Check out his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/budgetmtgdecks
Hey, David! Thanks for taking your time for this interview! Let’s get started:
Q1: How did you personally get into Magic the Gathering?
David: About five years ago I went on a snowboarding holiday with a group of friends. During that holiday, the new boyfriend of one of the girls came with this new game we could play at the end of a long day on the slopes. It was Magic: the Gathering. He had made a small themed deck for each of us and we played free-for-all with a tenuous grasp on the rules. Despite the initial complexity he gave each of us 10 new cards every day so we could improve the deck as the holiday progressed. Needless to say I was hooked. Little did I know that he would later help me start the channel Budget MTG Decks. His name was Ruud, AKA the bald guy on my left in all the earlier videos on the channel.
ElspethFTW: That’s a pretty fun way to get into the game!
Q2: What inspired you to create the Budget MTG Decks channel?
David: When I got interested in playing after returning from the winter holiday I asked to join Ruud’s playgroup and asked what the restrictions for deck construction were. Turns out I liked the game, but as a typical Dutch person I wasn’t about to drop my life savings into a hobby I barely knew. We decided to level the playing field between people who had massive collections and new participants. You could build any deck you liked but you couldn’t use cards which cost more than $1. That way the power level would be, well, level and we could still afford to do other things next to our hobby such as feeding and housing ourselves.
This concept caught on really well and we noticed that inexpensive decks could be very powerful without costing an arm and a leg if you just focused on synergy rather than individual good stuff when deck building. At this point in time, I was also busy editing the video from our snowboarding holiday, and I had an epiphany. We could help many people get into the Magic and continue to play it if only we could share this knowledge with others via deck tech tutorials. That is when Budget MTG Decks was born.
Q3: With the perpetual high cost of playing Standard, what would you recommend for players on a budget?
Standard is expensive because the format rotates out. Cards are only valuable for a short period time so when they are valuable they are very valuable. Having to buy into each new standard format can be very expensive. Limited play can also be expensive as it requires the purchasing of new packs for every play session. As such we recommend players to get into non-rotating formats. These formats are constructed, so you can build your own decks with whatever cards you want.
The beauty is that the cards are which are allowed in the format will always be allowed and as such you can always play with the deck (barring the banning of a card). With non-rotating formats such as Modern, Commander and Pauper you can have years of fun and games for a one time investment. Still want to play limited such as draft or sealed? Then build a Cube! With a cube you have a fixed pool of cards from which you can play limited games, the best part? At the end of the day you just shuffle them back together again, ready to play again at no further cost.
ElspethFTW: I agree that non-rotating formats are not only better for your wallet, but allow you consistency in what you play.
Q4: Considering that some cards are much more powerful than others and those cards commanding hefty price tags, do you feel this game is pay-to-win?
That’s a tricky question. The price tags of the cards is only really an issue in constructed formats, so let’s look at that. All things being the same some cards are better than others. There is no denying that, but does the inclusion of more expensive cards guarantee victory? The short answer is no. I believe that the synergy of the deck, the skill of the player and the luck of the draw play an equally important role in deciding the victor. So don’t worry if you can’t afford the most expensive cards for your deck, it might just make you a better brewer and player.
ElspethFTW: I wish more people looked at playing Magic that way.
Q5: Getting new players into the game has always been a challenge because of the apparent complexity of the game. What do you think is the best way to introduce Magic to new players?
A lot of people recommend new players install a digital version of Magic on their PC, phone or tablet and ask them to come back when they understand the game. I don’t believe this is the best way to get people hooked. The fun of the game is, well, having fun, so that’s the most important thing. Teach them the game personally, go through all the rules they need to play a simple game. This is very important, new players don’t need to know all the rules they just need to know enough to have fun playing.
Give them a deck with mostly commons and a few rare bombs. Keep it simple. As you play, don’t make the optimal choices. Let them learn not only from their mistakes but also your intentional mistakes. That way, they feel like each game is close and won’t get dissuaded by constantly being crushed.
Remember that they need to have fun and no one enjoys a game where they only lose constantly. Plus let them have the deck if possible, nothing plants the seed of this hobby like a sense of ownership and control.
ElspethFTW: That’s really good advice!
Thanks so much for your insights, David! Good luck with the channel!
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** Disclaimer: I was compensated in absolutely no form for this interview. It was done purely for the good of the Magic the Gathering community and the goodness of my own heart ;)