What does Magic mean to you? For many of us magic is simply a card game. For others it is much much more. It can be an escape from a crappy home life, a way to earn a living, a game that brings people together or tears people apart. This game can do so much to someone’s life so when someone is serious about playing I always wonder “why?”. Why do people play this game and put so much of themselves into it?
PTQ Spring 2013: Six rounds in and undefeated, adrenaline pumping with a chance to claim that plane ticket to Ireland to play in the Pro tour. My brother felt unstoppable, he had just picked up the deck that day and he was crushing everyone. It was an archetype he had never played before, typically an agro player Bant-Control was a new concept to him. After every round he would swing by the booth to tell the team how he had just taken down another match. For every win he added a button from our booth to his shirt like trophies of war. He was feeling great and on top of the world till he lost his next few rounds. By the end of the event he wasn’t feeling as great as he had been, his energy he had started the day with had abated. He was angry with himself for his loses, feeling that he could have somehow played better. But he was happy that in his first event he had done so well. Over the next few months he continued to play more and more often, improving his skills. He plays the game in order to know that he has the ability to succeed at something he puts his mind to.
Miami GP 2013: It was partway through day one and a teammate of mine was struggling to stay in the main event. He wasn’t doing very well and as can be expected his loses were taking an emotional toll. I spoke to him briefly about trying to stay focused on the next match and letting go of the previous one. I thought maybe it helped when I saw him smiling at the end of the round. “I figured it out” he said to me. I figured it had to do with his match, maybe it was some line of play that allowed him to win. “What did you figure out?”. He looked at me completely happy with his new found knowledge “I figured out why I play this game, not to win but to troll people.” I laughed when I heard this thinking maybe his brain had died over the course of the day. “What do you mean? Don’t you care about winning?”. “I do, “ he said, “but I enjoy trolling people, that’s what I find the most fun. If I can win while doing that all the better.” So there it was my friend had figured out why he plays magic.
Outside my FNM hangout Winter 2010: “I won babe!” I won my first FNM! The call was long distance and it was late but I didn’t care. I had to call to let her know that I’d won. My girlfriend at the time had gotten into the game with me and we were both pretty invested in the game and one another. “Congrats!’ the happiness in her voice mirrored my own. “I wish I could come see you now!” I was so excited I wanted to celebrate this moment with her despite being over 900 km away from each other. “I’ll be there next month, we can celebrate then.” “Okay” I said, “It’s a date”. It was a happy time and a moment that perfectly captured why I used to play Magic. I did it because it brought me closer to someone I loved. It helped to forge a relationship that spanned many miles, plane tickets, and a few really good years.
A downtown parking lot Toronto December 2011: I’m sitting in my car with all of my cards. I feel like I’m moving forward by letting go of my hobby. It was a hobby I shared with someone dear to me who was no longer around. It pained me to pick up the cards, as it was a collection I’d built beside them and shared with them. I’m waiting for a guy I met online to come and pick-up the cards for a small portion of their real value. I needed the money for school but more than anything I wanted to be done with the game. Anytime I’d tried to play I felt awful, memories would surface that I just didn’t want to think about. It’s hard to play a game you shared with someone you love when they’re no longer a part of your life. I had to sell my cards; at least at the time I felt I did. I needed to distance myself from everything I used to do with them because I figured I played the game only to be closer to her. My reason for playing the game had turned into my reason to get rid of the game.
My house Summer 2012: School had just finished, I had switched universities and felt like a lot of my life was back on track. When I returned home I found that my brother had found some of my cards. He had played casually in the past when I had played but had never really become invested in it. “Let’s play” He said. I didn’t really think much of it at the time but I decided to indulge his request. We threw together some decks from the scraps of my old collection and duked it out for a couple hours. It was fun. My friend who had also played with me through the years came and joined us. We began to make a habit of playing at the kitchen table. This went on for a little while before I decided to take us all to FNM. I decided that it was time to return to the scene. I had a new reason after all, or maybe it was a similar reason as before just a little more refined. I now played magic to better my relationship with my brother and friends.
Fall 2012-Present : I made it back to Magic and began slugging away with my brother. We both have become avid players and I know that we both want to try and make it to the pro tour. He’s in it to prove he can succeed and I’m in it to achieve the same dream but I have some other things I intend to do along the way. Magic is a game that is played by people from all walks of life and one that can have a great deal of emotional attachment.
While I want to prove that I can succeed at a pro level I also care deeply about all the smaller players and the community in general. I was lucky enough to make it back into the game after a period of distress only to now make many good friends three of whom are my business partners. Without Magic I wouldn’t have met them or been able to start CCG with them. I see Magic as a social group; to me it is more than just a game. It is more than simply getting there and proving I can be number one. I think that in the end I play this game for the people who play beside me. The people who travel to different countries with me just so we can take our shot at a pro spot. The ones who want to see me succeed as badly as I want them to succeed. In short I love Magic because it allows me to be with people I care about.