I was interested by the comments in a recent post http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/191456 and wanted to try to explain why some Magic players are as they are. Because it ended up being a bit long and detailed I am submitting it as a seperate post.
When you are playing Magic at any sort of competitive level - it is your life. You draft, design decks, build decks, source cards, trade for what you need, playtest, cadge lifts to tournaments, rinse and repeat.
It is hugely addictive and in order to be good, intensely time consuming. I'm not sure about the term 'art form' but magic is a game of considerable skill, strategy, knowledge and bluff. It is no coincidence that some of the best Magic players have gone on to excell in world championship poker.
Due to the investment players have in the game - there is often very little time for anything else. For them, no other game exists, and few others can be played at the intensely competitive level of Magic - I can only think of Poker and perhaps Bridge (chess of course - but abstracts I think should be discounted)- but for me, these lack Magic's variety, theme, colour, interest and complexity.
When I was playing at a fairly high level, I - unlike many other magic players, would try other CCG's - Legend of the 5 rings, Alien vs Predator, Mechwarrior, Rage, VampireTES, even Hercules. All of these paled in comparison with Magic - while some could be fun and diverting they lacked the depth of strategy, were unbalanced, boring or simplistic and ultimately disappointing. That is why Magic players ignore everyone else. They are unimportant to them and the games they play are worthless. They are purely focussed on their addiction and getting their next fix.
Ocassionally players would quit - and I would be incredulous. As I creamed off their top cards for bargain prices I would ask them "Why on earth would you want to stop playing this fantastic game?". Well the time came when I went to University, got a serious girlfriend, I was a super groovy individual and Magic didn't seem important to me anymore... cold turkey for 9 years.
Last month I was looking into selling my collection and somehow got sucked in to Magic Online. It is just as addictive and time consuming. In some ways I prefer playing online - Because the opponents are unknown and unseen I am less likely to make mistakes due to their reputation or bodylanguage.
As I come back to the fray and phenomenon of Netdecks is everywhere. In some ways netdecks help. It means you don't spend so much time researching cards - you can go straight in at a competitive level, and due to the internet prices for most type two cards seem to have gone down in the last 9 years. This means you have less invested in the game - emotionally, financially and in terms of the time spent finding the cards you need (I remember one tournament being only able to play 3 cursed scroll simply because I couldn't find a 4th.)
Netdecks also means that at tournament level you have a good idea what most of the field will be playing (though interestingly it is extremely rare for more than 26% or so to be playing the same deck). It also means that if you are a good deckbuilder you can create something 'techy' or completely 'rougue' that will throw the field.
For me, Magic is a fantastic game despite the fact it is expensive, addictive and full of arrogant players and nerdy teens.
It can be played on many levels, including games between friends with 200 card decks in 5 colours - which is how I started out. However, usually, at some point, one of the group will tweak their deck, realise that 60 cards with 4 of each is the way to go. They may stumble across a netdeck or an article on deck design, and want to compete in tournaments. At this point, they will need all the help they can get - and what you take as the criticism of newbies, is frequently the well meant (though possibly poorly delivered) advice from better players who want to help new players compete in the game. It is in the interest of every good magic player to encourage new players - otherwise tournament prizes will dry up and the game may die.
I don't agree that within any group of Magic players there is always an "unpleasant minority". Arrogance and patronising perhaps. Even so, if these players are taking the time to correct your play, maybe you should listen - you could improve your game.
I agree. I didn't start in on Magic until I was older so never played at a high level.
However, here on BGG where people think they can play 10 games of Puerto Rico and call themselves strong players, these same players do not understand that if you play 100 games of PR you still aren't as strong as someone who has played 500 games. Experience matters.
Magic is a great game. It has depth and a variety to it that is amazing. I could hand a championship deck to a newbie and take a basic Standard deck and feel pretty good about the outcome, I'm going to win a 3 game match.
I think you should include the abstracts. These games resemble Magic in the way the game is studied and played.
Like any popular endeavor there is going to be a portion of unpleasant participants. It is a minority. I have enjoyed every tournament I've ever played in.
So, the bottom line is that BGGers play a lot of different games. They do not generally cotton to the idea that focusing on one game and attaining a skill level of very high quality is as fun as playing a lot of different games. It's as simple as a matter of opinion.
Magic rocks. Those of us that play, even at a middling level, realize the depth and the enjoyment of that depth. I enjoy seeing Championship decks listed online, but even more so the card by card and blow by blow of the matches between the top players. Their anticipation, situational understanding and patience is amazing.
So I think magic players are more like Chess, Poker and Go players than even the most prolific BGG player.
How many games of PR does it take to be a very strong player?
As people seem to be reading this...
I thought I'd provide a link to the cards I'm selling in the BGG marketplace: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekstore.php3?action=viewitem&...
I'm playing almost exclusively online now so don't really need the paper cards. I'm open to offers on individual cards and will heavily discount bulk orders particularly if you want to buy the entire collection! I can also build decks on request.
I checked the rules on posting and can't find anything deprecating such flagrant self promotion (if in moderation). If it is however deemed unacceptable, please let me know and I'll delete the link.