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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

Recent Topics paging, uploading images and preview bugs require a patch which has not yet been released.

× Talk about collectible card here.

Let's talk about MAGIC (the Gathering)

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05 Jan 2022 13:01 - 05 Jan 2022 13:09 #329377 by Jexik
I recently got back into Magic for probably the 5th time after quitting previously. Although supposedly inspired by Wiz-war and Cosmic Encounter, I think it's the definitive foundational Ameritrash board gaming classic. You probably shouldn't play it though:

eriktwice.com/en/2021/11/12/three-reason...magic-the-gathering/

My brief history with it:

1994: Start playing with 4th Edition because my older sister was playing. I was 9. I played Mono-red and upped my game to Red/Green, using Orcish Lumberjacks and Tinderwalls to get Shivan Dragons or Ernham Djinns out ASAP. I remember triple-lightning-bolting and swinging with a Shivan Dragon to beat a guy at exactly 14 life. He won the series 2-1. Afterwards, I looked at my deck and saw that I had 5 bolts in my deck. I've rarely felt so guilty.

I remember seeing Black Lotuses for $200 and thinking that was an astronomical amount to pay for one card. (Roughly half my salary at age 10). Shivan Dragons for $15 seemed reasonable though

~1995. Still playing. Won a tournament of all us math kids who played at school, using a Green-White Armageddon deck complete with lots of now-laughably-bad Homelands cards.

1997. I quit. This coincides with me going to middle school and being more interested in girls and stuff, but actually spending most of my time playing PS1 games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Armored Core.

1999. I play the Pokemon TCG when it came out. This isn't actually magic, but I did use my deck building skills to make a singularly oppressive deck that made my friends all quit the game. (To make a MTG analog, imagine a deck full of strip mines and Sinkholes that wins something like Inkmoth Nexus with no spells to boost it)

2006-2007. Get back in with the Shards of Alara block. Some real fun multicolored stuff going on. Disliked the new planeswalker cards. Just play kitchen table stuff with my friends, made some of the cookie-cutter (like strategies suggested by the mechanics of the block) Naya and Jund decks, then eventually settled on a very aggressive RB deck with lots of unearth cards. Friends and I eventually tire of it and find other board games in 2008.

2010-2012. I play standard (or type II) seriously for the first time since 1995. Looking out for my budget, I played mono-red at a time when that deck was maybe $100 and the tier 1 decks all used Jace the Mindsculptor and were close to 10x that much. Goblin Guide and Lightning Bolt were in standard and Red was not the best color. Swords, Titans, Preordain, Mana Leak, enemy fetch lands in standard... it was a wild time. (This was at the first Gaming Goat).

I made a really bad Jenara, Asura of War EDH (Commander) deck, but otherwise didn't do much with that format.

Magic fell off as I also got into Summoner Wars and hosting massive house parties. Not at the same time obviously.

2017. Opened a store with the largest brick and mortar board game chain in the US. Commander is now the de facto most popular format. I make some budget commander decks to interact with people, including an Ayli Eternal Pilgrim deck which was my baby- just a bunch of janky life gain and token generation that lays low and then eventually just starts exiling people's boards.

I sell a lot of my valuable cards in the shop, but it fails for a multitude of reasons. Glad I got out in 2018, before the CEO revealed quite how shitty of a person he is.

2021-22, after a couple more rocky years (divorce, the death of my father, all of this). I decide to go back again. Was it goofing around with the digital version on my phone? Discussion on the internet where people asked what the most important games are? Having a little bit more of a steady income combined with more stress from said job making me want to just do something for me for a bit? I don't know. But I've been making a couple commander decks (and played with one on New Years eve), and it has been a fun experience. Seeing that some cards I owned 5 years ago have double or tripled in price has just made me feel a little better or justified in acquiring staple cards for mana bases and whatnot. I've not dropped cash on an Underground Sea, but I am getting a Polluted Delta later this week.

My current deck is a red/green ramp/lands matter deck with a bunch of land and artifact destruction thrown in. It's kind of like that old Pokemon deck I made, but for commander. Radha, Heir to Keld is at the helm.

Then I picked up the Alela Brawl deck and have been looking through my collection for cards that fit. Right now it's basically any interesting enchantment or artifact going in there. I'll have a lot of cutting to do.

Every few years I used to like to try a draft too... it's one of my favorite ways to play, and often the impetus for me getting sucked back in.

