Is the Magic Gone?

(Editor’s Note:  We’ve been AWOL here for about a month.  I know that I said that wouldn’t happen again, but I misjudged the amount of work that this summer class has taken and it got in the way.  I won’t promise that we’re all the way back, but two articles and the latest episode of the podcast should happen this week.  Thanks, as always, for your patience.)

Do you want to build some standard?

No.

Oh…okay.  I suppose you are right.  The standard meta can be a bit stale, especially with such a small play group.

Do you want to build some Legacy?  We always have fun with that.

Not really.

Proxy Vintage Decks?

Okay, how about Jace, the Mind Sculptor.  Black Lotus, Mox Sapphire, maybe Time Vault and Voltaic Key to make it truly degenerate.  What the hell.  Let’s put in some storm effects for giggles, too.  Okay, solitaire Magic deck built.  Let’s play with ourselves.

You said it, Quagmire.
You said it, Quagmire.

In case that introduction wasn’t obvious enough, I’m in a bit of a paper Magic rut.  I’m still playing the hell out of the game using the free client that I found, but I have few reasons and little desire to play the cards right now.  I can see why Wizards would want the free client eradicated.  I doubt there are many like me, but I get my fix there and it has absolutely turned me off to spending money on the game.

Guess I will just have to do this the old fashioned way.
Guess I will just have to do this the old fashioned way.

It isn’t solely the fault of free Magic.  There are other factors, too.  More on those momentarily.  I mentioned earlier that I have only “few reasons and little desire” to buy or play Magic cards.  You might have picked up on the fact that leaves an opening to get back into the hobby.  You never truly leave Magic.  Like any addiction, you find yourself falling back into the familiar embrace of those Kird Apes and Black Lotuses (Loti?).  Still, this is as indifferent as I’ve been about paper Magic since before I started playing again a couple of years ago.  The only thing that has me looking at the cards is that Chris met some guys through a Craigslist ad to liquidate his collection.  They mentioned that they liked to play Tiny Leaders.  I took a day or two and put together a couple of decks for the format, stacked the card boxes into the corner (new development:  the card boxes have been moved to the play room, so out of sight and out of mind), and moved on to my newer obsessions.

They are the main reasons for my greatly reduced interest in Magic cards.  I’ve already written about both of them here on the page.  We discussed one of them on the podcast that is due to be released this weekend.  I did an opening video for the other.  I’ve invested more in the two games than I have in Magic over the last few months.  We started the podcast and web page in part to discover new games.  As I’ve said numerous times in response to that is that there have been unintended consequences.  I never dreamed that finding a game that would replace Magic, let alone two of them, would end up being one of those unintended consequences.

Perhaps you can guess what these new games have in common.
Perhaps you can guess what these new games have in common.

I am talking, of course, about Heroclix and Dicemasters.  Heroclix is the super hero miniature game.  It doesn’t surprise me that I have enjoyed this one.  Initially, I had a somewhat indifferent impression of the game.  It was interesting, but my kids couldn’t play it and I hadn’t mentioned it to Chris.  Unlike Magic, which I saw as a collection more than a game, Heroclix didn’t register right away in the same way.

I’ve always been interested in miniature games.  I have looked at them in the local gaming score, priced out various starter boxes, researched what other gamers thought of the two major offering, and even bough a learn to paint kit for the one that I decided would be the most interesting.  For the record, it was the Privateer games, Hordes and Warmachine.  I do have a friend who has Warhammer figures, so I might get some of those, too.

Therefore, when Chris and I played a game of Heroclix, it made sense that I enjoyed it quite a bit.  It gave me my introduction into a genre of games that I’ve been wanting to try for some time.  What surprised me was that Chris liked the game, too.  He’s never been into the fantasy setting RPG games (like D&D) as far as I know, so maybe it was the Marvel connection.  Who knows?  He might not enjoy the other war mini games as much.

What really surprised me is that our interest in the game has overshadowed our interest in Magic.  It’s not just me who has found my enjoyment of our favorite TCG wane.  We didn’t even play Magic this month.  We do have it on the schedule for the next two months, though, so maybe some of the Magic (pun fully intended) will return.  I doubt it will next month, unless through nerd rage, because we’re discussing Origins on the podcast and we both are underwhelmed by the set.  Perhaps the month after when we talk about Ice Age.  That’s when I first started collecting and playing.  Either way, I’m sure we’ll be back.

I mean, who's not excited for this reprint, amirite?
I mean, who’s not excited for this reprint, amirite?

Part of the reason, I’m sure, is that Heroclix is new and shiny.  I’m always distracted by new and shiny things.  I know for a fact that Dicemasters is new and shiny and that’s part of the reason for my interest there.  I never even knew that these types of games existed until I saw it on the web.  I thought I’d give it a chance.  The other reason that I’ve enjoyed the game so much is because my kids enjoy it and we play it together at least three times a week.  Sometimes we play it daily.  Plus, it is actually surprisingly fun game.

I’m not above playing games where the primary act is rolling dice.  I’ve played D&D since I was an awkward preteen boy.  However, that game also involved role play and story telling.  Other than the dice, Dicemasters only has some strategy elements to keep you engaged.  Sure, the strategy isn’t much, but it brings a different element to the game so that it doesn’t just feel like Yahtzee.

Though, rolling 5 energy symbols to get that Captain America feels a lot like natural Yahtzee.
Though, rolling 5 energy symbols to get that Captain America feels a lot like natural Yahtzee.

Even though these games have taken us away from Magic, I’m sure that we will be back.  Chris already said that receiving his order of Theros gods inspired him to build a new deck.  I’ve used my access to digital Magic to brainstorm a few deck ideas myself.  I’m still trying to come up with a good Vintage deck of my own and I’m trying to make a Dragonlord Ojutai EDH deck work.  You are never truly free of the madness.  This might be a tough an long climb back to the saddle.  It also seems less likely to happen with each passing day.  I, for one, hold out hope that Zendikar will ignite our spark (again, pun fully intended) again.  I missed the first trip to the plane and boxes are too expensive now.

Who knows?  Maybe the break will be good for us.  We can see other games and our bond with Magic will be strengthened.  If you love something set it free and all.  Because, in spite of the current issues, I do enjoy the game.  I’d hate to see it suffer the same fate as another long time companion, World of Warcraft.  I finally kicked that habit with some conflicted emotions.  Ultimately, it just wasn’t the same.  It wasn’t as fun.  Magic currently occupies the same space right now.

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