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CardShark Content - Kevin Knack (6/6/2002)

Magic is for quitters. I don’t mean that it’s for weak-willed people who are drawing a picture and cry because the sun-burst yellow crayon is missing, then wander off to eat paste because drawing is stupid. Nor am I referring to the hapless Dairy Queen slave who quits two weeks into the job after realizing they are spending the best summers of their lives toiling in a hut for minimum wage. I’m not even referring to those sorry folks who try and learn an instrument, realizing 20 minutes in that ‘Hey…this is hard!’, then resign themselves to the fact that they are either tone deaf, rhythmless, or both. No, I am referring to the phenomenon of people quitting Magic.

There are many reasons people quit Magic. For many of us, life just gets in the way. We no longer have the time to sit down for four hours and sling cardboard. We get jobs, girlfriends, other interests. Many of us go to college where, lo and behold, you actually have to do something other than not have extra chromosomes to pass.

Sometimes money becomes an issue. After all, to remain truly competitive, you have to shell out some money each time a new set comes out. If you don’t have the most current tech, or the more powerful, more expensive older tech, you’re going to have a rougher time playing against those who keep investing (assuming they play at a somewhat competent level). Plus, those tournament fees can start adding up.

Sometimes people quit for no other reason than a lack of interest. Tastes change, it’s a fact of life. I can respect this, and all of the above reasons for quitting. Magic is just a game, and from time to time individuals have to lay down their cards and do other things.

My absolute favorite quitters, however, are the Magic Martyrs. I love these guys. After 5th edition, players resigned themselves to the fact that a new Magic expansion would be coming out every three months. This meant that players had a new reason to bitch every three months, instead of the year or so schedule we’d all become accustomed to. Every time a new expansion rolls around, a group of individuals take it upon themselves to denounce it as ‘the worst set ever’, crab about the evilness of Wizards and how they aren’t meeting the player’s needs, then announce that they are leaving the game forever. Every time I read one of these posts, I just get a raging case of the giggles. Instead of just quitting, they make it sound like they’re sacrificial virgins flinging themselves into a volcano, hoping their sacrifice is going to appease some god they pissed off so it’ll rain milk and honey across the land. Seriously, hop over to a forum site (www.mtgnews.com is one of the better ones, plus I know it has its old discussions archived) sometime and read the archives when a spoiler is released. I think some of these people take it as a personal affront to their honor every time Wizards makes a set that they don’t consult them on. They must think a WOTC board meeting goes something like this:

Lackey: “Sir, bad news, ScrubbyKool22 posted an unflattering article about Judgment. He’s threatening to quit Magic.”

Bigwig: “Egads! We can’t lose his support. Imagine if other players follow his noble lead and also quit? I’m so grateful he pointed out our set’s inadequacies…I always thought those R&D folks were laying down on the job. Let’s give him a job for being so honest, and make sure to send him a bunch of free boxes for taking the time to write about us.”

In a land called ‘Reality’, it’d be closer to this:

Lackey: “The new set is being pretty well received according to the online community. There is a minor fringe element that’s threatening to quit though.”

Bigwig: “Eh, they were probably pricks anyway.”

Anyway, the point is that most players will lay down their cards after playing for a couple of years. They sell off their collection for a fraction of what they paid for it and go on to lead normal, Magic-free lives. Or do they?

I propose that your average Magic player does not quit the game, they just go dormant. They’ll sell off their collections and binders, but they’ll tuck away a couple of their favorite, sentimental decks and cards like a militia member hoarding gold for when the guv’ment finally drops the bombs and the only viable currency is going to be gold, booze, and daughters. You see, they loved the game. They don’t want to admit it, but Magic holds a special place in their hearts. They just needed to take a step back and concentrate on other things for a bit. With a little effort on your part, it’s possible to entice your friends back to the game.

