No Internet Magic Arena

I Have No Internet, So I Can’t Play Magic

The date is July 28, 2020. And after returning from a three-day camping trip, I have planned to sit down and play some Magic – only to find that I can’t. You see, Comcast has decided (randomly) to cancel my internet. Which means the only methods I still had for playing Magic in the midst of the pandemic are gone.

My internet service should be restored within a couple days. So I will have the ability to play Magic again soon (hopefully, well before you’re reading this). But at nearly any other Magic-playing point in my life, I would not have hesitated to drive to my local game shop and play in a Draft, Modern tournament, or Commander event to scratch my Magic-playing itch. Given two or three days in which to find an event to attend, I would have easily found one I wanted to play in.

But now, I can’t play Magic without internet access. And I’m finding that, given how my day is already dominated by screentime and non-social activities, I’m not really that excited to play Magic Arena, anyway. I have access to Commander play and my playgroup via Tabletop Simulator, but even that is not the same as just sitting down and playing Magic with friends. Staring at a virtual tabletop and talking with people I cannot see, even my best friends, just does not recreate the feeling of slinging cards and bullshit in person. So even the prospect of playing Magic socially, over the internet, just doesn’t excite me.

Which makes me wonder how long it will be until I just don’t play Magic at all? I play Magic because I enjoy building decks. But for the last four months, I have barely considered buying new cards in paper. I play Magic because I enjoy socializing, especially within an established context. But for the last four months, most of my Magic play has consisted of me staring at a screen, alone, in my living room. I play Magic because I enjoy chatting with my friends about the latest cards, decks, bannings, and designs. But as I find myself becoming less interested in playing the game, I find myself less interested in keeping up with the “news” of it all. And so I don’t have as much to say about where Magic is, where it’s going, or even what I want from it.

What Is Magic’s Future?

What I really wonder about though, even more than the fate of my own relationship with Magic, is how common my story is. How many other players have considered just dropping Magic altogether? How will that affect game stores’ futures, when they are finally allowed to host events again? How have Summer 2020’s sets sold, and has Wizards begun adapting their release schedule and product model to account for the fact that, more than likely, this pandemic will continue another year? Is Magic: the Gathering going to survive 2020?

The answer to that last question is likely Yes. I believe Magic will survive the mess that is 2020. I think it is too good of a game for it not to survive. But I know that my relationship with Magic has changed drastically, to the point where I don’t know when I’ll bother buying paper cards again. Or whether I’ll still be playing Magic Arena when Zendikar Rising releases. Or whether you’ll be reading new entries in this blog come 2021. Without its real world benefits, Magic is losing its luster for me. And I really wonder how many other Magic players feel the same.

magic-the-gathering-slang-beginners

Magic: The Gathering Slang for Beginners

As someone who has both learned and taught people how to play Magic: The Gathering, I can tell you that learning this game is hard. Even after learning the rules, there’s a wealth of Magic knowledge and sub-culture that new players have yet to absorb – complete with a set of game-specific slang.

To help Magic newbies understand at least some of this slang, I’ve listed some of the more popular Magic terms of the moment. I tried keeping this list to twenty or less terms, but ended up wanting to write about twenty-two. If you have no idea what a lord is, or what people mean when they tell you your deck is medium, you’re in the right place. And if you’re ready for a more comprehensive guide (beware – they might be overwhelming), you can check out some of the resources I used to assemble this list.

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Prodigious Growth Featured

Some Things Are More Important Than Magic

It’s been a hectic couple months here at Matledge Media. At the end of March, my wife and I flew to the Midwest to visit family for a week. Then, almost immediately in April, I flew back to attend my Grandma’s funeral.

In between those two trips, my wife and I finished apartment hunting. As I’m writing this, we’re in the midst of the moving process. That process has taken longer than expected because, last weekend, I hooked up with some friends in Denver and spent the weekend hiking, drinking quite a few craft beers, and reading the heck out of A Memory Called Empire (which I would recommend; it’s very good).

All of which is to say, Magic has largely taken a backseat to more important things in my life over the past couple months. Because some things are more pressing than keeping up with War of the Spark spoilers or catching coverage of the latest Modern tournament.

And yet …

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Sideboarding for Dummies - Magic the Gathering - Matt Plays Magic

Sideboarding for Dummies

“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.

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Matt Plays Magic - Casual, competitive, anything but Standard

Matt Plays Magic’s 50th Post Extravaganza!

Hey y’all, and welcome to the party!

Elvish House Party - Matt Plays Magic 50th Post Extravaganza
Come on in!

I’m celebrating Matt Plays Magic‘s 50th post with 50 random facts and observations about the blog, Magic, and life in general. Strap on your party hat and step inside, as I get prepped to write 50 more posts (and then 50 more, and then 50 more, and then 50 more…).

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