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Casual Harmony: Find the Perfect Partner for You
By Eric Turgeon
Hello and welcome to Casual Harmony, the exclusive online dating service for bright young casual players like yourself. The goal of Casual Harmony is to match our clients with like-minded players so that each person can fully enjoy their Magic playing experience together. We find that casual players spend entirely too much time trying to define the broad term of "casual" as it applies to themselves, instead of breaking it down further and realizing that there are too many different kinds of casual players to lump them all together. Then when they sit down to play a game against someone with a totally different casual philosophy, both players are unhappy with the unfairness of the matchup.

So why don't you read our simple player analysis, so that we can find the perfect match for you?

1) We refer to the first group of players as Tournament Competitive players. These players live for the tournaments. Their primary goal when playing Magic is to win and win in any way possible (outside of cheating, of course), but that doesn't mean that they don't like to have fun in the process. They take the time to analyze metagames and hone their Magic skills to compete to the best of their abilities. Expect these players to bring their best decks to the table and willingly put out the money for all the best cards needed to win. No strategy is off-limits, as long as the cards fit in the right format.

2) Next, we move on to the Budget Competitive players. Like the Tournament Competitive players, this group loves and lives for the competition and strategy of the game. However, unlike the Tournament Competitive players, they don't dedicate all of their resources to improving their chances at winning. Perhaps they don't have the time to playtest enough or perhaps they don't have the money to pay for every chase rare required for a certain deck. For this reason, they often show up to tournaments with less-than-ideal decks, but ones that still fall within a certain archetype and can hold their own with a little luck. If you enjoy playtesting for competitive environments and specific formats, but you also want to find a budget-friendly version of a Tournament Competitive deck, then Budget Competitive is the match for you.

3) Of course, not every competitive player chooses their deck based on the established norm, whether it's budget-friendly or not. Rogue Competitive players have a need to forge their own path and dip outside the usual choices. These players try to break the metagame and pull the environment of a certain format in a completely new direction. If you love competitive play and powerful cards, but also love building original decks, then you’ll love to play against players like these.

4) Boy, there sure are a lot of choices for competitive players out there and it doesn't stop with just players who enjoy competing in tournaments. Lots of players follow the Magic circuit closely and try to mirror those competitive decks without ever actually playing in a tournament. If a deck is fun to play, why not bring it to the kitchen table, right? Well that's what Casual Competitive players do. They still enjoy playing and learning about the best decks, but they prefer to do it in a non-competitive, low-risk environment. These players are very important to the Magic-playing community, as they cross the gap between the strict tournament goers and the strictly non-competitive players.

5) Next, we have a group of players much like the Casual Competitive players, with one fundamental difference: they don't follow tournament Magic. For these players, there are no formats or restrictions or bannings outside of what their playgroup agrees on. Want to include four Mox Rubies in your Dragon deck? Go for it! Want to Tinker an artifact land into a Darksteel Colossus? Sounds like fun! The goal for Vintage Casual players is to create the absolute best deck and as long as everyone plays by the same rules, the game remains fair. Some of these players have been collecting Magic cards for a long time, which explains the diverse collections. Others are newer, but are willing to pay big bucks to make the best deck they can imagine. Others simply proxy up all the cards they need. If you've been in the game for a long time and put no restrictions on your ultra-powerful cards, then you should love playing against other Vintage Casual players.

6) Of course, a lot of people need restrictions on their decks. This makes it easier to play against a wider variety of players, who have access to different amounts of cards. Rogue Casual players pay attention to formats and restrictions in order to make each game more fair and competitive, but they don't play with or against the highest level of competitive decks within these formats. Instead, they choose to utilize the available card pools and use their originality to make more personal and unique decks. Sometimes these decks will be far less efficient than necessary, but it rarely matters, as long as they work well and achieve the goals intended by the builder. Just because these decks are original and unable to compete in most tournaments though, doesn't mean that these players are unwilling to pay up to get the best cards for the decks. If they want to build a three-color deck, you'd better believe they'll be throwing in all the dual lands needed to make it work. Don't be afraid when a Rogue Casual player starts their turn with Temple Garden and Birds of Paradise. You can rest assured that they're building up to something fun.

7) Similar to the Rogue Casual player, Budget Casual players follow formats and restrictions and enjoy building original decks that won't stand up to most tournament competitive decks. But where the Rogue Casual player is willing to devote everything they have to getting all the cards they need to make those decks work just right, these players simply don't have the resources to get all the expensive lands and spells for their decks. Oftentimes, this restricts the power of their decks. Other times, it can cause entire deck ideas to be lost, but usually another, more budget-friendly deck idea is already waiting in the wings for the player.

8) This next group is completely different than any other group on this list. These are the players who focus their playing and deckbuilding strictly on multiplayer. To them, multiplayer games define what casual Magic means. Whether it's a chaos, emperor or two-headed giant game, you'd better believe that these people have planned for it and built a deck to exploit the format. This is a very broad group and isn't defined as much by card choices and budgets since multiplayer games often act as a great equalizer in Magic. As long as a person thinks that duels take the fun out of Magic, they're a Multiplayer Casual player.

9) Next, we get to the group of players who would probably never even come to a place like this, simply because it doesn't interest them enough to try. These players are the ones who see Magic purely for the game that it is, on par with Uno or Scrabble. Some of them just started playing and haven't fully embraced the depth and strategy involved in the game. Others have been playing for some time, but don't see Magic as a primary hobby of interest. These players are extremely lax about the rules of the game, don't worry about improving their skill and often have trouble evaluating the true quality of cards. If you've only been playing for a brief period of time, have an extremely limited card pool and only play for the type of fun you get can out of any game, then finding another Beginner Casual player will maximize the amount of fun you can have when playing Magic.

10) Finally, we have a group that wanders just outside of every other classification. In order to embrace the complete potential of every Magic card, these players aren't afraid to break into the silver-bordered sets. Offbeat Casual players take pride in building decks around cards like Urza's Contact Lenses and Name Dropping. They like the humor of the Un- sets and the added dimensions of cards that require physical actions in order to be successful. The game is limitless for these players, but it's also vitally important for them to be properly matched up with a similar partner, since most casual players frown upon "illegal" sets.

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope our services helped find the perfect match for you. And remember that not everyone will fit perfectly into these pre-defined categories. Personally, I have decks that fall into at least five of these different categories. The key to maximizing the fun of the game is to make sure that your opponent’s deck falls into the same category. We're all casual players at heart and finding our niche in the greater casual community is the true test that we need to pass in order to find happiness in such a widely-varying game.

Read More Articles by Eric Turgeon!

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