The General Magic the Gathering Thread

How is there not a dedicated thread for one of the best things mankind has ever made?

I’ve been playing MtG since 1994 when I graduated high school and many of my real life friends and I still play (including a few members on this very board). I got my son into it when he was 9 or so and now he’s building his own decks, buying his own cards, and kicking my own ass.

Every time a new set is coming out I keep wanting to come to Qt3 to talk about some of the awesome cards, strategies, or crazy new mechanics but I don’t really know if anyone around here is into MtG (or if they are, if they still play). So, I figure I’ll get a thread rolling so I at least have a place to shout into the void when I want to talk card strategy with someone.

I will kick start things with an amazing moment from a game I had with my son last night.

So let me walk you through this - it’s actually pretty simple, but it was a combo I had never encountered before and didn’t even know my deck was capable of it! So, this is the 4th turn in the game. On turn 3 I had put my third land down, and cast my first creature - Psychatog, a creepy looking little 1/2 whose ability is to allow me to (at any time) discard a card and give the psychatog +1/+1 until end of turn. Not usually a great use of a card in your hand, but in a pinch it can be handy, especially if you have some cards stuck in your hand you just can’t cast and know you won’t be able for a long time. The real reason he’s in my deck is you can also remove cards from your graveyard to also give him +1/+1 and while that may not seem huge, when you have him on the table in the late game and attack with him, I’ve won many games by suddenly making him from a 1/2 to a 9/10 or something and killing all the things that blocked it at the cost of cards in my graveyard/hand I don’t care about.

However, he had a new use last night. On the 4th turn of the game, I attacked my son, and ditched two cards from my hand to make him 3/4. Those two cards were a Necromaster Dragon (4/4 flying, and makes zombie token creatures when he attacks) and a Bloodgift Demon (5/4 flying and at the cost of a mere 1 life let’s me draw an extra card every turn). After attacking for 3 (he didn’t have anything on the table yet) I cast a spell called Victimize, a sorcery that let’s me sacrifice one creature… to bring two creatures from my graveyard back onto the battlefield! Mwahahaha!. So in a flash I sacrificed my psychatrog … and put the dragon and demon on the table.

On the following turn he would have taken 9 damage and watched as I’d made a zombie token, killing him then on turn 6 unless he had something to stop it. He did not, so he threw his cards down in satisfying disgust. Huzzah!

Anyway, the new Commander 2017 decks came out last week and they look amazing. I’ll be playing around with them this weekend, and then later this month the next major expansion (Ixalan, featuring a strong tribal theme with dinosaurs, pirates, merfolks, and … um… wizards?) drops.

Anyone else playing?

I don’t play, but one of my favorite YouTube groups, Loading Ready Run, does. So I’ve watched all of their magic videos.

Entertaining for even non magic players. And, always looking for an excuse, I’ll link them here

Sorry to get your hopes up on deep discussion @Scott_Lufkin, but I’m in it for the meta humor ;)

I played Magic pretty regularly from Weatherlight (around '97) through Alara Reborn (2009 or so), with a big last hurrah with the New Phyrexia era in 2011. I got introduced to it at Cub Scouts and played through most of elementary, middle, and high school with friends, plus heavy play during the summers when I was a camper at VAMPY–Verbally And Mathematically Precocious Youth (basically nerd camp). After that, I reduced down to occasionally dabbling in Friday Night Magic while in college. However, during those college years, I worked summers as a counselor at VAMPY and would run draft tournaments for the campers and teach them to play every year–I worked there 06-09 + '11 (hence my brief return).

Since then, I’ve played casually with friends here and there, leaning on my ancient decks and cards. It’s worth noting that I never got into the tournament scene, so I never went out of my way to have a competitive deck all from one “block” or whatever, and things like Modern vs Vintage vs Standard are more or less meaningless to me: I just combine cards from all eras into janky-ass decks. Since I’ve only ever spent about $10 on singles in my life and only ever opened a pack with a single money card (I got a single Tarmogoyf in the late 00s), most of my collection is honestly pretty shitty without a lot of impressive cards.

Nonetheless, Magic has been a fun, fascinating passtime for 2/3rds of my life, and I still keep up with news and reviews when I can, just because I find it interesting (and love the resurgence the scene has seen in the last 10 years or so). I wish more folks near me played (other than the kinda loathesome crew of FNM geeks who are almost all of the sort of unpleasant, rules-lawery, rarely-showering style of nerd we all know and hate), because I think there’s probably a lot of fun left in my old cards.

@Scott_Lufkin that combo you pulled is hot bullshit and you should be ashamed!

My favorite deck I’ve still got kicking around is my old Pact of Reanimation deck:

As early as possible, I play one or more Grave Pacts. Basically, when any of my creatures dies (goes to the Graveyard), all opponents have to sacrifice a creature (which gets around most forms of protection, since they are technically the one sacrificing it).

I also try to play as many Rotlung Reanimators as possible. They read that when one of them, or any other Cleric, dies, I get to create a 2/2 Zombie token. Since the effect stacks, having multiple Reanimators can create multiple Tokens from a single death.

