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On Going Pro At Magic - The Gathering

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the cheetos-references-abound dept.

Puzzle Games (Games) 108

VonGuard writes "It's been 12 years since Magic: the Gathering was released, by WotC, and the game is now six million players strong. The East Bay Express has a long-form piece narrating the trials and tribulations of a man who's trying to turn pro at this addictive trading card game . Richard Garfield is always demanding the mind athletes be treated with the same respect as physical athletes. As you can see in the story, however, we're not quite there yet."

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Pro? (1, Insightful)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184247)

Aren't professional role players generally called actors? I'm confused...

Re:Pro? (4, Insightful)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184396)

Aren't professional role players generally called actors? I'm confused...

Magic: The Gathering isn't a role-playing game, it's a competitive card game with definite winning and losing states (utterly unlike most pen-and-paper RPGs). Going pro at magic is thus much more akin to being a professional poker/chess/(other competitive intellectual game of your choice) player than acting, which it shares little if anything in common with.

Re:Pro? (1)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184523)

Ah, ok. I was always under the impression it was a fantasy RPG thing and used the cards as sort of a place-holder for set rules so it'd eliminate the silly arguments and debates about the my-magic-is-more-powerful stuff that seems to dominate a normal roleplaying game (or at least the ones I've been to).

Maybe I should pick some of these cards up sometime and have a go at it...

Re:Pro? (4, Informative)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184778)

It's a fun game, and the poker comparison is accurate, but it's a LOT more luck based than Poker ever is. If you get mana screwed (have no lands to play), you could be the best player in the world, and you're still fucked. You get a bad hand in Poker and you can at least bluff.

If you want to play in the tournaments, you have to spend a fortune as there's a new expansion every 3-4 months, and expansions are removed from the tournament cycle with regularity. To stay competitive, you have to keep buying new cards. I had a friend who played tournaments and he'd buy two BOXES of booster packs every time a new expansion came out. That's about $200 I think. Maybe more now. It's a complete money pit, but hey, if you have fun and can afford it, good luck to you.

I used to collect the cards, have over 6000 of them. The aforementioned friend used to send me his doubles of his common cards (there's common, uncommon and rare. The rare cards go for a quite a price in some cases. I have single cards worth over $10). I used to wind up with 6-8 of each common. That was after he had taken enough for his deck building needs.

It's definitely fun to play, but bear in mind a lot of kids play it too. Finding mature players may be a trick.

Re:Pro? (2, Funny)

Saige (53303) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184980)

The rare cards go for a quite a price in some cases. I have single cards worth over $10

$10? Somewhere at home I have a little box that contains a Library of Alexandria, 4 Mana Drains, and a Time Walk. (My Mox Sapphire disappeared during a pro tour qualifier a few years ago)

$10? Pshaw. :)

Re:Pro? (1)

lactose_incarnate (659200) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185713)

Heh, you'll pay about $300 for two boxes at WotC's prices. But if you look in the right places online, you can get two for $140-170.
The best plan to amass a card fortune, though, is to get good at drafting.

The single best Magic format, however, is multiplayer.
No real winnings or serious competition so the money issue is gone, you're playing with friends so they're mature enough for you, and you don't have to worry about cards rotating out or cards being restricted.

Re:Pro? (1)

Juanvaldes (544895) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185801)

ebay. ~70 shipped.
Brick&Morter. ~100.

Re:Pro? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8185173)

How is Magic an intellectual game? Only idiots play it. I mean, in card games, some intelligence and strategy is required. Everyone has the same set of cards to work from, even. And in sports, it requires even more from your "talent" spectrum.

In games like "Magic: The Gathering", it is just a matter of who has the strongest cards. Cards that you can buy. Buying the best bat in the world won't make you a winning baseball player. But dishing out $300 for an uber Magic card will make you a king.

I always figured the dumbasses who play this are the same dumbasses that collected and "played" with Pogs in the 90's.

Re:Pro? (3, Insightful)

lactose_incarnate (659200) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185644)

In high-level Magic, the price really isn't an issue. You'll never see someone at a PT playing a sub-optimal list because they just didn't have the cards.

And Draft, widely regarded as the most skill-intensive format, doesn't even require you to own any cards; you sit down at a table with seven other people, pass packs around while you each take a card in turn, and then make decks from the cards you pull.

The only format where price matters and where $300 cards are legal is Type 1, the format that includes all the sets printed (sans Portal and Unglued), and there are no truly high-level T1 tournaments (that's not true, but WotC does not host high-level T1 tournaments, so the difference when discussing Pro Magic is negligible because the prizes in T1 tournaments come mostly from notoriety and success, as opposed to cash winnings).

I won't address the other issues in depth, because skill and strategy depend on what level you play the game, and we don't need to degrade the discussion by bickering over "more from your 'talent' spectrum."

Re:Pro? (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197101)

Too bad they don't let Unglued in:)

Luck plays a big part. The draw you get. As I said in another post (though maybe the one that disappeared on me), in Poker, you get a bad hand, you can bluff and maybe still win. In Magic, you get a bad hand, it's game over.

I disagree about it being for idiots who buy the best card. Everything the previous poster said is correct.

People are actually pros at this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8184253)

Let me guess, are they 40 year old virgins living with their parents still?

And such a well-written article, too... (2, Funny)

Tyrdium (670229) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184298)

Hugh looks boyish, but actually he's 35, and takes this shit very seriously.

Yep, those are definitely the words of a great journalist. It gives the whole thing amazing authority. ;)

Other choice quotes (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184635)

...To maintain pro status, he'll have to consistently kick ass at Pro Tour events...

...The place reeks of teenage nerdlings -- 150 duelists, and not a vagina in the place...

...One such conversation is going on behind him. A salt-and-pepper-bearded man with palsy and horrible BO is discussing a duel with a teenage boy who is easily a yard and a half wide:...


