I've played many, many instances of many, many games in my life but I've never come across a more rude and reprehensible community than Magic: The Gathering players. A superlative game design with a continuingly-inventive life...and a dickhead-to-non-dickhead participant ratio that would make the Lawrence Fox Fan Club blush. Of course there are lovely Magic players but - dear Christ - there are so many bad ones: so very many.
The Predatory Trader:
When I first discovered M:TG, someone printed off a list of the Revised Edition cards and I made it my goal to get a complete set. This meant, of course, that I would be trading with every and any member of the local Cheltenham/Gloucester groups; there was one chap - let's call him 'Vic'* - who noted the noobs' completionist fervour and would happily hoover up our 'spare Dual Lands' in exchange for arse-water rares like Ebony Titting Horse and Arma-fucking-Geddon Clock and The Shit Hive. Only later did we realise we were handing over £10 cards, for chaff, to someone who knew exactly what they were doing.
The Organizers & Their Mates:
It was always fun to travel two hours each way to a Grand Prix OR major Pre-Release Event and participate in the cruelest of all M:TG variations: the Sealed Deck. In the early 2000s, much cheatery ensued at these events with 'circuit' players cutting their sealed product with powerful extra single cards they'd brought with them. WotC initiated deck logging and the randomization of opened decks to solve the issue ie. open the cards and note down all contents then pack 'em up and hand them in - you were never sure which deck you were going to get back. However, most regional event organizers were feckless and lazy and would often give the good decks back to their mates/local players if asked to; leaving the rest of us to blink back the tears at having spaffed a tenner on 75 unplayable rectangles of cardboard. And the petrol to get there. And being away from doing something far more rewarding for the day instead.
The Table Bully
Several high profile Brit players were doing the rounds in the mid 90s and, loudly, shoving their opinions and their 'trash talking' where they were - most definitely - not welcome. Young teenagers paired off against 'the Top 100's would regularly be told - straight up - that they, and their decks, were shit. Welcome to the hobby, son...now auto-concede the match and fuck off to the Pokémon tables.
In recent times, the implementation of Magic Online and MtG: Arena have provided a whole, new range of Shitty Strings to add to the Turd Bowman's ARSE-enal:
There is a 'time out' mechanism that directly responds to the old lag's trick of 'not doing anything at all and just waiting for the opponent to concede'. Always employed by the rankings-hungry semi**-pro, you'd be doing just fine and about to deal a victorious blow when the other side of the table would go digitally silent. In MTGA, a 'burning rope' appears to warn you that you're about to be timed out: unfortunately, if the early game between players has been relatively brisk, there will be about 2 minutes-worth of 'timeouts' to be exhausted (by the 'bot now managing the self-absented opponent) before the game officially stops. You _could_ concede to play again somewhere else BUT the vanished other would receive 'the win' in that instance.
The Roper is a very common sight indeed:
- when they didn't get the right initial card draw? Go roping...
- when their super-duper deckTM is outclassed by yours? Go roping...
- when they're simply being out-played? Go roping...
- when their Mother has called them out from Wank HQ for supper? Go roping...
There is no free-text interaction with players in the online MTGA platform and, given the fecundity of ropers and other Magical low-lifes, that's a deliberate and fortunate thing. One is able to communicate using a tiny set of generic pop-outs: "Hello!", "Thanks", "Thinking" etc AND the beautiful, velvet-fisted "Oops!". Now, I am an 'oops' user when I misplay and want to show my opponent that I know I misplayed and that I am not a total Sphincter Wit. The Oops!-er, however, is using the term sarcastically ie. "Not oops! whatsoever. Look at this deliberately brilliant thing I have done/contrived to achieve! You should probably concede right now because this move is - and I am - utterly amazing.". One might, of course, be tempted to 'go to the rope' in such a scenario - never do it! Never become them to beat them!
Of course, it's great that you've put a lot of time and effort into copying the latest YouTube deck but you're not going to win all the time. When it is completely obvious that they've lost AND YET they insist on running through an entire turn playing out card-after-ineffectual-card, it's their own time they're wasting: I am SO thrilled you managed to pull a Phyrexian-runed Vorinclex from that Virtual Booster Draft BUT I am on 30 life and you are in 2 life: you don't win just because you put out a 'posh' card. Showing me you HAVE the posh card(s) is a bit like showing me your dick: I know what it looks like but I don't want you to show it to me without a good reason.
So, there you have it: examples of how (some) Magic: The Gathering players really ARE arseholes of Olympian quality.
*his real name was 'Vic' too, coincidentally.
**short for 'semi-on', as in "a partially-erect penis"
Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Father, Grandfather, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer.
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