What about the rest of you? Ever play? Ever quit? How has it molded the types of experiences you seek in other games? I feel like I wouldn't have liked RftG, Dominion, or 7 Wonders as much were it not for playing Magic first.
Last edit: 05 Jan 2022 13:09 by Jexik.
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05 Jan 2022 13:18 #329378 by fightcitymayor

Jexik wrote: I recently got back into Magic for probably the 5th time after quitting previously.

If it makes you feel better, lapsed players (folks who leave Magic and then come back) are a tracked demographic at WOTC that they do attempt to cater to. I also started in '94 and have also lapsed into and out of the game.

Back when BGG wasn't a shit-bog, I enjoyed defending the game's honor against the multitudes of angry boardgamers who were personally offended by the booster-pack business model. Good times.

MTG remains a Hall-Of-Fame game, regardless of the haters. I just wish that Hasbro hadn't been told that D&D and Magic make up most of their profits, because the last two years have seen an absolute never-ending blizzard of product that makes it functionally impossible to keep up with everything. Clearly the cash-cow is now being flogged to within an inch of its life, and I can only hope the patient survives.

I can see paper Magic becoming an endangered species in favor of MTG:Arena. Not really a question of "if" but "when."
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05 Jan 2022 13:36 #329380 by Jexik

fightcitymayor wrote: I can see paper Magic becoming an endangered species in favor of MTG:Arena. Not really a question of "if" but "when."


Maybe? I feel like there will always be collectors out there, and people who like physical stuff. Books are still a thing. I feel like this is kinda the nerd equivalent of vinyl, or jewelry.

If I were really wealthy for some reason, I'd totally get what's required to play Vintage before I bought a sports car.
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05 Jan 2022 13:38 #329381 by the_jake_1973
I got in in '93 while in the service, so early on in the life of the game. I also found out that the more money you wanted to spend correlated to the amount of wins you generally walked away with. I moved out of Magic into something more fiscally responsible.....Warhammer 40K and 40K epic. LOL

I then left 40K as well. I would get back into Epic since so much can be printed now.

I do not miss Magic and am happy I left it when I did.
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05 Jan 2022 13:51 #329382 by Jackwraith
It's strange how I can basically echo everything that Jake said, except that I was actually at the Gen Con where the game was introduced, so I knew what was coming and was in the thick of things in the Detroit area, playing games with the Donais brothers and later people like Pat Chapin and Erik Taylor. I was a tournament player throughout the 90s but not an especially good one; making top 8s in several PTQs but never getting into the tour.

I crashed out at Invasion in 2001. Despite my love for the game (as FCM says, it's an all-timer), I just couldn't devote that much time or money to it anymore. But like Jake, I segued right into 40K/Fantasy/everything GW which I'd been semi-involved in since 2nd Ed 40K already. My favorite game from that genre was also Epic Armageddon (still have a massive IG army and smaller Eldar and Marine.) That consumed most of my gaming life for the next decade, but it was at least something I could do at my own pace (painting, etc.) and not have to be tuned into the meta on an hourly basis.

I've played perhaps a half-dozen sessions of Magic since I left and they've all been draft, which was my second-favorite format (after Standard/Type II.) I have no regrets. It was a great game, but I let things like that consume too much of my life and I just don't want to go there again. That's part of my general detachment to collectible anything, including electronic games like Hearthstone.
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05 Jan 2022 14:06 - 05 Jan 2022 14:07 #329383 by Jexik
Interestingly enough I played Eldar in 40k in that 1997-1999 period as well, but I never finished painting my stuff, and only played against my one friend who had Ultramarines.

It laid the groundwork for me being smitten by Heroscape and its simplicity. Heroscape with its use of keywords also seemed somewhat reminiscent of Magic.
Last edit: 05 Jan 2022 14:07 by Jexik.

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05 Jan 2022 14:27 #329384 by fightcitymayor

Jexik wrote:

fightcitymayor wrote: I can see paper Magic becoming an endangered species in favor of MTG:Arena. Not really a question of "if" but "when."

Maybe? I feel like there will always be collectors out there, and people who like physical stuff. Books are still a thing. I feel like this is kinda the nerd equivalent of vinyl, or jewelry.

