A Local Game Store On Long Island: “The Meta”

The Meta Gaming & Esports (“The Meta”) is a local game store located in St. James, New York. The store has three co-owners: Christopher Fitzpatrick, Michael LaBombard, and Ryan Larkin. As per locator.wizards.com, there are 15 local game stores on Long Island. However, The Meta being centrally located accommodates players from both counties.

The Meta has a wide variety of TCG and non-TCG events. For TCG events, players can enjoy Magic: The Gathering, One Piece, My Hero Academia, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Dragonball Super. In addition, for non-TCG events, they host AON Smash Melee and board game nights. Additionally, The Meta’s entire events schedule is posted on their website. The store hosts tournaments for both TCG/non-TCG events thus serving a wide player base. Furthermore, if Smash Melee is your thing, you may enjoy the live streams of featured matches on their Twitch channel.

The store offers customers a solid selection of food and beverage. This enables gamers who plan to spend a number of hours at the store, the ability to replenish and refuel. Whether it’s candy, chips, or heated food, you’ll find something to quench that appetite.

In need of card sleeves, binders, sealed products, or single cards? You can find them here. Gamegenic and Dragon Shield are the featured brands and sealed products and accessories are readily available. If you’re looking for something in particular, you can contact the staff over Discord.

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What Is The Feedback Like For This Local Game Store?

The store supports two customers – one of whom is the store’s Magic: The Gathering Judge – with their podcast, MTG Mystics. Markedly, both Co-hosts are provided access to the store’s recording studio. The show covers commander, limited, and constructed formats for Magic: The Gathering. Steve Seiter, Co-host of MTG Mystics and Magic: The Gathering Judge, in turn, says the following about the store:

My playgroup was looking for a new LGS during the pandemic, about midway through 2021. We’d gone to Genesis [Comics and Gaming in Lake Ronkonkoma, NY] a few times before the pandemic, but it’s a little far for a lot of us. One of my friends told us he heard that [T]he Meta was holding Magic events, so a few of our group scoped it out and said they were impressed. I think the first event I attended was a [Innistrad] Midnight Hunt Prerelease and I had a blast. Despite being a busy Friday night in the store before they added so much more seating for TCGs, the store felt spacious. It was cool being able to see the Smash tournament going [on] at the same time, and the energy in the area was just very positive. There were a bunch of people watching the feature match streams both inside and outside the store. The store was also really clean, which unfortunately is not always the case with LGS[s]. I think the kicker was the food selection. The idea of getting mozzarella sticks while you play Magic is pretty novel, so overall I was just blown away by [T]he Meta.

Becoming a judge at the store was something that just kind of naturally happened. I’ve always been the go-to Rules Guy in my playgroup and at my old LGS, but never actually put forth the time and effort to get certified. I started drafting pretty much every week midway through 2022 once I left my previous job and had more time on my hands. Eventually I told Chris I was thinking of getting my certification and he told me he’d absolutely hire me as the store’s main judge if I got it. A few months later and it was a done deal.

Steven Seiter

As per Christopher, The Meta is looking to expand and find a larger location on Long Island. He and his business partners aspire for the new store to become a Wizards Play Network (WPN) Premium Store.

A store that recognizes what its community affords them is not lost on fellow Co-Owner, Michael LaBombard:

“My biggest takeaway is that none of this would be possible without the help and support from the community. The people really make up the lifeblood of our LGS and without them, we wouldn’t exist. It’s not enough to just have a cool venue – we need awesome people too, and I’m grateful for that.

Co-Owner, Michael LaBombard

Would you like to hear more regarding how the store came to be? How about the store’s future plans? Maybe you’re interested in Chris’s favorite Magic: The Gathering format: Commander. If any of these peak your interest, please listen to our interview below. You can follow the store on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

Please feel free to contact us if you’d like your LGS to be featured!


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