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"Scrubs Corner": Etiquette in Competition
By Shawn J. Houtsinger

I have a few things I have to say, and now is best time. While I still care to address the problem.

What, you might say, is the problem?

Heh. Just think about your last PTQ you went to.

Question: Were all of your opponents friendly?

Question: Did you have fun when you were winning
or losing?


I was on a road trip to Michigan for the OBC PTQ. While driving, my friend, Ryan and I got into a discussion about winning and losing. In specific-how much FUN it is to be playing at Table 230 of a GP and still have fun.

Yeah, seems a little strange huh?

Let me explain further.


Two weeks before a unknown Chuck Vonhadden won his first PTQ playing the OBC format(congrats my little baldy...).
Now, I wasn't, unfortunately, there to witness his win.

Let me rephrase that: I wasn't, fortunately, there to witness his opponents' being rude.

What do the two have to do with each other?

Let me explain even further because A and B do connect.

Chuck had to play some good players to get to Top 8, and once there, he had to continue (except the final) to battle against good players. However, its not who he played, but something much deeper.

Etiquette of Magic players in competition.

You see, Chuck had made some mistakes during his games and still won. Through all of his mistakes, he still manages to pull through and win. Good for him right? Maybe not. The players he was matched up against had absolutely no etiquette. They seemed to throw any compassion for being reasonable during competition, and even after. Now, I won't name names....
I think they know who they are. Now, I can't say these players, or others in general, are those who are better players, or ones that are pros because that wouldn't be fair.

Et-i-quette:{et'} kit, -ket') N. The forms, manners, etc. Conventionally acceptable or required in society, a profession,etc.

I am hoping you all know what this means. Now, you can apply this word right into Magic without any regard to the game.

Examples of Magic outside of the game:
1. When greeted, say "Hi" back.
2. If asked an opinion, reply, and don't belittle the person, or talk above them.
3. Respect the people that are older than you.

How about in the game?
1. ALWAYS shake your opponents hand after a match.
2. No matter your ranking in Magic, be respectful. Respect in the game means respect outside of the game.
3. Don't be loud, obnoxious, or cruel while playing others.
4. Don't cheat (intentional).

These are just examples, but let me digress.


Ryan and I were talking in the car about GP Cleveland, which we had both attended. He was quoting random things he had over-heard while playing at the losing tables. The things he even saw. It was so funny, and it seemed so fun, that I wash I was there. However, I was winning at that time. I was one match from making Top 64.

You know what? I was jealous of Ryan. We both agreed that it is always more fun to play at the lower tables because you can relax, and just flipping cards around is good times. The people seem more civil.

I understand that when you start to play at the higher tables, the stakes increase, and you need to focus more. You need to act seriously. However, this you can still have fun. During one of my matches, a player called over the judge to make sure slow play wouldn't occur. Did he have every right to? Sure... However, there was no need to since he had the win condition and I wasn't playing slow, and I assured him that I didn't want to draw. Yes, you can make the case that he have every right, and he didn't know me. But, I can use commons sense, and just apply it here. I mean, this intentional way of saying "I don't want to be screwed" seemed a little harsh. Or maybe I took it wrong. I don't think I did.

During my 5th round of the PTQ, my opponent chose not to talk to me. I mean, he choose silence. I tried to use some icebreakers, but to no avail. After the game, I told him that I wasn't trying to be rude, just merely lighten up the game more since the Top 8 wasn't possible. He didn't care.

Ryan happened to make it to the finals of the PTQ in Michigan, and faced a good player from the Madison area. Now, Ryan had won the games he played against him in the regular rounds, and now was paired up against him to make it to the finals. Ryan won, and his opponent shook his hand, and left. Without a word.
Fine, fair enough. Nothing wrong with that but I question how much fun is he having? Why not say something kind such as "Good luck in the finals"?
No, he only spoke a few words, and they were towards the luck Ryan was having. The funny thing was that his girlfriend was with him. I find this situation peculiar because I have found him to be like this in many other situations of qualifiers, or big tournaments. I just wonder what he might be like in real life.

Does your attitude in the game reflect how you,or who you are, in real life; outside of the game?

At the Gp, I over-looked a game of a U/G versus another U/G. One person had found Waldo (Wonder) first and was going to the races. He won in a decisive manner and went to shake his opponents hand. His opponent stuck out his hand half-way, then thought, and took it back.
Now, think about this folks. He ACTUALLY thought about not shaking his hand. He wanted to convey the message to his opponent that he thought his opponent was lucky, and it wasn't a good game.
Where is the etiquette? Where are the manners that everyday socially ept people use?

What did I do when I say this?

I went up to him and asked him his name.

"You should have shook his hand"
I give him a blank stare and just look away and continue to the back of the tables, where all the noobs were playing. Those were my kind of players.....


Shawn J. Houtsinger
The one and only,

Read More Articles by Shawn J. Houtsinger!

 - 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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