This Week in Popculture’s Cube: Crossing Magic’s Red Lines
So I just did something I never thought I would.
And I’ll likely do it again.
Just a little bit before I started typing this article, I bought by first Fetch Land.
[Cue Sound of Crickets]
Right, I know. A lot of you reading this out on the electronic superhighway are probably scoffing. “Shyeah,” you might be saying. “So what? I’ve got a playset of every Zendikar fetch AND I’m working on finishing up my collection of the Onslaught fetches for good measure.”
But I’m sure there are others out there who are saying “Wow. I don’t know if I could ever see myself doing that.”
It is for those souls that I’m writing this. For I was once like you.
Magic, I’ve discovered, is for me less a process of feeding an addiction (as many seem to characterize it) and more a succession of maturing milestones. As I’ve played Magic of the years, I’ve artificially drawn red lines in the sand. No, I said to myself, I’ll never do that. I’m good with what I’m playing now.
Only to find myself a little while later obliterating that line, or simply moving it a few yards down the way.
It’s not a bad thing.
I started out swearing I’d only play Standard. That was the format for me, yes sir.
Until I found out that you could play a lot more fun cards in Casual formats. And then I found Modern. And then EDH. As I opened myself to Magic’s varied worlds, it opened itself to me, and I found that the game filled a very satisfying spot on my roster of hobbies.
Similarly, when Return to Ravnica (the late, dearly-departed, just-rotated block that taught me to play multi-color and love it) premiered, folks hailed the return of the Shock Land. I, on the other hand, was unimpressed. Never, I thought, will I ever pay $10 or more for a land.
Well, how the worm has turned. I found – as countless other Magic players have – that you can certainly take a principled stand like that, but your decks will simply not be as good as they could be. And so I bought a couple of shocks to help out my Boros aggro. And then a couple more for my BW modern token deck. Pretty soon, I had a good collection of shocks, good enough to fuel Modern and EDH builds.
Then I swore I’d never buy Grove of the Burnwillows for my Modern Naya Zoo. Well, now I’ve got a playset.
And then, I swore I’d never get fetches. Never, never, never. To me, they represented the worst aspects of Magic – expensive cards that are basically necessary to make a deck work. And then I realized that sometimes, to further your hobby (and to have more fun), you’ve got to compromise.
So I bought an Arid Mesa for my Zoo. And I’m sure it won’t be my last. And it’s a pretty big deal for me. And I’m excited for it to arrive.
I’m not writing this to tell players that they may as well shell out the cash for cards they never thought they’d buy. That’s not it at all. But I am telling players this: be open. Magic is a wonderful universe to explore. There are hundreds of deck builds (despite what the various metas will tell you). There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of card combinations. Don’t close yourself off from the many exceptional possibilities that this game – and this hobby – has to offer.
Find your own red lines in Magic. And cross them. Over and over and over again.