In which I get on my hobby horse and ride off into the sunset to tilt at windmills.
Back in 1995 a friend down the road introduced me to a new card game he’d discovered at his public school. It was called Magic the Gathering and was this fantastic card game full of math and fantasy, things both of us enjoyed. It had started in 1993 and had several editions already.
I started my collection by buying a 4th Edition Starter Deck. It had everything I needed to start playing and had a wide variety of cards. I bought several of those and then would haunt the local comic/hobby shop spending a lot of time looking through their boxes and boxes of bulk cards that I could pick up for as little as 10cents a card. When you are 17 and a diabetic paying for your own supplies, money isn’t something you spend profligately. I had so much fun that I introduced it to a couple of friends at church and I remember one epic Saturday we had 7 of us all playing in one big group around the dining table. It was a blast!
I remember buying my first booster box. A booster box had 36 packs and each pack had 15 cards. When you measure the cards you own by the 60’s, well, that is a lot. I had to split the box because I couldn’t afford to buy it all by myself. I think it was $75 at the time? They now sell on Ebay for around $1100-1400. Anyway, the cards had a very strong Dungeons & Dragons vibe and one of the parents took a look and decided their kids weren’t going to play that. He also was a regular speaker at our church and one Sunday talked about the game. He didn’t name the game or put blame on anyone but himself for allowing it into his household, but as I sat there in the front row, I knew who had introduced his kids to it and I knew that he knew. When you are 18, devout and taught to respect spiritual authority, it was as good a killing blow for my playing the game as it was for his kids. My parents didn’t care, but I did. So I gave up playing, got rid of all my cards and figured that my memories were all I was going to have from that time forward.
My memories of MTG were anchored on one particular card. Pictured above is a 3rd Edition (also known as “Revised”) Sol Ring. When I thought “Magic”, that picture and the picture at the top of the post were what sprang to my mind. That was the face of Magic to me. It still is in fact.
Speed down the highway of Life to 2014. I began working with a new coworker and it didn’t take long for us to realize that the way we thought and the way we handled the job was so different that it made life super difficult. To the point where I was ready to push him in front of a bus if the opportunity ever presented itself. Thankfully, for both of us, he mentioned that he had recently gotten back into Magic the Gathering. He brought in 2 decks and we began playing at lunch time.
By this time in history, Sol Ring had gone through various changes and had had special editions and premium versions, etc, etc. I began collecting again so I could play with my coworker and keep the peace. Magic the Gathering gave us a common bond that allowed us to work together when it wasn’t really feasible. He eventually moved on to other companies but we stayed in touch and kept on playing a couple of times a month at a local library. By the end of 2019 I had tens of thousands of cards and over 16 Commander decks (Commander is a variant that has 100 cards in a deck instead of just 60, plus some other rules that make it the best version in my opinion). Then my former coworker’s personal life took a dramatic turn for the bad and he had to retrench and move out of state. Then Covid19 hit and really put the kabosh on finding any new players who I could get along with at the local game store. My interest in Magic was on life support.
The following paragraph is where things get political. After the “Rest in Peace” card is where I go back to non-political stuff.
Then in June of 2020, Wizards of the Coast, the company that owns and produces MTG (under the auspices of Hasbro) decided that their Social Justice Warrior Virtue Signalling hadn’t been enough. They came out with the statement “we will be removing a number of images from our database that are racist or culturally offensive,…”. What this means is that any card that they deem to be culturally inappropriate they will ban from competitive play and will remove them from their online database. With this criteria being such a moving target, it means that any card, at any time, can be removed “because reasons”. The only people who think that the cards being banned are problematic are the wokescolds who already think everything is racist. This doesn’t make me angry, it makes me sad, because this signals the end of Magic. There is a reason for the quote “Get Woke, Go Broke.”
So this is the end of my playing Magic the Gathering yet again. I have the feeling this time it will be for good, mainly because I’m not having any desire to continue. However, MTG is what is known as a Collectible Card Game, or CCG, and that means that acquiring cards is as much part of the business model as playing. In that regards I do plan on continuing. I currently own a complete set of 4th Edition (378 cards) and I plan on collecting Revised Sol Rings and storing them away in a nice binder. My initial goal was 100 but since I’m almost there I think my next goal will be 500. So feel free to blame me if the price goes up to $20 a card (which is outrageous by the way, but considering I’m seeing outliers at $15, it could happen).