Saturday, December 12, 2015

Magic: I have been doing it wrong

I do not like it when people self-diagnose. My most frustrating moments with this comes from people claiming to have OCD or ADHD (or any variants thereof) simply because they like things tidy or because they have trouble focusing. With that said, I understand how people feel this way, at least when it comes to Magic the Gathering.
Since I returned to the game at Gatecrash I have been endlessly organizing and reorganizing my cards in ever more elaborate systems. I am searching for a perfect method that puts the cards I want directly at my fingertips. There are about a million reasons for this, not the least of which is that frustrating thing I do when I buy cards only to find out I had multiple copies already in my set. If I were inclined to consult Doctor Google and self-diagnosing this malaise I would call it MTGOCD. I would be an asshole, but there it is.
If you have had the unfortunate experience of being near me while I brainstorm a deck you might apply a diagnosis of MTGADHD (you would be less of an asshole). While working on my standard landfall deck (which totally failed me last FNM), I had an idea for a commander deck, mentally built another modern deck, made a backup decklist to add blue to this deck, and finally wrote this blog. UGH!
I have both an MTG toolbox and a big case just for carrying all my decks. I have over 30 built. There is no way I could ever play that many. I mean that is an event-level amount of decks…and I carry them with me. That is stupid. Moreover, it goes against the original vision of the game. Richard Garfield developed Magic as a fill-in game for standing in the line at the movies or for while you wait on your game group to show up on game night. The entire point of a card-based game, at least to Dr. Garfield’s brilliant mind, was that each player only needed one deck which could easily fit into a pocket.
The game has evolved from that original vision, but I think I need to save myself from all the wasted effort I put into Magic. To do that I first need to figure out exactly what I need. Here goes the list:
  1. 2 standard decks polished for competitive FNM play
  2. 1 commander deck
  3. 2 competitive level Modern Decks
  4. 1 casual legacy deck
  5. 1-3 Pauper deck(s)
  6. 1 polished Assassins Deck
  7. 1 CUBE
So why is this my list? Allow me to explain. (God, I love talking to myself)
1. 2 Standard Decks- I LOVE FNM! I enjoy keeping up with Standard. The fact that the environment changes so frequently appeals to the deck builder in me. I want two Standard decks because I want two distinctly different approaches to winning FNM. I want to be able to change things up. I also want to be able to toss a friend the other POLISHED deck to play test against my own skill. For the record, this also means I am going to build 4 standard decks because the wife plays FNM with me. She is amazing and this more than scratches my need to deck build and experiment.
2. 1 Commander Deck- Commander is the format of champions. Board stability isn’t a thing. This is all about making Magic fun and having strict deckbuilding guidelines. Commander has one of the broadest card bases in all of the formats and can get VERY expensive. For that reason, it is worth polishing up 1 commander deck and sticking with it.
3.2 competitive level Modern decks- My thought process here is simple. One deck should come from the metagame. The other deck needs to be something to beat it that no one else is playing.
4. 1 Casual Legacy Deck- Legacy games end on turn one or turn two in the competitive world. I don’t want to play that game. Of all the categories I struggled most with this one. I like Legacy because I like old cards. I could scratch most of that itch with Commander, but sometimes I just want to play a regular game of “old school” Magic. The good news is I already have two built and we rarely play Legacy. Polish will come with time.
5. 1-3 Pauper decks- Casual is great. As a Tournament Organizer, it is the best thing to have running continually in the background. Running a Pauper League is great for new players and veterans alike. Pauper is cheap to build. Budget Magic is amazing. The reason I say 1-3 Pauper decks shall remain a mystery…and a tease for things to come at my shop.
6. 1 Polished Assassins Deck- The Great and Wonderful Erik Hess taught me this format. I spread his gospel lovingly. It is my favorite multiplayer variant. If you don’t know about Assassin’s you must come to me at the shop to learn. Muwahahaha
7. 1 Cube- All the drafting with none of the cost of buying the cards each time. Yes, please.

So, I have been doing it wrong, but I am going to fix that going forward.

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