It might never go away completely, but I can see only "special" sets being printed for paper Magic, while the Standard-equivalent stuff becomes an Arena-only concern. Kinda like how at one point the only music CDs that were coming out were "Special Limited Edition Anniversary Box Set Collectible" versions of CDs, because only old guys with stable incomes cared.

And as long as you stay away from the competitive scene, then MTG doesn't have to be a money-pit. I can say that the most fun I've ever had with MTG has been with kitchen-table caliber decks in a distinctly non-competitive environment. Or stick to formats like Pauper, or Draft that don't require the pay-to-win mindset. It is totally possible to have fun minus the big-$$$ rares, and I think a lot of people either can't approach it that way ("Must win at all costs!") or just aren't familiar with playing any other way than Standard.

The rise of Commander over the past few years has basically been predicated on a large portion of diehard fans being completely worn out with the Standard format & wanting to just play something fun.
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05 Jan 2022 14:40 #329386 by Jackwraith

fightcitymayor wrote: and I think a lot of people either can't approach it that way ("Must win at all costs!") or just aren't familiar with playing any other way than Standard.


This is where Mark Rosewater was dead-on in his conceptualization of Timmy (wants to win in big, spectacular fashion), Johnny (likes to win, but has to do so creatively), and Spike (ultimate meta player, just wants to win with the best deck.) Standard has long been dominated by the Spikes, which somewhat hinders design space, since so much of the game is focused on maximum efficiency and more creative/unusual stuff gets sidelined. Despite my Spike/Timmy nature when it came to playing Standard, this is part of why I really enjoyed draft, because you have to work with what comes around the table. Unlike Sealed, which is my least favorite format, you're not stuck with what you get (someone opens three of the best rares in the game while you get useless ones), but have agency to craft your deck in the direction you want to go, while still being unable to truly optimize it.

Plus, with two different formats (Booster, where you have to read the table as to what's coming around to you; Rochester, where you actually see what people are taking and can plan around it), it's possible to play a ton of it and never really get bored, as opposed to Standard where running into the same decks over and over while you play the same deck against them can get old. That said, if you get that finely-tuned deck playing just the way you like it, it can be the best feeling in the world. Playing control Necro against Burn or Turbo Stasis against anything, with decisions on a knife's edge but still feeling like you have answers for everything...? Yeah. That's a ton of fun.
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05 Jan 2022 14:45 #329387 by Shellhead

Jackwraith wrote: It's strange how I can basically echo everything that Jake said, except that I was actually at the Gen Con where the game was introduced...


I was at that same GenCon. The cards looked visually appealing and the players seemed completely enthralled by the game, so I intended to pick up some cards but got too busy with other activities there. Within a month after the convention, my rpg group was getting disrupted because a couple of the players kept playing Magic during the rpg, slowing down the game for everybody else. By spring of '94, I bought some cards and started playing with friends. Initially, local players weren't playing tuned decks at all. Some even complained because I was running a three-color deck, but had to let it slide because all I brought to play was that one deck. Ironically, I never enjoyed the deck-building aspect, even though I was the first local player to do even a little deck-building.

The distribution issues with the Legends expansion frustrated me, and then Garfield's second CCG (Jyhad) caught my attention. IMO, Jyhad (now known as Vampire: the Eternal Struggle) is a much better design, and certainly appealed more to my interests. MtG has a short playtime, a thematic disconnect from the mechanics, and is overly dependent on focused decks and a good opening hand. Jyhad offered a more epic scope, multi-player action, told stories through the gameplay, and allowed a good strategic player to potentially win with an average deck. With a few exceptions, Jyhad cards get replaced in your hand as soon as you play them, which is much more fun than just drawing one card each turn. More crucially, Magic players skewed younger, competitive, and humorless, so I didn't even enjoy being around them between games. A month after Ice Age was published, I was done. I sold off my rares and kept a couple of adequate Magic decks made from commons and uncommons. In 2001, I played a few games with old friends, but never again bought Magic cards.

Of course, Magic remains the more popular game. Quick games and easy rules make for a more welcoming experience. But Jyhad has come back to life twice after going out of print, and currently features a great starter set and a variety of decent pre-made decks. The local play group was meeting weekly again in recent months, but is probably on hiatus right now due to Omicron. I haven't played since the start of the pandemic but hope to get back to the game this spring.
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05 Jan 2022 14:58 - 05 Jan 2022 15:01 #329390 by Gary Sax
Thanks for starting this discussion, Jexik. Magic is DEFINITELY back in the mainstream eye with the digital adaptions and such so I know a lot of people have thoughts.