Can you imagine it? (5, Funny)

lake2112 (748837) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184331)

Madison Square Garden on a Saturday Night ... Completely sold out .... Its the finals of the Magic the gathering world championships Hugh Moore vs. Erik Lauer ... TO THE THOUSANDS IN ATTENDANCE AND THE MILLIONS AT HOME LETS GET READY TO RUUUUUUMMMMMMBBBBBBBBLLLLLLLEEEEE!! Fans wearing shirts that say "My Serra Angel loves me" and "I've got Craw Wurms" Can you imagine it?? Scary huh ...

Re:Can you imagine it? (1)

ZzzzSleep (606571) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185778)

I remember that the world championships used to be broadcast on ESPN. Does anyone know if that's still happening?

Re:Can you imagine it? (1)

lactose_incarnate (659200) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185875)

As far as I know, it was a one time thing.

Although for the World Championships, the Sideboard Online had some live video coverage. I watched the last part of the Wake vs Wake finals. Grueling, man, grueling. Watching that it wasn't hard to see why ESPN didn't broadcast it.

Re:Can you imagine it? (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 10 years ago | (#8195637)

hahaha i want one of those craw wurms tshirts.

I can't believe (1, Interesting)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184333)

people still play this game. It was a fad that every geek got into when I was in middle school, so oh about 9 to 10 years ago. Then it died. Alliances was the last expansion I remember, and it came out just as I stopped playing.

I've met people who still play, and I see them at the local game store. But I just don't understand them anymore. In the early days it was cool because CCGs were a new thing. And Magic was the first big one. Nowadays though, it is no longer a game of skill or strategy. It is a game of money. Whoever has the most money can buy the best deck that wins instantly. I see it happen all the time at the store.

I'm not going to rant and rave about all the stupidities and problems with CCGs, but let me just say this. Save your money and buy a game where skill determines victory as opposed to luck or money. I highly suggest German Board Games like Puerto Rico and El Grande. Also any of the non-collectible card games from Looney Labs like Nanofictionary, Chrononauts or Fluxx are excellent.

Seriously, who the fuck still plays magic!?!?! It's incomprehensible.

Re:I can't believe (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8184529)

I'm typically not condescending of other people's posts, but this is particularly ignorant.

Yes, there is an element luck involved, but would you say that all that poker is is a game of luck? Of course not. The same applies to magic. The reason that certain players [wizards.com] (kai budde, jon finkel, etc.) consistantly place well at pro tours and grand prix is because they are simply the best there are at the game. period. they dedicate themselves to the game (some people take a year off from work/school to "go pro" - no kidding) and really understand it.

money really isn't an issue, unless you're playing type 1, which there are barely any sanctioned events for anymore (NONE of the pro tours or grand prixs use this format in fact. they are all type2 [only cards currently printed] or extended [the past several sets]). the cost of a competetive deck in today's environment is much less than the equipment a football player owns, the membership to a gym, or countless other activities. not to mention that expensive cards != ( for all you vb6 guys) good at the game. if i sat down across the table from bob maher, and i had a deck worth several hundred dollars more than his, chances are he'd still school me with a 20 dollar deck.

yes, there's luck involved. yes, cards can cost a fair amount. but is it a game of skill? yes. does it reward intellect and originality? most definitely.

Re:I can't believe (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184979)

I'm typically not condescending of other people's posts, but this is particularly ignorant.

not to mention that expensive cards != ( for all you vb6 guys) good at the game.

!= is not valid in VB6. You're thinking of <>.

Re:I can't believe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8186153)

sorry, i used "HTML Formatted" to fit the link in, which removed the symbols (thinking it was open/close tags).

doh. my bad. heh.

Re:I can't believe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8190585)

In that case...

&lt; == <
&gt; == >

Re:I can't believe (3, Insightful)

Talondel (693866) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184666)

I actually stopped playing about the same time you did (Alliances). Believe it or don't there are far MORE people playing magic now than there were back then. Around here (Phoenix AZ) there were 300+ people playing at a tournament last weekend, that had no cash prize. They each payed $30 a piece for the right to play. There will be a money Tournament in Oakland this coming weekend (the article mentions this at the end) that will draw around 1000 people from all over the country.

Your comment about "It is a game of money" really isn't true anymore. While it was in the past, "TYPE I" magic, where you can play any card, no matter how powerful, is pretty much dead. These days, "Standard" or "Type II" magic where only the last 2 years worth of cards can be played, is far more common, and it doesn't take much cash to build a competative deck in this format. Even cheaper to play (and what I still play from time to time) is Limited magic, where you buy 45-100 cards when you enter, then build your deck out of only those cards. The only expense is the entry fee ($10 to $20 depending on the number of cards used). The "Pro Tour" plays primarily these last 2 formats, so saying that its all about who spends more money really isn't accurate these days.

The game isn't as skill based as chess, and has more luck involved than poker, but it's still a game where the better more experience player will tend to come out on top. Which is more than I can say for Fluxx....

Re:I can't believe (1)

Colazar (707548) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185464)

"These days, "Standard" or "Type II" magic where only the last 2 years worth of cards can be played, is far more common, and it doesn't take much cash to build a competative deck in this format."

But, if your cards are basically going to expire after two years, then in order to compete you have to keep buying more cards. So money still is a factor.

As compared to bridge or chess where once you buy the deck, or the game, you can compete with it for the rest of your life.

Re:I can't believe (1)

lactose_incarnate (659200) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185805)

It is a factor, and you can't play Magic competitively without expecting to spend money on it, but it's not nearly as big a factor as people seem to think it is, especially not if you can become a good drafter.

And (despite what people who have never seen T1 played will tell you), Standard is the most expensive format out of them all if you play it for any length of time; a much better benchmark would be Extended, which rotates only once every several years and which has environment shifts far less drastic than T2. You still spend a deal of money even in Extended, but Magic (done correctly) really is not too bad in the long run when you compare it to other hobbies.

Re:I can't believe (1)

cheerios (741510) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186007)

...and then of course, there's those of us who just play because it's fun. Who never attend tournaments, and who collect for the bragging rights, not the deck power. It's not all about winning guys, remember this IS a hobby, meant for FUN ;)

Re:I can't believe (1)

lactose_incarnate (659200) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186344)

Damn straight.

