Psychographic profile

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A "psychographic profile" is a "psychological profile" (of a Magic: The Gathering player) or a "player type". columnist and Head Designer Mark Rosewater wrote of psychographic profiles:

After numerous years, we’ve come to the conclusion that there are three basic types of Magic players. The fancy term for these categories is "psychographic profiles." A psychographic profile separates players into categories based on their psychological make-up. What motivates that player to play? What kind of cards do they like? What kind of things encourages that player to keep on playing?[1]

Expansions are designed with cards that appeal to players of all profiles, and Wizards of the Coast categorizes its Magic consumers into three psychographic profiles: Johnny, Timmy, and Spike. [2] Melvin and Vorthos were a later addition as secondary profiles.



Johnny is characterized by his tendency to build complex and creative decks. [3] [4] He is most commonly known as a 'combo player'.

Mark Rosewater wrote of Johnny:

Johnny is the creative gamer to whom Magic is a form of self-expression. Johnny likes to win, but he wants to win with style. It’s very important to Johnny that he win on his own terms. As such, it's important to Johnny that he's using his own deck. Playing Magic is an opportunity for Johnny to show off his creativity.

The 'Johnny' profile was represented in the Unhinged card Johnny, Combo Player.


Timmy is characterized by his tendency to use big creatures and cast big spells. [5] [6] [7] Large, exciting plays motivate Timmy.

Mark Rosewater wrote of Timmy:

Timmy wants to experience something. Timmy plays Magic because he enjoys the feeling he gets when he plays. What that feeling is will vary from Timmy to Timmy, but what all Timmies have in common is that they enjoy the visceral experience of playing.

The 'Timmy' profile was represented in the Unglued card Timmy, Power Gamer.


For the Spike creature type, see Spikes.

Spike is characterized by his competitive nature. Mark Rosewater wrote of Spike:

Spike is the competitive player. Spike plays to win. Spike enjoys winning. [8] [9] To accomplish this, Spike will play whatever the best deck is. Spike will copy decks off the Internet. Spike will borrow other players' decks. To Spike, the thrill of Magic is the adrenaline rush of competition. Spike enjoys the stimulation of outplaying the opponent and the glory of victory.


Melvin is a pseudo-"psychographic profile", or player type, referring to Magic players who appreciate cards with delicate and interesting interactions, as well as strong mechanics.[10] [11]

Examples of cards that a Melvin might like include Firemaw Kavu and Stuffy Doll from the Time Spiral expansion.


Vorthos Axis.jpg

Vorthos is a player type. It is not exactly a "psychographic profile", as such, as the Vorthos player type is about appreciation, not motivation to win. [12] [13] If Johnny, Timmy, and Spike are on a triangle of an x, y axis, Vorthos and Melvin would be on a z axis.

Vorthos' concerns are mostly one of flavor and creative consistency. Continuity and applying a retcon to the past are key aspects of an involved Vorthos.[fact? citation needed] Some discussion has been fostered on whether Vorthos appreciates the theme of art alteration, but overall viewpoints of it are secondary to continuity.[fact? citation needed]

For Innistrad, a "viral story" was created under the pseudoname "Josh Brauer". Ryan Miller led a team that wrote the stories across a variety of media.[14]

The creative team, and those who oversee all things Vorthos are as follows:

Additional Vorthos Content[edit]

A third-party site, GatheringMagic, ushered in a day of columnists, now only Ant Tessitore, and Mike Linnemann, to coincide with the Savor the Flavor articles on They write about continuity, art, flavor and all things that Vorthos would appreciate. Ant and Mike also have a bi-weekly podcast called Snack Time with Mike and Ant, a reference to Matt Cavotta's article Snack Time with Vorthos where he first introduced the idea of a Vorthos psychographic. On the podcast, Mike and Ant discuss a large range of Vorthos-related topics.


A site dedicated to showcasing original magic art, [] is a haven for vorthoses to show their collections. It currently is only an online gallery, with members discussing the art on []'s forums.

MTG Art Exchance[edit]

A Facebook group emerged for the art collectors of Magic to show their works and sell related works.

An imagining by the Magic Creative Team depicting Vorthos.
An unused conception image of Vorthos.


  1. Mark Rosewater. (March 11, 2002.) "Timmy, Johnny, and Spike", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater. (March 20, 2006.) "Timmy, Johnny, and Spike Revisited", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater. (August 03, 2009.) "Designing For Johnny", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Tom LaPille. (August 21, 2009.) "Johnny Drama", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater. (March 09, 2009.) "Designing For Timmy", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Kelly Digges. (March 10, 2009.) "The Timmy Manifesto", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Tom LaPille. (March 13, 2009.) "The Yang of Timmy", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater. (November 30, 2009.) "Designing For Spike", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Tom LaPille. (December 11, 2009.) "An Open Letter to Spike", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater. (May 7, 2007.) "Melvin and Vorthos", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Mark Rosewater. (May 21, 2007.) "Design Language", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Matt Cavotta. (May 24, 2007.) "Blood Type V", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Matt Cavotta. (August 31, 2005.) "Snack Time with Vorthos", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Ryan Miller. (October 24, 2011.) "Re: Josh Brauer", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
Psychographic profiles