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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Jul 09 2019 1:47pm
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Hello again! It’s been a while. For those who don’t know me, I’m Shane, and I used to consistently provide Limited content for this website. That was until about October last year. I still wrote some articles - and got to preview a Ravnica Allegiance and War of the Spark card - but Magic was starting to take a back seat in my life. I wanted to use this article to examine why that was, and also how I am trying to get back into the game. 

WHY I LOST INTEREST

This is an important question, and I want to examine it in some detail, to analyse why it occurred. I have been playing Magic since 1994, and took an extended break in the mid 2000s as kids and real life became a priority. Then, in 2013, I came back to the game and became much more heavily invested than ever before. I read articles, watched streams and videos, played in PPTQs and tried my hardest to always be improving. In 2015, I began writing articles for PureMTGO and dabbled with streaming and YouTube. Magic became more than a hobby, it became a semi-serious pursuit.

 

In the middle of 2018, I found my interest declining. I took a good hard look at the reasons why this was:

 

  • I was taking the game too seriously. With other stresses going on in my life (see below), I found that when I wasn’t winning I was becoming incredibly frustrated. This led me to play even worse, spiraling into a vicious cycle, and I found that if I wasn’t winning I wasn’t enjoying it. 
  • The online Magic community was becoming overwhelmingly negative. This had been going on for a while, but it was having a serious effect on my enjoyment of the game. It seemed like every week there was another controversy happening on Twitter or Reddit. Looking back now, this was probably the biggest reason for my decline in interest in the game. 
  • Other games were vying for my attention. I have always been into both role-playing games and wargaming, and I was starting to enjoy these games a lot more than Magic.
     
  • Real life factors. My health was becoming poor and I had put on a lot of weight. My wife was suffering from epilepsy that we were (and still are) struggling to get under control, and my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer.  

All of these factors combined led me to decide to just walk away for a bit. I did return to write some articles, and played a little bit, but my heart wasn’t in it. I decided that, if Magic wasn’t making me happy, it was time to give it up. After all, Magic is just a game.

 

IT’S JUST A GAME

Those four words actually made me re-examine things when it came to how I approached Magic. Games are meant to be fun, in my opinion, and I decided that it was time to remove un-fun or un-enjoyable things from my life.

 

First and foremost - I sold my Magic Online collection, or at least all the cards that were worth anything. The money I got from this I put into buying my kids some gifts, and buying some wargaming models, a hobby I was enjoying immensely at that stage (not actually gaming, but painting the figures. I love it!)

 

Next, I unsubscribed from all Magic related Reddit content and closed my Twitter account (though I have since reopened another one, I no longer follow many Magic related accounts - only those from friends). This one particular thing made a huge impact; not seeing all of the negative bull**** in my social feeds every day made a massive difference to my mental state at that time.

 

I stopped reading articles about how to be a better player, what the best strategies are, and how to improve by a fraction of a percent. I stopped watching streams (though I checked out the Mythic Invitational to see how it looked), stopped listening to podcasts and stopped watching YouTube videos.

 

Instead, I channeled by energy into getting fit and returning to sport (losing over 20kg in the process) and focused on other things for a little bit.

 

THE ‘MAGIC’ RETURNS

What I discovered by doing this was that my interest started coming back. Without the stream of negativity I was getting from consuming certain Magic content (most notably social media), my interest rose. I followed along with each spoiler season. But I found that instead of examining every card on a micro level like I would when I was writing Limited articles, I was enjoying the art, the flavour text, and just seeing what cool ideas Wizards had come up with. I also found I was forming my own opinions on the cards rather than scrambling to see what everyone else thought.

 

I began chatting with my friends about Magic again, though I stayed out of discussions about what cards were going to be powerful in different formats, mainly because at this stage I still didn’t (and if I’m honest, still don’t) care. 

 

But the bug was back, and I found myself wanting to play. I was hesitant, though, as I know how it consumed me before. 

 

‘It’s just a game’.

 

With those four words echoing in my skull, I decided I would start playing Magic again.

 

MY GOLDEN RULES

I also decided to set myself some rules, though these aren’t going to be in stone. I’m hoping that by adhering to these, I can continue to enjoy the game I have loved for the past twenty five years. My rules are:


  • No strategy articles. I’m not ‘in it to win it’, so to speak, I just want to enjoy some games of Magic and keep it casual. Like I said last time, I took Magic too seriously, and I don’t want to go down that path again.

  • No Magic social media. Again, like I said last time, this was probably the main contributor to me beginning to dislike the game, so I am staying the heck away from it this time.

  • No spending to win. If you are reading this article, you know how big of a money sink this game can be. I do not plan on spending much (if any) money on the game.


This last one threw up a bit of a problem, in that I had sold off my Magic Online collection. I could play Arena, but that wouldn’t allow me to play with old cards - one of the things I enjoy the most about the game. Luckily, that problem is solved by the very article you are reading - you get paid in MTGOTraders credits for writing articles for this site, so I would be able to invest those credits into re-building my collection on Magic Online. (Side note: you should totally write articles for this site!)


JUMPING BACK IN

Right, so the time had come to jump back into the game. To begin with, I decided to play on Arena. I still had all my cards from when I was playing on there, and had a bunch of gems, gold and wildcards to burn. I used the currencies to get War of the Spark packs in order to get more wildcards and cards from the latest set. I did think about drafting with this, but decided that cards and wildcards would be better in order to build a collection and thus build decks.


Why did I do this? I could be wrong, but the best way to earn in game currency is to complete your daily quests. My initial goal will be to get at least one deck of every colour in order to make sure I can do whatever quest gets thrown up at me, and thus earn more gold for either drafts or more packs.


The next thing I did was went over to MTGGoldfish to see what decks were currently around that I might be able to build with my current collection. I was never an innovative deck builder and wanted to find a deck that could at least have a chance of winning in order to earn more gold (again, winning is not my main concern, but I’d like to build a nice collection, and winning gives you more currency). To my delight, mono red was a thing. I used a few wildcards to craft some cards I was missing from a list and played a few games.


I went 4-0.


I then lost my next six games.


I did complete some quests, though, and did enjoy the games (despite not really knowing what I was going to run up against). 


NEXT STEPS

The next steps for me will be to build decks of each colour just to be able to complete quests easier. I am also planning on using the credits from this article to build a Pauper deck on Magic Online and see how that goes. By the time you read this, Magic 2020 will also be online, and I might do a sealed event to see how that goes.

 

If you have any suggestions for me, I’d love to hear them as well!