The Magic Player’s Guide to Dating

For too long the words “Magic Player” have been synonymous with agony and despair when it comes to the dating. Is it your lack of social skills, your unkempt appearance, or your frighteningly bad breath? Do you find talking to women an incomprehensible labyrinth? Well your days of shame are at their long end, my friend. With this easy-to-follow guide that describes women in the terms of Magical cards, you can’t go wrong!

For too long the words”Magic Player” have been synonymous with agony and despair when it comes to the dating. Is it your lack of social skills, your unkempt appearance, or your frighteningly bad breath? Do you find talking to women an incomprehensible labyrinth? Well your days of shame are at their long end, my friend. With this easy-to-follow guide that describes women in the terms of Magical cards, you can’t go wrong! In fact, by the time you finish this article, you’ll have attractive, available women fawning all over you, Guaranteed!*

First things first, you need to figure out what exactly you want out of a relationship. If you don’t know what you want, there’s going to be a lot of hurt or embarrassment on one or both sides, and the last thing you want is to make a sweet girl cry because you made her think you were ready to commit. If all you want is a quickie in the parking lot of the tournament site, you have to let her know up front or it will come back to haunt you.

Next, you need to do is figure out what kind of player you are, as this will have a direct effect on how you spin game. There is an old article about the three basic categories here, but I will sum them up in short:

Timmy, the power player, likes to use devastating and costly effects.

Johnny, the creative player, likes to express himself through his game.

Spike, the competitive player, likes to win as much as possible.

Now that we have the way they play Magic, let’s look at their dating profiles.

The Timmy’s out there want to use the most devastating means to capture their prospective quarry, whether that’s the girl next door or the prom queen. To a Timmy, time and cost are not an obstacle; they will do whatever needs to be done to set up inevitability. This can include strong-arm tactics like burying your woman-to-be in purchased gifts like candy, flowers, and alcoholic libations, or smothering her with massive doses of romance, or simply bashing her with a club and dragging her to your cave the way our ancestors did (although I don’t recommend this). Timmy’s are mostly stupid rich dudes with incredible cars and even more incredible upper limits on their daddy’s credit cards. Finally, a Timmy will go after a trophy girlfriend that makes him look good, much like a foily blackbordered ninja-script chase rare will look nice in his binder. Therefore, the traits that Timmy looks for in a relationship are convenience and authority.

A Johnny, on the other hand, likes his personality to win over his women. He will often go for girls that no one else will go for (like hippy chicks!) because of the maxim that true beauty is on the inside (which is coincidentally what his mother has told his ugly ass since he was four). Johnnies will typically be found outdoors strumming a guitar, writing passionate love poems, or adding flavor by reciting Iago’s lines during Shakespeare festivals. Johnnies are all about making their own way, whether it’s particularly feasible or not; they value personal innovation and uniqueness more than consistency. A Johnny would do something like propose on the mound of a baseball game (why do I keep thinking of Chris Romeo?) in front of a stadium full of people; much like going off with an esoteric combo deck, you’re not going to get a chance to do this often, but when you do you’re going to get the desired result. Therefore, Johnnies are most often looking for love.

Spikes are the most competitive of the bunch. They hone their skills through countless hours of practice with what the Magic world would call the”best deck”, or a single strategy that has the most consistent results. They pay particular attention to the most synergistic and cost-effective manner to achieve their goal, and are often the first to find and use natural combos. For example, a nice car or a good pick-up line aren’t enough by themselves. But combine them with a few glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon and suddenly they’re synergistic in achieving one’s goals (other notable combos are candlelight and Barry White, or a full moon and a hot tub). You will most likely find Spikes at crowded venues where everyone is going for the same group of girls, like bars or at the club. It’s easy to separate the pros (Gucci / Versace, Rolex) from their barns (same stuff, cheaper brand) and the wannabes (the dude in the black mesh shirt). Spikes don’t really go for relationships, because what they want from women they can usually get in an evening.

After you begin to understand that you’ll be more successful piloting certain archetypes that match well with your player profile, it’s time to move on to construction. Just like a Magic deck, a successful mack is going to have certain things. Most of the arena in which you’ll use your skills consists of conversation (we’ll get to combat later). Therefore, your”spells” are going to be conversational pieces. Most of these are going to be the very basic and repetitive questions that you use to get to know anybody like:”Hi. My name’s Osyp Lebedowicz. What’s yours?” Perhaps that’s not the most stellar example of something common, but there it is. I liken these to basic lands in a deck – they’re very vanilla, but without them you couldn’t do anything.

