Ryan Thomason

Magic: The Luncheoning, My First Magic Game

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First off, I want to thank the people at Wizards of the Coast and Magic: The Gathering for giving us some decks from the Rise of Eldrazi that just hit stores.

This was my first real attempt at a magic game, who did I square off against? Why our very own Xopher Reed, who hasn’t had time to play his exhaustive collection. We met on neutral territory, a Thai food restaurant. After some casual conversation, we finished our meal, and squared off to do battle.

His orientation of how to play was short enough, what he didn’t know, was able to quickly find since every Intro Pack for this series comes with a large foldout of how to play. We drew our seven cards, and started out in earnest. The intro pack I got was a mixture Red/Green color deck, Red equaling Fire, while Green you can think of leafy forest types. I had a feeling, I could sense he was a little weary. Since I was smart enough to show him one of my big cards that had an 11 in the top right corner, which meant I needed 11 land cards in order to play the monstrosity. With every turn that came to me, I was throwing down a land card, I started with 4 in my hand, and kept drawing them out of the deck. Before I knew it, I was throwing down my first creature to form the basis of my army of doom.

My Daggerback Basilisk looked awesome, and I immediately wanted to attack him, but I guess I had to wait until the next turn. Immediately, he put down a card that was something to the effect of Wall of Spears. When my turn came again, I played my usual Land card, and figured I couldn’t do much, and said my turn was over. To which Xopher pointed out that I COULD have attacked. I cursed myself and vowed to crush him next turn. Then I forgot to attack him again, which he pointed out…again. I nearly pounded my fist on the table, I was here to kick ass and take names! Not dance around singing songs of peace!

My next turn, I made SURE to attack him this time, and after declaring so, he promptly informed me that my creature was dead. Being a kind and gentle teacher, he reminded me about the little numbers at the bottom of my card, which is attack and defensive strength. My creature had a paltry two attack against his 3 defensive, and since his attack was better than MY defense, creature, dead. I slid my one man dead army into the graveyard, and vowed justice. I’m going to have to start paying attention, and dropping more land cards.

He could never seem to get any new land cards, and as I started dropping some more of the creatures I kept putting them into play. This time, I was being hesitant about attacking his Wall Of Spears, and now some Fire barrier. I kept my two spider guys on the table, waiting, waiting for my land to pile up. By the time I hit 9 lands, I could play the big creature that I was smart enough to NOT show him a creature called Hand of Emrakul. When I had an open strike, my army of three crushed through his wall of spears, tore down his fire wall, and did 2 damage to him. Starting with 20 life, and knocked down to 18, no land cards to speak of, no creatures to defend, his barriers crushed. Xopher was a man on the ropes to my elite newbie skills. So you’ll have to realize how crushed I was when on his next turn, he deployed some Ice Floe card that basically froze my new awesome creature and put down another wall of spears that would have been too much for my twin spiders. My blood was flowing; the strategy center of my brain that loves these types of situations was kicking in high gear.

For the next couple of minutes, we mostly went back and forth, neither of us drawing or playing anything of significance. Except that I kept getting more land cards, after the illustrious moment, where I threw down my 11th land card, the turn of reckoning was here. I deployed my Pathrazer of AWESOME, and with it’s special powers, wiped out his defenses without even taking a hit. More critically, I could now destroy the Ice Flow that was locked on my other creature. I looked into his eyes, and saw what I wanted more than anything that day. Victory.

Staring down at my army, and his utterly undefended self, he was forced to cede victory to me. With that, I won my first ever attempt at playing Magic: The Gathering. I can see the draw that comes with playing this game, if you fancy yourself as a thinker and like to strategize, this is definitely the game to play. There were many times where you get that slight rush when your opponent plays their card, you immediately try to pick at it and find some way in the back of your head how to turn it against them. I spent just as much time looking over at his cards he had played and tried to guess how he was going to make best use of it. The downside of doing that as a novice like me, is that I have no skill at reading his cards, which to me are upside down, since he wants to read them and all. I was caught off guard sometimes after playing a card at how well he could just sit there, lean a little forward, and read off of my card out loud. It is a skill that comes with many games, and something that I wonder has other uses outside of Magic.

Overall, I had a great experience with my first attempt at being a Magic Geek, my curiosity is too much and I just have to learn more. I finally understand why there are large groups of people out there that take this game seriously, its fun, challenging, and you really just don’t know what is going to happen next. The possibilities of 60 card decks that you can build through the different color variations are exhaustive. If I wanted, I could build a purely defensive deck, or go for some kind of ‘balls out’ approach and merely try to crush and conquer as quickly as possible. I’m excited to see where this takes me.

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