My best Magic memories are of playing Chaos multiplayer with big groups of friends. I killed several people the other week with a Jokulhaups because some poor fool had a Dingus Egg out. And every once and a while me and a friend or two in a good position will hold instant-speed direct damage spells and counterspells and threaten poor players with one or two life left into doing our bidding.

Re:I can't believe (2, Funny)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197291)

First game of Magic I ever played, a friend busted out a Mountain Goat and cast Flying on it. For me, the dreaded "Flying Mountain Goat" sums up everything that makes Magic a real laugh:)

Main reason I've collected the cards though is for the art.

Re:I can't believe (1)

gasgesgos (603192) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184737)

It is a game of money. Whoever has the most money can buy the best deck that wins instantly. I see it happen all the time at the store.

This statement simply isn't true for Type 2 (the current expansion block, last expansion block, and the base sets are the only legal sets), or Sealed Deck or Draft formats.
Right now, in Type 2, the Affinity deck is very competetive, and it requires 2 or 3 copies of a rare card, the deck might cost you $15 and some time to borrow commons and uncommons from friends.
And in sealed deck and draft, money isn't an issue, everyone gets the same amount of packs to work with. Those are all about deck building and play skill.

Seriously, who the fuck still plays magic!?!?!

Quite a few people play casually and competetively, especially in the upper midwest, where winter is a great time to stay inside.

Re:I can't believe (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186406)

"Whoever has the most money can buy the best deck that wins instantly. I see it happen all the time at the store."

Depends on the environment you play in. Hell, even the basic game rules have changed to a great degree since you were playing. Whole new ball of wax. If you think skill doesn't determine who wins, you pick any deck you want, I'll play you with one of my cheapie decks and we'll see how fast you win.

Re:I can't believe (1)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186546)

well, I've always had the most fun with theme decks.

such as my deck that turns all land into forests and taps them to gain life (with lifetaps).

or my elf/ big green deck which basically just builds up mana faster than you can say "Elder Dragon."

Or my reanimator deck that can get the large monsters (7/7 and above) out on the third turn.

then there's the plague rat deck (20 swamps, 35 plague rats, 10 dark rituals)

Re:I can't believe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8189001)

I agree that constructed Magic sucks. But there aren't many things more enjoyable than a good booster draft, if you can find one.

Obligatory Faggot Photo Link (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8184376)

What? Me Gay? [lastcoolnameleft.com]

YES! You are gay, fagmaster!

Athletes of the Mind (3, Insightful)

Snowspinner (627098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184388)

I'm not entirely convinced that MtG players are so much "Athletes of the Mind" as "Athletes of the Wallet"...

Re:Athletes of the Mind (1)

Senjutsu (614542) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184466)

I'm not entirely convinced that MtG players are so much "Athletes of the Mind" as "Athletes of the Wallet"...

Obviously the most expensive deck isn't a guarantee of a win, but it will let you place well. How is that unlike any other sport on earth, though? Team sports (the team that can afford the best players will generally do damn well), bobsledding (He who can afford the best engineered sled will do really well), any sport involving individual strength/speed (he who can afford the latest "one-step ahead of the detection methods" steroid cocktail will probably win), etc, etc?

Re:Athletes of the Mind (1)

Pluvius (734915) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184690)

I think the difference is that the other things you mentioned are actually sports, and thus that sort of thing would be expected. M:tG doesn't fall into that category, though. Instead, it's considered a card game. The card games (or hell, even games that primarily require mental skill in general) that most people are used to give little advantage to the person with the most money. The fact that this particular card game relies to a great deal on the willingness of the player to buy expensive cards is thusly a little off-putting, to say the least.

Rob

Re:Athletes of the Mind (1)

Snowspinner (627098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184693)

Because in the instance of MtG, this applies to every level of play.

Steroid cocktails don't make a difference at a local road race, because no one is using them. Neither do expensive running shoes.

But in Magic, money matters immediately. Especially on the casual level, the players stratify clearly based on money spent on cards. The player who buys two boosters a week is better than the player who buys one is better than the player who buys one every other week.

Re:Athletes of the Mind (2, Informative)

gasgesgos (603192) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184807)

Have you ever heard of a Limited format game? Sealed Deck and Draft throw the concept of "most money wins" out the window. Each player gets a predetermined amount of packs and needs to build a deck and play it. It keeps everyone on an even field.

Re:Athletes of the Mind (1)

clamatius (78862) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186182)

I just can't let this one past as a +5 Insightful.

So, firstly, cost. Draft play, Rochester draft in particular, is the most skill-intensive Magic format. Cost to play for a day is 3 boosters plus anything the organising event charges, so typically a total of about $15. If you were playing a LAN game tournament, that would probably cost a comparable amount.

If you want to play constructed-deck MtG, sure, you can spend a bunch of money on it. You'd have to spend a bunch of money on golf too to get really good at it, but I wouldn't call Tiger Woods an Athlete of the Wallet.

Secondly, skill. In Rochester draft, players form tables of 8 and take turns drafting cards from a single booster at a time. It rewards skill so much partially because being able to remember every "good" card drafted, between all 8 players, gives you a significant advantage. Remembering all the cards you have previously drafted is also important. And that's before you actually get to play any games.

The skill curve in Magic is not as steep as Chess because of the luck involved, but having watched numerous Pro Tour matches (where the players are among the best in the world) there are still mistakes being made at the top level of play. Just as the best poker player in the world won't win every hand, the better Magic players will tend to win over time rather than winning every game.

Re:Athletes of the Mind (1)

Snowspinner (627098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186354)

If it's any consolation, I was shooting for about +3 funny.

Re:Athletes of the Mind & Wallet & Travel (1)

Jodiamonds (226053) | more than 10 years ago | (#8189078)

This trite comment is Wrong. I am totally, absolutely convinced that the price of tournament Magic is on par with other proffessional sports / mind games.