I haven't played it since starting a little after Arabian Nights and quitting during Fallen Empires (?). I dumped all those cards but god fucking knows what they'd be worth now, I didn't have any of the mox or lotus cards but I had some pretty expensive Arabian Nights cards.
Last edit: 05 Jan 2022 15:01 by Gary Sax.
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05 Jan 2022 15:06 #329393 by Jexik

Gary Sax wrote: I haven't played it since starting a little after Arabian Nights and quitting during Fallen Empires (?). I dumped all those cards but god fucking knows what they'd be worth now, I didn't have any of the mox or lotus cards but I had some pretty expensive Arabian Nights cards.


Yeah, I remember Juzam Djinn being like a $75 card when I started, even though it'd be like a bulk rare or even uncommon now with those stats. So I thought for sure it'd be worth nothing now. I looked it up?

$1.7k on TCG player average.

Those reserve list cards are nuts.

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05 Jan 2022 15:07 #329394 by Gary Sax

the_jake_1973 wrote: I then left 40K as well. I would get back into Epic since so much can be printed now.


Don't want to fragment the conversation too much, but this never occured to me... can you 3d print the old tiny plastic epic stuff? It was by far my favorite GW game when I played in my teens, I played during the Space Marine days when you bought the boxes filled with all the card army hierarchies to make your armies. I loved trying to make armies with those ridiculously tiny army men. I used Squats, iirc, which in retrospect means that my collection I garage saled off years and years ago would be worth an absolute criminal fortune probably.

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05 Jan 2022 15:14 #329396 by jeb
I bought a Revised deck in 1994 or so and didn't do anything with it. For years. Just carried it around, not knowing how to play. It looked pretty. In grad school, circa 1997, finally met someone that knew how to play and got really hooked. My first decks were World Championship decks (Geertsen, Slemr, Kuhn, McCabe) and my trainer friend referred to these as "cheater cards."

They got religious and literally threw their collection in the trash so as not to be a "magic dealer" LOL so I inherited a decent collection, peaking at ~11 dual lands for value items. Played some Type 2/Standard, but mostly talked about playing more than actually playing. I was becoming Sabbath observant, so playing on Friday Night Magic or in Saturday tournaments were out. I wrote some shit on the Dojo, I was (very) active in #mtgwacky, and my biggest claim to fame was probably telling Paul Barclay his new rules for Morph make Illusionary Mask broken as hell and Phyrexian Dreadnought was going to kill everyone on the DCIJUDGE mailing list.

I saw this immediately because the only format I played and in my mind still the best possible way to play MtG is 5-Color. Ante was back (but reasonable) cards were cool, the people were cool, and the games were fun and interesting. It ~kind of~ lives on as EDH or Commander or whatever it's called today, but without Chaos Orb or Contract From Below, it's not the same.

At one point, I had more than 55 different printings of Stone Rain.

Moved to California to be a grownup, sold my collection for about $900 for a Day 1 iPad and haven't looked back.
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05 Jan 2022 15:22 #329398 by Jexik

jeb wrote: They got religious and literally threw their collection in the trash so as not to be a "magic dealer"


One of my good friends in grade school wasn't allowed to play Black cards but otherwise the game was okay. I got some good trades that way, heh.

Moved to California to be a grownup, sold my collection for about $900 for a Day 1 iPad and haven't looked back.


I laughed out loud at this last sentence.

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05 Jan 2022 15:39 #329399 by Jackwraith
I traded mine to one of the local shop owners for a huge Sisters of Battle army; the only 40K army I still own. It got a lot of use, especially since a good friend of mine played Orks (Have you seen what 3rd Ed and later Flamers do to Orks?) We even set up a mass campaign that involved Battlefleet Gothic, Epic, and 40K, with the Imperials standing in for the Sisters in BFG and Epic.

Gary, Epic-scale models are probably ideal for 3D printing, given the amount of army you can churn out with relatively little expenditure of product.

I just remembered that I still have four "championship" decks from the Tempest/Urza's era floating around in the basement somewhere (burn, Blue control, Recurring Nightmare, and something else.) If I still had a regular 2-player partner around, I might break those out. But really we'd probably just default to Neuroshima Hex again.
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