Demonic Tutor

Magic: the Gathering in the UK

A lot of people tend to go through phases of quitting and re-starting the game, and I'm finding that I definitely have times when I really like it and times when I'm a bit bored with it. It's probably entirely set dependant (Innistrad was awesome, but I've been quickly bored by all of Scars block, Avacyn Restored and now RTR and Gatecrash). People always say that the game was better in the old days, but is this really true, or is it just that the more you play the game the less real difference you notice between sets? Especially with "New World Order", the commons in the sets seem to be more and more similar and (probably due to smaller set sizes) there seem to be less 'buid-around' uncommons, less creatures with CIP abilities, and more creatures with decent P/T and minor/no abilities. So I guess what I'm asking is whether this is actually the case, or if people just get 'magic fatigue' and that's why so many people end up taking breaks from the game to just play cube etc? Or is the quality of sets just worse now than it used to be?

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i've been in and out by varying degrees for over a decade and i'd say that i definitely enjoy contemporary sets much less than earlier ones. some of the many reasons: 

  • power creep
  • the planeswalker card type
  • dumb flavour; characters specifically
  • move towards more digital/photorealistic artwork
  • dumb metagame swings re: standard
  • ...

i think there is some fatigue factor. i do think the rtr and gtc have the problem of only having 5 decks in each which makes it a bit dull.


we can always play loads of other games! agricola next week?

Always up for doing something different. I have found board gaming/netrunner to be way more actual fun than Magic recently. I guess the actual basic game of Magic isn't really that exciting a concept - all the good parts of limited used to come from complex card interactions, which just don't exist much now they've simplified most commons and cut the number of available cards. When I look at some of the old blocks (Odyssey, Onslaught, Invasion) I think 'those would be amazing to play', so I don't think I'm sick of the game, I'm just not excited by the recent sets.

Part of the burn out for me is the cost. GP London was £40. For that price I can buy a boardgame that is going to provide me a lot more than 7 hours of entertainment.  Also Cubing was way more fun in terms of format and games even if it doesnt have quite the same thrill of competition.

I feel exactly the same way

Thom Richardson said:

Part of the burn out for me is the cost. GP London was £40. For that price I can buy a boardgame that is going to provide me a lot more than 7 hours of entertainment.  Also Cubing was way more fun in terms of format and games even if it doesnt have quite the same thrill of competition.

In addition to the points others have made, at times I have found Magic off-putting because of the players. 

Most of them are nice enough, and you guys are all great, but sometimes you go to a store/PTQ or something and encounter a series of jerks with abhorrent opinions/people you can't have basic human interactions with, and think "Why am I doing this to myself?"

This pushes me towards cube/playing other games with just the people I know already/NOBs type events just as much as the other factors.

@ Dan, this is one of my major points. i try to be nice to everyone but when im having a discussion about the game and someone buts in shouting their opinions i cant help my self (once lost it at someone from DS and shouted "who are you! are we even talking to you!!") because we was discussing aggressive 5 drops in gruul and i said i didnt like thragtusk. he just butted in with whats wrong with 5 power for 5 mana, he was really rude about it, i said i rather play something that attcks or puts pressure on like hellkite or even wolf silverheart. then shouted at him. but you get a different level of player where you go.


for me magic is just a fun hobby. i want to win but am not foolish enough to think i can make a living out of it. when i find myself annoyed and i believe ive tried everything i stopped drafting. i loved RTR but hate GtC for sooo many reason so will not crack a pack till the next set.


regarding standard seasons, i think this is the best season ever, so many viable options with new decks being made as the months go by. if ive hated a season in the past ive either played mono red (which was actually fun for a player who never picks that type of deck up, actually made a few gpt top 8s with it in the caw blade season) or just sat on the sidelines (delver season)


basically when the games good its very good and im thankful for my oppertunities, when its bad its drastically bad and i never look at anything magic related for at least a week. price doesnt change my mind either, im not super rich or anything but i dont smoke and hardly drink and dont have many other hobbies so a £40 GP aint bad when i factor in my brothers golf clubs, mums smoking habbit etc.. if its something i want to do i go for it. also with magic you can usually sell cards to pay for a GP or something, which is nice.

My basic problem with Magic is it is now costing upwards of £30 to play, that plus food and drink makes for a very expensive day, if you don't spend on food and drink and just head off home after the event, the game becomes a bit less social. 

The other thing is obviously being mana screwed or flooded, is fine when it's free but when you've paid £30 to enter and being screwed is basically costing you money but there is nothing that can be done.  IE I HATE MANA!

You kids have never had it so good! (obligatory old man comment out of the way)

Magic has indeed changed over the years, mostly for the better, but some for the worse. As someone who started playing back when Ice Age was just released (almost 20 years ago) I would say that modern sets are mostly better than old sets. I will concur with Phil's point about artwork. I loved some of the old artists that were used (Richard Kane Ferguson and Harold McNeil were two good ones I remember).

Specifically with regards to drafting, I think some of the issues with modern sets is that archetypes are too clear cut. I'd pinpoint the Original Ravnica set as the beginning of the problem. By itself it was a pretty dull format. There were only 4 decks to draft (5 if you counted non-mill Dimir). Guildpact alleviated it a bit, although Grixis was a clear best deck, and Dissension just made it a completely different, and good format.

Since then most sets have had fairly well defined limited archetypes with cards specifically made for them. This can take some of the shine off the actual draft as decisions can feel forced. Older sets got around this issue by just being sloppily designed and drafting a collection of good cards was an archetype. 

All that aside I think that the main reason that peoples relationship with Magic changes is that they change more than Magic does. It is fairly rare for somebody to have a passion for something which remains undimmed by time. Magic is also a hobby which demands a lot of time if you want to enjoy everything it has to offer: drafting, constructed, casual formats, deckbuilding, testing, sorting and storing cards, trading, keeping up to date with the metagame, competitive play, travelling.

When I was single, had a non-intrusive 9-5 job, and all my friends and family lived fairly close it was something I was happy to devote a lot of my free time to. As those things changed, and demands on my time from them increased something had to give, and it was a fairly easy choice to just let the sun go down on my competitive and constructed careers, not ever both to trade, and travel to less events. It helped that I'd achieved a lot of what I wanted to do at the game.

Now I'm happy to just enjoy playing cube, and silly casual formats that require no upkeep, and drafting once a week. I still get to enjoy a lot of the core Magic fun but without too much of the overhead.

All whining aside I doubt there will ever come a point when if I've got no pressing engagements and 5 (non-awful) people say "want to cube?" the answer will be no. The game is still awesome.

to echo thom, yeah the actual game itself is still very good and if it wasn't literally hundreds of percent more expensive than it used to be i would still play sometimes. i don't think i've played magic at all in 2013, but if there was a gp with a good group going at a good time i would be all over it

Magic is a great game and that is in large part because it is always changing.  Sets vary in quality and the current draft environment is pretty linear.  If there are alternate decks that are as good as the straightforward guild decks no one has found them yet.  I found it interesting working out Orzhov (a late game deck where a 2/2 for 2 is better than a 3/3 flier for 5) but the other guilds are a combination of obvious and frustrating.  I think Dragon's Maze seems promising for there being a bunch to explore.  If not then M14 is following in the footsteps of some pretty cool core set formats (IMHO).  All hope is not lost.

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