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Skaff Elias is a former long-time member of Magic R&D and one of the original Magic playtesters and developers who worked on the game before Alpha was released.

The East Coast Playtesters[]

Together with Jim Lin, Dave Pettey and Chris Page, he formed a subset of the Alpha Playtesters referred to as the "East Coast Playtesters". Together, they designed the Ice Age and Alliances expansions.[1]

Wizards of the Coast[]

Skaff later held such positions as Magic Brand Manager and Senior Vice President of Magic R&D (1993-2003). The Pro Tour was his idea.[2][3]

He left Wizards / Hasbro to become owner of Three Donkeys with Richard Garfield. Based in Redmond, Washington, Three Donkeys is a game design, development, and consulting company specializing in unique solutions to problems in the areas of both electronic and board game design.[4]




Non-Magic projects[]

  • Star Wars TCG


  • Skaff was responsible for testing out Steve Bishop's rule that limited no more than four copies of a card in a deck. "It was simply because four was the first number suggested and it worked well.[7][8]
  • He also shot down the idea to give different card backs to each expansion set. He correctly identified the problem that if you give cards different backs then you could tell what card you were about to draw.[9]
  • Adarkar Sentinel, Adarkar Unicorn and Adarkar Wastes were named for Skaff's friend Aditya Adarkar.[10]


  1. Mark Rosewater (June 11, 2007). "Here’s the Kicker". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. a b Mark Rosewater (July 04, 2011). "Please Sir, I Want Some Core". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (July 26, 2004). "On Tour, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Three Donkeys
  5. Skaff Elias (March 8, 2002). "Legendary Difficulties". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Skaff Elias (August 09, 2002). "Better Late Than Never". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Michael G. Ryan (February 17, 2003). "Leader of the Banned". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Ask Wizards (May 17, 2007). "How was it determined that the most of any non–basic land card allowed in a tournament-legal deck is four?". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Ask Wizards (February 7, 2007). "Why was Mountain the only basic land included in the Arabian Nights set?". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Skaff Elias (August 2, 2004). "The Dawn of Magic's Ice Age". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[]