July 13th, 2006

color cycle (slow)


So I finally broke down and got a Magic the Gathering Online account- the Wizards of the Coast official online version of the game, which costs exactly as much to play as the real thing; you buy boosters of virtual cards and play. To offset the disadvantage of not having a large collection, I'm starting out with League play. League play is sort of like long-term Sealed Deck play. On the first week, players come in with one Tournament Pack of the main set (33 commons, 9 uncommons, 3 rares, 6 of each Basic Land) and one booster pack of each of the two "extra" sets. Using only those cards (which players can't trade away until after the League is over- it lasts a month), players make their 40-card decks and play up to 5 standard matches each week for League rating, and then as many additional matches as desired for tiebreaker points. It also costs two Event Tickets ($2.00) in addition to the packs to join; that's used to buy the prizes for the eventual winners. I don't care about the prize, but it's worth the $2 overhead to me to play in a laid-back, whenever-I-want environment (rather than the "right now" of Sealed games) where I'm on an even footing with just a few cards. For each of the next three weeks, league contestants add an extra booster pack to their collection. One booster a week is about the rate I was planning to buy cards at anyway, so League play is reasonable for me.

Anyway, I got my (decidedly mediocre) cards and built a (decidedly mediocre) deck, and started a League match, my first non-demo game of Magic Online.

I lost 1-2 (with 6 life left for the win, against 17 and 23 life for the losses, respectively- the games never finished, we both conceded when there was no way to avoid or bluff out the loss next round), but I had a lot of fun, and despite the life totals they <i>felt</i> like close games. (What matters is that they were fun.) During the game, I mentioned that I was new, and pre-apologized for my slow play (a reasonable apology- I kept having to remind myself to yield on my opponent's upkeep, since I put a Stop there- triton668 and his Isochron Sceptre with Orim's Chant will tell you how important it is to be able to play on your opponent's upkeep); he asked if I'd bought a lot of cards, and I said "enough for the league, plus a theme deck and my favorite Rav boosters". (The Izzet deck plus two Guildpact boosters, incidentally. It shouldn't surprise y'all that I like the Izzet guild... look it up. It matches my playstyle, and I like the main character.) Then we discussed our really excessive collections of paper cards, and talked about the snowdrifts of commons that players tend to accumulate. (I still want to do an Archive Box Draft someday- grab random sets of 15 cards out of my "not in use" box of cards and play a draft with them. The thing is, my box is too nicely sorted to get random 15s easily!) He also mentioned that "commons r good for getting new playres into the game- enough cards to really play with, & yu've got enough to spare". The discussion went from there (with a few interjecitons about the game actually being played, of course). So after the game, this little exchange, paraphrased from my faulty memory, took place:

[handle censored]: good game, I had fun
Kistaro: Aye, I did as well! Thanks for playing, and now I've got a better feel for the pace of this format and I'll rebalance my decks accordingly.
[...]: by the way, i have spare commons... lots and lots of spare commons, you want some?
Kistaro: If you're offering them to me for free, I'd be a fool to turn it down!
[...]: no reason 4 spares in online play, don't have to worry about a card being in the wrong deck! take 4 of everything, man.
Kistaro: Well, I greatly appreciate your generosity!
[...]: 2 many people are just rude, y'know? i figur eI should do what i can to encourage the few polite people i meet

We haven't completed our trade yet; the 32-cards-per-trade limit in the client put a throttle on things and he had to log out, but he's offered to continue the gift later.

Y'see, "4 of everything" seems to be literal. He had 10, 20, 50 of every single common in every set in Standard in his trade binder. "Everything" seems to be rather thorough in this case. He made it clear in later conversation that, yes, he wanted me to have four. of. <b>everything.</b>, and we'd get through it eventually.

And people wonder why I am habitually polite to people I don't have reason or social context to be rude to.

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