Cheapest barrier of entry: Entering a single Sealed Deck tournament will cost $30 or less. You don't need to own a single Magic card to do this. Just show up. This is certainly a reasonable cost.

You *can* buy every single card from the past year, if you like, for hundreds of dollars, which will let you be as competitive as anyone else. Is that a barrier to entry? Only if you want to play in the "constructed" tournaments, instead of the Sealed Deck (or draft, etc.) Even then, it's certainly within reach of most adults.

How much is the barrier to entry to become a professional:
- Baseball player?
- Hockey player?
- Chess player?
- Bridge player?

The most expensive part of the game, for ANY of those games, is likely to be the TRAVEL expenses. All of those games likely require traveling hundreds of miles if you want to compete for Big Money.

The relatively small cost of entry to buy a decent constructed Magic deck is dwarfed by the price of a plane ticket. (Seriously, the absolutely best decks of today would cost less than $300 dollars to buy every card, and some of the best for about $100... assuming you have NO cards at all.) And yet... even the cost of the flight is basically covered by Wizards of Coast!

I've played in exactly one Magic Pro Tour. The qualifying tournament I entered (and won, to get the slot in the Pro Tour) cost $25. The Pro Tour was in Nice, France. I live in Boston, MA, USA. The flight to Nice cost about $500 (plus a few for taxes).

The prize for winning the qualifyer tournament? A $500 travel voucher (which is, in fact, just a $500 check). Plus a small truckload of magic cards.

I had to pay for the hotel out of my pocket. So it cost me a few hundred dollars overall, to compete for a top prize of $30,000 (and vacation in France).

I'm pretty sure I would have had to spend more money to, say, get into minor league baseball.

Expensive sport (3, Interesting)

jmpoast (736629) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184428)

I played magic when I was younger. The reason I stopped? The endless expantions. Not only did they keep adding more and more cards to the game (not all bad but games took forever as people tried to figure out what each card did after it was played) but you have to keep upgrading your decks with new packs. And you can't just buy the cards you want. You have to keep buying packs until you happen to be lucky enough to get them. It got very expensive very fast as your pile of worthless cards kept growing and every once in a while you added something good.

The only games I could still bring myself to play are the 1 pack tournaments. Everyone gets one brand new pack of cards, and thats all you have to play with. This forced you to think on the fly and develop strategy as you drew cards because you couldn't set up the deck beforehand. Quite a fun way to play (allthough you still had to buy a new pack every time you wanted to play it)

Re:Expensive sport (1)

lactose_incarnate (659200) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185973)

Type 2 can suck sometimes.

If you ever feel like getting back into the game a little bit, draft is very fun. Eight people sit around a table, and you each get three boosters. Everyone opens the first booster, takes a card, passes it to the person sitting next to them, who takes a card, who passes it, etc, until all the boosters have been gone through. Then you make decks out of those cards.

And if you still have your old cards, multiplayer is fun, or if you want to play a little competitively there's always T1 or T1.5, and you won't have to buy new cards for either.

There's also free, less competitive ways to play Magic online. Magic-League [magic-league.com] uses two programs called Magic Workstation and Apprentice to play games online, and they're both free. You can also draft with add-ons.

Re:Expensive sport (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 10 years ago | (#8187384)

"And you can't just buy the cards you want. You have to keep buying packs until you happen to be lucky enough to get them. It got very expensive very fast as your pile of worthless cards kept growing and every once in a while you added something good. "

Wow, that sounds really like the variable reward theory that Skinner came up with. Read up on Skinner Boxes to find out about it. It's the science behind psychological addiction. Everquest does this too which you can read a paper on here [nickyee.com] .

That's why I stopped playing Magic, when I realized that. And trust me, psychological addictions can be just as bad.....sometimes harder to fully conquer than physical/chemical addictions.

From the article... (4, Funny)

BTWR (540147) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184439)

Hugh looks boyish, but actually he's 35, and takes this shit very seriously.

Boy, can this sucker write! New York Times, here he comes!

Re:From the article... (1)

kurosawdust (654754) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185918)

True; uniqueness without talent is no good. Personally, I would have preferred to see someone like Hunter S Thompson write an article on this subject...
I was right in the middle of a fucking Nerd Reptile zoo. And someone was giving booster packs to these goddamn things! It won't be long now before they tear us to shreds...

throw new LanguageDilutionException(); (3, Funny)

Dr. Bent (533421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184442)

demanding the mind athletes be treated with the same respect as physical athletes.

Mind athletes?? The last time I checked, an Athlete [reference.com] is someone who required good physical attributes in order to be sucessful. The term "Mind Athlete" makes no sense whatsoever [reference.com] .

Lets call these people what they are...gamers. Being a gamer is nothing to be ashamed of, and I would love to see more professional gaming, and more pro gamers. This goes for both the electronic and "pencil and paper" variety.

But come on people, is Gary Kasparov a "Mind Athelete"? Maybe gatorade can come out with a new marketing campaign:

"When you're trying to decide between bishop to R3 or a queen gambit, your body depletes essential minerals and nutrients..."

Re:throw new LanguageDilutionException(); (4, Interesting)

daVinci1980 (73174) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185017)

Mind athletes?? The last time I checked, an Athlete is someone who required good physical attributes in order to be sucessful. The term "Mind Athlete" makes no sense whatsoever.

You might want to consider your own references [reference.com] before calling a definition incorrect:

3. One fitted for, or skilled in, intellectual contests; as, athletes of debate.

Re:throw new LanguageDilutionException(); (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 10 years ago | (#8187393)

You might want to consider having a chuckle. Parent was making a joke about how the term "Mind Athlete" sounds so ridiculous next to "gamer". But....thanks for being a party pooper anyway.

Re:throw new LanguageDilutionException(); (0, Troll)

knife_in_winter (85888) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185087)

<flame>

Hey, maybe you should read ALL the definitions of the word athlete [reference.com] before you over impress everyone with your, what is that, stupidity [reference.com] ?

