The Magics I Will Not Be Gathering

I have something of a storied history with Magic, as you may already know if you’ve been hanging around here for a while. I played for a few increasingly depressing years in secondary school, and dropped out at around the same time that the competitive mentality had gripped our teenage-boy minds to the point where endless third turns and infinite quantities of tokens were the rule rather than the exception.

Last year I found out that those rotten bastards I used to play Mage with have started up with the Magic and the playing of the Magic again, and that they have wrapped their hands firmly around the reins to steer the Magic Wagon straight for Casualton (it’s in the County of Scrubshire, but on the edge, not in the middle by Loserborough or Nobber-upon-Rant).

And it’s been fun, so far, throwing down with these people, to the point where they bought me a shiny new deck (although it’s green/red, not really my thing, I still appreciate the effort) and where I’ve picked up some lovely full art lands and a life counter and deck boxes and oh fuck what am I doing?

Anyway, the latest oh fuck what am I doing news is this.

That’s a huge box of Tempest commons that belong to a friend of a friend. Naturally, like the hero I am, I’ve been going through them looking for anything that’s still egregiously valuable and stripping out the stuff that I might be interested in.

Anyway, I thought it might be worth looking at how I’ve gone about whittling that huge stack down. First job – sort everything out by colour, and by type, to make the rest of the task easier. Second job: take out all the Slivers (I have memories of people’s Sliver decks and want to see if I can build an interesting one) and anything that looks like it might be more valuable than pennies (I know there’s an Eladamri in there somewhere and I can’t believe Circles of Protection don’t fetch a few quid)

Third job: mana.

Mana Potions!

There’s no land in the pile at all, so I’ve had to think about the full art lands I have available – 12 Swamps, 8 each of Island, Plains and Mountain, and 4 Forests – and what they mean in deck-building terms. What they mean is that I have to keep an eye on the costs of things. Anything that costs two of anything other than black to play has to be evaluated in terms of how likely it is to see play, especially if there are further activation costs in the same colour. Crown of Flame, for instance, decent though it is, is entirely dependent on red mana to cast and to get any use out of, and there’s no real guarantee that I’ll be having enough of that in the deck to do the business.

What I seem to have ended up with is a swarm of cheap, lightweight black creatures with ‘pay one black to make this thing a bit scarier’ or regenerate abilities, and a bunch of exciting delivery spells in other colours. There’s probably a name for decks like that but I haven’t the faintest idea what it is. There’s probably a whole exciting world of terminology out there waiting to be discovered, really.

What worries me, though, is that I own two deck boxes and they’re already full (although I haven’t actually bought any of the Tempest cards off their current owner yet, and I may not). Another small worry is that the old cards are going to create some interestingly tense rules interactions with newer decks, and have been left behind somewhat by the ceaseless process of revision which makes Magic go. I’m wondering if my money might not be better spent on something like this, or this, or even this

If there are any Magic players in the audience, feel free to offer some advice. Remember though, I don’t care for tournaments, just for a casual game that I stand a decent chance in.

4 thoughts on “The Magics I Will Not Be Gathering

Add yours

  1. I am a complete and utter git and failed to read the links. DBT all the way. PERIOD. You absolutely will NOT be dissapointed. There are enough cards to start an excellent casual collection; build some fun decks, and learn a lot along the way.

    How many Fat packs are available in your area for DA? Please message me privately on this one.

  2. That DBT looks pretty awesome, and a great deal for the price. Honestly, I’ve found the most fun way to get into current expansions is through sealed deck tournaments. I like the semi-competitive nature, but at the same time I don’t feel like I’m at a disadvantage because I haven’t spent $500 on buying a couple of boxes of cards/getting full sets of 5 different rares. Plus, for the entry fee (usually ~$10-15) I’m guaranteed at least 3 rares, which usually at least one of which I could probably sell and get back most of the initial cost.

  3. Dude. Land? Anyone who’s bought any cards at all should have more than enough land to choke an elephant with, so I wouldn’t worry about scrounging up enough to make 20 of each of the basic lands. Week or two back, in the shop basement I play Hordemachine in, there was enough abandoned Mountains lying around for a deck of nothing but Mountains…

    “I can’t believe Circles of Protection don’t fetch a few quid”

    The basic 5 colour ones are very much either specialist use or sideboard cards. Any you have in your deck that don’t match the colours in the opponent’s deck are just dead cards that are wasting card draws.

    I’ve used 4 x CoP:Black in a stupid White/Black Pestilence/Withering Wisps/Protection from Black deck, but they’re generally best kept in a sideboard.

    The mileage on the other ones (Artifacts, Art and Shadow) will depend on your meta.

    Unless you’re going to do things with Slivers in multiple colours with some mana colour changing system, I’d suggest taking black and one other colour, and just build a deck from that.

You may now commence belching

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