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Duel Decks: Wife Vs. Husband

Recently, my wife and I had a variation of the “Are you going to Magic tonight?” talk:

Her: “Are you going to Magic tonight?”

Me: “I’m not sure I’m feeling it … but I do kinda want to play.”

Her: “Well, stay home. I’ll play.”

Me: “You will?”

Her: “Sure.”

This is, as previously described on the blog, a rare treat. Typically, when Kat and I play, we play a loose variation of Pack Wars. But that evening, because it had been awhile since I’d built any new decks, I wanted to try something different.

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Matching Basic Lands - John Avon - Matt Plays Magic

Matching Basic Lands: Yes or No?

There are largely two groups of Magic players who care about Basic Land art: Those who want to use as many different Basic Land arts in their decks as possible and those who want to use only matching artwork.

For the most part, I find myself falling into the second camp. I enjoy the aesthetics of using the same art for the same land within the same deck. There’s something about lining up or tapping a row of matching Islands or Forests that just feels right.

However, being an art-centric person, I’ve found other ways of maximizing the number of Basic Land arts I use. I use matching Basics within each of my decks, but I go out of my way to find and use vastly different Basics in different decks, based on each deck’s aesthetic and gameplay.

For an example of what I mean, read on, as I show off the Basics I’m using in my Modern and Commander decks and explain why I chose them. The rationale might interest you, it might not. But at the very least, you’ll get to look at a number of stunning pieces of art before this article is through.

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Scalding Tarn Price Graph Magic Finance - Matt Plays Magic

Magic Finance Is a Hard Sell

I had originally titled this article “Why I Don’t Play Standard,” but I think the new title sums up my reasons pretty succinctly. In case you skipped the title, I’ll reiterate:

It’s the Magic economy, stupid.

Magic finance is itself a game, one with much higher stakes than a typical Friday Night Magic tournament. Your typical FNM costs $5 to attend and pays $20-30 worth of prizes to first place. FNMs are a casual, low-cost way to spend an evening. Buying and selling the cards you use to play at those tournaments, however, is often a hundreds-of-dollars affair.

Not everyone can handle that price point or manage the ups and downs of Magic’s secondary market. I’m invested enough to write a bi-weekly blog about the game, and even I’m thrown by Magic’s price point and the expense of cards. I am absolutely sure that Magic’s status as a “Collectible Trading” card game puts players off the game because, at a certain level, I am one of those players who is put off.

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Izzy's Riku Print - Matt Plays Magic

Riku’s Hanging at My House. At My House.

2017 was nonsense. I switched states, switched jobs. Left old friends behind (though not completely, never completely) and made new ones. I hit my goal of publishing here every two weeks, and I pushed myself to launch a new blog and self-promote a bit more.

Meanwhile, the world did what it does. Spun faster, got crazier. But Magic did what it does, too. It gave me a place to meet new friends in my new city. It gave me new ideas and new inspiration. It gave us all new worlds to explore (I would like to back to Amonkhet now please). By and large, our community is great, encouraging, and inclusive. It’s been fun to get a little more involved.

2018 promises to be a heck of a year. I’m excited to attend GP Seattle in April, alongside friends I haven’t seen in nearly a year. I have thoughts on how to ramp things up even more here on the blog.

But first, an aside.

In November, I bought myself a birthday gift: new art. The “Dick Grayson as Batman” print hanging to the left of my desk was lonely, so I bought some Magic art to accompany it. I figured there was no better piece to own than a print of my favorite Commander.

Izzy's Riku Print - Matt Plays Magic

This is the first piece of Magic art I’ve bought. It likely won’t be the last. The print’s another reminder that, to a lot of us, the game is more than just a game. It’s an avenue for self-expression. It’s a way to create memories. It’s a way to make new friends.

And, sometimes, it’s a way to help transform some random place you moved into a home.

I’ll be back in two weeks. In the meantime, I hope y’all have a happy start to your new year.

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The Second Best Magic Card – Lightning Bolt

I’ve already made my opinion clear on what the best Magic card is. But there’s a pretty close runner-up:

Lightning Bolt - Matt Plays Magic

Lightning Bolt is the second best Magic card because it’s both incredibly simple and incredibly complicated. It’s one of the easiest cards to understand, but one of the most complex to cast correctly. Great Magic cards create choices, and Bolt provides some of the best decision trees in the game. Newbies and veterans alike have a lot to learn from Lightning Bolt, making it Magic’s number two card by a mile.

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