The year was 1993, a young boy having just finished class sauntered into the common area of his Junior High. Across the room he spotted a friend sitting alone on a bench and shuffling through some cards. Sitting down next to him he starting their conversation with small talk about class. The friend with very little interest in what he was saying just nodded and continued to sort through the pile of cards he had in his hand. “What are you doing after school?” our hero asked. “My mom is going to take me downtown to get a few packs of Magic cards! Want to come with?”
Little did I know, that this was a moment that would change my life forever.
Magic the Gathering is a Trading Card Game and now also a Digital Collectible Card Game that was designed by Richard Garfield and released from Wizards of the Coast. In sometime between September and October of 1993 I was first introduced to Magic the Gathering. Which now brings me to my 25th anniversary as a Magic player. And I’m such a better person because of it.
When I first played Magic the Gathering I didn’t realize it would become such an impactful thing in my life. It was just a goofy card game! However when I opened my first Booster pack and saw my first Nightmare I was hooked. The awkward waxyesque wrapping which is now more of an easier to open foil to the randomness of cards you get inside and that smell! There was something special about the smell of opening a new Booster pack. Through my years I’ve gotten hints of this from books and other paper products and it’s always harbored memories of my first opening. Admittedly, I’ve gone through a few break ups with Magic the Gathering in the past. There have been moments that we just haven’t seen eye to eye and found it better to just part ways. At one point, I even sold off every bit of our history that I had, but regretted that immediately.
Wizards of the Coast and Richard Garfield gave me something that has enhanced my life. It’s brought me tears of joy, sorrow and disgust. Frustration, elation and pride. It’s taught me how to look at what I can’t see. That the sequence in how I do things causes different reaction and actions from the person across from me. To never act without having all the information I could possibly have. To accept randomness, plan for someone’s reaction and not to react to what I just encountered. How to have patience, be a teacher and ultimately that if I make a mistake. I can just shuffle up and try again.
This game, these little pieces of cardboard that I cherish so much is something that I love sharing with people. I love the look on someone’s face when they see through the cards in their hand and figure out the puzzle that lies before them. I love the smiles when three turns of planning comes to fruition and they windmill slam a finisher on the table. I love how it’s brought my family closer as I’ve taught my son and wife to play. I love the friends I’ve made. The places I’ve visited and the amazing battles that I’ve won and lost.
And now I want to share this with all of you!
Magic the Gathering is a TCG with many formats. In one of it’s original forms, it is a 60 card constructed format in which you have no more than 4 copies of a card except for Basic Land Cards. You take turns drawing cards and playing a Basic Land Card each turn as essentially a currency to which you exhaust each turn to cast spells and creatures from your hand in epic battle against another Planeswalker of the Multiverse. Each turn entering combat to widdle your opponents life total from 20 to 0 to arise victorious.
Through the years players, groups and Wizards of the Coast have brought new formats to the game. From 100 card singleton formats where you’re only allowed to have 1 of each card and a Commander to lead your army. Drafting where you pick a card from a Booster pack and pass it to the next person only to continue to do so until you’ve built a deck from a Limited pool of cards. Even formats based on when cards were released or their rarity. Even digital formats to play while on the go or against players spanning the globe. There are regular tournaments on a global scale with thousands of dollars in prizes. To local weekly events and leagues held by your local game store.
Based around the fantasy genre and packed to the brim with amazing lore of far away planes of existence. Filled with magical creatures and amazing abilities. Powerful Planeswalkers ready to lend you their aid to thwart the forces of good or evil and tide turning spells at your disposal to help protect those you’ve summoned or destroy those you didn’t. Each card is adorned with some of the most beautiful artwork that has ever been printed on paper. With incredibly talented artistst. Ultra rare foil version of cards and even some cards so valuable you could trade them for a car.
Magic the Gathering really does have something for every TCG or gaming fan out there. It can be extremely simple or vastly complex at the same time. With endless synergies and strategies. Combinations of cards played in sequence to control the board or summon swarms of creatures to overwhelm your opponent. One of the biggest thing it can bring to your life is friends, a community or even family. It can give you a place. A place where you can be known as the guy who plays this or that deck. A place where people are excited to see you. A place where people dread having to compete against you. Being part of a gaming community is exciting and beneficial! Being able to trade cards to build the deck you’ve always wanted. Friendly faces to help you work through strategies. And people to sit and laugh about that one time you drew yourself out trying to find an answer to a creature. I cannot stress enough how my life has been enhanced by Magic the Gathering. Without it I would be a very different person. If you haven’t played it, I invite you to give it a shot. It might be the best decision you’ve ever made!
And now’s your chance!
With every new expansion release comes what Wizards of the Coast calls an Open House. Kryptonite Kollectibles is going to be holding an Open House event on September 23rd from 1pm to 4pm Here you are welcome to show up and learn how to play Magic the Gathering. Come by yourself or with friends and family! Promotional Cards and Welcome Decks will even be provided so you don’t need to purchase anything to play! Plenty of people will be around to help give you direction and teach you the ropes. All of us there are friendly and driven to make sure you have the best playing experience possible. Even if you haven’t played Magic the Gathering for years, now is an exciting time to return! Coming off the tail of an amazing expansion release returning to Dominaria!
A family environment and a pillar of the local community since 1993. They have been providing excellent product and value with multiple convenient locations! Many weekly events for not only Magic, but Pokemon, Cardfight, Yu-Gi-Oh and Star Wars: Destiny. Hundreds of board games, gaming supplies, comic books and sports memorabilia available online, 24 hours a day! Even a Gaming Facebook Group to hang out an talk some smack!
I really hope you give Magic a try! Now I know not every game is for everyone, but I’m admittedly passionate about this one and am excited to be able to share something that has given me so much in my life with all of you! I hope you find the time to come down on the 23rd at 1pm and shuffle up for a couple matches. Who knows, you might just have a good time!
(Originally written for Kryptonitekollectibles.com)