Previously on MattBooker.info, I showed you how to make and print custom tokens for Magic: The Gathering, and that’s actually one of my most visited pages. Today I’ve got something a bit different to talk about, but the theme is still the same.
It’s something I’ve been asked before, something with an answer that varies from person to person, but the answer for me in particular says a lot about me in particular beyond the scope of the surface question.
Why do I play Magic: The Gathering?
It actually has a lot to do with why my example on MTG custom token making was using Bloodline Keeper \ Lord of Lineage. Sure, the custom token was hilarious, but why did it get made in the first place?
Because the card that uses those tokens was awesome and weird with lots of flavor… but most players thought it was crap.
That, my dear readers, is a perfect storm of appeal for me when it comes to a MTG card. It usually means the cards are cheap to buy, and there’s challenge in proving their worth. And hoo boy, the theme on that card is so flavorful it’s juicy.
See, I’m some strange mix of Johnny and Vorthos with a bit of Timmy thrown in. (Those names are psychographic profiles.) I like doing weird stuff but it has to have flavor. I can’t just throw together a deck of good cards, I have to have ones that make sense thematically, and it has to be one that I’ve built myself. I want it to have some style, and while I like to win that’s not as important as playing the game my way.
If that seems like a counter productive attitude, you’re probably a Spike.
Let me put it a different way. If you’re a sports fan, how fun would it be to see your favorite baseball team do nothing but kick perfect field goals with so much ease they don’t even bounce the ball to other players? If they won every time and it was never a close match, why bother watching?
It’s much more interesting when it’s the bottom of the ninth and they’ve got only one basket left to make to win the superbowl. Even if they don’t win, you’ll still be talking about how epic the game was.
And that’s because there’s excitement in the game. The goal is to win, but it has to be fun getting there.
For me, I’ll enjoy games where I put up a good fight in surprising ways just as much as the ones where I win. I take gambles, make reckless plays that might lose terribly or win surprisingly. I don’t just want to say I took my opponent down 5 points each turn for four turns, I want to say that one time I hit for 20 points in one turn… with a vampire lord and his gang of flying purple muppets.
So that’s flair and style, but what about cost and challenge?
A big part of playing for me is using underdogs, going up against $200 decks with a $20 deck. I like taking something someone overlooked or dismissed and proving it has worth.
It’s an easy thing for a player with a crap deck to bitterly say that winning is easy when you’ve got expensive cards. And while there is some truth to that, cost is only part of why a deck is crap or not.
Since Magic: The Gathering is a collectable card game, having some cards cost $100 while some cost $0.01 comes with the territory. Obviously powerful cards are more popular and are more expensive to buy on the secondary market. A deck full of expensive cards is going to be powerful, and while it will be challenging to play against other expensive decks… using it against cheap decks is like bringing a bull elephant to a knife fight.
Me? I like fighting bull elephants.
What does your deck say about you?