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Monday, November 15, 2010

The Life and Times of a Magic Player: Looking Towards 2011

The last few months have brought about a lot of changes for the Magic Community, both on the personal, local, and global level.

Wizards continues to make, what I can only describe as poor decisions regarding it's player community. Restricting TO affiliations, decreasing professional level events, dogmatic enforcement of the Reserved List, elimination of the Player Rewards program, universally hated changes to the B/R list, and an ever increasing barrage of narrow products, seem to do little but add to player frustrations. I hear from an wide swath of players, who truly wish the simple things could be simple. If Wizards is going to continually fight TO efforts to promote their product, and build their community, then honestly why bother? This is forcing me to reevaluate many of my own community driven efforts. It has become clear to me that my status as "simply" a TO is not effective, and not really desired by Wizards. I feel that I must either forgo being a TO, or expand my efforts and work on my L1 Judge status. This is a decision I have yet to make, and will remain in a holding pattern for the time being.

On a personal level, I find myself increasingly frustrated by this game which I normally enjoy so much. The Fall rotation brought about a lot of changes in details, but the broad strokes remain the same. It become increasingly clear to me that Standard will remain a Mythic Rare driven format. It's going to be an all or nothing proposition. Players must be willing to invest big dollars into decks and cards, despite limited shelf life, or resign themselves to being uncompetitive. There is little to no room for a budget player in the format, and thus there is no place in it for me. I have accepted this as fact, and while I doubt I could buy less packs then I already do, new set releases hold very little interest to me moving forward. I will only play in release events, if the promo card is something I specifically want for my collection. I will assemble a common set, but only for applications in Pauper Extended. Cards above the common level, will only be assembled for specific uses.

This acceptance of what Standard has become, and is likely to remain, lends itself to another breakthrough on the Magic front. For many years now, I have embraced  a nearly Buddhist desire to have "less stuff", really only wanting what I really need. My Magic collection has flown in the face of that for years. When I'm pressed to a number, I would guess that I have something like 40,000 cards at any given time. My guess would be that I only actually use about 1,000 of them. The next couple of months will be used to identify those 1,000 or so cards, and getting rid of the rest. I should be able to steam roll my excess into a hand full of cards which will hold more personal value for me.

Now the question becomes, what to do with that value? As counter intuitive as it seems, Eternal has become the best budget format in my mind. Not because the cards are cheap, but because of their nearly limitless period of use. Short of a change to the B/R list, major dynamic shift, or obsolescence by a new card, today's relevant cards will remain so. I have very recently taken the plunge, and finished my play set of Force of Will, enabling a lot more choices in Eternal formats. Now my land base will tend to be the biggest obstacle to virtually any deck. My recent experiment into Vintage reaffirms my conviction. Not only was the deck cheaper to build then my first Legacy deck, but it was more successful. I was able to build a 9 Proxy Belcher, with no cash outlay. Granted, this was in large part due to additions to my collection made during my Legacy expansion, but zero is zero in my book. This deck also did better for me, then my first Legacy event. I went 3-3 on Sunday, breaking even. My first attempts at Legacy left me 0-4. Seems better, if not yet good.

In any case, my role as a Magic Player is in the process of shifting significantly. Who knows where i may end up...


GrimJack said...

I agree! Standard is impossibl eto play on a budget level. Mythics are the cornerstone of being competitive. Stick to Eternal, and the cards you like to play.

Nick said...

It is depressing, and I did not even build my first standard deck until all I needed was 2 copies of a particular expensive mythic (which only one I had to purchase, and even that was below retail) and the current deck I'm working on is one that seems to have done well as a complete budget deck