The idea is to put a sufficient amount of basic conversational pieces into play that you can build upon them. Then, you can go on the offensive. You have to make sure that you have a good curve – a common mistake of Timmy. After the initial how-do-you-do’s he will fizzle out before he gets to drop his big bombs like how much money his dad makes or the size of his swimming pool. A good way to maintain conversational advantage is by choosing topics that will lead to other topics; an early lull in the conversation, like a missed land drop in the first six turns, can spell doom to your chances of getting the digits. Which way you steer the conversation is decided by one mitigating factor: Who’s the Beatdown?

If your lady friend is rather tight lipped, it can mean several things: you’re stupid and ugly or you need to play aggressively. If you’re playing the beatdown, you need to do one of several things. You could overload her in the early game, getting in there for a fast victory. Or, you can try to get conversational advantage and then bring in so many topics in a short period of time that one lethal threat breaks through. What you have to worry about is overextending (like into a Wrath): if you go out on a limb, and then say something completely stupid**, you’ll probably never recover from the tempo advantage she gains.

If she’s playing the beatdown, well, chances are you’ve already won, my friend. But a word to the wise: make sure you direct the conversation to where you want it to be. If she’s asking questions that could lead to embarrassing revelations about you (i.e., that you still live with your parents, sleep with a blanky, or are a 26-year-old virgin), you need to make the appropriate counters. With a girl that’s already talkative,”Enough about me… let’s talk about you!” will work like a charm.

Finally, practice, practice, practice! You’re never going to get anywhere if you don’t know how to run the matchups. When it comes to girls, confidence is key. For example, take the instance when you sit down across from a scrub who managed to 4-0 in a PTQ. They do things like miss steps or phases or activations, or their hands shake, or any of a number of things that let you know right away that you have a psychological advantage. If a girl knows she has such an advantage over you, she will crush you utterly, much like the triple-Piledriver draw crushes most everything. Just hope she doesn’t take the house, the car, and the dog before she’s through. On the other hand, often your own confidence in getting this girl can be a self-fulfilling prophecy; she starts to concentrate on her own flaws in the face of your casual self-assurance, and convinces herself that simply must go home with you to prove that she is indeed desirable to the opposite sex.

Now that you understand your profile, composed your game, and practiced your moves, you’re ready to play. The oft-repeated maxim is that you won’t qualify for 100% of the Pro Tours that you don’t try to qualify for (or even, you won’t score on 100% of the shots that you don’t take), meaning that you have to go out if you want to meet a chick. In the olden days, Zeus had merely to descend in the form of a Golden Shower to get some bootay, but in the 21st century that has a completely different connotation and you’re no Greek God. Girls are not going to fall into your lap most of the time, so you have to go out there and get ’em.

What that means is understanding the metagame. You may be limited by your personality as to what type of archetype you can pursue, but the right tech can ease some of the problems. For example, if you’re trying to pick up women at the Republican Nat’l Convention, you’re not going to get far wearing a Bill Clinton trucker hat and waving around a copy of”My Life.” Likewise, you’re not going to pick up girls in a club that plays electronica wearing a straw cowboy hat. [Although this rogue strategy can occasionally be very successful in the right metagame with a good playa behind the wheel. – Knut] A sideboard helps metagame-specific problems by giving you a backup plan. If you’re a complete donkey and nothing seems to work, you can always drop and play in a side event, also known as macking on lonely girls. Claim beer goggles all you want, but I know you [censored]!


Now that you’ve succeeded in establishing a conversation with a female, it’s time to get in there are start swinging. Now, while there are alternate win conditions – for example, if you can ever get a woman to run out of things to say, she’s morally obligated to take you home – reducing her inhibitions from twenty (or more) to zero is most often the best route.

Some comments can go a long way, even if they’re touched on only in passing – These are the Ball Lightnings of the dating world – they don’t stick around but they pack a massive wallop. However, you can rely on these kinds of effects. Most of the things you want to mention stick around for a while, as they can enter the red zone again and again. Like the new Legends rule, find something the two of you have in common and use it until it’s obliterated by a duplicate. What you need to do are find things within your build that supercede the natural defenses she will exude against them: she knows that men are irresponsible, but you mention babysitting your little brother. She knows that men are only in it for sex, but you wistfully reminisce that if only your ex had been ready to settle down. She knows that men are chauvinistic pigs, but you keep your eyes firmly planted on her boobs. I mean, eyes. And you talk about your term paper on women’s suffrage – those poor, dear suffragettes!

Sometimes when you’re having trouble lowering her inhibition levels due to a rock-solid defense, you must rely on combat tricks to get the job done. An example that I’ve already referenced through this article is alcohol, the single greatest detractor from human intelligence on the plant. But beware! Like Infest, Alcohol has a global, symmetrical effect. It gives -1/-1 to all for each drink in the graveyard, so if you’re a lightweight, your own assaults will be as clumsy as her defenses. The most important thing in this regard is to be”on the level,” as otherwise you’ll be either too drunk to mack or too sober to stand her blithering irrelevancies.

