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Episode Recap: Battle Of The Vegas Strip


On tonight’s episode of Wizard Wars, it’s Nathan Burton, a veteran of the Las Vegas magic circuit looking to get back to his roots and Marcus Eddie, a twenty-year veteran of magic in Texas pitted against Tommy Wind, a Vegas magician with his very own theatre on the Strip and Chris Randall, another Vegas magician with an impressive background. Host Ellen Fox introduces the everyday objects that must be used by each team in the first round: a pile of neckties, a rotary dial telephone, and a garden gnome.

Nathan and Marcus begin their routine by introducing all three items right away, as Nathan makes the garden gnome and phone magically appear on a table. Marcus does an impressive sleight of hand trick where he ties a knot in his tie with just a wave of his hand.

Nathan reveals a shocking twist to his trick: they’ve rigged the rotary phone to with shock pads that zap the wearer when it rings. Judge Kristen Gerhart gives it a whirl to confirm that yes, they really do shock. Nathan instructs Kristen to call a specific number on his cue. Meanwhile, on stage, Marcus stands atop a table, a palette of garden gnomes suspended over his head and his wrists bound with neckties.

As Kristen calls the shock phone, Nathan will get shocked more and more until he can no longer hold the rope supporting the palette above Marcus as he tries to escape. As an extra level of danger, Marcus is positioned inside a box and the necktie ends staple-gunned to the table.

As the phone rings, Nathan can no longer hold the ropes and the entire assembly comes crashing down on Marcus. Marcus then magically appears in the audience disguised as a cameraman. The Judges loved the sense of danger throughout the piece.

The next team of magicians take the stage: Tommy and Chris. With a custom built phone booth in their Workshop session, Chris selects a member of the audience to help them with their routine. Challenger magician Chris has an audience member pick a random necktie in the place of a deck of cards, breathing new life into the “pick a card” trick.

He does a quick bit of close-up magic with the necktie, but when he needs to find a marker for the volunteer to sign the tie, he abandons the trick instead and heads into the booth. Out pops his partner, Tommy, from the phone booth. Tommy provides a marker for her to sign in, then he mixes the tie in with the pile of neckties, “shuffling” them. He jokingly reaches in and pulls out her signed tie. Tommy then ties it around his neck and goes to get Chris, who’s been replaced with a garden gnome inside the booth.

He places the tie around the gnome. Tommy reveals the surprise ending: Tommy calls the phone booth and the audience watch as the gnome “grows” - when the door opens, Chris is wearing the tie, along with a garden gnome outfit.

While the Judges loved their use of the payoff and creativity, ultimately, the judges select veterans Nathan and Marcus to move on to the second round: the Wizard War.

Ellen introduces the next four everyday objects they’ll have to work with for Round Two against the Wizard Team: poker chips, “Hello, My Name Is” labels, a mirror, and a child’s swing set. The Wizard Team selects Justin Flom, a street magician, and Angela Funovitz, a mentalist, to face off against the challengers.

Marcus and Nathan take the stage and open their trick discussing how they became instant friends at the beginning of the competition. With some super slick close-up work, Marcus transforms a red name tag with his name into a blue name tag with Nathan’s name. As they tell the narrative of their childhood dreams of becoming magicians, Marcus transforms a poker chip into a much larger version. He then seems to magically make a reflected version of the poker chip appear out of thin air, not once, but twice. He then returns the poker chips to their normal size.

Nathan and Marcus transform their swing set to look like a childhood stage, complete with a draped blanket to act as a curtain. For their final trick, they make the entire swing set levitate on stage. The Judges loved their nostalgia, chemistry and clean magic on stage.

The Wizard Team begins their routine. As the pair sit on the swing set, Angela makes a poker chip appear out of thin air, and passed it to Justin. Justin then uses a broken piece of the mirror to turn a single poker chip into two with its reflection, and again from two into four.

They call a volunteer up to the stage who selects a random name tag as Justin fans them out, each written with a different name on them. Angela turns away while the volunteer makes her selection. Justin also turns away as she reveals the name to the audience. She hides it between her hands and Angela mystically derives the name in seconds.

Angela then asks the audience member to think back to her first kiss. Using her amazing mentalist magic, Angela derives the initials of the person she first kissed. For their final trick, Justin turns over the swing seat the volunteer had been sitting on, and reveals a carved heart. He then makes the initials magically appear carved into the wood. The Judges agree that the swing set was underused, but loved their use of mentalism and storytelling.

In a very close decision, the Judges hand the night’s victory - and $10,000 prize - to the challengers, Nathan and Marcus!