The rest of the deck is basically Clerics with neat effects, like the Cabal Archon, who lets me pay a small cost and sacrifice a Cleric to drain life from an opponent and the Shepherd of Rot (who is both a Zombie and a Cleric) who can tap to make everyone lose life for each Zombie in play. Another key player is the Doomed Necromancer–another Cleric!–who can sacrifice himself to resurrect another card–say, another Cleric or, ideally, another Doomed Necromancer!–to play. Oh, and a bunch of cards to make all my Zombies stronger, like Lord of the Undead (who can also resurrect Zombies) and Undead Warchief.

It’s not a fast deck–I rely on things like Cabal Coffers and Dark Ritual to ramp up my economy and stuff like Doom Blade to keep enemy threats at bay. But if I live to about turn 5 or 6, it quickly moves from “lol that is dumb” to “holy goddamn fuck that is STUPID” as I start sacrificing multiple clerics every turn, forcing my opponent to sacrifice their own army while I generate a new host of powered-up Zombies:-D

Every several years or so I pull out my cards just to make sure I haven’t missed a Black Lotus mixed in there somewhere.

Oh, there’s also my friend Jake’s dick of a deck, “Nubbed Ya”:

This is my entire group, which is part of why we still play - no one got into tournaments (except the casual draft and sealed deck events we organize amongst ourselves from time to time) and we all cram 100+ cards into a deck, none of that mamsy pansy 60 card nonesense. It’s what makes surprising combo moments like my above anecdote possible, and finding these little tactical nuggets are a lot of fun. Also, if every card in your deck is as good as the deck can be (with the best cards often being commons and uncommons, in truth) what does it matter how many cards you have? Theme decks, cards that are 60 cards and built with four of 10 different specific cards to complete a single strategy, are super boring on multiple replays. We like to think of our decks as a content-rich roguelike, each time we shuffle them we just never know what we’ll get! :)

Your reanimation deck sounds solid and fun, I have to say. My own favorite deck (the one I played above in fact) is my Graveyard deck, re-purposed from a Commander deck I got a few years back, it basically loves to dump cards into graveyards and then do something with all those cards, from creatures that are as big as how many cards are in my opponents graveyards to cards that can become copies of creatures when they are discarded or milled from the top of a library. It’s a really fun deck to play, though I am told it’s not as fun to play against.

What about the online version of Magic? I played that for a few months until I got tired of paying for electronic cards. I guess it’s still around? I remember I enjoyed playing a black deck with a lot of skeletons and zombies and vampires and stuff like that. I understood the game well enough to play and win some and lose some, but I was never a student of it.

A pity you’re so distant, Mr. Lufkin! Maybe someday our graveyard-focused decks can spar :)

I played Magic through most of my teen years after getting introduced to it in junior high. Revised up until I think Urza’s Saga. I’ve returned for the occasional sealed deck or draft tournament with friends since then, but that’s about it.

I have had a ton of fun with Hex though. Much easier to fit in tournaments there than having to set aside a big block of time to go in person.

I play pretty actively, though it depends on things like my work schedule. My local shop is doing a 1v1 Commander tournament tonight, using the Magic Online ban list (there are two other popular versions of the 1v1 variant of the format, one of which also uses a lower starting life total), and I’ve been building a deck for it, using this build as a starting point, but skipping most of the expensive cards (no Timetwister for me!).

My buddy and I got heavily into it in the early-mid nineties (I think he even traded for/bought a Black Lotus), playing at Cons and MtG events, but dropped off after awhile.

What we do nowadays is sometimes just get some starter decks and expansion packs and play sealed deck type games. Keeps the cost down (we used to buy new sets by the box when they came out (Legends/Dark/Ice Age, etc). Makes the common cards a lot more valuable too.

I played Magic most heavily in the mid '90s and then moderately in the 'oughts.

I recently sold off all my cards. I hoped I might get good money for some of the 1994-1995 era ones, but they were mostly worth about 10 cents each. I think I ended up getting like 40 bucks for my entire collection.

Oh well.

I hope none of those were double-lands, or things like fork, because if so you got taken for a ride. :(

I looked up all the stuff that I thought might be valuable online, so I didn’t go in blind.

I don’t know what a fork is however and I didn’t spend much time worrying about lands, so maybe I missed something.

Yeah, the revised double-lands (like Bayou) are going for upwards of $100 or so, each. You maybe didn’t have any, they were “rare” after all, but I had several (which I gleefully traded to @ShivaX who had no problem taking money from a young, impressionable teen for a copy of Personal Incarnation).

You were so happy to trade them away, though.

I know, I was so dumb! On the other hand, you’re stymied by only being able to make decks that have double lands, where as I’ve never gotten used to that feel of that particular crutch. :)

Yeah, it’s a struggle.

God I wish I had some Duals. Not even the really popular ones man. . . Gimme my Scrubland, pls! Okay, well, I guess that Volcanic Island is pretty top dollar. . .