I first played Magic during Ice Age, which means I was something like 11 years old. A few friends that lived next door to each other, but a few miles away from me, started playing and they helped me put together a deck! Cool! My very first deck!
The problem was that these friends had access to the local game shop, so they were buying new cards and I had no access and no funds… and honestly no knowledge of what I would buy if I had the ability. I quickly realized that “you can buy a win” in this game and gave it up.
I tried playing a few years later when it became popular in my middle school, but it was quickly banned at our school and I never got the chance to catch the bug.
Near the end of high school, a few of my older friends started playing in college and now I had access to the same card shop. They spoke of this NEW way to play Magic called drafting! I had a sweet new job and I had money so I said LET’S PLAY THIS DRAFTING GAME!
Turns out everybody took the opportunity to fleece my money cards. I was left with a booster box of junk cards that were worthless and that I really wouldn’t ever put a deck together with.
When I realized what had happened I rage quit Magic the only way I knew how…I threw the entire booster box (full of loose cards) into Canandaigua Lake. I’m not proud of that, but it’s what I did at the time.
Getting Back Into Magic
Eventually I saw Duels of the Planeswalkers on my Xbox 360 and decided to give it a try. I played a little but it wasn’t really that cool so I put it down and never touched it again.
Then one evening, I was enjoying the company of two of my good friends over at their apartment. I walked out to use the bathroom and I found their roommates playing Magic. These were not the “typical” Magic players. These were hardcore scene kids with face and skull tattoos… playing Magic the Gathering on the living room floor.
They talked me into joining them. I picked up the basics again and they told me how they were really enjoying the new cards from M13. They also spoke highly of the Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013 game on Xbox 360. I picked up the Xbox game, bought a Talrand and a Krenko starter deck, and I was off to the races!
But I still had the same old Constructed problem: My friends have tons of cards, way better ones, and years of collections to use… I have two starter decks! What to do, what to do?
I wanted to play more, to get better, to build better decks, but my thirst for knowledge meant that I was trying to do everything at once and failing at all of them. Then I remembered this drafting game that had caused my rage quit so many years ago and decided to see what that was all about.
I quickly learned that Return to Ravnica was soon to be released and the local shops run FNM as drafts. What luck!
I did what you might expect. I listened to the Limited Resources set review, and I did some bad Google searches looking for informative sources that might help me in some way. I tried to learn the basic mechanics of the game at large as well as the five new mechanics revealed in the new set.
Then I had to learn what a draft deck is all about: 40 cards, probably 17 lands, somewhere around 15 creatures, have a nice curve if possible, draft removal highly, look for bombs… the usual Limited advice.
I drafted my first deck and it didn’t go as well as I hoped. I ended up being red/black splash blue because I simply couldn’t get any more creatures out of my last pack. Rakdos splashing Izzet for CREATURES was NOT the place you wanted to be in RTR draft!
The first match I ever played in a store, in my first ever FNM, the first time I’d ever drafted and had any idea what I was doing… I played against a guy that pulled two Hypersonic Dragons… and was running a Doorkeeper mill deck. Our first game took 40 minutes but I was victorious. In game two, he got to Dragon me to death quickly. Game three went to turns with me getting in enough damage with Rakdos Cackler and Stealer of Secrets in the early game to take the win.
At that store, you get a pack for every win. That was my only win of the evening, but it was worth it because I pulled a foil Deathrite Shaman! The rest of my opponents were really nice. I had a blast and I wanted more!
I kept drafting for the next few weekends and finally felt like I knew what I was doing. And I was much more comfortable playing Magic with *gasp* STRANGERS. After a month of FNM’s, I was not only confident enough in my drafting and Magic skills, but also confident enough to admit to being a Magic player on my Facebook page.
I said “I went to (name of game store) and drafted tonight. I went 3-1. I think I’m getting the hang of this! I had a great time!” and immediately some people from my high school sent me a message saying “WHAT?! YOU PLAY MAGIC!? WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL US!? We play every Sunday come play with us!” So I did!
It took roughly 18 years, but I can finally say, with pride, that I am a Magic player. It took me that long to find out how I could best interact with the game in a way that uses my natural talents as well as my personal opinions on what makes a fun game.
Writing About Limited
Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy Constructed… but I have a big place in my heart for Limited formats, and my main goal in Magic is to become a better player through Limited play.
I know that some players really want to dig into the game, but it seems overwhelming. And I know that some people find the idea of having to build a deck on the fly, or even drafting a deck and then building it, to be rather intimidating. I am here to ease those worries, allow others to see Limited in a new light and perhaps get some of the “Constructed Formats Only” guys to live a little, bite the bullet, crack a few packs, and see what they can do on the field of Limited battle. *cough* Dee *cough*