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Casual Magic Helps Me Reach Nirvana
By Matthew Weber
"In Buddhist teaching, the law of karma, says only this: 'for every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful.' A skillful event is one that is not accompanied by craving, resistance or delusions; an unskillful event is one that is accompanied by any one of those things. (Events are not skillful in themselves, but are so called only in virtue of the mental events that occur with them.)"

Skillful events generate positive karma. One of the criteria by which an event is judged to be skillful is the absence of resistance in the event. If a condition exists which is necessary and sufficient for the propagation of further events, it is unskillful to resist said propagation.

But, you may ask, what does this have to do with Magic: The Gathering? (Of course, if you are asking this, you are exhibiting a craving. Negative karma awaits you. Aren't you ashamed of yourself?)

Allow me to enlighten you. In Magic, as in all other things, there exist conditions which are necessary and sufficient for the propagation of many events. For example, if the condition exists that your life total has been reduced to zero, and there is absent a measure to prevent you from losing the game, then there are present the necessary and sufficient conditions for you to begin cleaning up your cards. Failure to do so (resistance), is unskillful. The skillful Magic player acknowledges the condition and acts accordingly.

However, that is not the condition about which I wish to speak. The condition about which I wish to speak is, in my perception, necessary and sufficient for the construction of a new deck. That condition is this: In the opening of random booster packs of Magic: The Gathering cards, I acquire more than one copy of a particular rare card. This condition is necessary and sufficient for the construction of a new deck, specifically, a deck centered around the rare card in question.

If I only played competitive Magic, surely this karmic geis would be as a trap set for me whenever I were to acquire two or more copies of a particularly odious rare card. To fail in the construction of such a deck would embody the element of resistance. To build such a deck and to play it in a competitive setting would embody the element of delusion. This is a seemingly intractable position. The solution is casual Magic, wherein victory is not the ultimate goal. The use of a suboptimal deck does not constitute a delusion, because the stated goal of the endeavour is not necessarily victory. Nor does this action constitute resistance, since it is a logical fallacy to suppose that any card may be made to play competetively.

Therefore, by casual Magic, I am able to maintain positive karma, which is in turn conducive to skillful meditation upon such truths as I have herein espoused. Such is the nature of the karmic wheel.

As examples of my skillful adherence to duty and the avoidance of resistance, I include here the deck lists for two decks that resulted from the propagation of events initiated by the acquisition of multiples of rare cards. The cards in question are Living Hive and Faces of the Past.

Faces of the Elfclamp
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Birchlore Rangers
4 Quirion Elves
2 Priest of Titania
2 Wirewood Channeler
4 Quirion Ranger
4 Llanowar Elite
4 Timberwatch Elf

4 Skullclamp
4 Rolling Thunder
4 Faces of the Past

6 Island
3 Mountain
11 Forest

Great Green Bug Machine (Type II Legal)
4 Elvish Pioneer
4 Wood Elves
4 Elvish Warrior
4 Tangle Spider
1 Silvos, Rogue Elemental
1 Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
4 Living Hive

4 Mana Leak
2 Rush of Knowledge
4 Sprouting Vines
2 Accelerated Mutation
3 Tooth and Nail

4 Cloudpost
6 Island
13 Forest

Read More Articles by Matthew Weber!

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