Finding Your First Magic Opponent

Magic – What Is This Thing Anyway?

Last week, I found myself in a bind. I was having a tough time figuring out what to write about here, and my “deadline” was approaching.

As I sat in my living room with (nearly blank) notebook in hand, my wife walked in and asked what I was doing. I told her I was failing to write a Magic post, and she promptly stole my notebook and wrote the following.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

Hello out there in internet-land! Today we’re going to figure out what Magic is. This post is geared towards the absolute newby, so all you veterans, see you next month!

First – you need to have a deck of cards. Now, don’t do what I did and show up to your first “magic” tournament with a deck of trick cards. No, these are special cards that feature various hard-to-pronounce monsters with quotes attributed to historical figures from our nation’s proud history (I assume). Head to a Game Store to acquire these babies.

“But wait Matt P. Magic, what about tarot? Are these cards not magical too?” you may ask. Yes, young initiate, they are magical, but unfortunately they do not gather correctly. You can’t play MtG with a tarot deck. That said, I do occasionally slip a tarot card or two into my deck when I play COMMANDER, as that format is more forgiving.

Next, you will need some dice. Glitter dice are best, and in a variety of shapes. You can use these to track your life force and also to negotiate battles. Try to match your dice color to your favorite Magic color. There are five colors of magic that scholars have so far discovered. If purple, orange, or yellow are your favorite colors, you will need to choose a different game to learn. Similarly, if you are red/green colorblind, you will need to learn the difference between fires and forests. Practice, so you can tell at a moment’s notice in the heat of battle.

Your deck will need to have an assortment of lands, and an assortment of creatures to live in these lands. The price of their citizenship is that they must be ready to be summoned by you and do battle at a moment’s notice.

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It Is Super Weird That Mono-Black Now Has Access to Lightning Helix

But it makes sense when you think it through.

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Save Your Goshdarn Removal

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.

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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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My Great Designer Search 3 Essay Answers

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.

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