Podcast Episode 53: Magic the Gathering

posted in: Podcast | 2

Marc and Matt have started playing Magic again, so they’re going to talk about the game itself, its impact in the gaming community, and the new online implementation — “Arena”.

2:15 – MtG as a game
21:18 – MtG as a drafting game
26:42 – Theme
46:28 – MtG as an institution
1:00:59 – MtG Arena

Music: Sailing The Solar Wind by Abstraction

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2 Responses

  1. Steph S.

    That was fun!

    It was really interesting listening to that as someone who primarily plays constructed formats (Modern and Commander/EDH). I love limited formats, but probably 80% of my gaming experience with Magic is constructed.

    6/10 is harsh, guys! 😛

    In formats like Modern (Mirrodin set and forward), games are far less inconsistent than what you may perceive games in Standard to be. You just have access to so many great cards that can optimize your deck to a really high level, so it’s pretty consistent, but it definitely can be expensive to get into.

    A few things that it struck me as interesting that you didn’t discuss:
    – Deck building as a fun part of magic: For both Commander and Modern, curating my deck over time has to be one of the top three things I love about the game. Making the decision to add or remove even just one card can be pretty intense. I’m a Johnny here though… So maybe this part of the game is more interesting for me than for Spikes or Timmys. I rarely netdeck, and do my best to create something new and exciting every time I make a deck (particularly with EDH). My love of this portion of the game is precisely why I don’t think I’ll ever play keyforge.

    – Magic as a TRADING card game: it would be pretty pointless for non-limited-players to open booster packs if trading wasn’t such a big part of how players acquire new cards to play with. I play Modern now, not solely because I bought into it, but instead I sat with several players at various events and traded for some of the critical cards I needed. I think this is a big part of the experience for about half of the player base.

    – The competitive cycle: buy a decently good deck, good deck wins some games, you win some packs, trade or sell those cards for cards to make your deck better, play a great deck, win more games than before, win more packs, etc. That’s largely what sustained my magic habit when I played Standard, especially, but it is somewhat the case even now as I’m playing Modern.

    Overall though a really great analysis of the game. It’s interesting to me that both of you kind of want it to be or replicate a board game. This game occupies a totally different space in my brain for some reason. It was also wild for me to hear that drafting is the main fun for you guys, and that you almost think the games that follow kind of autopilot themselves. For me… It’s almost all about the games. Fun differences in perspective there.

    Lastly, as someone who has steeped herself in the lore of this world more than she probably should have, it was fun to get your take on the story behind the different guilds in Ravnica, and what the colors in the color wheel mean. Wizards has actually bent the color wheel a little bit in recent years, giving card draw to red, exile to black, etc. So I’m interested to see how that develops over the years, as the lines seem to have blurred a little between colors.

    I love that you guys are having such a good time on Arena, and I completely agree that it is a great tool for getting players interested in the game. The onboarding is truly second to none from what I’ve seen of other similar games.

    I enjoyed tuning in to this. Great job 🙂

    • Marc Davis

      Thanks for your insight, Steph! It was tough to constrain the conversation and still have something to say, because there are obviously exceptions to most things and we are approaching it from a very particular angle, being such fans of drafting. I don’t know if we mentioned it specifically, but one of the things MtG has by virtue of being so big is the ability to sustain so many different formats to get a wider reach. I know that was something Netrunner didn’t really do at all.

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