Magic: The Gathering is an obscenely addictive two player card game. Each player uses their 60 card deck to cast spells, summon monsters and ultimately try to knock their opponents life down to zero (from 20) while staying alive themselves. Cards can be one of 5 different colours (white, blue, black, red and green) which represent a different type of magic like aggressive red sorcery or powerful green monsters.
In many ways Magic is like the Call of Duty of card games. New cards are continually in development and all that extra stuff comes at a price. Magic cards are usually sold in random booster backs but for £3.49 RRP a pop for just 15 cards you can’t be sure you will be getting anything very useful. Magic players also have the reputation of being snot-nosed griefers but at least they are doing it to your face instead of over the mic so I guess the two are even there. This model attracts a lot of criticism with accusations of exploiting fans but the truth is that the reason Magic and CoD are so popular is simply that they are very good games. Both have simple rulesets with plenty of room for player improvisation and all that extra content keeps the game fresh and exciting.
It is easy to get carried away though, the constant stream of content and enormous card pool in Magic’s 25 year history can be overwhelming and it’s just so tempting to start buying it all up. Players with even mild acquisition disorders may find the urge to start splurging huge sums on boxes full of boosters and the card sleeves and boxes to put them all in. This is all optional of course but players who want to play competitively will need to sink money into getting the better cards. On top of this only the most recent expansions are legal in tournament play meaning that the killer deck you built for last year’s competition is no longer acceptable for this year’s.
But these issues are very minor as without a changing tournament card pool the metagame would stagnate into the same old power decks and getting decent cards as singles online is comparatively cheap. For casual play between friends nobody cares if your cards aren’t tournament legal and there are plenty of entry level pre-built decks to buy at very little cost.
I can definitely feel the tug of Magic addiction though. My Amazon wishlist is gradually filling up with Magic products and I almost bought three copies of a card called Zombie Apocalypse from magicmadhouse.co.uk because wouldn’t a zombie deck be cool so why not?
I didn’t though.
But I still might.