(Or alternatively, Why I Started to Use Title Font in Blog Posts all of a Sudden.)
I’ve just hit post on a Facebook post advertising my entire Magic: the Gathering collection for sale. Above all else, for me personally at least, this is a way for me to vent about the experience of doing so, but there are salient points to be made.
Reid Duke once wrote “Magic is the greatest game on Earth.” I think I can agree with that, or at the very least empathise. My first experience of Magic was midway through Lorwyn’s release. I had been wanting to do something competitively, and as I had been good at it against friends in the past, I chose Yu-Gi-Oh! as my arena of choice. I looked up the nearest game shop that stocked the cards and walked there with my great grandmother (I was about 10 at the time) and expected to floor the locals with my sweet Crystal Beast deck (which sadly lacked Sapphire Pegasus, I was hoping to trade for those first, and then crush the opposition clearly). As it turned out, nobody really played Yu-Gi-Oh! there, but some players were keen to introduce me to Magic. I bought a Future Sight “Expert Level” deck called ‘Future Shock’ and got crushed by a meta deck in my first ever game. The person teaching me to play bought me a pack or two of Lorwyn and I went home excited about the game, however his generosity prompted my great grandmother to suspect him of attempting to groom me, so we didn’t return. In hindsight, this was probably for the best. I didn’t want my great grandmother coming with me every time and it was about a mile away from home, which is a large distance for a sole 10-year-old.
I thought nothing much of Magic for the next five or six years until I downloaded ‘Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013’ on the Xbox 360. It was a blast and suddenly I was interested in playing again. I introduced my best friend Laith to the game (as well as some others) and for the next few months we played Kitchen Table Magic and had a lot of fun in the process. Eventually, though, our enthusiasm seemed to die off and we all stopped playing.
Then, in 2014, I started Sixth Form in a different city, and so I had the same passion to be competitive in some way as I had when I was 10. Having come full-circle, I picked up a Theros Event Deck and walked into my first Friday Night Magic. I think I did pretty well actually, but that’s mostly besides the point. Since then I’ve been playing Magic regularly, and I’d gotten pretty competitive about it early on. I won a GPT and headed down to London for the associated Grand Prix, making my best result a 37th place finish in the Super Sunday Series (after having been beaten by back-to-back topdecked Siege Rhinos by Florian Koch – who came overall 2nd).
But that’s all just my personal experience and past with the game. That’s not really what this post is about, because very little of that is why I’m quitting the game.
I could talk about how I’m a student and Magic makes it difficult to focus on my studies, but that would just be an excuse really, it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to balance the two, and I’ve been doing an okay job so far. It’s not about the money either: though Magic is a game of almost infinite depth, and this extends to the financial aspect to, it’s very possible to just stick to one deck in an eternal format and still be able to grind tournaments. I could say that I don’t want to give up the time that I could be spending with my girlfriend, and that’s very true – she’s incredible and I love her beyond belief – but it’s still not the crux of the issue.
The main reason that I’m quitting is because the life of a Magic player is not the life that I want to lead. Magic was always about the competition to me. I could have fun playing and talking about the game too, but it’s the competitive aspect that really drew me to it. I’m good enough at Magic to win an FNM or a GPT, with more practise, dedication, and financial commitment I could go further, but for what? It’d be great to go to the Pro Tour, but I don’t want to be a pro. Magic as a job seems unsteady at best and horrific at worst. And so, not to get too nihilistic about things, what’s the point? If the ultimate goal of a competitive Magic player is to go pro, and I don’t want to do that, where do I stop? Would I be content with an RPTQ win? A GP win? A Pro Tour win? The money and holidays sound great, but if that’s what I want in life there’s much easier ways to get them than by dedicating your life to Magic: the Gathering.
I still enjoy the game, not always admittedly, but that enjoyment doesn’t warrant the expenditure of time and money for me. Besides that, I can’t help but feel that for as long as I play the game, I’ll always want more in terms of competition, which as I’ve already described seems a fruitless endeavour. It has to stop somewhere, so it’s stopping here.