To quote, for others who are perhaps too freaking LAZY to read down that far:

3. One fitted for, or skilled in, intellectual contests; as, athletes of debate.

So, yes, smartass; as dumb as it sounds, Gary Kasparov is a "Mind Athlete".

By the way, how the hell did you manage to spell athlete correctly the first them, but then incorrectly as athelete [reference.com] ?

</flame>

Re:throw new LanguageDilutionException(); (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8185196)

AMEN!

The equivalent to "Magic: The Gathering" as far as intellect, strategy, brains, etc - would have to be the card game "War". You know, where two people have half a deck and they throw cards down on the table and whoever has the higher card is the winner. It's just about that complicated - or even less.

Re:throw new LanguageDilutionException(); (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8197648)

That's a dumb analogy. If nothing else there's a hell of a lot of reading involved in MTG, trying to figure out what the fuck a card does:)

Re:throw new LanguageDilutionException(); (1)

M.C. Hampster (541262) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185393)


Interesting that someone who would complain about the usage of language would have a subject that tries to convey an idea in code.

Re:throw new LanguageDilutionException(); (-1, Flamebait)

SamBeckett (96685) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185452)

Dude Bishop to R3? WTF does that mean? and then you go on talking about "Queen Gambit" when you mean "Queen's Gambit" and that's an opening AND THE FRIGGIN BISHOP CANT EVEN GET TO KR3 OR QR3. STFU CHESS NEWBBBBBB

Knew a guy like this once... (1)

Sentar (188247) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184650)

...he bought his first car by trading Magic cards for it. As I recall, it was a rather nice Honda Accord.

Wonder what happened to him...

Wallet: The Emptying? (2, Funny)

real_smiff (611054) | more than 10 years ago | (#8184775)

Heh, well where I used to play it was known as Tragic: The Saddening.

(Note, I did use to play this game, so this is not a troll. It's a great game, I even won some local competitions, but one day I woke up and didn't want to play it any more. Just no urge whatsoever. Perhaps I should give it another go. Wallet: The Emptying *is* pretty accurate though).

MtG is not a good example of a mind sport (3, Interesting)

metroid composite (710698) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185020)

Consider Bridge, which was on display at the Olympics recently. Consider Chess, which is in similarly high regard. Consider competitions like Math Counts [mathcounts.org] which are clear academic games. Alternatively Reach for the Top [reachforthetop.com] for a more trivia-based pursuit. Or, the program I've gotten heavily suckered into, which is a battle of creative problem solving the Future Problem Solving Program [fpsp.org] or its rival Odyssey of the Mind [odysseyofthemind.com] . ALL of these are taught to gifted children in many schools.

Magic the Gathering, on the other hand, is deplored by some fundamentalist christians for the pictures it uses, known perhaps more for its business side than its academic side, and continually changing the dynamic of the game.

Don't get me wrong, it's already harder for an intellectual athlete to get funding to go to international meets for the more traditional academic competitions, and a local basketball trophy will usually be more proudly displayed than an international medal even for the better accepted intelectual athletics. I just think MtG is likely to generate even less respect.

But it is a good mindsport (3, Insightful)

cgenman (325138) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185763)

With thousands of cards to remember, hundreds of deck styles, and perhaps most importantly millions of players, MtG is a good mind sport. Strategies off hand? High Mana decks. Vampire decks. Suicidal creatures decks. Control decks. Land destruction decks. Small damage high volume decks. Swarm decks. Rainbow decks. Green Giants. Deck destruction. Artifact sacrifice. Living lands. Everyone dies. etc, etc, etc. Is your deck fast or slow? Is one more card of type X worth 1/60th of every other card in your deck? Do you concentrate on a perfect opening or a perfect ending? Do you balance resources or creatures? Does enchanting a particular creature make it too much of a target? And that's just the planning phase, coming from what I remember 5 years ago.

This game is deep, and in a much less artificial way than, for example, being able to read out 50 moves in a go game. That's not to say that it is as deep as Go, just that it is deep in a way that is both more interesting to the average player and more likely to be watched by the average viewer (in this country).

Of course they don't teach it to children... Children are so interested in learning about it that they teach themselves. That kind of interest draws quite a large business side, an unfortunate but expected side-effect. And there was a time when Christian Fundamentalists decried all card games, including Bridge, as the devil's work.

The Olympics are not the be-all-end-all of what can be considered a worthy pursuit. The Nagano Olympics had ski shooting. Ski shooting. I rest my case.

Re:But it is a good mindsport (1)

IncarnadineConor (457458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8188362)

Ski shooting? I think you mean the biathalon but I could be mistaken.

If you do, thats pretty damn impressive. They cross country ski for a while racing to get to one of the lil places with the lil targets. Then they have to pull off their rifle and shoot the targets. I don't know much about shooting but I know enough to know that weezing for air with a racing heart dosen't make it easy. Sure its a random combination, unless you're trying to train mountain troops, but its not an easy one.

And many possible rule revisions (1)

Webapprentice (608832) | more than 10 years ago | (#8189353)

Remember how the earlier sets constantly had problem cards which contradicted another card, and WotC had to make rule revisions to specific cards? It was a mess. At many early tournaments, a judge needed to know what version of the rules they were going to play with. The player wouldn't even all know the latest revisions and you'd have "rules lawyers" arguing technicalities.

Bridge, Go, Chess at least have very defined rules. Bridge relies on luck of the draw somewhat, but even with a bad hand, there are some ways to improve the position. With Magic, a bad proportion of land to spells in the opening few draws is disaster.

You can build a great deck, but the luck element of having the land you need to draw mana really hinders strategy.

I'm honestly getting tired of strategy + luck, because the luck factors way too much in some of these games. I prefer to see pure skill.

There was one short-lived card game called Anime Madness where there was a resource pile and a card pile. If you needed a resource (mana), you draw from that at the beginning of your turn instead of the card pile. While it's still luck of the draw in the card pile, you have the option for getting resources.

Let me get this straight... (1)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185202)

A 35 year old who tests video games for a living and plays Magic: The Gathering with his free time?

