What Makes Me A Happy Camper

I, like all players, have gone through the various stages of exhilaration, frustration, enjoyment, and boredom. But, currently, I’m on a Magic high.

Greetings, all! Though you no doubt read last week’s article, from my point of view, I haven’t written anything in a month. Due to site malfunctions (or so the Ferrett tells me), my long-ago-written articles didn’t see the light of the Internet for several weeks. So, now that I’m all caught up, it’s time to get back into the groove.

And getting back into the groove is just what I’ve been doing recently. I remember why I started playing Magic: To have fun. It was an entertaining pastime that could get competitive when you wanted it to. It’s like video games without the mind-numbing television. I, like all players, have gone through the various stages of exhilaration, frustration, enjoyment, and boredom. But, currently, I’m on a Magic-high.

“But, Daniel! What has made you so satisfied with Magic recently?” you ask, eager to learn my secrets of happiness. Well, the magic ingredient is variety.

Anyone who has followed my articles for a while knows that I’m an avid Type II player. The only Extended I play is old Type II decks that I have on Apprentice that have simply rotated out. The reason that I like Type II so much is because when I started to really build decks, Extended was dominated first by Fruity Pebbles, then by Necro-Donate. It seemed like an altogether boring format full of cards that I couldn’t get my hands on anyway. There wasn’t a developed block, and I knew that I couldn’t construct any Type I decks. Type II, on the other hand, had many available decks with cards that were relatively easy to acquire. Type II it was.

And Type II it still is! I love to play a variety of decks. I’m a control player at heart, but my favorite deck for a long time was Blastogeddon (and I still have a Geddon-less Blastogeddon deck), and sometimes pure beatdown is just plain fun. I also relished Bargain when it was still legal, so you can see that my tastes vary. Currently, Type II has so many decks to offer that I’m practically in seventh heaven. The control part of me is especially happy because I have a total of twelve different Standard control decks. I can also enjoy playing any of my five beatdown decks. I even have two IBC decks.

“A block deck?” you say. You don’t remember me ever writing a UBC or MBC article? Well, that’s because I’ve never really been much of a block player, oftentimes only able to help my block-testing friends by running the gauntlet of Standard decks against their limited creations. But now I’ve got GoMar and Domain put together. Why the sudden change of heart? Well, my current favorite deck is a B/U/W control deck with loads of counters, and it originally stemmed from the early versions of GoMar. Now that Apocalypse has introduced lots of juicy treats to the deck, I’ve taken it up. I also built a Domain deck long ago that won by Restocking Tribal Flames while keeping myself alive with Global Ruin and Collective Restraint. Take out the Tribal Flames, put in a flying hippo, and you’ve got yourself a block-strosity!

Basically, I feel that IBC is a lot like Standard in its huge variety. There are so many viable decks in the format, and most of them could be made Standard-legal with a few substitutions (Exclude = Counterspell, etc.). Also, for the first time, I’m interested in Block Constructed articles. I find myself reading IBC strategy articles, when I never opened MBC articles and hardly thought about UBC. This new interest makes me much less of an outcast than I have been. Last year at this time, I was patiently awaiting for the rest of the world to stop its MBC madness, and this was reflected in my writing. Though I still probably won’t write any IBC strategy articles, at least I’ll be able to read and discuss them.

So, in addition to being flooded up to my nose in interesting and fun-to-play decks, I’m also joining mainstream society.* However, being interested in the same stuff isn’t the only way to talk to other people. I’ve recently discovered that online trading can cause this as well.

Having not updated my Have List in about a year, I finally decided one day that it was time to clean up the mess of a list that I had. Once that was done, I figured I might as well post it on MOTL (Magic Online Trading League) and get some trades done. I have to say that it was an excellent idea. Though I haven’t had as many trades as Sean Ponce would often tell us he experienced, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve had so far. I love finding people to trade for cards that a) I don’t mind trading and b) nobody around here ever takes a second look at. Additionally, instead of finding a random person whose binder I can peruse, I can search directly for cards I’m looking for. Expanding my collection has never been easier!

I also get to talk to the people with whom I trade – and that, I believe, is what makes trading so great. Players talk to one another, brought together by their cards. I haven’t made any permanent acquaintances yet, but I’m still learning the MOTL ropes. One of these days I’ll check out the message boards and go to town!

So, all in all, I’m a pretty happy guy, and I would suggest the means of this satisfaction to anyone. There are so many great Standard decks to play, and I believe that proxying up a bunch of them can give you many an interesting game. Case in point: A friend of mine told me that he was very uninterested in the Standard environment. He put together his one paltry deck in addition to his blue/white control deck, and that was that. And then we spent a few hours playing Magic. I played him three times in a row with my Gray Sligh (B/W aggro-control) deck (care of Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar) and won each time. I then played with my Indian Summer (B/G/W control) deck (care of Mike Mason) and won then, too. After a couple more games with different decks, he was a lot more interested in Type II. He has plans for at least two more decks that he wants to build. He couldn’t resist, and if you don’t have at least three decks right now, give it a try: You won’t be able to either.

And then, go do some online trading, and get the cards that you need for your new decks. In addition to increasing the size and quality (because you’ll need a lot of good cards to get those decks up and running) of your collection, you’ll meet some nice people along the way.

With all that done, you’ll be a happy camper: Just like me!

* – Big Brother assures me that there’s nothing wrong with this.