My family is huge into card games and I grew up in the midwest, where Euchre is a thing, so I’ve grown up loving cards and card games. They’re social, they’re cheap, and once you’ve invested in a deck of cards, the possibilities are endless. I even know a few card magic tricks, though I’m terrible at them. My dad’s a huge fan of Cribbage, which we play all too infrequently, but whever I’m home for the holidays, we always get some Euchre in, or perhaps some Gin Rummy.
Fun fact, I actually collect decks of cards. I have a deck from just about every casino I’ve been to, I have several movie themed decks (Despicable Me, Star Wars, James Bond, Jurassic Park, TRON), and lots of others about animals from various national parks & zoos, Coca-Cola decks, etc.
All of these decks have Kings and Queens, and Aces and Jokers, but there are no elves, goblins, griffons or most importantly, fireballs. When you combine a love of fantasy and sci-fi with a love of playing cards, there’s a rather obvious conclusion: Magic: the Gathering.
Magic’s been around forever, and I’ve known of Magic’s existence for a long time, but I started dabbling in it in High School. There were several evenings with friends in basements while we played 3-for all, with some nerdy movie on in the background. Ryan, who is always the elf, was usually playing a green deck. Tim would play red, and I always picked white. That was around Core 8th edition, I believe.
About a year ago, I tried to re-kindle the MtG fires by buying a Battle Booster (their 2-player starter) for $10, and made my wife sit down and give it a try. She played WoW (Paladin, Mage, Rogue), and she’s a huge fantasy (Hobbit, LoTR) & sci-fi (Trek) fan, and she’s usually fair game to try a nerd game. Unfortunately, the 2-player semi-randomness was stacked entirely in my favor, and I ended up trouncing her game after game. Needless to say, it wasn’t a positive experience for either of us.
At the NOVA Open this year, each swag bag had a starter deck. These are little 20-card single color decks, and there were a few of us who knew how to play, but hadn’t in a while, and it was fun to just play some small games. As a result, Magic has had more than its fair share of my attention lately, mostly in the form of YouTube Videos.
I’ve been watching videos by AbsoluteMtG, who does a great job of explaining what he’s doing and why. His deck construction videos are top-notch, and I’ve been doing a lot of reading on BREAD, and how to build decks in Limited formats. Eventually, I hope to go to a local Friday Night Magic, and try my hand at a Draft or Sealed event.
Here’s AbsoluteMtG’s video on How to Build Your First Magic Deck, using the M14 (2014 Core Set) Deckbuilder’s Toolkit ($20)
This video inspired me to do the same thing. He makes several good arguments as to why the Deckbuilder’s Toolkit is a great place to start, and that’s where I’ve begun. I did the same thing he did in the video, I sorted and sorted and opened my four packs, and sorted some more, and then I made a 40-card deck out of it.
Here’s what I ended up with: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/m14-deck-builders-toolkit-limited/
It’s nothing special, but it looks like a fun mix of Red removal and Green creatures. Tappedout’s system is really cool, since it gives you a breakdown of mana, card types, and will even let you do some sample initial hands.
Geek & Sundry’s new Spellslingers channel is also awesome. Day is amazing, and the show really makes the game accessible. For those who don’t know, Day usually commentates and does StarCraft strategy things, but the reason I know of him is because of this. He recorded himself playing through a horror video game, at night with the lights turned off, and posted the entire thing for our viewing pleasure. It’s hilarious. And awesome.
Ok, so now what?
Well, I’m hoping to make Magic Mondays a thing. I’m not sure what it will entail, entirely, but I’m hoping it will chronicle my exploration of the game, decks and formats.
I have a sealed M14 FatPack (9 boosters) sitting on my desk, with three more boosters in reserve. I’m hoping to turn those dozen packs into two 6-pack sealed deck trials, which I’m hoping to record and post.
Obviously, if I ever get the nerves up to go to a FNM and compete, I’ll be sure to post the results here.
In the mean time, talk nerdy to me. Do you play Magic? What’s your most memorable experience with Magic, or card games in general?