by Dan Rae
We all realize that Magic is a widely popular game and recently there have been some serious changes to how WotC is running things, which can be found here. These are some serious changes that have outraged the community. There are even petitions against these changes, and Wizards says they will be listening to what the players have to say and will react accordingly. What that means, I do not know. I honestly am not concerning myself with these changes, or the change to Planeswalker Points and this is the simple fact that I realize: I will never be a pro magic player. Don’t get me wrong, I love magic and never plan to quit playing the game, but all of these changes are affecting the players who play professionally and travel all over the world to compete in events. As soon as I saw the bolded titled, 2012 World Championship, I realized that this article probably had nothing to do with me. Maybe in the future it could have an effect, but by then Wizards will probably have made another twelve changes to their system and we will all be playing with triple-faced cards.
I wanted to get some other people’s opinions and my obvious first choice was, as always, Ken Adams, but I did not have a way to contact him. He was probably busy saving the world. So I turned to a Jupiter local, Ian Claydon, who stated, “Just shows how greedy they [WotC] are. All in all it doesn’t affect me.” I never thought of it in a greed aspect and I am not sure if that is the route that Wizards is going with. I then asked Alex Artese who said, “I think the biggest problem with the announcement is Wizards keeping us in the dark with what is going to happen in 2013. I don’t believe that anything too bad will happen; as the company is well aware of how big professional Magic is in the culture of the game. Being down to 3 PT’s a year I feel is pretty lousy, and having to grind out even more Magic to make Worlds seems silly. I, for one, didn’t see anything wrong with the current PT organization or PPC. So if it wasn’t broke, why did you try to fix it?” Alex brings up some great points because players do not want their beloved game to just die on them and leave their investment worthless. But then again Alex says, and I agree, Wizards knows how big magic is on every level and they do not want to kill their business. So then really what is their whole reasoning for doing this? Hopefully the future will give more insight to the people who are searching for it.
But again this change really has no effect on me and I wonder if it will on a lot of players. I’m sure I could go to a local card shop in my hometown, bring up the changes and 90% of the room wouldn’t know what changes I was talking about. So while my Twitter feed was being bombarded my people complaining about the changes and such, I wondered what the average magic player was doing. Maybe he/she was trying to find a good card in their Exalted deck. But that is enough about the changes.
With all of this chat about the changes it made me think what Magic really is to me. To me, magic is a time in which I can play a game I love with some of the best people in the world. I have met some of my best friends through Magic and had some great times while at tournaments. (Once at a GP, there was a man wearing 100% camo clothing. I’m talking boots, hat, and backpack included. I bumped into that man four or five times and kept saying, “sorry, I didn’t see you there.” The guy did not get the joke at all, but the people around quickly caught on.)
The question arises, at what point does Magic stop being the game for me? I think we all realize that Magic is more than your average game. It becomes an investment and for some people even a job. People go to tournaments and grind the trade tables trying to make value by undercutting dealers and getting people to not realize what something is worth and such. There have been times while at local tournaments or card shops that I have entered into this trade grinding mode in order to make a few quick bucks. That just how this “game” is. The one thing is though; Magic is not the most important thing in my life. I am still in college and have to worry about getting into lab and doing all my reading before I can start to think about Magic. I am writing this article in the school’s computer lab at midnight, but this is after I have finished two lab reports and studied for a test. There are people out there who grind Magic all the time and make a living off it at the trade tables and I say “good for them”. I just know that while I am in that grinding trader mode, the game becomes a lot more work. If you undervalue a card or think the card you are getting is worth more than what it is, you can potentially lose big and then the day has been wasted. You could have just been messing around with friends between rounds. So I just suggest to everyone out there who may be a young player that you need to prioritize and think what you really want in your life. If you want to be a professional magic player and travel the world with the greats, then you need to focus heavily on the game and always be playing. If you want to grind the trade tables to make your money, then keep up on card trends and learn to speculate and pick up cards for cheap and sell high. I know where I want Magic to be in my life and I keep it safe and secure in that spot. One of my great friends Ed took time away from the Deadmau5 show he was attending to impart some of his wisdom upon me. “There has to be a balance and sacrifices. Sometimes you pay life into Magic to win, but do you win if you sacrifice your personal and professional life for Magic?” I have missed tournaments to hang with a girl and sometimes blown off my friends to play Magic. I weighed those decisions and made the one I felt that was right. While I may not be with that particular girl anymore, it does not mean I regret the situation of spending time with her.
Some of you older players may be reading this with your wife or longtime girlfriend (or husband/boyfriend) close by and to you I say congrats and I hope I can one day have what you have. I would love to hear from my readers how you approach Magic in your lives. Leave a comment or message me somewhere else.
I hope all of that talk in the prior sections hasn’t scared anyone off, because now I plan to talk about some actual cards and the like. Innistrad Game Day weekend has passed us by and while I played in the event, with a horrible UB deck. I managed to find myself a solid 1-2 drop, with my one win being to a 14 year old girl who was new to the game. Yeah, I rock. Now I did test this standard deck the night before at a local tournament after crushing in Two Headed Giant Sealed. I literally built my deck so I had something to do after the sealed and during the Game Day. I am not a big Standard player just because I rarely have a chance to play it, with my Friday nights usually spent traveling home or to a friend’s house to crash for a Legacy event the next day. My deck building started with 4 Ponder and 4 Think Twice. From there I added some counters and removal. While I looked through my binder I found that the only blue or black standard creature I had was Ludevic’s Test Subject. Now I did not even consider placing that card in my deck but instead turned to my cube for some fatties. I found a Frost Titan, Grave Titan, Wurmcoil Engine, and then some other cards. Jace, Memory Adept made an appearance in my deck along with Karn and three Liliana of the Veil I happened to have on me between Legacy and my cube. My friend happened to have another Grave Titan and a Precursor Golem to finish out my deck. To my surprise I did manage to scrape together a 4th place finish out of 19 at the standard event after the sealed so I felt the deck could handle itself in the Game Day as well. My sideboard was atrocious and I probably would have been better with no sideboard altogether. I had a Flight in my sideboard to take up spot 15. That is how badly my deck was built. But from playing in these two standard events I realized that Wring Flesh really is underplayed. I had two in my deck and honestly wish I had at least one more. It just did so much for me between taking out pesky humans to slaughtering the more mysterious vampires in the format. I had one person question them and wondered how they are in the late game and really they are just as good. Paired up with a Dismember, it can take out a Wurmcoil Engine or a Titan. It lets you win the lets trade titan battles (assuming no Deathtouch on their part). Plus I think the most annoying combo in standard right now is Sun Titan getting back multiple Phantasmal Images. It is not too bad to spend a single black to take out one of the those “Sun Titans.” So I think in the future if I was to build a legit standard deck, I would definitely include Wring Flesh. I suggest at least testing the card out if you don’t believe me.
Look for some tournament report action in my next article. Hopefully I can put up some good results and the NELCQ event this Saturday so I can provide you with a good read. I’ll take better notes as well on sideboarding.
Pandora has stopped playing because I have been away from it for so long, so I think that means it is time to go home and go to bed. Follow me on Twitter because you know I’m awesome @rocketrae21