The Community And The Humanity

You hear the term all the time: the Magic Community. But what is it, exactly? I’m not going to treat you as children and pretend like you don’t know. However, I am going to give you something to think about. The following article was written by : "Andrew Cuneo is a credit to this great…

You hear the term all the time: the Magic Community. But what is it, exactly? I’m not going to treat you as children and pretend like you don’t know. However, I am going to give you something to think about. The following article was written by Randy Buehler:

"Andrew Cuneo is a credit to this great game.

"Cuneo, who was a member of the 2nd-place "Car Acrobatic Team" from the most recent Pro Tour, was paired against German National Champion Andre Konstanczer in the 4th round of the Masters Gateway tournament. He started out game 2 well with Ordered Migration (for 3), Armadillo Cloak on a token, and then Sabertooth Nishoba. However, Konstanczer was coming back with Benalish Trapper and Rith, the Awakener. When Konstanczer played a Faerie Squadron (with kicker) and traded it for the Cloaked Bird token, Cuneo played Shackles on Rith and was forced to try to go the distance with his last remaining Bird token. Konstanczer was at 3 when he decided to use his Dismantling Blow to force Cuneo to pick up his Shackles.

"With Rith now untapped, Konstanczer used his Trapper during his own main phase and tapped Cuneo’s Bird token. The gathered crowd saw immediately that this mistake would cost Konstanczer the game. Cuneo was silent for about two seconds and then said ‘You know it’s already tapped, right?’ Cuneo voluntarily offered a take-back! He didn’t want to win a game because his opponent was confused about the untapped status of a token! The crowd was absolutely stunned. Gab Tsang’s jaw actually, physically dropped. Gary Wise commented to me, ‘He’s a better man than I am.’ After untapping his land and his Trapper, Konstanczer served with Rith, made a bunch of tokens, and still had the Trapper available to keep the Nishioba locked down.

"Then, in the end, Cuneo won anyway and moved on to the semi-finals. Cuneo didn’t even comment on it after the match, instead he was trying to figure out if he had made a mistake by not attacking with all his tokens on a previous turn. However, the crowd was big enough that tales of Cuneo’s honor spread rapidly around the room."

(To see the original, go here.)

I received this link from John Rizzo under the title "You should be speechless, but why?" That’s a good question. A very good question. Why should you be speechless?

Here’s why: Andrew Cuneo is human. He thinks, feels, and plays like a human. Another question: When was the last time you saw a lion chasing a human? Probably never because whenever you see a lion, it’s behind bars at a zoo or on TV. Humans have mastered lions. But, if lions are so ferocious, how have humans tamed them? Humans have agile minds and fingers that allow them to overcome almost any barrier. Humans are selected to survive and to do so by any means necessary. So, when Andrew Cuneo sees a defenseless Andre Konstanczer down and ready to destroy, Cuneo’s instinct should have taken him to victory.

And that’s why you should be speechless.

But, obviously, I’m not speechless. Which brings up another question: Why SHOULDN’T you be speechless?

Here’s why: Andrew Cuneo is human. He thinks, feels, and plays like a human. Another question: When was the last time you saw a lion mating with a human? Most likely never, and if you have, I don’t want to know about it. And why shouldn’t a lion mate with a human? Because a human doesn’t have all the best qualities of a lion: Rippling muscles, sharp claws, and a fertile cub-bearing reproductive system. However, humans have the ability to think freely, to look beyond the "best" traits of a figure. Humans can make decisions based upon actions and character. They also think and feel outside of the box; they can deny their instincts.

So, when Cuneo’s instincts kicked in for him to kill, he was able to tell himself that that wasn’t the right thing to do, that his instincts were wrong. His decision involved morals, honor, and strategy. His morals advised him that taking advantage of a situation is wrong; his honor told him that it would be a disgrace to his name to kick a man when he’s down; his strategic impulses told him that the next time he makes a mistake while playing Andre Konstanczer, he’s going to be able to take it back (if Konstanczer is as forgiving as he is).

Yes, I do have a point. I’m getting to it.

What were the two similarities in the questions, "Why should you be speechless?" and "Why shouldn’t you be speechless?" In both, the answer was that Cuneo was human.

And Cuneo is part of the Magic Community.

See the connection? The above game is a perfect(ly roundabout) way of describing the Magic Community: It’s made up of PEOPLE.

It’s hard to understand that, sometimes. Even as you read this, you’re online with countless other anonymous users. Unless you’re one of the (lucky) few who actually know me, I’m just slightly less random than other users out there because you’ve seen my face and perhaps read my work before. But, you’ve probably never heard me laugh, talked to me about how bad my CounterDerm deck is, or interacted with me in any way whatsoever (unless by a nearly as anonymous email or Instant Message).

But, I’m still alive. And so are you. We may never talk, but we both have unique lives. And we’re both part of the Magic Community.

If you go to a low K event, you’ll see things like take-back’s all the time. Often, players won’t even ask, but when they do, they’re often met with "sure." I know that if my opponent laid a land down right before playing an Armageddon and then asked to take it back, I’d let him. (However, I didn’t say anything when my opponent didn’t search with an active Sergeant when I ‘Geddon’d.)

But, players aren’t the only members of a Magic Community. When asked if I’ll trade my foil Darigaaz, the Igniter, I gave the same answer as I usually did: "Well, I w i l l, but I’d rather try to hold on to it." Every time I said that, the person with whom I was trading said, "Sure thing. I understand." That kind of attitude makes it a lot easier to say no to a deal, and it makes trading more enjoyable altogether. Also, when trading with friends, I often encounter the phrase, "Well… okay. For you." I say it sometimes, and sometimes someone says it to me. In the end, it all works out, but each time it happens, it makes both people feel good.

But, traders aren’t the only members of the Magic Community. Look at StarCityGames.com. Every day, you find a plethora of articles from which to choose. If you were to read them all, you’d realize that sometimes, writers refer to one another. For instance, just about every Alaskan Magic player writes for Star City (small pun there). And, every other week or so, they’ll put up an article about something they did together. Why, they even wrote a tournament report together. (If you don’t remember, go here.) Also, John Friggin’ Rizzo’s articles have been mentioned several times in other people’s articles. Some writers (like the Ferrett and Omeed Dariani) get mentioned more than others*, but nevertheless, we, as writers, interact on cyberspace. Even this article has mentioned tons of other writers! You, as readers, interact with us as well by email (and even an occasional tournament recognition).

So, what am I trying to get at? I’m trying to relate to you that every member of the Magic Community is a real person**. When you sit down across from somebody at a tournament, don’t silently shuffle until the judge starts the match. Chat some; find out how he’s doing in the tournament. See if he’s made any good trades. If you take after the Ferrett, maybe you can weasel*** his decktype out of him. No matter what you talk about, know that you’re interacting with another human being with a life just as important as you. Maybe you played him in Apprentice sometime, and you just don’t know it. This is your chance to make up for that anonymity.

Thanks for reading, and if you want to interact with ME, send me a message.

Daniel Crane
[email protected]

* – Like me – my name only came up in three articles not written by me when I did a search: two by Michael Granaas and one by Sheldon Menery when I won a prize. (Hey, I mentioned you last week, ya ungrateful punk! (g) – The Ferrett)

** – With the possible exception of the Machine, Jon Finkel.

*** – Another small pun.