Magic the Gathering: a humbling experience

I know it has been a while since I last posted a blog and I apologize for that.  I kept telling myself I would blog something and kept pushing it back until I completely lost sight of it.  With school starting up again this week, I will try to add blogging to my schedule as I work on my homework.  With a regular schedule or homework, which will cut into my video game time, I will be able to add in time, when not gaming, to post various blogs here and there.  Without further ado, let’s dive into it.

Image credit:
Image credit:

While “camping” with my WoW guild high up in the mountains at a lovely home (can it be called camping when we rent a house?) I had a very humbling experience.  While we basically rented the house so we could have a weekend of board games, the only game I was looking forward to playing was Magic the Gathering.  I had constructed a blue deck a while back and felt it was quite powerful.  I had painstakingly built it over the course of several hours, pondering which cards to keep and how much mana to include.  After playing a few times solo to get a feel for how much mana I would get and the cards to go with it, I felt it was pretty solid.  Boy was I wrong.

My friend brought his various magic decks and we duked it out.  First I went against his red deck.  I do not think I have ever lost so quickly in my life.  It had been a while since I played magic last, and I did think my deck was good, so I was expecting to at least put up a decent fight.  Yeah, that didn’t happen.  It didn’t happen at all.  I played against his red deck several times; don’t think I did any damage to him.  It was truly sad.

The cards I got were actually quite powerful, if only I had the necessary mana to play them.  Or, when I did get some of my cheap monsters out, he killed them almost instantly.  By the time I could play anything substantial, I was down to next to no health that I just forfeited.  I ended up forfeiting a lot.  Clearly this powerful blue deck I built was just no match for the rapid fire pace a red deck utilizes.  So, he offered to play his black deck which he said takes longer to build up than his red.  I said sure and we duked it out a few more times.

The banes of my magic existence.  Image credit:
The banes of my magic existence. Image credit:

Perhaps what he meant by “takes longer” is different than mine; his black deck was pretty darn fast.  Ok, so maybe it took one more mana before he destroyed me, but he was still able to get everything out way before I could play much.  You see, my deck was designed to counter spells, commandeer my opponent’s monsters, and use sorcery to arrange my next few draws so I can get exactly what I need; pretty much a typical blue deck.  However, my friend, with his “slower” black deck was able to completely nullify, with one card, my deck’s main highlights.

The card I am referring to is Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver.  Somehow he was always able to play that Planeswalker on his third turn, and immediately employ their ability to make me exile the top three cards from my deck.  This especially hurt when it occurs immediately after I put the top five cards of my deck in the order I need them to be to play the cards in my hand.  Essentially, once this Planeswalker made its way into play, it was game over.  I started forfeiting once it came out as I had zero ways to counter.  On top of Ashiok, my friend also played Jace, Memory Adept, who also has an ability to make me discard cards from my deck.  It was truly frustrating.

This brings me to a couple points.  One, I clearly don’t know how to properly incorporate Planeswalkers into my deck as I only had one Jace in my deck whereas my friend had four Ashioks and four Jaces.  I thought, incorrectly, that you could only have one copy in your deck and only can only play one Planeswalker period.  I have no idea why I thought this, but I did.  Clearly, if I want to incorporate Planeswalkers, I need to have multiple copies of them so that I have a higher chance of drawing them.

The other point is that playing your deck out a few times solo gives you no idea how it will play out in a match.  Since all the various colors all play differently, playing your deck out solo will not show you how to adapt to the other play styles of the other colors.  It will also not show you how to adapt to other players and their play styles.  So, in my opinion, if you want to play magic the gathering, you need at least one friend who also plays who is able to and willing to help you develop a deck.

What has been your experience with magic?  What colors are your favorites to play?  Please leave a comment and/or share on Twitter.


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