Wearing dice on my head since 2008 Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart. Randomly amazed.

I Hate Trading

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Categories: Magic the Gathering | Tags:

For the record: I hate trading.

I realize it’s necessary to the way Magic’s business model works, and I realize it’s part of what makes opening booster packs fun, but make no mistakes about it: I hate trading.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Magic. More precisely, I love playing Magic. I want to play spells, to match wits with my opponents, to recover from mana screw, to win from one life, to make bad plays then learn from them. I want to become a better player, with better skills and better execution. I’m in it for the game, and trading gets in the way of that.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the cost I don’t like: it’s the hassle. (That doesn’t mean I’m not picky on the cost though… ) I don’t want to walk around tournament sites flipping through people’s binders. I don’t want to keep asking people if they have rare card X that’s hard to find. I don’t want to have to haggle over card prices. I don’t want to have to figure out if I’m being ripped off. I don’t want to bring around my own binder. I don’t want to arrange for meetups during the week just to get those hard-to-find cards for the weekend’s tournaments.

I just want to play. And the fact that Magic is a collectible game annoys me sometimes, because where exists a game that combines luck and skill in an excellent manner, the limitation of card availability creates an artificial barrier of time, effort and money for someone to play competitively. (Which is why I can’t play Extended… )

This is why I love limited. It distills Magic down into its’ purest form: you show up, you build your deck, then you play. No loitering around card shops trying to find the cards you need, no last-minute borrowing of cards. Show up. Build deck. Play.

I’ve been drafting on MTGO again lately, and I wonder why they can’t have that sort of thing for constructed. That is: you show up for an event, pay a reasonable entry fee, have access to all the cards in your format of choice, build a deck, then play. No trading barrier. At the end of the event, you give back all the cards you used. It’s not something achievable in the real world due to potential theft issues, but in MTGO it’s completely viable. I understand that doing this would drive the prices of cards and boosters down, but that’s only if it were a common thing. If such events were only held say, once every 1-2 months then the impact shouldn’t be that much. Hell, if handled well, it would promote card sales.

I just want to play. Is that too much to ask?

Roy will hopefully have something for the coming Standard PTQ season. Finally, a format I can play!


Comment by Jaime on 2009-03-21 23:13:10 +0000

While admittedly, I’ve never been a good player per se, I have to agree with this post 100%. I really preferred the online magic tools that allowed you to play and make your own deck. But they’ve never really been able to catch up to the most recent cards, and they never have a following as good as MTG played IRL.