by Kai Chang, Crazy About MtG
Take a look at Magic Worlds. It’s 79% white, and it’s 100% male. Why? If Mark Rosewater says that the male-female ratio is 62% to 38%, why is the professional Magic scene so white and male? Why, while Magic is getting more diverse ethnicity-wise and gender-wise, why hasn’t the competitive scene shifted much?
The gaming community leans towards being white and male, so when Magic began, there was a major carryover, resulting in a mainly white male player base. Let’s talk for a second about social pressures. When people have friends that play, they are more likely to invest more time and money in the game, so that leaning has mainly stayed true, with the Magic community still leaning towards white males, though there is definitely a growing number of minority players.
So, though there are no credible statistics, when Magic began, the player base was probably significantly more white and more male than it is now. But why should that count? The best players are basically the players that have spent the most hours playing, with some element of luck. It’s a generalization, but it’s mainly true.
So, if white males have the most friends that play Magic, then they’re more likely to invest the time and money needed to enter the competitive scene, because being better at the game brings them more than it would if you had friends that didn’t play Magic.
I'm hoping that soon as the player base gets more and more diverse, the competitive scene reflects that change.
by Kai Chang, Crazy About MtG
“In the age of antiquity, the humans of the region that would one day become the largest polis on Theros were ruled by the tyrant Agnomakhos, an immortal archon. Unchecked for generations, his power grew as he carved out a mighty empire. Kynaios and Tiro, joined by their love for one another and for freedom, rose to challenge him. The people rallied to their cause, and Agnomakhos was defeated. The polis of Meletis was founded on the ruins of Agnomakhos’s empire as a beacon of freedom and enlightenment, and its people chose Kynaios and Tiro to be its guardians.”
-Excerpt from Wizards website
With all the talk of how Magic is a game breaking barriers, this is a huge step for making Magic a more modern and inclusive game. We’re working on breaking diversity barriers, but there is still more to work on. We’ve also had Ashiok and Alesha, breaking barriers connected to gender identification. We’re moving forward, bit by bit.
I think this is one of the amazing things about Magic: the Gathering. They make conscious effort to include characters that are outside of the norm. Many other games make no effort to do this, having a non-diverse cast of characters.
This is important because there are people that do not have anyone to identify with. There is no one like them. If that is the way it is, less people will be drawn in because they feel different. They feel like they can’t identify with the characters in the game.
Even though the Magic player base is mainly constituted of heterosexual white males, that is not the ideal composition of the Magic player base. I believe that the ideal player base is one that resembles or I daresay is identical to the composition of the global or national population. That is what we should strive for.
I feel like I could write an entire post on the introduction to this post, and maybe I will, but let’s talk about the core topic of the article, which is one of the new Commanders spoiled in Commander 2016, Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis.
I was not only excited by their effect, I was also excited by the story behind them and what it meant for the Magic community.
Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis portrays a interracial, homosexual couple. Their flavor text being: “Look what we fought for. Look what we built together.” These two were originally portrayed in Theros block as the Guardians of Meletis.
Their flavor text was: “The histories speak of two feuding rulers whose deaths were celebrated and whose monuments symbolized the end of their wars. In truth they were peaceful lovers, their story lost to the ages.” This solidifies the idea that they are indeed a homosexual couple, the first one portrayed in Magic: the Gathering.
So what does this mean for the future of Magic? Sure, homosexuals will feel more welcome and included, which is obviously a boon, but what other resonating effects will this have? You must remember that Commander 2016 is a mass market product, in bookstores and toy stores all over. This means children walking down the toy aisle with stop and see this. They will ask their parents about it, sparking discussion and creating more acceptance of homosexuals.
If this is the media that our children see, if homosexuals get more media exposure, we will morph into a much more accepting and inclusive community, starting with our youth. It will not only help us a Magic: the Gathering community grow more diverse, it will also help the world grow more accepting and inclusive, step by step, leap by leap, product by product.
Kudos Wizards! You have done a exemplary job doing your part in making the world and the Magic community a better place.
by Kai Chang, Crazy About MtG
Today, we’re going to talk about race in relation to Magic: the Gathering again. To see my first post on this topic, you can check it out here. These are important issues that don’t get half the attention they deserve. Again, thanks to Shivam Bhatt and Commanderin’ for inspiring me to write about diversity issues.
Let's get onto the main topic of the article. Today, I’m going to talk about what I perceive as the ideal portrayal of Asians in Magic: the Gathering.
My vision for the ideal portrayal of Asians in Magic: the Gathering is where the fact that they’re Asian is not the primary reason that they’re Asian. That may sound weird, but what I’m trying to express is that the ideal portrayal is as if they took Jace Beleren and made him Asian.
I don’t want an Asian character that is Asian because they know martial arts. I want an Asian character that is Asian, but their race doesn’t play a primary role in defining who they are.
Narset is an example of a sub-optimal portrayal of Asians in Magic: the Gathering. She’s Asian because she is a master martial artist and she’s a sage. Though I am happy that Magic: the Gathering portrayed an Asian at all, I feel like there is massive room for improvement.
I do understand that the fact that her plane was an Asian themed one did play a part in the person she was, but she still could’ve been someone who wasn’t defined by her race.
Kaya is an example of an almost perfect portrayal of a minority. Her race isn’t the biggest defining factor of who she is as a person.
In the future, what I am expecting is a portrayal of an Asian in the same way they portrayed Kaya: someone whose personality and identity isn’t defined by their race.
by Kai Chang, Crazy About MTG
Since I know Mandarin Chinese, and have been noticing some mispronunciations among the Magic community, I wrote this post to help correct them. Pinyin is the basically the pronunciation guide for Chinese characters. It’s widely used in Mainland China. It’s written in the Roman alphabet (the same alphabet that I’m typing in right now), and is supposed to help people pronounce Chinese. However, this article is going to help you learn how to pronounce Chinese. I’m not going to teach you inflection and tone, but I will teach you which sound to make. The main problems are with Portal Three Kingdoms cards, which are based on Chinese history in the Three Kingdoms Period (I spent a long time studying this period ).
