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Decisions: To play or not to play...
By John "Ristik" du Bois
So I was sitting in my dorm room (Eastern Michigan University!) playing Magic online via #apprentice and #imagic on IRC. My friends IM me and ask me if I want to play D&D. I really like my playgroup, and I LOVE my character- he's based on Rincewind from Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels[Orgg's Note: the best novel series], and taking the penultimate coward into a group of heroes is a blast. I tell them no because I'm having fun dicovering that Recoil/Lobotomy is a combo. WTF? I was completely at a loss. So I made a decision. At the end of the tourney I was in, I deleted IRC. I did not delete Apprentice because there are like 4 decks there I still have to build. It is now a week later, and I'm still online Magic-free. So I started thinking: "How much does it cost me to play this game? How much would I save by not playing? HOW MUCH COULD I MAKE SELLING MY CARDS???" As you can imagine, this began a huge mental debate. First, I had to decide how much I enjoyed Magic. Second, I had to decide how much I could benefit from quitting Magic. Last, I had to make my final decision... or did I?
So I decided to break down the reasons I played Magic. The first consideration was the game itself. I was originally attracted to the game because it combined two interests of mine: fantasy worlds (I had finished Lord of the Rings at the age of nine) and math. As time went on, I liked the game for the strategy and the possible storytelling aspect of different decks. I actually built a short story around one deck which was more or less a religiously based version of the Matrix, with a False Prophet declaring that he knew the way to finally break free from the oppressive society and ultimately got buried in his own Crumbling Sanctuary. The second thing I liked about Magic was the other players. My playgroup at first was rather bad; in my first sealed deck, somebody tried to play Stasis... with one Stasis, no bounce, and not even a Kismet. My current playgroup is great. There are a couple guys who will probably qualify for the PT sooner rather than later, there is the Scrub Club, and then there's the guys who are there for laughs (or, in the case of Vince, to be laughed at). I always leave a tournament with at least three new hilarious stories. The final reason that Magic Is Good is the online community. The CPA is great, and I also love watching the development of stories on the PT, such as "Searching for Jamie Wakefield" or "And Chapin Was Never Heard From Again".
However, with this many reasons to play, there are also reasons to not play. First, the game is a huge cash sink. I spend about $100 a month on the game... and that's only in months where a new set isn't released. For someone in college with a VERY fixed income, that's a lot. Second, there is my playgroup. I am going to college near Ann Arbor, Michigan. My playgroup is in Flint, an hour away. I have no car. Therefore, I make it up there about every three weeks. Plus, I stand to make approximately 200 dollars from the sale of my cards... at least. That number would be higher, but I really only draft, and my brother uses a lot of my cards. Lastly, there is the time sink. I used to spend 15 hours a week on Magic. That number is now 5, but it's still an amount of time I could use running away from Things from the Dungeon Dimensions or fighting with my DM's ridiculous equivalent of The Luggage.
So the time for decisions has come. Should I continue playing, or would I be better off investing my time and money elsewhere? I really enjoy the game, so I will continue playing whenever I'm in town with my playgroup. I probably don't need seven Sunders, so I'll hock some of my cards off on ebay to pay for the games I am playing. But my time playing will probably be decreased to a true recreational level, as I build what I call story decks. My current deck is begging for a description of how Phyrexian brain surgery works... maybe I'll tell the tale of what happens to Dyfed after the priests melt her.
So it looks like Magic has me hooked for a little longer. If you have any advice to give me, or if you have a deck you'd like a story written around, drop me a line at and I'll see what I can do. If you want a story, it may take me a while, as I am writing stories for two D&D characters and a Magic deck right now, as well as exploring the history of Taysir. Until my next erratically-timed article, later.
P.S. If it seems from my articles that I would be suited to a particular major, let me know. I need to declare soon.

John "Ristik" du Bois

[Orgg's note: Just don't sell your cards. you'll regret it later]

Read More Articles by John "Ristik" du Bois!

 - Wednesday (July 18. 2018)
 - Thursday (May 17, 2018)
 - Tuesday (Aprl. 24, 2018
 - Monday (Apr. 16, 2018)
 - Friday (Apr. 6, 2018)
 - Wednesday (Apr. 4, 2018)
 - Monday (Apr. 2, 2018)
 - Friday (Mar. 23, 2018)
 - Thursday (Feb. 15, 2018)
 - Thursday (Jan 25, 2018)

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