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What Makes Magic Great


Magic will likely go down in history as one of the greatest games of all times. In the 25+ years it has existed, it has evolved and changed in many ways; continuing to grow and appeal to new players and old alike.

Magic is more than just a single game. Magic is essentially a rules engine that allows people to take their cards and play with them in a variety of different ways. I'm not sure even Richard Garfield could have envisioned all the modes of game play his idea all those years ago could have spawned. From Limited formats like Sealed and Draft to so many different Constructed formats that I cannot even begin to list all of them here.

One of the things that I think it is easy to lose sight of is that Magic is many different things to different people. This is what lets Magic attract so many different players. I don't have to enjoy Limited to enjoy Magic. I don't have to have stacks of EDH decks to call Magic my favorite game. I can have Standard be my favorite format, while you enjoy Modern the most. These different formats of Magic allow different people to have different outlets that let them be social, competitive, or even just solve puzzles.

Two completely different people can both say their favorite game in the world is Magic, but for entirely different reasons. It is possible two people can both love Magic and literally have never played with the same cards the other has.

The thing that makes Magic great is often different to every person. What that thing is often changes and evolves as we grow as people. The thing that makes Magic great for me today is not the same thing that made it great for me a year ago, or two years ago, or ten years ago. As I grow as a person, what I look to get out of the games I play grows with me, and Magic has such an immense depth of things to offer that it has grown with me over the years.

I first played Magic over 15 years ago. My cousin was gifted a box of Magic bulk from a neighbor. We eagerly dug into this pile of wonderful treasure of fantasy artwork and rules text that kept us entertained for hours on end. I remember excitedly discovering cards we opened from booster packs here and there. Marveling over how we could fit them into our beloved decks. I recall countless piles of cards in ziplock bags. Decks bound by rubber bands to keep them separated.

Flash forward a few years to undergrad. I remember skipping far too many classes to play games of Magic with friends in the cafeteria. I remember casting Warp World for the third time in a turn, much to the collective sigh of everyone at the table, while I smirked in delight. I recall silly silver bordered cards allowing us to Enter the Dungeon. Playing games, within games, within games. I lost entire weekends to cracking booster boxes of new sets with friends and drafting till there wasn't a pack left unopened.

Jump again to my last semester of grad school. One of my friends from FNM makes the fateful suggestion that we should check out the large event that is going to be happening the next day two hours away - a StarCityGames Open. I remember going 1-3-2 at that first open and loving every second of it. I remember the sense of determination I felt when I drove almost 5 hours to the second open weekend I attended. I recall the great sense of pride I felt when I drew into the top 8 of that event with my own brew. I remember the excitement I felt when my pet deck was featured on the mothership shortly after.

I remember the unreal weekend that was SCG Milwaukee in April of 2013 where I stumbled into not just one, but two open top 8s. That weekend hooked me on competitive Magic for the foreseeable future. It propelled me into the next three years of playing competitive Magic events almost every other weekend. I remember the amazing sense of pride I felt when I made day 2 of the SCG Invitational in Seattle in 2014 - locking my position in the first ever SCG Players Championship. I recall the immense weight of defeat I felt when I failed to day 2 the last invitational of 2016 ending my shot at the SCG Player of the Year title.

Fast forward one more time to the end of 2017. I had been streaming for some time as a hobby. Just for fun. Nothing close to professional. Just a few leagues here and there while my kids were playing. I had a bit more time to stream over the holidays while my wife had off work and my numbers really started ramping up. Shortly into 2018 I hired a sitter to watch the kids a few hours a week so I could start streaming more often and in a more professional manner.

Now. December 31st, 2018 I am writing this. I have been doing content full time for a better part of the last year. MTGArena is digital Magic that is good in a way I honestly never thought Magic could be good. It is fast. It is slick. It is free. It is growing at a rate I never dreamed Magic could grow on Twitch.

The future. It is wild to think as 2019 is beginning that this is all just getting started in a way. Magic is arguably gearing up for a bigger year than ever before and as I start this new year I get to say something I have dreamed of since I cashed my first check from an event in 2012 - Magic is my job. I get to wake up every day and go do something I love. More importantly, I get to share that thing I love with my family, my friends, my viewers at home, and readers like you.

Magic: the Gathering has been a part of my life for a long time now - for over half the years I have been alive. It has allowed me to feel amazing wins. It has made me experience tough losses. Most importantly - it has driven me to do better. To be better. To improve as a player. To improve as a person.

I am grateful for all Magic has given me over the years and am consistently floored that the community has allowed for this amazing game to become my job over the course of 2018. I am excited for what the future can hold. Not only paper Magic is headed, but where Arena will take Magic in the digital space.

Thanks for taking the time to read the ramblings of someone who spends far too much time playing card games.