I think I've written enough articles now that everyone out there who reads them has a pretty good idea of where I'm coming from with my views on the game. But some may still wonder where these views originate. Where do I come from? What's my background? Today, I'm going to try to answer a few of these questions by telling the story of my own little Magic journey.
I was first exposed to Magic in my Boy Scout troop. It's the top organization for adolescent males, so of course, the top game for adolescent males is going to find its way in there. Before I even learned to play, I saw cards like Force of Nature and just knew they were cool and powerful. I heard stories about huge games where someone had a Rock Hydra with something like 160 counters on it. I didn't know what this meant, exactly, but I knew that was a lot of freaking counters.
In scouts, the Magic started with the D&D kids, and since that was a game that I never really got into, the exposure more or less stopped there. I was pushed into playing Magic much more from my friend, Dave. I had been really into the Star Trek: The Next Generation TCG, but he was growing tired of it since I always beat him. The ST:TNG TCG (Holy Crap, that's a long acronym!) was a pretty shallow game, strategy-wise. It also featured a really broken card, Red Alert, where basically the first person to play it won the game. So the next logical step was to branch out and Magic seemed like a much deeper game. It was more strategic, thought-provoking and had many more directions to go. Dave started buying Magic cards while I was still heavily into Star Trek, but soon enough, he taught me how to play and gave me a bunch of his cards to use. It wasn't long before I realized that Magic was the far superior game.
The first cards I bought were a fourth edition deck. Then I bought a ton of Ice Age cards, mixed with Fallen Empires, Chronicles and the Dark. My favorite deck was a black/blue Timmy deck, the bulk of which looked sort of like this:
4 Prodigal Sorcerer
4 Zuran Spellcaster
3 Fatal Blow
4 Icy Manipulator
2 Rod of Ruin
4 Psychic Venom
There was great synergy between all the cards. Fatal Blow could finish off a creature pinged by the Tims or a Rod. Norritt could either untap a Tim or force a creature to attack that had been tapped by a Twiddle, Enervate, or Icy. The Psychic Venom was my most regular win condition, getting on a land that I could then tap with an Icy or Twiddle. The Rods were basically in there to handle a mirror match.
My other decks included a green weenie deck, a goblin deck and a pestilence deck, which happened to be the only deck that could ever beat Dave's black discard deck.
So anyway, my Magic card buying sort of tapered off around Mirage block. The mechanics felt kind of stupid, so my interest declined. I still kept all my decks together and played, but I wasn't buying any new cards. The next cards I bought were from Masques block. My roommate my freshman year of college at Penn State also played, so we decided to head to the local store and try a little sealed deck competition. We each bought a Masques tournament pack and two Nemesis boosters. We'd play a couple times a week. I think I beat him in about 10 straight games before he decided to change his deck around and put in green for his Blastoderm. Then he beat me in about 20 straight games. The next year, we had different roommates and basically stopped playing.
For the next three or so years, my only Magic playing was done through the "Shandalar" computer game and when I went camping with the old scout troop. The computer game was great. I wish I could still run it. The game basically let you make any deck out of any cards in the originally released set. I'd make a deck with no lands (only Moxes, Black Lotus, etc.) and sweep through a gauntlet of computer opponents with first turn kills. The only flaw was that the game would randomly pick any saved deck and I was screwed if they picked mine and won the flip. It was still fun, though, as was the RPG-like adventure game that you could play, where you'd walk around fighting monsters for ante, earning cards and eventually building a deck where you could beat 5 evil sorcerers and their super-evil master. Great fun.
In scouts, I became the old veteran Magic player. I taught the game to the new kids. My decks were different and innovative. I was the man to beat. I complained about the new cards and scoffed when people showed me Vanguard cards or told me that Unglued was legal in tournaments. All the cards they make nowadays are crap, I thought. Then one year, someone showed me Akroma. Holy abilities, Batman! They do still make good cards.
So I started getting back into Magic. I caught up on all the old sets. I started buying new cards. I bought a booster box of Judgment and a lot of packs from Scourge. Legions didn't do much for me, but the other sets had me excited. I had a sudden urge to play as much as possible. I taught my girlfriend (now wife) how to play. I played with my friends from scouts every week after meetings. I was basically back in the fold. I started visiting magicthegathering.com regularly, reading up on all the developments in R&D, learning about the Pro Tour, and catching up on everything that happened in the sets I missed.
Nowadays, 90% of my Magic is played online. The other 10% is split between times that I can get together with Dave and times that I play with the kids in scouts. Yes, I play Magic and I'm still involved in Boy Scouts. (I'm also an engineer, so you might say that I have the complete nerd trifecta.) Mostly, I enjoy camping and still have a lot of friends in the organization. But strictly from a Magic standpoint, I'm finding myself able to teach a lot of new players about the game, share knowledge about older cards with them and, of course, kick their butts when they start to get cocky. I always say that I just play for fun, but that doesn't mean I won't put a few people in their places if they're asking for it.
So that's my Magic backstory. If you have an account online or if you live in the area of Reading, Pennsylvania, drop me a line. My online handle is turgy22 or you can email me by clicking my name at the top of this article. (I'd write it out, but I don't want to attract any unwanted spammers.) Sometimes it's hard to find good opponents who aren't complete jerks, especially online. I'm always up for a quick game.