Ladies and gentlemen...the Man Who's Never Grown Up!

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 10 years ago | (#8195726)

and how fucking envious of him am I ... the man has a dream life ...

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

Gothic_Walrus (692125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8196617)

Hey...I never said that I wasn't jealous.

:)

As usual... (1)

Thedalek (473015) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185408)

A mediocre, luck-heavy game in which you can almost buy your way into winning (I say almost: there are some quite powerful common cards, and a winning deck can definitely be crafted entirely from commons) gets all the attention while true mind games like Ricochet Robot [ricochetrobot.com] languish in relative obscurity, at least, here in the states.

Bear in mind, not all collectible card games suffer from "rich kid wins" syndrome. Speicifically, there was a truly strategic (and tactical) CCG which was introduced in 2001: Z-G [boardgamegeek.com] , created by White Wolf alumni Mark Rein*Hagen (Yes, he puts an asterisk in his name) and Josh Timbrook. Sort of a free-range, tabletop version of Squaresoft's wonderful Front Mission [frontmission.org] series, which never suffered from "rich kid wins."

Sometimes, I'll mention how much I enjoy board and card games to someone, and they'll say something like "Oh, yeah, I really like Magic," or "Monopoly's my favorite."

I find this roughly analogous to discussing the virtues of classical music, and having someone say, "Oh, yeah, I really like Pop Goes the Weasel."

respect vs. buying a ticket (2, Insightful)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185568)

I could respect a terrifically skilled MtG player. But I'm not going to pay $30 and go with a group of friends to watch them play, and tailgate in the parking lot with brats and beers, like I do for hockey, football, basketball, and baseball.

Is it challenging? Yes. Does it deserve respect? Sure it does. Is it entertaining to watch? Hell no it isn't!

Re:respect vs. buying a ticket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8186016)

I don't find baseball entertaining to watch, but I do find watching games such as chess very entertaining. Just as someone might like soccer but not football.

Entertaining to watch is very much a matter of opinion. I wouldn't dish out $30 to see a chess game, but a few bucks? Hey.

demographics (1)

MORTAR_COMBAT! (589963) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186046)

If 1% of the population is willing to pay a few bucks to see a chess game, but 30% of the population is willing to pay $30 to see a baseball game... seems like the baseball players will have monster salaries and huge crowds, and chess players will have little salaries and little crowds.

Rich Kid Wins syndrome (1)

focitrixilous P (690813) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185572)

Well, apparently YuGiOh is all the rage at my school. If there ever was a game where the kid with the most money wins, this is it. Each card boils down to two stats, atk and def. Some ultra rare card blows everything else out of the water, and you can't whittle away its health, you have to kill it with one blow. Pokemon had more skill required. Go fish has more skill required even. I don't know about going pro at magic, but I assume it isn't much better.

I never thought these words would be spoken on slashdot, but get a real job man.

Re:Rich Kid Wins syndrome (1)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185649)

I never thought these words would be spoken on slashdot, but get a real job man.

You must be new here.

Re:Rich Kid Wins syndrome (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8185884)

I'm not going to defend Magic as a pure game of skill because it isn't, but it is better than you think. From what I've seen of YuGiOh there are some creatures that are strictly better than others. That is, they cost the same to cast and have no other disadvantages compared to a weaker creature.

Richard Garriot made Magic so that is never true (or almost never). If a creature is bigger it costs more, if it has a special ability it costs more. It's more like rock-paper-scissors, for every advantage there is a way to counter it. If your opponent plays a 13 mana monster you can counter it with a 2 mana card, or pacify it with a 2 mana card, or kill it with a 1 mana card, or block it forever with creature tokens you can make forever, or steal it and use it against him.

I play occasionally on Magic Onlne, but I haven't bought any of the last three expansions, and I never spent that much to start with, but I sill win more than half my games among casual players.

As far as skill goes, I've won many games against far more expensive decks by playing strategically. It ain't chess, but knowing when to spend a spell on a bothersome creature and when to let it live, when to wipe the board with a wrath of god, when to activate abilities, which enchantment you need to destroy . . . there are many decisions to make during a game and each one matters. I watched the last tournament finals when they posted the videos online (yes, I am that sad), and even when each player knew the content of the others deck and sometimes even the cards in their opponent's hands they still had to stress over decisions weighing what the next few draws might be, and having to think three or four turns in advance.

It certainly ain't chess, and I think it costs too much to keep up with all the expansions, but I find it fun to play casually when winning isn't the only goal.

Re:Rich Kid Wins syndrome (0, Troll)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 10 years ago | (#8189692)

I still says the finest CCG ever was the original Jyhad, with no expansions.

Re:Rich Kid Wins syndrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8189798)

Hardly. Effect cards are FAR more useful-- people fall into the mindset of "bigger is better", then fall to hidden traps that have nothing to do with the attack and defense numbers. If anything, Yugioh is easily as deep as MTG with the sheer range of hidden surprises you can set up.

The truly high-powered cards are somewhat rare, it is true, but even the average common cards have a lot of strategy.

Re:Rich Kid Wins syndrome (1)

ZZT2 (681093) | more than 10 years ago | (#8190825)

The truly high-powered cards are somewhat rare, it is true, but even the average common cards have a lot of strategy.

Very true. Nigh half of my Gravekeeper deck is made up of common cards (not Short Print/Uncommon) and it can give most other decks a very hard time. It's very annoying to my opponent. Unless I'm up against a perfected (up to the current set) tournament-worthy deck, I will, more often than not, win.

Re:Rich Kid Wins syndrome (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 10 years ago | (#8190262)

YuGiOh is really the bottom of the barrel as far as card games go. Most cards are completely useless, while others are played by anyone who owns them. In a way, this is similar to how Magic was in the very beginning, with cards such as Moxes and Black Lotuses, cards that you never had a reason not to play with. Fortunately for Magic players, the game has evolved in the last 10 years, and it is now in a completely different league as far as strategy and play balance goes.

