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On the Great Schism of Magic
By Alex Major
It seems to me that the main “barrier” (among those who think there is one) between self proclaimed “casual” and “tournament” players of Magic is not as elusive as some might think. It is a psychological barrier, taken up almost readily by those members of both “sides” who tend for whatever reason to despise the others. It was first formed because of misunderstandings, because of extreme opinions held by prominent forces in Magic, or because of people somehow bent on creating strife within the Magic communities of the world, but I intend for it to stop. Those players who wish to fuel their own egos ad infinitum by continuing to think along these lines can continue to do so, but at least I want to go on the record as having stated this opinion of mine. I’m perfectly aware it’s been said before in some form, and that most of what I’m saying is obvious; I’m saying it now anyway; I suspect it will have to be said again (probably by someone who can convince others that he/she knows what he/she is talking about).

Tournament players (those who identify themselves as being different from casual players) frequently refer to casual players as a group as being bad at Magic, or as reveling in mediocrity, whether in terms of their choice of decks or cards, their habits, their ability to write compelling articles, or their playing ability. The majority of players who do so derides all casual players because of this supposed lack of skill.

Probably as a reaction to this classification casual players frequently refer to tournament players as a group as being all manner of things: jerks, nasty, ruthless people, or simply evil. (The later classification is generally exaggerated.)

Not only do these stereotypes apply only to some members of either group -- the stereotypes don’t necessarily matter even when they are true.

There are certainly casual players who are good but who don’t like to play at a competitive level or don’t have enough money/time to be tournament players.
There are also many tournament players who aren’t jerks.

More importantly, there is nothing wrong with using a “bad” deck.

That’s right. There really isn’t.

The problem is when people insist that their bad deck isn’t bad -- in some circumstances they’re right, but in other cases the deck would be horrible. In the case of a new player, it wouldn’t be better for the future of Magic to tell him/her that he/she sucks, even if that is the case; just let time run its course.

At any rate, use of the bad deck itself is no crime or shame.

There is also nothing wrong with being serious about Magic, or choosing not to use “weak” cards.
(As this point is blindingly obvious to some I don’t need to elaborate.)

Part of the problem is that people forget that skill at Magic is never objective in the least. Decks are good sometimes, and bad others. The same is true of the vast majority of players, and even those who remain relatively solid don’t have wild success all the time.

Magic players are “separated” into two “groups” (with overlap, of course) based on their play style* -- tournament and casual players. The added connotations of being a member of either “group” are fairly juvenile if taken to insulting conclusions, as they often are.

So I ask each and every one of you to try stopping this behavior, at least for a little while. If you find yourself firmly in one camp, try thinking of those in the other group as merely other players who just play differently.

* Or on one other factor: money. I don’t deny that it can be hard to be a tournament player when you don’t have it (as I don’t, a fact I feel I should add for anyone who doesn’t know where this article is being posted). Magic requires a lot of money, unfortunately, so there isn’t really anything I can say about that -- except to be thankful there’s Apprentice.
And no, I don’t aspire to be Ferrett. This passage just wouldn’t fit as a gigantic parenthetical section in the middle of that crucial sentence. (Besides, he didn’t invent footnotes.)


Alex Major
aka Thallid Ice Cream Man on the CPA Forums
AlexTarget@aol.com

Read More Articles by Alex Major!

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