How to Play Your Dragons (of Tarkir)?

(Editor’s Note:  Ultimately, I had to decide not to bring the boys to a prerelease because Liam isn’t feeling well, but I’m interested in in what everyone thinks about this.)

With the last set in the Tarkir block imminent and big changes on the horizon for the game, I wanted to do a preview article of some sort.  Since so many others have already written articles that list the best cards for this format or that format, I don’t want to (nor do I feel comfortable) add to that.  If you’re looking for those articles, I recommend LSV’s take on limited (The link takes you to his thoughts on gold, colorless, and lands.  There are links to the other colors in the article) or Channel Fireball’s Magic TV video that discusses constructed Standard.  The video is long but worth the watch.  I still haven’t finished the whole thing.  If Chris and I are going to seriously pursue constructed decks, though, I will have to watch the rest of it.

The 2 Guys Gaming pride ourselves in bringing a fresh voice in the gaming community.  We may not have the most current or cutting edge content, but we try to make it fun, entertaining, and maybe even a little informative.  I initially drew a blank on how to approach this article.  I know that I want to focus on the prerelease.  I’m positive that I want to include my sons in some way.  I am struggling with the angle.  Chris and I are going to talk about the set this weekend.  That narrows the possibilities even more.

I want to write an article about this weekend’s prerelease and children.  Okay, I got it!  As usual, inspiration hit last night while in that weird place that your brain resides as you are on the verge of sleep.  I will write an article about the prerelease and children.  So obvious and simple, right?  Why did it take me so long?  Sometimes my muse takes time off.  Maybe she extended her St. Paddy’s Day celebrations.  She finally showed up just in time as she likes to do and I’m ready to write this article.

I’m a member in a Magic group on Facebook.  It is an eclectic group and mostly friendly, so I fit right in.  An offshoot group formed last year called MtG Secret Santa that encourages members to send cards other anonymous members.  I am not a huge fan of Facebook, but every now and then, the stars align and it leads to something great.  The reason that I bring up the group is that it contributed to inspiration for this article.

One of the most common questions in the group is some variation of “What age is good to start my kids on Magic?”  More often than not, one of the first answers is an attempt at humor, “As soon as possible because then they won’t have money for drugs.”    I must admit that one always makes me chuckle.  As generally happens online, after the trolls get it out of their system, people give genuine responses.  Most give the advice that they would start as soon as possible because the came can teach math reading, critical thinking, and other valuable skills.  While that might be true, that is not the reason that I taught my kids the game.  Truth be told, they weren’t even considerations.  I taught them the game for the same reason that I wanted to learn it myself and still play.  It is a fun game.  Plus, they had the added advantage of already having played Pokemon.  Teaching them has the added benefit of being able to share with them something that I enjoy.

The reason that I bring all of this up is that there are always two sides to every one of these discussions.  I always try to consider both sides before making a decision.  The predicament, as you can no doubt guess, revolves around whether or not to take my sons to the prerelease.  i took Liam to the Theros prerelease and he had fun.  I took both of them to the Khans of Tarkir one and even though there was a monumental mix up, we ended up having an okay time.  Before recently, I never even considered that either one of them at the events was a problem.  I can honestly say that I don’t have a problem with them going.  There have been other children at the other two prereleases.  Admittedly, not many and they may have been older than my kids, but they were there.

So, what’s the problem?  Well, I might not see a problem and you might not either.  However, I recently learned that there might be a problem because others don’t like the idea.  I can’t definitively say that their attitudes extend to the prerelease.  The conversations always start with Friday Night Magic and end with several people gleefully telling stories of how they demoralized some kid who shouldn’t have even been there.

Forget, if you can, that they are most likely grown men who are bragging about beating a child.  That might be difficult since I just made a point to remind you.  Let’s put that to the side and stick to the main point.  Clearly, there are those in the community that don’t want children at these events.  I know that not everyone likes children.  Hell, I don’t like some of the people that I meet at a Magic event.  In the spirit of competition, we are encouraged to respect our opponents.

I agree and sympathize with the sentiment that young kids shouldn’t be at competitive events, even as spectators.  I’m going to Star City Games in Providence and Worcester in April and May and I’m not taking either of the boys.  They get bored easily, so there’s no way they would last all day at one of those.  Friday Night Magic might be borderline.  I have never been to one of those, so I don’t know how seriously or casual people take those games.  I have been to two prereleases, as I said, and those are more suited for kids.  I even saw that they have a new dice rolling game for Dragons of Tarkir, so Wizards seems to be skewing the demographic younger by themselves.

At 7, Aiden might be on the border of acceptable.  He got bored and a little whiny towards the end of Khans of Tarkir and we had to leave early as a result.  I will try again at the next one (not Dragons, more on that later) and if he can’t handle it, I will wait a couple of years until he is at least 10.  That’s how old Liam is and both times he was well behaved and independent enough to build his own decks.  He even won a match during Theros.

As it stands, this who decision is no longer relevant.  I might be going but I won’t be taking the boys to the prerelease because Liam isn’t feeling well.  Hey, kids are unpredictable!  It’s why we love them.  It’s why they drive us nuts.  Still, the larger point remains valid.  Magic is a game that appeals to a wide variety of people.  You probably won’t get along with every person you meet at an event.  You should still respect your opponents both during and after the game.  Especially new players, since without them, the games that we love so much might cease to exist before long.

I don’t feel bad taking my kids to the prerelease.  Should I?  What do you think?  I’d like to know if this is honestly a big problem for the community at large.  It might be that the only people that I hear saying this are Twitch chat.  We know how they can be about pretty much everything.  Let me know in the comments or via email how you feel about this.

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