This post is updated periodically.
So you’ve moved to Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam and are looking to get back into MtG but don’t know where to go.
First of all I feel like I have to mention that Vietnam is still a third-world country and the price of a booster pack is more than a local average meal, so MtG is very much a luxury and still very very new. In addition, customer service throughout the country is simply abysmal and you will always be dealing with people trying their best to speak their second language, so be forewarned to don your Armor of +1 Patience.
Still, the Magic scene is much better than it was a mere 4 years ago. Three shops have recently established themselves as card dealers and hotspots to pick up a few games, and a few Facebook groups have put together official play nights as well.
The pictures used below were not taken by the author of this blog.
EMPIRE CAPITAL SHOP
The shop that put MtG on the map in Vietnam (as far as I’m aware) is ECS – Empire Capital Shop.
ECS started as the official Games Workshop store in HCMC and were then able to become an official dealer for Wizards of the Coast. They hold fun draft nights whenever a new product comes out.
What do they sell
Besides draft nights, they host game nights and sell booster boxes, individual boosters and a bit of extra paraphernalia such as deck boxes and play mats but in that regard, their selection is very small as the focus of their shop is clearly Warhammer 40k. They do not sell singles at the moment. You can try to order products through them but the customer service has a lot of room to improve and the delivery delays are greatly influenced by stock availability and of course, whatever international crisis is happening at the moment. Being associated with WotC they also occasionally receive D&D books.
They tend to receive stock en masse, so going in-person at the store after new arrivals is your best bet to secure any of their limited goods, unless you reserved in advance through their customer service… but even then, I would still suggest to show up in person.
You should follow their Facebook page to stay in the loop regarding their numerous events and play nights. If you don’t have a Facebook account or rarely use it you will be struggling to stay in the loop as Vietnam businesses as a whole use Facebook for their annoucements.
Where are they
The two ECS locations as of January 2021 are:
ECS HQ: 16 Quách Văn Tuấn, Phường 12, Tân Bình, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam
ECS D2: 28 Đường Mai Chí Thọ, An Phú, Quận 2, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam
AMA / Happy Box Café
The place to go if you want to enjoy the Commander format.
Happy Box Café is simply the name of the coffee shop that hosts the location for this comic book / card games shop. Two large wooden tables offer players plenty of room to enjoy Commander, sandwiched between rows and rows of graphic novels and MtG products.
To stay up-to-date with that scene’s MtG-related activity, you should actually follow their MtG Facebook page: AMA TCG.
The regulars of this establishment are very active and will often organize their own draft nights and a Commander League has been established, complete with points and rules. The house seems more relaxed about proxies as well, being an unofficial MtG carrier.
What do they sell
Happy Box / AMA TCG is clearly owned and ran by a fan of the game. They always have the newest booster boxes on-site, as well as Commander pre-con decks. They also sell the latest products sold parallel to the main releases such as Jumpstart and Commander Legends (while limited supplies last) and have a limited selection of singles.
They have a large variety of sleeves (Dragon Shield), mats (Ultra PRO), deck boxes and sometimes folders, and can order products on demands for customers, such as single cards or books from TTRPG systems. As with ECS, product availability and global events have a big impact on the service speed, and their customer service has a lot of room to improve.
Where are they
Happy Box Café – 176 QL13, Phường 26, Bình Thạnh, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
These are the three shops I’m aware carry MtG-related products. If you’re looking to buy singles, the pool of available cards in Vietnam is very limited but your best bet is to try the numerous Facebook groups put together by the community.
WHERE ELSE TO PLAY
Besides these shops, the group MtG VN Community (mentioned below) has also been hosting 60-card format game nights on Monday and Friday nights (Commander is always welcome). They operate out of BGS District 10 (07 Tran Thien Chanh, ward 12, district 10).
BGS is a chain of boardgame cafés that have been operating for a few years now. They house many board games and their staff is usually able to explain the rules of the most popular games for new players. That particular location has one or two game rooms available and is not too far from a McDonalds, if you are “pho’ed out”.
They also have a small collection of singles on loan from a player, so if you don’t have cards, you can always use his! Just give them back and you know, treat them as your own.
More Facebook groups
The Urza Academy – Seems to be associated with AMA – Happy Box.
Magic: The Gathering’s VietNam Community – Seems to be associated with ECS employees who wanted to bring the game to different parts of the city.
I hope this post was useful and if you have more information that could help other players, please leave a comment so that I can update this post!
May your mana curve be smooth!