with it. That month also made him much more aware of how what he ate made him feel, and since then he's crept toward being vegan as he’s eliminated things that don't make him feel good when he eats them. He feels so much better overall now and he hopes to never go back to the standard American diet.

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