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Magic: The Existence
By Robert Hilliard
Magic: The Existence.
We all know Magic would not be here were it not for Richard Garfield, PhD., but the continuing existence of Magic relies on only 1 object: Players.

There are 2 types of players in the Magic community: Casual and Meta.

When new sets of Magic come out Casual (C) and Meta (M) players are introduced to new variations in rules and game-play.

Cís generally separate cards by their personal interest. Mís immediately begin looking for loopholes in the new rules and styles of game-play. This is where the river rushes between the types of players. WOTC navigates this river by making sure sets are well received by each. They know artwork, game concepts, and playability play huge roles in the design of new sets. They implement these characteristics through research in order to appease both types of players. If WOTC departments do their job correctly, a new set will be intriguing, fun, and able to change environments in which theyíre played.

Cís are generally playing for fun, but they like to win. A lot of times casual games may contain distinct rules governing play. Cís like to see if scenarios, themes, or combos in their deck work, and if so, theyíre satisfied. If not, they work on improving their concept so it will work next time. WOTC places casual cards in sets because Cís are the majority of Magic players. Believe it or not, Magic would crumble if it lost all the Cís. Thatís why when Mís find powerful cards in sets, there are only a few that can get close to breaking a format.

Mís generally spend more money on Magic than Cís, but not all at once. They determine which cards are extremely powerful in a set and then obtain them. Mís look for every way to break new cards. Cards are broken on their own, or when combo-ed with another card. Hours are spent studying sets and placing cards together to find these ďcracksĒ in design. Since this is the case, WOTC wants new cards to challenge and intrigue Mís. I believe the saying goes: If thereís a willÖ Well, Wizards is getting rid of the will, so there isnít a way. Wizards tests cards up to a year in advance to catch loopholes opened by new concepts. Since the release of Urzaís block Wizards has done an excellent job of sealing these cracks.

Recently another step was taken to ensure the appeal of casual play. Cards were released that didnít involve causing your opponent to lose. A few cards like these exist in Magic from earlier sets, but are difficult to obtain. This cycle of cards from Odyssey Block allows a player to win by satisfying a ďwin conditionĒ on their own. But isnít the point: Beat your opponent to 0 life, Control the tempo and position of your opponentís deck, Have the ultimate kill combo finish them off. No the point is to remember that Magic is a game.

Though there are Magic Athletes (Mís) playing for money and prizes, there are Magic Fans (Cís) playing for creativeness and fun. The athletes couldnít get paid if the fans didnít support the sport. Just like any sport, the hype is there for the fans. World, National, Regional, Pro-tour, and now Grand Prix events all cater to both the fan and athlete. Thatís why some people go to these events as spectators. They have chances to meet WOTC employees, get artistsí autographs, and enjoy a supremely Magic-al setting. Though these events are the premier events, the most common meeting between fans and athletes usually occurs at local gaming shops.

Free Admittance: Local Gaming Shops.

Iím a C. I used to try and break cards when they came out. Now I just want them to work well in my deck. Most of the people at these shops know each other and play more than just Magic. A lot of times this atmosphere is just what is needed for casual play. I enjoy the atmosphere of trading, or opening new packs, but I enjoy the competition of a tournament more than anything else.

I take my tournament play seriously enough to know the proper rules. I enjoy the roll of a die and hoping to draw the ďGod-DrawĒ. I enjoy the excitement of a long game coming to a halt in one swell decision, and the in-depth thought process that occurs when these long games mirror each other. Most of all I enjoy watching the unexpected happen. Recently I re-started using a cycle of common cards that break Power Decks, or Net Decks. I never should have stopped using them before. Expressions on opponentsí faces when CoPs hit the table are always interesting. Players talk about scooping when they canít win. I keep playing to hear ďI never thought of that, but thereís no room in my deck.Ē They could make room to watch their opponent quiver when something theyíre not prepared for demolishes a deck. They just donít.

I donít win tournaments often, but I usually place in the top 4, mind you most of these have at most 32 players. Thatís pretty impressive from week to week. I may never make a Pro Tour or my name on the Worlds invitee list, but Iíll remember ďproĒ scooping at Local, State, or Regional tournaments to a CoP.

WOTC and the DCI are finding more rewards for players on both sides of the river. The Player Rewards Program and Promo Cards bring more C and M players together. More Mís show up to sanctioned tournaments to try and win these objects. Itís a great idea by Wizards because it creates an interesting atmosphere for each player. The Mís get to test decks against new ideas. Practicing in a tournament setting without worrying about leaks of deck information is very important. Cís donít have to worry about heavy rules and can enjoy watching ideas work against Power Decks. Cís occasionally win these tournaments keeping the creative process lying in wait for the next set, and itís new challenges. This also helps Mís to try and prepare in case something from these local tournaments may show up in a premier match.

Believe it or not, the meeting of these 2 types of players will keep Magic thriving for a long time to come. Casual Fans and Meta Athletes.

A nice little existence, donít you think?

Read More Articles by Robert Hilliard!

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