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CardShark Content - Matt Lotti (6/18/2003)

I can remember a few weeks back, to that bright sunny day of the Scour
Scour
ScourSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
18
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Remove target enchantment from the game. Search its controller's graveyard, hand, and library for all copies of that card and remove them from the game. That player then shuffles his or her library.
ge pre-release. I've always been a fan of pre-re tourneys, just for the sheer curiosity of what I'll be playing with and what I'll face. The morning was as fine as any could be. The sun was shining, the wind nice and cool, and the anticipation level high. As noobish as it may sound, it's always fun to just indulge the more Timmy-oriented side of our Magic-playing personas every once in a while. Scour
Scour
ScourSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
18
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Remove target enchantment from the game. Search its controller's graveyard, hand, and library for all copies of that card and remove them from the game. That player then shuffles his or her library.
ge is partially a dragon set. A friggin' dragon set, man. And as such, it carries the weight of quite a few flyin' fatties. Sure, in constructed format, you'll never get one of those lizards out, with the exception of perhaps reanimation, but come on, who doesn't love to annihilate one's enemy with a fire-spouting wyrm whenever possible?

Anyway, traveling to the nearest pre-re in the morning is always the best part of the day. Anticipation runs high, and my friends and myself do our best to restrain ourselves from the spoilers posted prior to the tournament. I love the surprise factor. As we boarded the first of three subways we'd need to ride to reach the tourney, talk of Bladewing and Storm and all manner of Scour
Scour
ScourSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
18
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Remove target enchantment from the game. Search its controller's graveyard, hand, and library for all copies of that card and remove them from the game. That player then shuffles his or her library.
ge tidbits we'd allowed ourselves to view filled our corner of the subway car. Seeing as it was about 7:00 a.m., most of Boston's tired passengers kept fairly quiet throughout the ride. This meant that my group's discussions carried across the car.

As anyone who's played the game for more than a month can rightfully guess, we got all the looks, scoffs, and eyebrow raises deserving of a full-fledged cult. Some passengers stared vacantly at us in an attempt to understand this strange language coming out of our mouths. More, though, simply shook their heads or mustered a comment or two under their breaths. Some well-dressed preppies went on the whole ´´look at the people we're better than´´ defense, pointing at our t-shirts and torn jeans. A bunch of young ladies audibly let out ´´nerd´´. Even an old woman sitting across from us became angry at the sound of words like ´´sorcery´´, and proceeded to give us the evil eye for the remainder of the ride. It seemed as if the ´´normal´´ people surrounding us either took what we said as childish geek crap, or some kind of dark cult discussion. In both cases, one thing was common to each and every individual who took it upon themselves to pass judgment on us tourney-goers; no one had any understanding of what we said, and thus criticized it.

Now we all know good and well how we, as Magic players, are viewed by the general public. Stereotypes run rampant across any who even get a general description of the game. We are either put in the same category as comic-book collectors and Trekkies, losers and geeks who refuse to grow up, or in that special group that is considered satanic for playing with pieces of cardboard labeled ´´Reaping the Graves
Reaping the Graves
Reaping the GravesSet: Scourge
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
72
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
Storm
´´ and ´´Dark Ritual
Dark Ritual
Dark RitualSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Sandra Everingham
Text:
Add BBB to your mana pool.
´´. D&D players also have to deal with this stereotype of the damned.

However, as frustrated as we all were into our trip, we continued to discuss the game we all love. And wouldn't you know it, everything changed the closer we got to the tournament. At about the time we reached the third train line, something very welcoming happened. We suddenly were no longer the only group discussing the game. Rather, the third train held more Magic players than it did ´´normal´´ folk. Talks of the Scornful Egotist
Scornful Egotist
Scornful EgotistSet: Scourge
Cost:
8
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
50
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Morph U
1/1
´´Once I was human. Now I am far more.´´
and landcycling filled the car, and pedestrians, finding themselves suddenly the minority among us social outcasts, kept their comments, their looks, and their jokes to themselves. As the expo center where the event was held drew closer, even more folk sporting back-packs and Watchmen t-shirts boarded the train, further weaving the wonderful atmosphere that makes the game so special to us.

When we walked out onto the platform with decks in hand and victory on our minds, a warm feeling came over us like a blanket. It felt like unity. We were all together, in this one place, us gamers. For once, everyone suddenly knew what we said when we spoke the language of Magic. No longer were we seen as outcasts. No longer were our cards just stupid pieces of cardboard. And most especially, no longer would we not be taken seriously by people. Here, in this place, we were simply us, the people we wanted to be, but often kept silent to avoid the usual jeers. All around me, I saw binders and shiny sleeves, fresh outta the box. The gleam of foils filled the hallways of the expo center, and the air was filled with deck ideas, possibilities, and new mechanics. As stupidly dramatic as it may sound, the first words that escaped my mouth upon entering the scene were ´´Welcome home, guys.´´

But even though it may sound dumb, that kind of fellowship was present. Though I only really knew the people I was with in my own group, it was easy to just start a conversation with a random passer-byer. We all had a common group, a passion for the game. It's what brought us all here. When we all took our seats and got ready to crack open what would become our decks for the day, an entire table of gamers began to get to know each other. People sitting around me whom I'd never seen before spoke to me as if I'd known them forever, and I addressed them in the same way. In those first initial moments of the day, the entire flight began to get to know each other. By round three, it was like being surrounded by a group of your best friends. It didn't matter where your fellow competitors came from. What mattered was why were all were there.

