January 28th, 2021


A few stories about playing Magic: The Gathering

This is from loooooooooooooooooooong ago.  I was active in playing MtG from about 1993-1996, when I was in college. 

I had two good friends who I played against all the time, but I would go around with them and play against others as well. But I don't remember playing a game where at least one of Brad or Ryan weren't playing.

Thing is, like me and gambling in example, I set an amount of money I was willing to spend on buying MtG cards. So my decks tended to be way weaker than the people I played against.  So I usually didn't play to win.

I played to amuse myself.

I wrote a couple poems where I won in the formal sense: winner's poem (try #2 dammit!) and Brad exhausted his library -- in the first case, the other two, with much stronger decks, battled each other to the death, and when one was left, I was strong enough to finish him off. I had a completely defensive strategy, so that they would attack each other and not me. Which they did. And then I had enough attack to finish off the survivor from their battles. Winning that way worked only once, really. They learned to gang up against me and knock me off BEFORE they wacked at each other after that.

The second one was where I was very careful in reading the rules (of the time) to see what happened if the deck got entirely used up. Brad liked to have a "thin" deck, whatever the legal minimum was (40 cards?), and they were powerful decks he had built. But I had huge weenie decks. And if I could survive long enough..... in general, Brad and I didn't do head-to-head just us two (I never much liked head-to-head with anybody. I loved large group games.)

But the story I didn't write a poem for makes me laugh so much, because it was my favorite game ending ever. There was a card called Hurricane that did equal damage to all players. It had theoretically infinite damage you could inflict - it depended on the amount of green mana you had at hand.

So I was at the lowest hit points (of course) - and I had LOADS of green mana. Hmmm. Oooh, enough to kill the other players (and me, but that wasn't the point).

I basically killed all of us in the game. Nobody won.

Anyway, it was highly entertaining. Nothing real depended on it. It was just a game - no money, no material effects from the result - the thing is what is considered a "win" does not necessarily depend on the written rules.

I know MtG has changed a lot in the 20+ years since I stopped seriously playing it. I would assume Hurricane is gone along with a lot of the hugely destructive cards I remember at the beginning of the game. They came up with stuff before they really understood game dynamics... and that there were lots of people who would love a result where -everybody- lost, as opposed to having a single victor.

Anyway, it's been bubbling up in my brain today. You can connect it to whatever you want.