This is a rant that I wrote about a year ago. Since then I haven’t really been to many Friday Night Magic events, but recently I’ve been to a couple, and this post lines up a little bit with my recent experiences as well.
Last night I went to my first FNM in years. I had the time on a Friday for once so I decided “screw it, I’m gonna go!” I put together a kinda janky 5-color sliver deck (Magic 2015 was the current set and I LOVE Slivers!) and headed over to the shop. Bear in mind that I mainly play Commander. Recently I also decided to mostly cull my “standard” cards down to 1 copy of each. Luckily my slivers, even the common and uncommon ones, are in a separate location and missed this culling. However, of the new M15 slivers, I didn’t have full play sets. Anyway, this shop hosts free FNM, so it was perfect. I knew I was going to lose, but I didn’t really care because I hadn’t invested any money in it.
Round One: I lose game one, win game two, lose game three and it was pretty close. Very happy to lose that one.
Round Two: I lose two straight games. My land just didn’t work as well for me that time. Oh well.
Round Three: My opponent plays blue/white control. In game one he lets me do a few things here and there, but eventually gets a massive card-draw engine going and from that point on I am not playing Magic. His ONLY win-con is Jace, Architect of Thought. Eventually he ultimates, pulling Sliver Hivemaster from my deck. It still takes him something like five or six turns to kill me. The first game lasts nearly 30 minutes of a 50 minute round. I go to my sideboard. I pull out the slivers that care about my opponent’s creatures (like Belligerent Sliver), and put in a couple of recursion spells that I have (Immortal Servitude, etc…) and a few other things. I find that my deck had been five cards light the first game – I had pulled out the sideboard cards from round two, but not put back the original cards. Oh well. It takes me a while to side. My opponent is getting fidgety by the time I’m ready. We have about 16 minutes in the round. Game two I do pretty well, but only because my opponent is stuck on two land. He has brought in a Nyx-Fleece Ram… but I didn’t see much else. He concedes. We go to game three and I leave my deck the way it is. He proceeds to start dropping creatures like crazy. I’m able to land Sliver Hivemaster, but he drops Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and starts pumping out tokens. I’m able to attack but can’t get to Elspeth. He starts attacking me, then making tokens to hold back as blockers. I’m drawing nothing but land at this point. Eventually, he says “I don’t mean to pressure you, but there are 30 seconds left in the round”. The round goes to time, he beats me in his first or second turn after time.
Round Four: At this point I’m at three losses. I figure my opponent is at three losses, and maybe I have some small chance. My opponent busts out with black/red aggro and pummels me to death two games straight.
So, I went into the night expecting to lose, and that’s what happened. No big deal. I honestly don’t care about winning or losing. What I care about is how you treat your fellow players. My opponent in round three played a deck with no way to win in the first game except to pull something out of my deck! Good on him for having a transformative sideboard to throw off the second and/or third game, I didn’t see that coming. However, he is the one that stretched out round one to nearly 30 minutes, and then he calls me out because time is running out? That is just bad Magic etiquette. Consider this… Friday Night Magic is supposed to be a beginner level event. Players both seasoned and new to the game are supposed to be able to play in the same event together. Granted, the new players aren’t going to do very well against the seasoned players, but that’s just how the game works. Once again, for me, the goal isn’t to win. For a new player it may be, but they shouldn’t expect to win. However, they should be able to feel welcome, and they shouldn’t be pressured because of someone pushing the rules, time, whatever down their throat. This is a game of decisions, and when you are new to the game and/or haven’t had much experience with standard or FNM, then you should be free to take some time to make a decision. In my case it was a complicated game state, and I was trying to determine whether I should attack or hold back for blocking.
To sum up this rant, be considerate of your opponents. It may have been a while since they played standard. It may be their first FNM. They may not have ever played against whatever it is that your deck does. But even if they are a seasoned veteran of the format, unless you know these things for a fact, it is downright inconsiderate and rude to pressure your opponents like that. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again I’m sure. This game exists because of the people that play it, the community. If new players decide that they don’t want to go to FNM any more because some jerk was rude to them, that hurts the community. If they decide not to go to a Grand Prix then that hurts the community. If they decide to get out of the game completely, then that hurts the community. Just be aware of your opponents, and be cognizant of their feelings. You’ll still win the game.