The worst thing I hear nowadays is people pronouncing Lu Xun as though the “x” were a “z”. This however, is wrong. The true pronunciation is pronouncing the “x” as though it were a “sh”. It’s not perfect, but it’s closer. If I had audio, I could do a more precise reading, but that might be hard to mimic if you don’t know Chinese or another tonal language.
Another common error is pronouncing Quan as “kuan” or something like that. Might be related to the fact that the song “Hit the Quan” pronounces Quan as “kuan”. However, the true pronunciation is closer to “chwan”.
In newer Magic sets with Chinese legendaries, they’ve moved away from harder pronunciations and have turned to the easier pinyins for names. This may have been a good move, but I feel like they should educate, not just get rid of hard pronunciations.
I hope that this guide helped you! Sorry if my language seemed a little negative at some points, it’s just that sometimes it really annoys me.
by Kai Chang, Crazy About MTG
When to Mulligan is a mini-series talking about the problem: When should you you Mulligan? In this part, I'm going to talk about how you and your opponent's particular deck archetypes affect the way you mulligan.
If you haven't yet read part one of When to Mulligan, you can read it here.
How your Deck affects how you Mulligan
This matters most if you are a combo deck or a very fast deck. If you are a combo deck, you need to know if you will be able to combo off by your target turn. Your probability to draw any one card from a 60 card deck assuming you have four copies of it are as follows:
First Turn: ~6.67%
Second Turn: ~13.33%
Third Turn: ~20%
Fourth Turn: ~26.67%
If you're missing one combo piece you'll only draw it by your fourth turn one quarter of the times you take that risk. That is why combo decks are hard to make work without significant amounts of card draw or tutors.
How your Opponent's Deck affects how you Mulligan
This matters most in games two and three. After you know what your opponent's deck is, you have to take it into consideration when you mulligan. If your opponent is playing an aggressive deck, can you stop them? If you can't, you probably should mulligan. Is your opponent playing combo, if so, can you stop them? If not, that can be another sign that you should mulligan.
If your opponent plays a deck with a lot of either targeted discard or targeted removal, can you survive a Thoughtseize taking one of your cards or a Path killing one of your creatures? If not, then a mulligan might also be in order.
A good way to sum it up is: If you can't stop what your opponent's doing, or your opponent can easily stop what you're doing, you should mulligan.
If you liked this post, you can check out more of my content at my website here.
by Kai Chang, Crazy About MTG
This is a complex topic. There are many riders and variables that affect when you should (or should not) mulligan. When to or when not to mulligan seems like a small thing, but learning to do this effectively can have a big effect on the way your games go. This post is going to cover when to mulligan using the "two turn gameplan" rule (I totally made that name up).
Two Turn Gameplan Rule
It differs from deck to deck, but the gist of the rule is: Do you have a plan about what you're going to do in the first two turns? This usually means that you have two lands and a couple plays. You should also imagine the position you will be in on turn three and see if it's acceptable.
Of course, this varies from format to format. Some formats allow you to do less in the early turns, whereas others promote lots of plays in the early turns.
Let's run some numbers real quick. In a 24 land deck, you should draw an average of 2.8 lands per seven card hand.
2.4 land average for six card hand.
2.0 land average for five card hand.
1.6 land average for four card hand.
1.2 land average for three card hand.
0.8 land average for two card hand.
0.4 land average for one card hand.
0 land average for zero card hand.
If you have two lands in your opening seven, and you may want to mulligan, keep in mind that you are more likely to have two lands than three lands in a six card hand.
If you follow the two turn gameplan rule, and keep this hand (considering that the rest of the hand fits the rule), then this is what should happen.
Turn One: 40% Chance of drawing at least one land
Turn Two: 80% Chance of drawing at least one land
Turn Three: 120% Chance of drawing at least one land
If you're on the draw, you are almost guaranteed to draw a land on turn three.
On the play, it's sometimes safer to mulligan a two land hand, depending on how good the rest of the hand is. By turn three on the play, you'll only have had an 80% chance to draw your third land.
Some decks need less or more lands to function. That will be the topic for the next When to Mulligan. I hope you enjoyed it!
Here's Part Two of When to Mulligan.
Battle For Zendikar: Full Art Lands?
By Kai Chang, Crazy About MTG
Hello Everybody! I'm Crazy About Mtg! Full Art Lands were in the first Zendikar block, but will they be in the Battle for Zendikar block? That would be super fun for me, because they are ~20$, and I find them cool but have never found the real need for them, so I therefore don’t own any. If they did have them in the upcoming Battle for Zendikar block, I would happily own them!
Where To Find Them If They Are In BFZ
In the original Zendikar block, though I didn’t buy any packs from it, I believe they came in the booster pack land slot and in fat packs. That would be simply amazing to pick up like a 40$ fat pack and get 80 Full Art lands. Sadly, Zendikar Fat Packs go for almost 350$ these days. But if they are in BFZ, I’m assuming they will be the usual MSRP or 40$. Correct me if I’m wrong. I might be wrong because I didn’t actually play Magic when Zendikar was in Standard.
Why Would They Be In BFZ?
Mark Rosewater, a Lead Designer for many Magic sets confirmed that Full Art lands were coming back in an upcoming block, and Battle For Zendikar seems like a likely choice. In the comments below, please tell me about your predictions and your favorite Zendikar Full Art Land. Mine is the Bowl Island (Look at the top picture and you’ll see what I mean :) )
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