Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Struggle to Play Magic

Ah Magic: The Gathering. It has been one of the most fun games I have played, and it has been one of the least fun games I have played. Every so often, I fall deep into the arms of Magic, invest in a ton of cards, build a deck, and play as much as possible. After reaching a "peak" of enjoyment, my enthusiasm wanes away again into nothing.

In this seemingly endless wave of enjoyment cycles, Dragons of Tarkir, the newest set, does have me excited. There are a number of really interesting cards and mechanics looking to break into a new Magic meta. (I'll post some of the cards I am most looking forward to at the end of the post. )

To "get myself ready" for the prerelease events, I started playing some Magic 2014, a digital adaptation of the game for console and PC. In this particular iteration of the game, there was a mode called "sealed deck builder." Prerelease events are traditionally sealed events, which give players six packs to construct a 40 card deck.

I started playing a few games in the sealed deck builder mode, and I was swiftly reminded of the infuriating nature of the Magic mana system. While the mana system enables a wide variety of strategies and unique decks to be constructed, it also can be wildly inconsistent based on the randomness of cards. I was running into the very annoying parts of this particular RNG, and it reminded me how frustrating Magic really can be. It was no error of play on my part; it was the randomness affecting me.

Some may say that 40k is a dice game, and it is prone to the same issues. To this I say one thing: a good 40k general controls the randomness to the best of his/her ability. Magic has very little outside of the deck building that a player can control to keep themselves in good shape.

Perhaps what is more frustrating often in the physical card game is the sheer investment of money to then lose to card randomness. This is a frustration that I have yet to overcome. I look forward to the days that I can simply move past these issues and find enjoyment in the game alone.

With this, I am still contemplating the decision to play in the Dragons of Tarkir pre-release. I will certainly post about it if I do!

As promised, here are cards I find powerful, exciting, or just interesting. Magic players, what do you think?

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