The Magic Pro Tour is an Illusion (5, Informative)

entranced (185404) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185641)

I've played Magic tournaments off and on for 6 or 7 years. I've played in the Pro Tour. I still play the occasional limited tourney. Limited means that you dont bring along your expensive cards to play. You open brand new randomized packs like everyone else, and make a deck.

99.995% of those who attempt or think they can make a living playing Magic, are dreaming. The prizes are very top-heavy, so that only the top 4 players per Pro Tour event (6 per year) can even hope to turn a decent profit.

And that's only for one year! Next year they have to manage an insane finish once again. Rarely do "name" players actually make repeat Top 4's in Pro Tours. I could count on 1.5 hands the number of players that are making a good living (i.e. 30K/yr) off this game.

I even made a nice little chart: http://goa_entranced.tripod.com/pic/protour.jpg (damn filter refuses an underscore in the URL. [tripod.com] )

And yet, there are hundreds of thousands of players who chase the illusion of making a living playing Magic.

You've got to hand it to Wizards, they have hit a goldmine of addicts.

Re:The Magic Pro Tour is an Illusion (1)

Sinter (650182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185882)

You know what's funny?

One of the (former) World Champions of Magic the Gathering, Brian Kibler, was one of my brother's close friends in high school. Kibler went on to win the Nationals, and I believe that he placed second in the world for at least one year. It was very cool having a world-champion help me and my bro build our decks :-P.

Brian actually won several thousand dollars in one summer of playing...

I wonder what he's up to now.

-Sinter

Re:The Magic Pro Tour is an Illusion (1)

entranced (185404) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185971)

Kibler is a great player and has taken up "Pro" Magic as a full-time thing. However, he's one of those 99.995% that doesn't make enough money to justify making it a career.

He's probably one of the 100 best Magic players in the World.

Re:The Magic Pro Tour is an Illusion (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186473)

Kibler is currently a regular on the Pro Tour, and is the head editor at Brainburst.com. Writes a lot of good articles. Great deckbuilder. One of the few Pro Tour players I would love to meet, because he seems fairly down to earth and a decent guy. Him and Kai Budde are the two Pro Tour regulars I'd like to meet and annoy the crap out of asking their opinions on everything Magic.

It's an illusion, but I still have fun (2, Insightful)

analog_line (465182) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186609)

I sound a lot like this guy. 7 years younger, but getting on the Pro Tour is something I'd really like to do, and Magic is a game I've loved playing, even when I had to stop because I just couldn't afford it any more. Now that I'm somewhat an adult, and can trade and bargain hunt for the cards I want and need, I've gotten back into it, and I honestly haven't had this much fun since I used to play Magic beforehand. I have no illusions that I'm going to make money off the Pro Tour if I ever get on one. I have no illusions that my skill with the game is going to turn into a decent career, either talking about the game like Kibler does, or playing it like...hardly anyone does.

What can be done, is turn skill at the game into paying for the game, or at least a significant portion of it. The $20-$30 I spend weekly on small constructed tournaments and limited events is a far better use of my money than spending likely twice that going to bars. I spend some on singles, but worth it as far as I care, as I'm a stingy (but fair) trader, and have a fairly good eye at what's going to be hot and what's not in the future. Don't bet the farm on me, but I've been pretty damn lucky so far. I spend money on singles when I can, let the store owner who I know rip me off in trades because I want him to stay making money and in business. Buy boxes of cards for $20 more than the lowest price I can find from him for the same reason. I'd love to be on the Pro Tour, love to get invited to Nationals, love to get to Worlds. Love to win that. Love to do it with a team like the Your Move Games people. Do I think I will? Nope, but I'm not going to stop shooting for that dream just because I'll likely never make it. Might as well someone who loves basketball to stop playing it because they'll never make the big time.

Re:It's an illusion, but I still have fun (1)

entranced (185404) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186721)

You definitely have the correct attitude IMO. No illusions. I basically agree with you.

The reason I still play at all is because I love the game. The amount of strategy is incredible. It's got so much variety (especially Limited), compared to deathly boring games such as Chess.

I play mostly on Magic Online [wizards.com] these days, and I wish I could make a living off it. I guess that's what everyone hopes to do, make a living off their favourite hobby.

Barriers to entry (1)

sbszine (633428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8195929)

I guess that's what everyone hopes to do, make a living off their favourite hobby.

Aye. And it can be done, providing there's enough demand for it and the hobby isn't too expensive to pursue. I started programming as a hobbyist, and because my hobby was cheap (a low end PC and the odd O'Reilly book) I was able to survive as a freelancer and develop my skills until I was good enough to get a regular coding job. (It helped that the job market was in better shape then).

My other hobby, DJing, has more in common with your Magic experience. It's very expensive, as you need to buy a lot of records (cards of varying 'commonality') and there's no clear path to becoming a pro. You can play with friends and win competitions, but it won't get you far. There's room for a lot more pro DJs, and some of the pros are well paid, but I imagine less than 10% of the folks with pro skills ever break even.

What surprises me... (4, Funny)

DumbWhiteGuy777 (654327) | more than 10 years ago | (#8185642)

What really surprised me is how the author wrote 6 PAGES about a guy playing Magic: The Gathering.

And I read the whole thing.

Re:What surprises me... (1)

VonGuard (39260) | more than 10 years ago | (#8193827)

That's the best comment I could possibly hope for.

Thank you

Re:What surprises me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8196597)

You are such a loser.

By the way, the article really picked up midway through the 5th page until the end, huh?

Fair enough (2, Interesting)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#8186490)

It's amazing they're still selling Magic cards. Each new release contains more powerful cards (obviously, to ensure people want to buy new boosters).

I'm surprised they haven't gotten to the point that there's a 1 colourless rare artifact with T:Defeat target opponent.

That's what stopped me playing the game really. Although every now and then I'll play multiplayer with a group of friends. Some of the guys use proxies, I didn't like that to start with but proxies are definately better than having everyone sink bucketloads of money into new cards all the time. And multiplayer games are a lot more relaxing than sweaty duels with nerds who consider winning more important than life itself!