The first part rarely involves conscious effort on your part. You’ll be flipping through some cards or reading a Magic article when your friend comes up from behind and says, “Yeah, I remember that game.” If you’ve known them for a long time, you say, “Of course you do…this is why none of us lost our virginity until college.” Otherwise, a simple “You used to play?” will suffice. They’ll ask what kind of decks are popular now, is this or that kind of deck still used, what kind of rules and abilities are out. Don’t push the subject, but have a nice, friendly conversation about duels of years gone by.

Now comes the tricky part…the part requiring finesse. I know, you’re a Magic player and about as graceful as a Mack truck. That’s not the kind of finesse that’s needed though, so I think you can manage. I’m talking about mental and social finesse (ok, the social finesse thing might be a stretch for some of us as well…). Anyway, like a fencer, you have to know the right moment and right place to strike. You have to be subtle, but precise. After your chat about Magic, start carrying around a couple of decks. Then you wait. Eventually you’ll find yourself hanging out with your bud when you’re absolutely bored out of your skulls. You know the kind of boredom I’m talking about…the kind where you sit around arguing whether or not ‘couch’ is a legitimate flavor (I’ll leave it to your imagination how this particular conversation was given life). Strike now when they’re weak and their defenses are down! Mention that you have a couple of decks and you can kill time by playing a couple of games. Once you play a few, mention that they should bring their old decks out and see how they measure up to the new stuff. The first domino has fallen and a chain reaction of addiction has begun.

They’ll bust out their old decks and start playing you. Magic is still a fun game…still has all of its old amusing traits. They absolutely will not buy new cards though…they’re past that point in their life. But what’s the harm of playing with cards they already own? After all, if they don’t use them, they’re just going to waste. Ah…if they only knew.

Once you play that competitive edge starts creeping back. They remember the thrill of the hunt, the thrill of the kill, the sadistic glee of staring at a mana screwed opponent. Mention going to a type 2 tourney, loaning them one of your decks of course, and they’ll jump on it. They remember the feeling of competition, and they’re starting to crave it. They’ll go to the tournament. Maybe they’ll do well, maybe they won’t. I can guarantee your deck is going to bug the hell out of them though. They’ll start asking “Why didn’t you put this in instead of this? Are you sure this is a good archetype, this guy down there stomped me with a UG build that was awesome” and so forth.

At this point you offer to let them build their own type 2 deck with your extras. They’ll try, but before long they’ll bring up the point that your po’ ass doesn’t have all of the Lavamancers and Rages that they need for their burn deck. Hell, you don’t even have 4 RmllcnkgTemper
Temper
TemperSet: Stronghold
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
120
Artist:
Matthew D. Wilson
Text:
Prevent up to X damage to target creature. For each 1 damage prevented in this way, put a +1/+1 counter on that creature.
s. And why should You? You aren’t interested in playing a red type 2 deck They’ll grumble about that…until they notice that they can pick up the RmllcnkgTemper
Temper
TemperSet: Stronghold
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
120
Artist:
Matthew D. Wilson
Text:
Prevent up to X damage to target creature. For each 1 damage prevented in this way, put a +1/+1 counter on that creature.
s and Shower of Coals
Shower of Coals
Shower of CoalsSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Matt Cavatto
Text:
Shower of Coals deals 2 damage to each of up to three target creatures and/or players. Threshold - Shower of Coals deals 4 damage to each of those creatures and/or players instead. (You have theshold if seven or more cards are in your graveyard.)
for only a few cents online. The dam is crumbling. They pick up these cheap, basic cards and build a makeshift type 2 deck with it. Step back and take a look at a job well done, because they’re hooked again. Sure, it’ll take them awhile to work up the gumption to shell out the dough for the big cards, but they’ll pick up the bargain bin stuff and start slowly rebuilding their collection.


Magic may be for quitters…but it’s also for returners. We’re kind of like all of those old rock stars from the 70’s and 80’s…we just keep coming back for more. If your friends quit, just give them a little time…they’ll be back soon enough. If you decide you’re going to hang up the old life counters, well, do me a favor. Keep all of your cards that are really special to you. Trust me on this…they’re a lot more expensive the second time around.

Regards,


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