Another example is the”Gee, I sure am tired” stretch and put your arm around her. This tactic is tier three and I would never recommend using it, even in casual games. However, it brings up an important idea: breaking the touch barrier. No chick is ever going to take you home if they’re repulsed by the unctuous, slimy slither of your skin on hers. For most Magic Players, this means not running your hand through your hair before you try to make contact, but there is more to it than that. I know you want to, but you can’t just grab a girl like you would manhandle a cold one. Rather, you have to wait for the right time; if she laughs at one of your jokes, follow up by gently placing your hand on her elbow and telling her she’s too kind. Or, proffer your hand when she’s stepping down from your jacked up truck, or place it on the small of her back as you usher her through a door (that you held open for her, oh gentleman that you are).

Bonus Section: Equipment

The rules for equipment in real life are very similar to the rules for equipment in the game of Magic, i.e., it’s only good if it’s costed cheaply and has a decent effect. If it’s overcosted it won’t be versatile, and consequently relegated to tier 2 (or worse) status. Certain pieces of equipment are staples and others fill a niche; it all depends on the matchup. Here are the goodies I find to particularly useful, or quite the opposite:

1. Cell Phone

This is the nerve center of your game. Much like a Sword of Fire and Ice has five separate effects, your cell phone serves multiple purposes. You put girls’ numbers in it, can take their picture (this comes in handy, if for whatever reason you don’t remember what they look like the next morning), and caller ID means if a former date goes psycho, you never have to talk to them again.

Conversely, a computer is a little like a Staff of Domination as a macking tool. It seems like it does a lot more, but it’s never enough, and is always a poor substitute for more powerful equips. You may be able to ease into some conversations with certain girls and it can good for breaking the ice, but like an Isochron Scepter with no instants, it’s not always going to be good. If you’re philandering on a budget, a simple piece of paper and a pen can work; it’s not spectacular but it’s a solid fill-in.

2. Watch / Chain / Jewels

These pieces of equipment are like Cranial Plating: the more you have, the more effective each becomes. However, like the popular replacement for the Clamp, they are only effective in a certain game archetype; if you’re going out to the club, which is generally more competitive than the bar circuit, these are what you want to be packing. Remember that in an environment like the club, blingin’ like you is, you’re going to run into a lot of hate(rs). You probably want to attempt the quick finish with every opponent that comes your way.

3. Prophylactics

These are without a doubt the most important equip to have, and if they’re getting passed to you, do not hesitate to stock up – they’re a potent win-condition. These perform many functions: protect the most important member of your team (like Lightning Greaves), keep your opponents from creating baby tokens (Stasis Cocoon?), and much like a Viridian Longbow in a multiplayer game, allow you to poke lots of different people with minimal cost and risk.

4. Car

The easiest way to describe a vehicle’s effect on your dating status is an X-spell. Obviously, the more you spend on it, the greater the effect; if you drive a Tercel, don’t sweat your car in front of chicks. If you’ve got a Lamborghini, try speeding.

Bear in mind that a dope car is not everything. If you bank your entire strategy on resolving the equip ability of a Sword of Kaldra, you might be in for a losing game. The most important lesson you can learn about equipment is that if you don’t have a personality to back up your possessions, you’ll fail as surely as when you’ve got triple-Loxodon Warhammer and no critters.

Next time we’ll talk about more advanced topics, like”Self-Deprecating Humor” and”Multiplayer,” which I know you’re just dying to try.

Until then, that’s about all the enlightenment I can bestow. Before you rush to the forums to flame, think long and hard about it: do you really think I’m a lamer that is talking out of his ass, and has never dated a girl in his life? (don’t answer that) Or are you merely taking out your own dating frustration in an anonymous setting?

Before I go, I’ll throw a bone to those that don’t have a chance. Here are the top 5 (there aren’t 10!) reasons why Magic Cards are better than women:

5. Unaffected by gamer funk.

4. If you do a good job you win a prize! (And the”amateur” payout is great!)

3. No one cries when they’re rotated out.

2.”Sufficient randomization” is a rule rather than an attitude.

1. It takes minimal effort to tap a hot chick (Viridian Shaman! Yowza!)

And last but not least, I couldn’t have an article about macking if I didn’t show you some hot chicks. BAM! BOOM! KAPOW!

John Matthew Upton

I like back, feed me!

Jmumoo #AT# yahoo #DOT# com (I get like 15 spam emails a day!)

* This is one of those guarantees that, like those found on television, are no guarantee at all. Sorry to start out the article by lying to ya.

**Any of these qualify: I think I love you! You’re so freakin’ hot! Or my personal favorite, Nice shoes! Wanna ****?