One thing we website devs are very good at is working a lot on our sites that kind of become our little babies after a while. What we are not so very good at is networking with other people and presenting ourselves to the world. With this article I want you to introduce you to an awesome man behind a popular MTG Arena Tracker.
I recently got to talk a little with Bruno the creator of the website MTGAHelper.com, he is a French-Canadian from Montreal. We had a little exchange over Reddit where we exchanged some ideas. I wanted to do a short little introduction interview with him and post it on our site which we have done with content creators earlier, Bruno will be the first developer we have had here.
An introduction of you, what do you do in life besides playing MTG?
I'm 34 years old, I have a pretty modest lifestyle, working in Montreal, going out once in a while, playing games with friends. I am also a dog and cat owner, as I just love our fluffy friends.
When did you start playing Magic the Gathering?
A friend at the time I was 9 or 10 years old introduced me to the game, he gave me a bunch of cards from Ice Age in White that he wasn't playing to start me off with. We played for fun as best as we could (I remember I could not understand at all how was working with that wall of text and French as my main language), and I was always fascinated by the art on the cards. I played paper Magic for 4 or 5 years mostly in high school with a silly and underpowered white milling deck.
How did MTGAhelper.com come to live? What made you start working on it?
When MTG Arena came out in 2018, I was instantly hooked back and I was happy that finally, a nice digital and free way of playing Magic was available (I never was into MTGO). I rapidly had a need for a way of recording my results and I discovered MTGA Tracker from Spencatro. But I needed more: I wanted to play every deck possible because that is what I like the most, not necessarily playing competitive decks, but any fun deck! So I started writing my own program to help me determine decks to play with my collection.
Any other people working on the site with you?
I've created this from scratch and all alone. Well that's not true anymore, recently nice people are offering to contribute to the codebase and so I am very much grateful for their help! Things they helped me with for example are getting new sources for Limited ratings and new sources of Decks.
What do you do for a living and how do you combine it with working on the website?
I am a programmer by trade, to no one's surprise. I am working mostly with .NET and have been doing web development for 15 years now. I love programming so much that it is even one of my hobbies.
How much time do you spend working on the site?
I must admit that MTGAHelper has grown almost to an obsession at this point, easily doubling my working hours in a week. In the end, the positive feedback I get from the community and the sense of pride and accomplishment I get when I see the program working and being used is what is motivating me to continue :)
Any long term goals for the site? what is the next thing you want to work on?
I am working continuously to add new features to the program and use feedback from the community to determine the priority of next features. Here are some things to come:
- More detailed economy tracking
- Global winrates for decks
- Additional features for the in-match tracker (combat-tricks analyzer, etc.)
- Ability to review your past draft pick choices
- Introducing community features
- Help people connect and play games with each other
The features I want to add are endless!
The ultimate goal for me would be to be able work full-time on it and be able to live off without another job, I don't know if that dream can come true.
What MTG formats do you play?
I keep it simple and my favorite formats are Standard, Limited and Sealed. Brawl is looking good too and I haven't looked into what Pioneer will be yet. I don't have a paper or MTGO collection either, only a bunch of old cards that I keep more as a memento than anything else.
Where can people reach you?
The fastest way to exchange with me is through our Discord server! I can also be joined on Reddit as /u/MarkowitzJr and apart from the MTGAHelper website, I also run a Twitter account and a Patreon account for updates and announcements.
Thank you so much for your time Bruno! I really appreciate you joining me for this short little interview, I really feel you on the part of the website becoming an obsession and enjoying that people are using stuff you make! Keep up the good work and I hope we can stay in touch and maybe do some more things in the future.
André Liverød Founder and CEO of AetherHub.com, techie, senior IT Network consultant, web dev, and MTG enthusiast. Likes to play with fire. You can follow André on Twitter.
"Nuts & Bolts Spike spends his energy looking within. He tries to understand his own internal flaws and works to improve them"