Originally written May 23, 2011
I would like to ask anyone that plays Magic the Gathering, the first mainstream collectible trading card game ever, why do you play? My answer is probably among the more complicated that you will ever read. Perhaps, you will connect with some of it.
It turns out that I'm not even the best trading card game player in my family. My younger brother, and only sibling, is the champion of the craft in my family. I'm probably only as good as I am because of our fierce competition. He actually got me into card games, my introduction being the game I played for years, Yu-Gi-Oh!
Now, I know how many Magic players feel about that game. In fact, I dabbled with Magic several times, once in 9th Edition, once between Shadowmoor & Eventide, and again between M10 and Zendikar. That last time was when I truly started to understand and enjoy the game. But personal circumstances made me quit the game and move over to the new card game my brother adopted, the Pokemon trading card game.
I soon got rather sick of the Pokemon game. It wasn't because my brother was worlds better than me at it, but because I never had any real passion for it. I bought some cards and pulled okay cards. But I traded him the best cards in my collection for his remaining Yu-Gi-Oh cards, which I then proceeded to slowly sell to help pay my bills. I just don't like the format of the Pokemon card game and mostly only played to help my brother test decks and waste a Sunday afternoon every so often.
I liked collecting the cards, but around that time (early 2011) they had a major rotation similar to the fall Standard rotations that Magic has. That meant about three-quarters of my brother's cards have lost most of their value and were no longer legally playable at tournaments. Since they didn't really have an extended or eternal format in the Pokemon Card game at the time, my brother and I became discouraged about playing anymore.
So it seemed to me, with the release of New Phyrexia, a perfect time to come back. I didn't do too well with my pre-release sealed deck. But my brother went 3-2 in his first ever Magic tournament. He pulled some great stuff, and since I paid, I got all of the cards. We went to the release draft, in which he pulled a Karn Liberated! (Still, an amazing card today!) His luck with opening packs was always great and it continued with Magic.
The next weekend at Friday Night Magic, he went 2-2, with one of the wins being a bye. During that said bye, he bought two Phyrexian Swarmlord intro packs and a few extra packs and pulled a Batterskull. So after pulling some great cards, I pretty much got him into it. His first deck was an Infect-themed deck right that was quite annoying. To counter it, I built some rogue decks that I actually played for a bit.
Anyhow, the reason I play Magic isn't to really collect cards, actually, or to win tournaments. It's to have fun, something I never really had when I played Yu-Gi-Oh or Pokemon. They were just sort of distractions, albeit expensive ones, from all the other things going on in my life. I've become a lot better at properly valuing cards and know what's worth the "investment" in building my decks.
I like Magic because it's deep. I especially love the planeswalker Elspeth, in both of her incarnations, Elspeth, Knight-Errant and Elspeth Tirel. I'll go into more depth on why she's the card that brought me back to Magic in my review of her in awhile.
I'd love to hear why you play Magic. Feel free to respond to this post. And don't just say it's fun, because if it's not fun, you're not playing right.
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