First published in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast, Magic was the first trading card game produced and it continues to thrive, with approximately twenty million players as of 2015.
When I was about 14 or 15, this game came out. Magic the Gathering. I was already a huge geek, and when this game came out I was all in.
Starting with the original series, I played for many years. Then I joined the military. I was a little too busy to play as much as I liked but occasionally found time to play a hand or two or even manage to scramble a D&D group together.
After I got out of the service, Magic fell to the way side. Work and family took priority. Now that my son is older and I own my own company, I have the ability for more leisure time. BOOM! Magic came back into my life. I had forgotten how thrilling it was to get a booster pack and open it!
Almost like a child on Christmas day, the sheer anticipation of what cards you are going to get is an addictive feeling. Creating decks out of cards you pull from packs, coming up with new strategies to beat your opponent; it's a challenging and rewarding hobby.
However with all things, there is a down side. You can only play casual MTG for so long before you get pulled into the realm of tournaments. And here is where MTG has changed over the years, and not for the better I fear.
Apparently, there are two types of MTG players I have noticed.
Players like me, who take time to put together decks on our own, formulating stratagems, coming up with new ideas, concepts and even 'Themed' decks. This, I recently discovered is known as "Home Brew" decks. Sounds harmless right? Wrong. Apparently players like me are largely looked down upon by the MTG Elitist cliques.
These 'Cliques' are known as "Net Deckers". A Net Decker is someone who carbon copies championship decks from the internet, or mirrors other successful decks almost verbatim. "It guarantees I have a better chance at winning..." one player told me at a recent tournament. Now, I see nothing wrong with wanting to perfect your game play, in fact I encourage it. But being a bully about how better you are than other players, while doing it? THAT I have a problem with.
Hell, I'd have a problem with a Home Brewer being a bully, and would be the first to speak out against it. But I haven't seen that, YET.
It's not the fact that people are unoriginal and can't utilize their own imaginations to create something on their own that bothers me (it does a little actually); it's the attitudes and social inept behavior that comes with it. Magic used to be about fun, and friendship and creativity. Sadly as I have become witness as of late, it's largely about the gratification of the win at any cost.
Now I am not saying that this is ALL MTG players by any means, however it does seem to pollute many tournaments and game stores I attend. When I see a grown man defeat a kid and rub the kids face in it calling him a "faggot", we have issues.
Yes, that actually happened. It took every ounce of pissed off Veteran restraint I had not to take the guy outside and put my foot upside his head. Like, Really dude? You're a grown man! You carbon copied a blue/green crush deck from the 2016 Standard World Championship to beat a kid, and then you act LIKE THAT? You're a piece of crap dude, and I hope you get to read this article.
Bullying has become a serious problem in the realm of MTG. I have seen new players, female players and even veteran players all treated like filth by the "Net Decking" elite. Shame on all of you. God Forbid you create something on your own.
None of this is MTG's or Wizards fault. It is the fault of society en masse. And like any problem, the way to fix it is to realize that there is a problem. I love MTG, I play every chance I get. The MTG elite can keep their Net Decks. I'll create my own Home Brew decks and have fun. The way that Magic The Gathering was MEANT to be played since the beginning.
CEO Spike Bowan is the Pittsburgh based Actor/Director/ Author/ Creator of the Alternate History Genre/Fiction saga "War in the Backyard".
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