This post was originally published by Spencatro on 05/30/2018. Spencatro has since gone on to work at Wizards of the Coast (Dec 2018). MTGATracker remains a 3rd-party project that is not affiliated with Wizards of the Coast, and is published pursuant to the Wizards of the Coast Fan-Content Policy. The views and opinions expressed in this post are strictly those of the author, and do not reflect the official position, policy, views, or opinions of Wizards of the Coast. No authors were compensated by any parties for the authorship of this post.
About Spencatro (He/Him/His)
I’ve got my fingers in a lot of pies, so it’s a little hard to decide where to start. I suppose the most relevant is that I created MTGATracker! I got into the MTGA Closed Beta around March 2018. I remember the day I got the email from Wizards- we were in the middle of a skiing trip, and I ended up racing down the mountain as fast as I could to get the MTGA client installed. Within days of joining the forums, someone pointed me to the MTGA log file, and really from there, the spark was lit. I’m always looking for side projects to stay fresh with writing code. I also write code for a living, but sometimes IRLwork ends up being a little too pre-structured, or a little too pressured by deadlines to slow down and learn new things. In that vein, MTGATracker really started just as a “I wonder what new stuff I can pick up / I bet this would be fun to mess with” kinda thing. As I started telling people about it on the forums and otherwise, seeing how excited they got - that’s what really made it obvious that I needed to make MTGATracker a real thing.
I try to stream MTGA a few times a week with my wonderful partner (in 2HG, and in life), daphpunk, over on twitch. I also work as full-time as an engineer for a high-profile tech company, delivering one of the coolest “tech” products to hundreds of thousands of customers everyday. Obligatory: my opinions on MTG, code, social issues, etc, are all my own, and never reflect those of my employer.
I’m a huge Python fan. Whenever I’m starting a new project, I’ll likely do the proof of concept in Python, even if the final implementation ends up being something else. It’s just so easy to turn an idea into code that works, usually in less than a hundred lines that–when written well–still read almost like English. It might not be as fast as go or c, but I’ve yet to find a language that’s better at this. I’ll admit, reluctantly though, that js (or rather, node.js in particular) is growing on me, as I get deeper into web projects.
I’m absolutely positive that Wizards doesn’t hate white men, and also certain that there is no war on white men (in the MTG community, or otherwise). If for whatever reason you decide that it’s a good idea to challenge me on this, prepare to be laughed at. Like, a lot.
Space exploration is so cool. It’s not that “humans belong among the stars” or any pretty freshman philosophy major BS like that; it’s just that we frickin’ can, we do, we’re gonna keep doing it, and it’s dope. This moment will stick with me for my whole life:
I mean, seriously. Is that not the coolest shit or what?
Explain your handle
When I was a kid, I once went bowling with my sister & now brother-in-law. He gave us all goofy names; mine was supposed to be Spencatron4000, but the machine cut him off after the O. Ever since, it just stuck!
How do you pronounce it?
spen-KAH-tro, with a hard K sound. (It sounds like it should be a Cuban dictator’s name.)
How are you contributing to MTGATracker?
I’m the lead designer, developer, and maintainer of MTGATracker & Inspector, and all of their other web services. I’ll also write occasional blog posts about technical challenges developing MTGATracker, MTG, or MTGA Data.
When did you start playing MTG?
I’ve played kitchentable MTG with my sister & her friends as far back as 10 years ago, but I really only started playing DCI-sanctioned standard & limited events in OGW.
What colors do you play, what are your favorite mechanics, and do you have a favorite card?
Black and White; Lifelink, Extort, anything that gains life or uses it as a resource; Either Sorin, Grim Nemesis, or the alternate full-art promo of Anguished Unmaking
Do you have a favorite content creator, MTG or otherwise?
I’m picking three, and you can’t stop me! Ha ha, I own this whole website! I’m drunk with power! …ahem.
RiptideProLab and I entered the MTGA content creation scene not too far apart. It’s been really fun to watch their channel grow, and cool to know a content creator who I’m pretty sure is gonna actually make it. Like, in a year when he’s previewing core 20 cards while commentating on the final round at GP Toronto with Mark Rosewater himself or whatever, I’ll be able to say in Twitch chat: “haha, I know him! We were in the same discord once!” That’s gonna be cool. Griffin, Justin, Travis, Clint, and the rest of the McElroy clan have changed my life. They’re so fun and good and good at striving to do good and to always be better, and it has paid off for them in big ways that go beyond creator success. They’re pretty singlehandedly responsible for my own renewed pledge to myself to always be trying to do better than I was yesterday, and they’re some of my biggest role models, both as a content creator and just in life in general. And finally, I gotta mention The Professor at TolarianCommunity. He’s great at being wholesome, but isn’t afraid to show Wizards (and others) his teeth when they’re wrong about something. (Yet, he still always manages to be respectful about it.) Definitely a community role model. I’ve yet to really come across a TCC opinion that wasn’t agreeable (if not entirely correct), or that wasn’t communicated respectfully, despite his penchant for being quite the critic.
What’s the coolest MTGA Community tool?
Honestly, DeckMaster is sick. Obviously, MTGATracker is a labor of love, and I’m disqualifying it here as a conflict of interest- but even if I wasn’t, Fugi’s made something awesome that I’m not sure I could have. I use it every time I stream!
Favorite programming language? Least favorite? What’s the next language you plan to learn?