But it makes sense when you think it through.
It happens about once per draft. There’s a stalemate, a board stall I could break through if I cast the removal spell in my hand. I’m in no danger of losing, but if I cast the removal spell I can win in … two, maybe three turns. Provided my opponent draws just normal cards. Provided they don’t draw a bomb.
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:
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.
I have only so much time to throw at Magic writing each month. Last month, the Great Designer Search 3 essays ate nearly all of it. So I thought it might be fun to kill two birds with one stone, and to post my essay answers here on the blog. At the very least, if I don’t advance through the search, I’ll have gotten something out of it (and hopefully you will have too)!
What’s also nice is, here, I can show my work. Wizards’ text fields didn’t allow hyperlinks, which I’d added to link to relevant additional resources. Those links are preserved here. We’ll skip the “introduce yourself” question, and start from question two.
“Sideboarding is hard.” That’s often newer Magic players’ first complaint, as they venture to their local FNM and start playing best-of-threes. Given a reasonable draw and a good match-up, most new players know their own deck well enough to win a game one. But those same players can get DESTROYED after sideboarding, as their more experienced opponents use those 15 extra cards to adapt their game plan.
I do not profess to be a sideboarding expert. In fact, I’d say just the opposite; I’m still figuring it out. But I’ve developed a process that largely works for me, a casual-competitive player. And I think I can distill it down into something that will help those just starting to sideboard.
So let me give it a shot. Assuming you’ve built a sideboard, played a game one, and you’re headed into game two, this is what you should do next.