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You sit at the table, peeking over the fan of cards in your hand at the faces of your opponents. You scan the battlefield, taking in the various permanents that make up each player’s board. You ask “Cards in hand?” to the other players. You consider all of this information, taking what you know of each opponent’s deck, personality and play-style into consideration. And then you pass the turn.

“Ugh! You took forever and didn’t do anything!” Johnny untaps his land, draws his card and almost immediately re-taps his land, casting a heavy beater. Franklin reacts instantly, looking at George’s board which is packed with creatures and, noting that your board is as empty as his says “looks like you and I are the only ones that will be hit by that thing, can you do anything about it?”

“…Maybe?” is your cautious answer.

“What do you mean maybe?!” Franklin asks, “you either do or you don’t, and that thing can take you out with a couple of hits!” He gestures to his board and empty hand. “I have no answers for it! If you don’t take care of it he’ll take both of us out of the game!”

“Meh, it doesn’t seem like much of a threat to me,” you reply, allowing the creature to resolve.

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All my bags are packed
I’m ready to go
I’m standin’ here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye

-John Denver

ghaveThere comes a time in your life where you have to make a decision. It is a ridiculously difficult decision to make, but it has to be done. You’ve been together for years, but you can no longer deny the fact that there may be better options out there. After all, these things change, and through your time together you have both adjusted to the ever-shifting environment.

I’m sorry Ghave, it’s not you, it’s me.

I hope that we can still be friends.

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gp_logoMy friends and I are going to meet up at Grand Prix LA. This will be only my second time back to California (that wasn’t related to a family member passing) since I moved to Washington, so I am excited to get to see my friends and play some Magic! The Grand Prix format is Modern, but we aren’t going to play in the main event, we are going to hang out and spend time together. Of course I’ve been thinking about which Commander decks I want to take, and I’ll start checking the artists that will be in attendance soon so I can be sure I have a good mix of cards to get signed. I’m certain that we will get in a Shadows Over Innistrad draft while there as well. Above and beyond all of that normal Grand Prix stuff I’ve been coming up with new ideas now and then to throw a wrench into the mix! Don’t get me wrong, I love playing Commander with the decks that we’ve all had for years, but I don’t want to “only” play against those decks. I want to try some new things and I want the guys to branch out and try some new things as well.

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angry-smileyHow do you feel when you lose a game of Magic? It hurts right? You are mad at yourself for making a choice somewhere that obviously wasn’t right. You are mad at one of the other players because they took you out when obviously another player was the threat. You are mad at your deck for not giving you that hail-Mary top-deck that would keep you in the game. How do you feel when you win a game? You are pretty happy right? For about thirty seconds. Or maybe you aren’t even happy because “It was luck that I beat you” or “I hate to win by decking” or some other reason.

In Magic, as in life, we tend to tie our own self-worth to winning or losing the game. The problem is that losing a game is far more damaging to our psyche than winning can repair.

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Magic is a very complex game, and I’m not talking about the rules. Sure, the rules take some learning, and there are so many cards that it is fairly ridiculous, but what I am really talking about is the social aspect of the game. A large portion of Magic players are nerds and geeks. Call me out for stereotyping, but it is true. As such, many of us are probably pretty shy. But to play the game, we have to interact with other people, particularly if we are playing in person! One of my biggest fears is walking into a new place and striking up a conversation with someone that I don’t know, and when I go to play Magic, I have to do this more than once!

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The battlefield stretched out before Sydri, the bodies of her forces littered the ground. Above the field the giant Esperzoa lowered it’s tentacles to envelop the massive ball of myr that had crushed her enemies the turn before. The battlesphere shuddered under the charge of the flying jellyfish and disappeared from the field, leaving it’s helper myr behind. Sydri could feel the energy of the sphere become available to her and she drew upon the mana of the scorched, mechanical landscape around her and summoned the battlesphere to the battlefield once more, bringing with it a new group of myr helpers. When the sphere had the ability to surge forward into her opponents, it would have more myr to draw power from than it had during the previous attack…

Esper

The interactions between artifacts in Magic: the Gathering have always been a great fascination to me. When I started playing Magic again, one of the first sets of cards I obtained (as a Christmas gift courtesy of my wonderful wife) was the Metallic Dreams Planechase deck. When Archenemy came out, the only deck I wanted was Assemble the Doomsday Machine. One of my first Commander decks was Sharuum the Hegemon… as you all should know by now.

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