As you might’ve guessed from my last post, I have not interacted with Magic much lately. Which has made it harder and harder to come up with topics that are both interesting and exciting enough to write about. Rather than stretch to fill this space, I’m putting Matt Plays Magic on hiatus for the foreseeable future.Continue reading “Matt Plays Magic Is On Hiatus”
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.
With Guilds of Ravnica‘s Izzet-themed cards just released, I wanted to spend this week talking about Magic‘s most powerful card:
Oh. From the look on your face, I can see I’m going to have to explain myself. Don’t worry; that’s what this blog post is about.
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.
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.
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.