Magic the Gathering – MTG – ‘Gik

However you want to refer to it, it is one my favorite games of all time. With complexities to boggle the most disciplined minds and simplistic enough mechanics for those who seek a more basic game style of play, Magic the Gathering is for YOU!

I have been playing since the early to mid nineties. Early enough to be around for Revised, Antiquities and Legends to come out. At first this was just a silly card game to me but almost 2 decades later and 35K cards I realize that I am in it for the long haul. I generally collect 4 of each the commons and uncommons and peace-meal out the rare and mythic rare cards that fit within my budget.

Typically I play green and often enough play white. I feel these best represent my personality with the focus being on nature, defense and life. However there are times that I feel like I want to be a complete dick-hole and play something more aggressive so I play black or red for their thirst for blood, critters, land and creature destruction and direct damage. Finally if I want to be a complete ass I generally play blue. Blue to me is all about denying your opponent(s) creatures, stealing them once you have deemed a creature worthy to take, copying them or sending them back to their hands. It also has lots of deck burn and steal everything else (enchantments, artifacts, maybe lands don’t recall).

If I hadn’t mentioned it before I will now, today’s post is just about giving a little acknowledgement to a game I really and truly enjoy. So, if you have a great deck idea or favorite card you want to discuss write in and lets talk. There are so many cards and card combinations that it really is just an opportunity to talk about what we each like. It gives me an opportunity to see how people think about things. For example, I am a pretty straight forward player, I like to play “stompy” or “weenie” decks often times. But there are other times when I like a combination of cards to come up so I get the “pop” of my deck and it becomes really difficult to beat me. We all have those types of decks.

I am interested in what makes each of you like what you like. Why does one person like vampires over zombies over treefolk or elementals? If I haven’t mentioned it before, I LOVE Zombies. If you don’t believe me read my last posting. Funny enough, I don’t have a true zombie deck. I came up with a zombie/goblin deck keyed around an enchantment treating my goblins like zombies in addition to still being a goblin so I got to double dip a little bit with buffs and things from Goblin King etc… However with all the new zombie cards that have come out I may need to retool my deck. Blue is now a part of that schema…maybe. I need to look at what I have and can do away with. The pruning has begun, as it were. This process, for me at least, can take years to do and I may never truly be done. As long as newer and better things come out a deck may be improved upon or altered to give it a different feel altogether.

Elves and zombies and vampires and treefolk are all tribal themes that have had an infusion of powerful cards introduced over the last couple years to allow them to compete with other nasties like the dragons of old, rats, goblins, merfolk and who could forget slivers. Ahh slivers. My heart gets all warm and fuzzy with slivers. I play more old school, no gemhide for me. I get the purpose. Slivers are probably the most versatile tribal creature and to play a truly rainbow deck you need a way to get all the many colors. What better way than with your own creatures? There is a downside of using your creatures to cast spells so you have no defenders right? Wrong! Well, maybe not. For example you can have the sliver that allows all your slivers to come in as instants and then wait for your opponent to say go or attack and cast all you want without fear of retribution for being all tapped out to cast your critters or surprise defend. Be careful, that trick usually only works once.

Enough about slivers. I want to spend a moment in recognizing my own distaste for a certain mechanic that was introduced several sets ago that sets my teeth on edge….Infect. Infect is the combination of poison and wither in one. In addition to this bundle of joy there are other elements that allow for proliferation, the placing of an additional counter of the appropriate type on any and all things that have any kind of counter. Finally what really broke this little nugget of supersized fun for me was a single card – tainted strike (card images and pages are all from Magic the Gathering – Gatherer site). This little guy allows for the most easy kill I have seen, infinite loops not withstanding. Cast this on an ornithopter and a few giant growths. All she wrote. Yes….there are other combinations. This was just one I have in my broke-ass infect deck.

The only one card I know of in the game is Leeches (card originally out of Homelands or more recently Masters Edition IV) that can remove poison counters. That is one card to prevent death. Once you have a poison counter on you, regardless of the amount of life you have, you will likely still die from poison. Well let me rephrase that. Once you have a poison counter your time is now severely limited and it’s time to drop back ten and punt. In my humble opinion, WAY TOO FUCKING POWERFUL OF A CARD. As I mentioned before I have been collecting a while and found that I had three of these cards and went on a mad sprint to make a counter deck to the dreaded infect called “anti-venom”. The thing is when you make a deck designed to counter another type of deck, you need to know when someone is playing that type (infect deck) for this to be the most effective otherwise it is likely to get trounced in other ways.

In short order we decided that we would treat infect like wither instead so that people would die from poison. This however does take away from a person being able to play what they want to play. That is just not right. I have been giving it a lot of thought and am ready to concede that if someone goes through the trouble of getting the cards and as long as they are not illegal or banned cards from the game then they should have the right to play them. I mean, who am I to say no to someone playing their deck?

Having ranted for a period of time I will now say that over the last couple months I have decided not to let these sorts of decks bother me so much. Things that I cannot control nor should I want to, like decks I had felt were bullshit for their swift and decisive evisceration of my decks or infinite loop decks that take every turn or blah blah blah  – you get the idea right? I have to admit in all honesty I have a few decks that people have complained about as much as I have carried on about infect. My annihilator deck comes to mind as well as my traumatize/haunting echoes deck.

I guess the long and short of it are that I want to just be able to sit back and relax and have fun like I used to while I play and not worry about the “W” so much but instead how much fun I have, win or lose. Oh and how often I can bust my friends balls as we play.

I think I have lost sight of enjoying myself a little bit recently and if I am truly being honest more than just recently. To that point I will try to not be such a grump when someone breaks out their “cheater” decks (ahem – backsliding) competitive decks for a beat down.

Through all of this I guess the real treat is getting to play games, which ARE supposed to be fun, for a main source of entertainment for myself not how someone else puts together a deck. I had lost sight of that little nugget of wisdom but believe I have got it back. It doesn’t mean I wont bust-balls while playing – cuz that never gets old – but I think I will be a better loser when we play. Or maybe better yet, a better sport no matter what is happening throughout the game.

I have a new deck idea that I will outline after I put it together and have played it a few times. Finally, as a reminder, if anyone wants to talk about MTG simply reply to the posting. Our conversation will be kept private unless you want it noted otherwise.

More to come…

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3 Responses to Magic the Gathering – MTG – ‘Gik

  1. Anna says:

    Hi Sweety, just read your blog on your games. You are developing a real flair for writing. I really enjoyed reading it. Mom


  2. Paul says:

    Like the post, and in kind I will reply with what I like and why. I suppose it’s the anal engineer/math geek in me, but I really enjoy playing different mechanics. Each of my decks centers around a mechanic that I find interesting. The folks a wizards helps me out by making most mechanics related to a “tribe” of creatures. For instance, the team up effect of my Vampire deck. It’s not too scary until I get 5 vampires out there, then look out. My angel deck is similar, 1 or 2 angels no problem, but you get three out there and your competitors start to have serious problems.
    I also find it easier to create a deck if there is a card that I can get excited about to spark my interest. The best part for me as a “newbie” is discovering cards or mechanics that get me excited. As far as colors go, I have decks in all 5. I prefer white, black, and green. Blue isn’t bad as a “mixed” in color, but I don’t think I would enjoy playing an all blue deck. Red is my least favorite, I think because it lacks subtlety. I prefer to get things moving and have all the gears mesh to make something greater than the cards. Red is sort of “me smash”, which doesn’t do a whole lot for me.


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