As the day progressed, and time stretched on, I kept a close eye on the clock. You see, later on that day, I had to make it to my girlfriend's Confirmation party at 6:00. Because it was a hike back to my home town, I had to make sure to leave a good two hours early. That left time to get home, shower, put on a tie, ect. A fear that stuck with me for a good part of the day was that I would actually start winning, qualify for a prize, but get stuck waiting for the prize and not get back in time. As anyone with a girlfriend knows, being late is bad. Very bad. I love her, and she loves me, but that wouldn't stop her from killing me. So, with a curfew in mind, I kept my eyes glued to the time.

When I began to win, I started to wonder whether or not I could get my due prizes before the end of the last round, granted my match slips were all turned in and accounted for. Players surrounding me began sympathizing with my cause, actually starting to play faster so I could get home in time. A group of about thirty people around me made that sacrifice just for the need of one person. No one made any big deal about it, they simply looked up, heard me out, and said ´´Ok, we'll play faster´´. I didn't have to ask them for it (I wouldn't, anyway), they just did it for me without thinking twice about it. Just like a friend would. Because of that, I got to walk away with six packs of Scour
Scour
ScourSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
18
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Remove target enchantment from the game. Search its controller's graveyard, hand, and library for all copies of that card and remove them from the game. That player then shuffles his or her library.
ge, play some great games, and make it to my girl's house with time to spare. It was a great day.

When I got to the party, I was still on overdrive from the thrills of the day. Each of my battles was challenging and tough. I hadn't a one-sided game all day, and each opponent knew exactly what he was doing. After the tough battles, the winnings, and the fun, I had to return to the real world. We all know what that feels like. As naive as we all can be after a day of triumph, I tried to tell my girl about all the events of the day. I summed up the event in ´´normal terms´´ as best I could, but ultimately found myself staring at a pretty, though utterly confused face. She couldn't get the game, or care about it, because she doesn't understand it. It's not her fault at all that she sees it as a silly game, she just doesn't know the feeling.

The Magic world is not one of escape for us gamers, but one of exploration, strategy, and adventure. This was a game that tested our competitive instincts, our decisiveness, boldness, and of, course, our mental strengths. For some of us, this is our place to shine, this is our football field, our rink, our gym. In this arena, we know what it feels like to be the jocks. To get the glory. To put it simply, to win. This may not be true for all of us, but this is a place where the strongest or most popular individual does not come out on top. Unfortunately in today's society, that is an uncommon sight.

However, this is not all it stands for. In our passion for the game, for the atmosphere, we Magic players are brought together. Anybody willing enough to open their mind to this ´´geeky´´ or ´´satanic´´ card game finds themselves drawn in to its world. Once Magic clicks with someone, and they begin to understand the mechanics of the game, it takes on a whole new image. It's no longer a childish past time, but a grounds for creativity. It takes thought to play this game, not power. That concept appeals to a lot of people, and I believe it's what gets people into the game.

We all know that it's hard to be stereotyped, and maybe I'm making too big a deal out of this issue. But if I sound too preachy or biased to you, that's fine. I write this article for those who know what I'm talking about, for those who've taken the insults and sneers, and for any who don't get why we like the game. Whether we care about the stereotypes or not, they exist, and we all know it. It is my hope in this article that some may understand why we care for this game, why we continuously spend our hard-earned dollars on boosters and decks. To understand why we come from all around, far and wide, to play this game. There are over six-million Magic players in this world, six-million people that speak the language, and who don't think paying money for cards is some dumb waste. Are they all geeks? Is something that brings together six million people just a stupid game, or is it something more? We all know, deep down inside, that there's something to Magic which makes it more than a worthless hobby.

So next time you get the comments or the eye, just remember one thing; people see Magic as a stupid card game because they do not know the true spirit of the game. They've never felt the anticipation, the anxiety, or the challenge of the game. They've never felt the joy of turning an 11/11 Kilnmouth sideways, or gaining 50 life off a single Wellwisher
Wellwisher
WellwisherSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf
Rarity:
C
Number:
300
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: You gain 1 life for each Elf in play.
tap. The game only truly opens to people when they open to it. We understand because we see past the stereotypes. We are not geeks, we are who we want to be. Whether in Magic, or D&D, or any hobby, because we open ourselves to it, we are exposed to everything it has to offer. Don't shut yourself out to something because you don't get it. That concept not only applies to gaming, but to life.


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