Re:Fair enough (1)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 10 years ago | (#8190138)

You seem to be a little out of the loop. Wizards of the Coast stopped that trend about 4 years ago, when most games came down to a coin flip due to the excessive power and synergy of the cards they printed. They realized their mistake, and all sets released after that have a pretty similar power level. They sell cards to tournament players mainly because they artificially disallow cards that haven't beem printed in 2 years from the tournaments.

I have to agree with you in your other point though: multiplayer between friends is way more satissfying for me than tournaments.

Against the SuperBowl? (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 10 years ago | (#8187023)

Didn't ESPN air a M:tG tourney against the SuperBowl? I seem to recall it was about five or six years ago.

I'm a big role player, and while I can see the LARP crossover, I've never understood why people confuse this with RPGs. Ditto for computer games. Sure there's plenty of general geek crossover, but they are very different. I've watched the past decade as 'gamer' went from someone who can wield d4s as caltrops to somebody who is up on the latest PS2 release.

Don't misinterpret me - card games are a legitimate game; just not one I'm into and I am eternally mystified as to why people assume I want to play the latest Doom/Quake whatever or the latest card game when I tell them I am into role playing games. FWIW, although I've never really gotten into Magic, I did like NetRunner when I gave that a go.

--
Evan "And my SO was wearing her WotC Tourniment Judge shirt today"

Re:Against the SuperBowl? (1)

KaiEl (680059) | more than 10 years ago | (#8188933)

As I remember, it wasn't against the Super Bowl, but rather shown on ESPN2 at 2:00 in the morning so people could tape it (or losers could stay up, I guess). I'm pretty sure ESPN was showing some sort of football retrospective during the Super Bowl. Y'know, so die-hards can get MORE FOOTBALL during the commercials. -Kyle Orland

Re:Against the SuperBowl? (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 10 years ago | (#8192232)

I was talking about six years ago, but Google brings nothing up, so it may well have been a local urban legend among the gamers I hung out with. I'll have to ask my SO when she gets home from the lab. She was big into Magic and worked for WotC during the height of the craze.

--
Evan

Let me try this again (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#8187379)

Friggin keyboard Anyway, http://sourceforge.net/projects/magic-project/ Open-source magic, free for all till Wizards shuts it down!

Expensive (2, Informative)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 10 years ago | (#8187649)

Magic the gathering can be played for free using Magic Workstation. You have access to all the cards and graphics, if you register you get access to the more advanced deck building tools such as cross deck card analysis (I'm not making this shit up).

Since everyone has access to the same cards it becomes clear who is good at making decks, of course there are problems with people who simply copy the decks of pro's and the game isn't actually deep enough to render that tactic invalid. Good decks basically exploit flaws in the rules.

Stick to Chess or Go.

Re:Expensive (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#8188414)

Yeah, but it's closed source and windows only :P

Re:Expensive (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 10 years ago | (#8189195)

Well there is the slightly crappier Apprentice which a friend got working on Linux, dunno if he used a windows emulator.

Re:Expensive (1)

beakerboy (718525) | more than 10 years ago | (#8192000)

Starcitygames [starcitygames.com] has an article that has links and discusses some of the options on playing magic online. It actually ignores the official WotC product which, big shock, is called Magic Online.

I believe you can get that if you go to the download section [wizards.com] of the WotC site.

Re:Expensive (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 10 years ago | (#8192101)

It involves an interesting system where you pay to download cards. And they keep the cards in a vault somewhere, basically it adds the colector aspect which some people seem to enjoy.

Magic is not 11 (2, Informative)

Eadric (578209) | more than 10 years ago | (#8187685)

Wizards of the Coast celebrated Magic's 10th anniversary at GenCon last year. From their 10th anniversary page [wizards.com] :

In 1993, Magic: The Gathering created the trading card game category. Today, it's the best trading card game in the world, enjoyed by over six million players.

Imagine... (1)

xalres (668363) | more than 10 years ago | (#8190597)

Just imagine how many new factories Realdolls would have to open if these people started making serious money?

Re:Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8190935)

ouch.

you know, using the phrase "athlete of the mind" doesn't help any. competive poker and chess players aren't athletes - they're competitive players. atheletes refers to athletics.

whatever magic the gathering may be, it is certainly not athletic.

"athlete of the mind" is up there with "axis of evil"

Re:Imagine... (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 10 years ago | (#8196322)

excellent, finally someone who obviously has experience with a realdoll has the guts to come out and recommend them to fellow losers

ive been asking around as to what they are like and either no one is brave enough to actually say they are worth the high price, or people have nothing to compare them to in order to be sure that the experience is real

if you dont mind me asking you to be a little more specific in your recommendation ... did it feel good, like say, as tight as your sister is? sorry to bring that up, but im guessing this is the only comparison you can make, and i worry that they might make the holes on those things a little too large ...

live a dream... (1)

way2slo (151122) | more than 10 years ago | (#8195618)

The man's trying to live out a dream, which is cool. I always have respect for people trying to live out their dreams. However I don't fancy his odds. MTG is a tough world. There are only so many tournament worthy decks out there. Yeah, there are thousands of cards, but if you pay attention to the decks that win, there are only a few in each block. You can get lucky with an obscure one, but not win consistantly.

The moment the majority of your fate in a tourney is decided is the moment you build your deck and pick the sideboard. They call it the meta-game. After that, it's luck of the draw with a smidgeon of bluff on the side. And that bluff is not much of a help, for it's only in trying to make your opponent think you may have a certain card in your hand which would kill his creature if he blocked or counter his creature when he plays it.

A lot of that stuff you have to figure out on your own. There is plenty of bad advice floating around about deckbuilding. It is almost like they will tell you some advice, X, and if you follow it you can get from being novice to advance, but in the long term advice X actually ends up keeping you from going to advance to expert. They won't tell you this even though they know it. It helps you in the short term, but in the long run it holds you back.

No matter. I say good luck to him.

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